I felt this guy was dominating until he went into self-destruct mode in my time-pressure. It’s odd how every game was decided in my time-pressure I got down to 2 seconds in a couple of games and never finished a game with more than a minute on my clock, which is how everything that got so weird seemingly got so weird.
This game is a reminder of how sickening it can be to watch an ending played under 3 minutes (he finished with 23 minutes remaining) with only a five-second delay. After the game, when I signed his scoresheet, I noticed he had stopped keeping score on move 19, and had asked to see my scoresheet when I reminded him that he didn’t need to keep score because I was under 5 minutes. I kept score until move 26, the queen trade, because that is when I actually went under 5 minutes. Also, he offered me a draw there, which made me burn up a lot of time doubting myself. He’s been 1775 rated before and he is on a rating low, for some reason. This opponent is now in sole first-place with 3/3.
The first two rounds were G/90, 5 second delay, the last three rounds are G/90, 30 second increment.
On move 31, for example, I was kicking myself for not playing 31.a4 right away, which I had been planning, and playing c3 first, which allowed him to push his pawn onto a light-square and make my extra pawn backward, and I even let him do this on the other side of the board. What was I thinking? I know, it was crazy moves. Basically, I was looking for legal moves, and it shows. I was thinking 31.b3 after the game, and yes, you can just play 31.b3 and 32.c4 there, game over. Ridiculous how a time-control is allowed to mar a game like that. They are pushing to have Round 2 be G/90, 30 increment in future tournaments.
I was at my most tired during this game, after only 3 1/2 hrs sleep. I left for the restroom like 6 times (to throw water on my face), and only once did he not move as soon as I left. Once I left just because I knew it would get him to move, and immediately returned to the board. I lost well over ten minutes off my clock because of these incidents. Right around move 16.Bg5 is where I began to lose it. I was going to play the much better 16.Qg3, but at that point, I was more concerned about grabbing control of the game, and the clock for later.
Before you feel sorry for this guy, know that he gained 99 rating points in this same tournament alone!
1.e4 e5 is a risky proposition, versus the Scandinavian defense, for example, in terms of what you might get faced with. Here is an example of what I thought about early in the opening (the Perreux variation of the two knights), and why an easy to use database of master games would be desirable. It’s weird trying to visualize this during a game because your opponent is wondering what you could possibly be thinking about, and you are trying to reinvent the wheel on some variation that he won’t even play.
I finally got to play Ann; she usually finishes around second place in these big tournaments, so I knew she was strong in this section. Actually, I cannot find my scoresheet for this game at the moment, so I just recreated this entire game from memory rather quickly.
This turned out to be a money-round, but I wasn’t honestly entertaining those chances, just trying to get in a good, competitive game if that. I figured I might draw, but just as likely to lose in time-pressure. I got into acute time-pressure and blundered my f7 pawn, but then unexpectedly he had a difficult time finishing me off. As it was, LM Brian Wall showed me that I missed a rook and knight mate on previous move. 38…Qf5 was another laughable move, since I saw a few seconds after making the “pre-move” that I could have threatened mate, and the rook with 38…Qg6, 39.Nf3-e1 Nxh3+