This time, it was my turn to make the silly mistake. Incidentally, it seems that most of my wins and losses are due to silly mistakes on my or my opponent’s part.
After the game, it was apparent that …g4 was a blunder. I thought about playing ..h6 and should have.
I thought that …Bh4?? was a bad move at first, but then I calculated it and only saw the Qxh5+, but not the Qxe6+, so we both rattled the moves off after …Bh4, and then I resigned. He had also beaten me on the battle of the clock, as my clock dropped just below 36 minutes when I decided not to take one more look at this line, I felt I was consuming too much time. The only move he really used any time on was Nxe6, and I already knew that that move was best, so it didn’t help me much.
My e6 square was weak in any variation. After the game, I showed him 14…Qa5, (he instantly played 15.Kb1 and thought I was still in the game) 15…gx3, 16.Qxh3 hitting e6, or 15…0-0-0, 16.hxg hxg, 17.Qxg4 Nxe5, 18.Qxe6+ Kb8, 19.QxNe5. It just seemed my position was crumbling. Also, I spent some time thinking about what if he lets me take on a2, and then gets a Ra1 in, but that wasn’t so likely a variation, but it takes time to work through all this. I realized once I decided to write down clock times that that would be the kiss-of-death as it seems I always lose to higher-rated players whenever I do this because it makes me feel more conscientious about simply making the move.
Another line I didn’t blindfold deep enough until I got into my car after the game was 14…Qa5, 15.Bd3 Qxa2, 16.Bg6+ Kd8! (still a horrible position for Black, but I’m surviving). I noticed this first in the line 14…Rg8, 15.Bd3 Qa5, 16.hxg4 hxg4, 17.Bg6+ Kd8. Well, I won’t feel too bad now when I play in the U1800 section of the Fall Classic. If I had won this game, I’d probably have thought I was too good for that and played in the Open section instead. This game settles that question for me, since the first two rounds are G/90, d/5, and I simply can’t keep up on the clock in an Open section.
I do think that it’s beneficial for me to go ahead and try to solve some puzzles with long variations, so that I get used to visualizing long variations more quickly and deeply. This is going to be critical for my developing into a stronger/higher-rated player.
The funny thing is that I was planning on playing …Qe7, that was part of the plan, and I noticed I had that on move sixteen once I put in the game on my computer, but my problem seems to be that I just don’t notice things fast enough. I notice one key thing right away, but then it takes me time to notice the other threats, which there are in just about every position. I played out that endgame after 16…Qe7, and would most likely lose it OTB with such a time-deficit, and my opponent seemed very determined, like I’ve never seen anyone appear that determined before (he would move, press his clock, and write down his move and slam his pen down in what seemed like three seconds but I figure he may do this in every game, and I just somehow hadn’t noticed it before) , but I figured that endgame was losing even though I had looked at a line just like that. In fact, it seems as if I was looking at that line, but I didn’t realize that I could allow Rh8+ after trading on g5.
I played out that endgame against Stockfish and it was beating me on most moves, as I couldn’t keep up with the threats, playing quickly.