The Cabin Fever Reliever is a four-round tournament held over two weeks. The time-controls are G/45, d/10
Clinton is a “new” player. Actually, he is an older gentleman who apparently just started playing again this year, and that his previous rating was from before 1992, when they started keeping ratings online.
8.Nb3 8.Nf5! appears to be a strong novelty, if Black plays 8….Bxf5 (Bxg5, Nd5 and exf5 are coming), so perhaps 8…Be6 is better.
16.Rc1 A more interesting, direct try is 16.fxe fxe, 17.Bg4 opposing Black’s strong, centralized bishop.
18.Rf3?! Not so good, since after 18…d5, 19.f5 dxe4 he hits my rook on f3.
I fell for his trap 20.Rxf5??, and naturally caught my mistake as soon as I had removed my hand from the piece (or I would have gotten checkmated), but nevertheless felt that I would win this game at that moment. Houdini is not so forgiving and gives Black a winning advantage. I managed to stay on course and blitz out the rest. I finished with 7 minutes remaining to his 2 seconds. Rest of the game is not so interesting to analyze since he let me get in everything I was trying to do.
It’s interesting how my big blunder in each of these games was by not doing a mental visual, by (visually) asking what will my opponent’s next move be(?) Another interesting aspect of this is that I believe you should not be doing an eval in a very concrete situation such as this (I did look at the obvious-looking 20.exf5 as well) as much as making sure that you have visualized a forcing sequence far enough. When I get nervous or too blitzy, it’s easy to stop visualizing the position and simply want to play a move quickly.
I was down to 52 seconds in this game when I essentially pre-moved (he hit the clock and then I made my move) a blunder, saw it after I let go of the piece, and then resigned after he made the move e4. Because it’s delay 10, it was getting discouraging watching my time dwindle down another 2-4 seconds after each move, so I finally made an instant move to put an end to that, and it was a blunder in an equal position. He had 17 minutes on his clock still remaining. A couple moves before the blunder, I picked up the knight to put it on d6, and put it on f5 instead, then he instantly complained to the TD, but then let it go.
That delay is so weird, half the battle is simply to complete the moves. I offered him a draw right before this whole melt-down happened, but he had time, so of course he wasn’t’ going to, even though his body language at the time seemed to indicate that he felt he was in trouble.
I looked at the game afterward (he left to go home without a post-mortem), and I could see that White can torture Black for a while to come, since all White needs to do to create a winning position is to manufacture a rook breakthrough. One way to do the breakthrough would be to get an open file on the kingside for the White rook to penetrate. On the queenside, he can defend his pawn with his bishop, but Black can’t necessarily defend his pawn with the knight.
In the future, with this opening, I’ll need to save more time for the endgame where I’ll need to push the play with my pawns more, and trade pieces less or more creatively. Also, I’ll need to avoid stereotyped play. At one point, I couldn’t decide between 14…Re8 and 14…Qb7+ and should have chose the former, in the game.