27…Nd4, This is a mistake because I can trade on d4, then play Rh2. I did see this idea, but wasn’t sure if I should commit a rook(s) to the h-file just yet.
29…Be3?! Played quickly (in my time-pressure), and I instantly sensed it was a mistake, but didn’t see a refutation until right after I move. 30.Qb4! is a no-brainer move, unless you see it a moment too late that is. I thought I had blown my chance here, but I would get more chances to come.
32…Qh6+? Josh said “Wow!” as soon as I replied with the unexpected 33.Rh2.
40.Qd3?! Funny that this would be a natural time-control move. Here I debated between improving, and then trading my queen, versus playing f4, followed by Nh3-g5, pressuring h7 with the rook and knight, and eyeing Ne6. f4, I also observed, traps the bishop onto e3.
40…Kg7?! Protecting the g7 pawn. Now the king is a target for Nh3-g5-e6+ and Rh7 in that line.
41.Qe4? A groveling invitation to trade queens. Soon, the queen will be a target, f4 never happens, and the Be3 thereby also gets out of the trap.
42…Re7 Completely missed this move.
43…Bh6 and missed this move as well.
44.Qxd?? I realized this move may and probably loses, but was in acute time pressure, less than half a minute left. 44.Ng1 is the only move that holds the position, but not so easy to find in time-pressure.
I gave up on my “chess-dreams”/plans too easily in this game. Time-pressure was a big factor.
21…c5? The complexity level given by Stockfish is 1.14/1.19. I’ve never seen it that high before. So, I did seriously contemplate the best line, 21…QxQ, 22.RxQ Bd6, 23.Nd5, but cut it off around here because it’s difficult to visualize the further branching lines in this position as there are so many possible discovery attacks for White, that I didn’t want to try to handle it OTB, and then just blundered instead.
24.Bf4 White can win a pawn with 24.Bxc5!, which I missed. I only expected the move he played.
33…g4. I did consider that 33…Rd8 plan looked strong, but I went for this other plan instead.
40…Rxd3?? I suspected that this was a make-or-break move, that the only move had to be either this one or 40…Rd2!, but had no true idea at that moment how true that observation would be. He was down to 3 minutes, and I to less, and again it’s the dreaded 40th move with no second time-control, and we were both quite tired, I presume for him as well, by this point.
A more well-played game than I had realized it was OTB.
I had finally attained a drawn position as Black, realized this, but the emotional twists and turns to reach this position lead to collapse of my nerves, and I dropped a piece with 1 min 8 seconds still on my clock, but it wasn’t the clock, it was all the blitzing. I blundered and resigned so fast that I don’t believe my opponent even realized that I had dropped a piece or why I was resigning – he was looking at my king, and seemed confused for a second, but I stopped clock and knocked over my king. He was making a lot of his moves right after me, before I could write my move down, and this added to the nervous toll, got me moving faster than my brain could keep up with. Another time-control on move 60 would have saved me. ;-p
Earlier in the game, I should have played …h6 instead of …g6, figured, but played ..g6 anyway, then should have stopped his h-pawn with …h5. Made plenty of losing moves, but he kept giving them back to me until I finally dropped the piece and resigned. He didn’t even know it was drawn and we played it out for over ten minutes after the game. This game reminded me of back when I was 1200 or 1300 and could have a nervous collapse after being up multiple pieces. Even later this would happen with fixed time-controls or 5 second delay. Mark is a Denver club player (G/70 d/5), so for him blitzing the endgame with fifty minutes to an hour still on the clock probably seemed like a normal club game to him.
Objectively, my worst game, and my mind was rather fried. 14.h3? Haven’t even kibitzed this game yet, but I debated between playing this and the seemingly required 14.c4!, but then decided to take a fashion-risk. Once I had moved and left the board, I realized how illogical this move was as his Nf6 can’t play ….Ng4 and cover the d5 square at the same time, and I didn’t consider the line deep enough, but it was obvious on second-thought that 14.c4 Ng4, 15.cxd NxBe3, 16.fxN exd, 17.Nb3 would be best, since there is a knight outpost on d4 now. After that, I was just playing bad moves until he came up with something. His tactic was winning, but he got ahead of himself with the follow-up, and I can only describe this as a gift-win, as he played that queen capture quickly and I was delighted to see it rather than …QxBc8. Plus …Rc8-d8, and then …Ne4 is end-of-story as well.
Physically, I had flipped back over to waking up at 8am just a couple of days before this tournament, but I think that and the emotional energy burned up and driving and playing eventually caught up to me on this day. My new rating is 1797, so in in the future I still may qualify for U1800 prizes. :-p I won back my entry fee exactly, so the tournament didn’t cost anything. Yay!
My overall impression of this tournament: Well, very nice hotel first of all. I was glad to have played three players that I had never played before, and in fact that was my main goal going into the tournament. As the tournament went on, I realized that this thinking was correct. What I need(ed) more than anything is to play as many different Class A and above players as possible. There is something you learn at the board by playing these guys, when to move fast, what moves to consider, style, etc. I think if you ever wanted to be a “pro”, so to speak, then this would be the number one consideration of improving playing lots of different strong players all over the country. Caruana, for example, not only did this but also went to Europe and did that there as well.