In game 3, I finally got on the board, preventing a blowout. Imre dropped a pawn early in the opening, and I couldn’t convert that advantage.
I felt there was an endgame chance with 44…Bg3, and even noticed it as 43…Bg3, but on both moves was under a minute, and wasn’t sure I wanted my bishop getting stuck over there. Beware here, a computer eval may go up to -2.5, but I can virtually assure you that it is only a draw still, as I spent time going deep into different lines all the way to the end of the game.
My real chances were earlier, before I gave back the pawn on e5. For example, instead of 25…fxe5 25…Rxe5 holds onto the extra pawn (because of the …Rd2+ tactic). After 28.Bxe5, I had planned 28…Rd5 in response, but then noticed he would have the winning 29.Bd6+! tactic, so I played the forced 28…Re6 instead. That sort of thing happens when you keep the position complex instead of simplifying it (i.e., the move 25 mistake).
Imre declined a draw offer after move 38, probably because he had at least a ten minute clock advantage, and was still the one doing the pressing. I declined a draw offer after move 46 because there was nothing to lose, possibly something to gain, and I wanted to play it out and see. I followed my standard policy of playing to move 60 (one scoresheet) because it’s a natural time-control move (moves 30, 40, and 60 all border natural time-controls).
Earl, an Expert, spotted 25…Rxe5 for me, and helped me to understand that I should have been playing this sort of position more slowly than I am often want to. Sometimes complications are your friend (particularly when trying to bail out of a bad situation), and sometimes they are not warranted (particularly with a strategic advantage).
During the game, I spent a lot of time on move 15, because I only reluctantly played 15…BxNb1, and it’s interesting that Stockfish confirms that I threw away nearly a pawn worth of advantage there, even though the move is ostensibly keeping the pawn. I was mainly considering 15…Bd5, but 15…Bg6 escaped my radar a bit more because it seemed as though it might be too slow, but I should have analyzed it further. Actually, it’s funny because it offers the pawn back on e5, and if White takes the pawn it’s -1.5 in Black’s favor, but it’s only =+ holding onto the pawn. It takes a lot of courage to make that type of decision at the board because you will look like “the village idiot” if you are wrong about it. Meanwhile, I would imagine an opponent can think you are moron in such a situation not quickly making an obvious move to hold onto the pawn. I definitely did consider giving the pawn back, and did think about how dumb it would look to others if I chose that course, I won’t lie. Stuff like this really eats at my clock whereas most other player I don’t think have such doubts.