I played Josh the same line as I had played Sara, as I believe he is the one (coach) that taught it to her. I considered playing 9.Bc4, and would have played this if I had been paired with Sara, but I figured he is a Master and would probably know it better than I, and I wasn’t sure he’d play 9…d5 since it’s so much closer to the draw.
17.Rc1 I thought about 17.Rd2, and thought perhaps this was a mistake, after the game. However 17.Rd2 is actually a weird line, as Houdini follows it up with 17…RxBd3, 18.cxR Qa4, 19.b3 Bxb3 where I lose if I take the bishop.
I wanted to play 17.h4, but saw that it fails to 17…RxB, 18.cxR Qc2+, 19.Kb1 Qa4! winning. My hope-chess line was 19…Qxg2 losing for Black! I just checked with Houdini and that assessment is correct, and Josh also confirmed he would have played 19…Qa4.
18.a3?? I never intended to play this hideous-looking move. I was going to play the correct 18.b3 all along, but then spotted that I didn’t see how I could stop him from mating on a2, if he got a rook lift in. I actually saw his reply 18…Rc3 when I played 18.a3, but at the time I was only noticing that I would be okay against 19.Qd2 RxBd3. It wasn’t until he made this move that I seriously considered him playing 19…Rxa3, as obvious as that move may look in hindsight.
Sometime after making my move, I thought and said after the game that “I probably should have played 18.b3 Qa3, 19.Rcd1 Qc1 to protect b2, (and then mumbled or just thought to myself) I bet Magnus would have played that!” Sure enough, this uber-defensive idea is correct, and the only way to continue. I wanted to get my attack in down the h-file too badly, and consequently never did. Houdini puts this plan at 0.0 score. The funny thing is that after 19.Rcd1, Houdini says …Qc5 is equal, but then I plug in 19…a5 and now it prefers that instead and says that is =+, -.21 It wasn’t even a top three move until I plugged it in, and it wants to play after 20.Qc1 b5 continuing an attack.
Another interesting line he had to refrain from was 19…Rdc8, which I thought he might play. Houdini shows that now 20.Rhd1 Rxa3?, 21.bxR Qxa3, 22.RxBe6! is +- for White.
I used up my time in this game, but I never got into time-trouble. I could have gotten down to 12 minutes or so and found that 0.0 plan above, but then I would have had 12 minutes for the rest of the game to draw an even position against a Master with. In my last two games, I would have done better had I “loaded up” on a key move, and then played the rest of the game at a severe time-advantage, but I’ve told myself “where is the fun in that, if I manage to hold for an extended period of moves, only to collapse later on the clock and thus artificially shorten the game? In both of these games I’ve been disciplined on spending a reasonable amount of time, and then just going with whatever I have in mind at that point, and not overly worrying about the result. If anything, I figure, I simply need to calculate more quickly next time in those spots.
It’s difficult to know whether I should a) trust my intuition and just play 18.b3 without complete analysis, or whether b) I should analyze until I find the line that works, or c) I should both trust my intuition, and simply analyze 18.b3 until I find how it works, while spending less time considering undesirable alternatives. Perhaps the last option would be best.
I’ll probably drop out of Thursday’s very small tournament (0-2), and only play on Tuesday and Friday next week.
[Event “Fridays Swiss”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Josh Bloomer”]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8.
Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. Nxc6 Qxc6 13. Bh6 Bxh6 14.
Qxh6 Be6 15. Kb1 Rfd8 16. Bd3 Rac8 17. Rc1 Qa4 18. a3 Rc3 19. Qd2 Rxa3 20.
bxa3 Qxa3 21. c3 Bc4 22. Rhd1 Bxd3+ 23. Qxd3 Qb3+ 24. Ka1 Rxd3 25. Rxd3 b5 26.
Rd8+ Kg7 27. Rd7 a5 28. Rc7 a4 29. Re1 e6 30. g4 Qa3+ 31. Kb1 Qd6 32. Ra7 Qd3+
33. Kc1 Qxc3+ 34. Kd1 Qd4+ 0-1