In this game, I never once, literally not once considered the possibility of …Qg5 (in any position). I was 15 minutes late off of my clock, but I never saw that move, even though I looked at many, many lines OTB. Of all the books I’ve read, games I’ve played, etc. The only person that has helped me, personally, in any way with my lack of “queen sight” has been Alexander Freeman. It’s been an issue for me for 30+ years. It’s a serious issue for my chess, as seriously as one can take this board game. My opponent pointed out …Qg5 after the game, and that he would have given up the exchange (lose) rather than play Kb1 (where White is better after h4), If I had played it. I had well over half an hour to spot …Qg5 in any line, and never once spotted it, and none of the winning or drawing lines for Black work without it.
I went to this game, totally not wanting to play in truth, but needing to play as I need to get in shape for the Denver Open. I had a headache for most of the game, and was going to play 22…Bd6, when I suddenly opted for 22…Kf8?? instead with 7 minutes on my clock. I saw my mistake as soon as I made my move, but I knew I had a bad endgame – which is less than -1, but Stockfish is totally kicking my butt after every different line that I tried against it, beating me seven ways to Sunday. I was oddly glad the game was over, as for once didn’t want to fight it out, which is what you have to, or I have to do, as Black to draw or win. I was inwardly upset before the game over the pairing, but that is probably a good thing getting a pairing or color that I didn’t want. Unfortunately, when Josh giggled over one move where I spent gobs of time, that probably accurately reflected just how much I wanted to be playing chess at that moment.
The one drawing line that I wanted to play, but still hadn’t fully calculated when I basically decided to give up on the position for sake of time, was 17…Rec8, 18.Bxd7 RxNc3, 19.QxR QxQ, 20.bxQ Bf4+, 21.Rd2 Rd8, 22.Rf1 BxR, 23.KxB RxB+ will lead to a drawn rook endgame. Here, there was no need to play a …Qg5 move, and I had seen the elements of this combo, but oddly OTB I was even less willing to sacrifice against a player 300 rating points lower than me than I would against equal or higher, because I didn’t want to lose cute, for no reason against a much lower-rated player. This is the insidiousness of rated chess; in rated chess, there is no first-round player or position, every game requires your brilliancy; you can’t ever have a bad day at the chess board. In fairness, I wasn’t even sure that this endgame was drawn until I played out some moves with Stockfish. Again, even a first-round brilliant combo wouldn’t have been enough, as I would have been required to feel I could have drawing chances against this endgame as well, and all for a first-round game. Well, there is no first-round game anymore, but I will say that Dean and Shirley nearly always gave me easy first-round pairings – those days are clearly gone!
I did do some opening prep earlier yesterday, using Scid with Millbase for the first time, and even writing out some lines for one particular opening, but it mentally burned me out a bit for playing. I am not planning on studying openings too close to the tournament because it is very dangerous for OTB play. With openings, it’s more a way to chart and attempt to memorize and choose different possibilities that could happen OTB, but it’s not the same thing as warming up your play, the way blitz or studying tactics would.