Aside from poor time-management which cost me the draw, and quite possibly a win, this game was still interesting. I had 8 minutes left after move 22, which explains the debacle. Sam offered me draw while I had just under 4 minutes and he just under 10 minutes, but I wanted to play it out for the experience, since this was a last round game and only a win would split second place. Besides, Winter Springs tournament is coming up this weekend, where I play in the Open section and stand to gain rating points, so I figured I needed the practice.
After 28 moves, should I play 29…g5, I am up .86 or let’s say it’s -.86, since I am Black. Well, I was going to play that move when I quickly played 29…Bg7 because I literally forgot the move I was going to make, which explains why I put the bishop back there on the next move. In the post-game, I asked him about this move, and let him know I had forgotten to play it. He continued with 30.Ke3 and I with 30…fxe, 31.fxe Bg7 and followed up with 31…Rh8, which Stockfish says is -1.75 in Black’s favor.
When I played 30…Bh6 again, I spotted his 31.Ra3, but literally didn’t know quite what I should do about it yet, and actually played this move hoping he wouldn’t notice, lol, and he hadn’t noticed it yet so didn’t play it. After the game, I said to Sam and Pete that I should have played 30…a6, but I spotted this move in the game literally a move too late. This is what happens to me in time-pressure, my evaluations go haywire, then I don’t spot the ideas in the position in time, and this is like the first game ever where I simply forgot to play a move. Anyway, as you can see, my brain did go haywire and then I started dropping material all over the place when I got down to half a minute. This game could have easily been a win or a draw without that time-pressure meltdown. Good luck tomorrow Magnus and Sergey! You can see how I can’t cope well, in a real tournament game, with acute time-pressure, even though I can play very well up to that point, if I may say so myself. A life-long disease that’s followed me all the way from my 1200 level playing days. Anyway, I wasn’t taking this game that seriously as to the result, if it’s any consolation to the reader.
When he played 31.h4 and I took it en-passant, I realized all the trouble that I would get into, but figured it might be the only way to play for a win, and also I wanted to test my skill from an inferior position possibly whether I could still draw or win.
33…Rh8? I figured this move was a blunder, but not losing yet, and I had to make a move and hadn’t figured out the defense …a6 just yet, didn’t spot it for some reason.
38…Bf8? My intuition told me strongly here that I must play 38…Rb8, yet the part of my brain which analyzes variations couldn’t grasp why I should play this and let go of the a-pawn. Another move casualty of time-pressure.
The rest of the game requires no comment, analysis-wise, other than to say that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t played …c6, and then dropped my bishop two moves later. I was playing instant moves, and my clock was actually back up to over 2 and 1/2 minutes, I was blitzing and blundering wildly. If this were a five second increment, my opponent may have blundered back, but since he had stayed five minutes up on the clock back when it was winning for him, there was no chance of the clock being a factor, although he was only up by a minute by this point.
Silly loss, but still a great game as far as the content was concerned. I figured I should be able to draw “drawn-ish” positions and not rely on my opponent’s offer because when I play up not only will they not offer a draw, but they will not accept one either and will require me to show them the draw.
It’s unfortunate that I have a slow memory. I looked at the chair where I was sitting, and didn’t see a jacket, then walked outside toward my car and the cold made me realize I had brought a jacket and probably left it on the chair on the other table. Paul had already locked up when I got back and I had to go cross town to get the keys from him. I can remember days in my life 45 years ago vividly, but my “think on my feet” memory can be slow, even though I can show a quick-wit, in person.
The interesting thing that I remember now is that when Sam offered me the draw, and I verbally declined it, that that is the same move where I suddenly forgot my plan and played Bh6-g7. That draw offer must have gotten inside my head worse than I thought because that is the point in the game where my play/form went all downhill after that. It’s like I relaxed and had a tough position at the same time after declining the draw, and I was also more nervous as well.