Earle has been playing chess for probably close to half a century, and at classical time-controls he plays at a whole ‘nother level than he does at quick chess.
We started out with the Nimzo-Indian, where I like to play 4…d5, rather than a “pure” Nimzo with 4…c5. Well, one downside to this is that savvy players as White will frequently play 5.cxd5 to transpose the game into a Carlsbad structure, ala the Queen’s Gambit Declined, which is what Earle did, and also what the up and coming Sami al-Adsani played against me in Denver successfully a short while back.
11…a6. I spent a while on this move, one point to it is that it prevents the blunder 11…Qc7?!, 12.Nb5, and it also supports a future …b5, and grabs some queenside space.
I realized the queen trade was a bit silly, and I could try to doggedly defend with …Kg8 instead, but I was more curious about how he would handle this particular finish. I did set a trap or two that he refused to fall into. Also, I should have played …Rd2 instead of …Rd8, as I thought OTB, but I wanted to defend as long as possible.
When I recaptured his rook on f6 with my queen instead of my knight, he showed me the correct winning line for White, which is also the only winning line according to Houdini. In sum, Earl played quite well even for his rating. My only chance after playing Bg5…Qh5, was this rook lift idea with …Re8-e6-h6 which I didn’t see.
In the end, after beating a 900 player, and then losing to a Master and then an Expert, my rating will go below 1800 tomorrow after it’s rated.