This morning I’m flying to California for the funeral of my step-sister, and then staying over for Christmas. Thanks for all of your condolences on her passing, and well-wishes!
This game that I played Thursday evening with Paul was once again, a tale of two cities. First there was the middlegame where I was doing well, then blundered a pawn and immediately noticed it (told Paul after the game since he didn’t see it).
13…dxc4?! I meant to win a pawn with 13…dxc4, 14.Qxc b5 traps the queen, or so I thought until I moved, and then immediately realized my c6 would just be hanging, so I should have set it up with …Rc8 first. Miscue #1. I was trying to move faster in this game at times, and that is the main motivation for the blunders that followed.
18…b6?? Again, it was maybe ten seconds before I noticed he has 19.Rxc6 Qxc6??, 20.Nf6+ winning the queen, therefore I was going to respond with 19…Qd7, told Paul afterwards.
41…Rc2?? I had spent a lot of time further weakening his position, and then made the mistake of seeing what I wanted to see. Never saw 42.Nd5+, but he played it right away. If I had blunder-checked this move thoroughly – i.e, seen this tactic – I would have played 41…Ke8, and if 42.Ne4, then I would have played 42…Bg5, followed by 43…Bf6, when he has to take on one of these squares. I had already had this in mind when I was surprised to see his 41.Ne4-c3, setting up the trap. This plan above would have been an easy win because I had weakened his back ranks to his king, so that if he plays b4, then …BxN, followed by …Rc3+ would pick up the a-pawn (or even better force-trading rooks).
43.RxRc2? Surprisingly, he did not win my bishop and instead took the exchange. This takes us to the infamous 0.0 ending against Paul Anderson. With my remaining clock time, and my endgame abilities compared to his I never seem to escape these things alive!
45….d3? At this point, I sensed that I was “crossing the Rubicon”, as did he, but I simply didn’t have sufficient time to figure out this ending, based on my current abilities. It’s almost a different endgame, as I push the pawn, and have to play it differently after each push. This endgame wasn’t losing, but his side was easier to play, and he played it much better than I. Most of my moves were mistakes, but it was difficult to figure out what I should or could be doing as most things I looked at simply didn’t work as far as I could see. Disappointing way to lose a game, but you have to play a lot of blunder-free moves to beat anyone over 1900, in my experience. Funny how my blunder on move 41 could have been after a 40 move time-control. In a way, that is a good thing, making only one serious blunder in the first 40 moves. For me, this represents some progress, but perhaps not to most players these days who regard 40/2 as a thing of the past. Technically, at 40/2 I still would have had ten minutes on my clock, as compared to the speed we played at at G/90, Inc 30. I had less than two and a half minutes on my clock when I made the move 41 blunder. No, it was a four and a half minutes, but I spent two minutes realizing there was nothing I could do to not lose a piece, and contemplated resigning.