My week after the Denver Open has been hectic. Monday through Wednesday I was moving heavy furniture all day, and had not been looking at chess, nor even have I had time to plug my games in from that tournament. On Tuesday I was super out of it when I went to the club, and I was 23 minutes late to Wednesdays game (23 minutes late to Tuesdays game as well) as I drank my first cup of coffee for the day right before I left to play.
12.Qe2 I wasn’t pleased with this move as the only reason I didn’t play 12.Qe1, was because he hadn’t castled, but it was still Houdini’s top move. I should have played Be3 and Qe1.
17…Nc4 (stops Bb6).
18.e5 Here, I wanted to play a desperado, with the aim of ensuring a draw, since I have had my starting time on the clock markedly reduced. After the game, I pointed out that I would have played correctly 18.Nd2 to protect f4, which I saw at the time.
22…Bxg2+ This is winning, but I didn’t see it until the moment after I played Ng5. Other moves are no better than equal for Black.
23.Nxh3+ This is the move that I was looking at too, but it took me a while to process that he will be two pawns up.
25…e5. Here I could resign, I figured. It’s funny how I missed this …e5 idea, but I did account for earlier during my drawing combination, which incidentally does work if it hadn’t been for the 22…Bxg2+(protected) move.
40.Qh5 I dropped the bishop, although 40.Qg6 Rc2, 41.Qe8+ Kh7, 42.Qh5+ Bh6 is just as convincing.
All in all, I need to see that move 22…Bxg2+ more quickly. When I am not fresh, I find it more difficult to find my opponent’s moves (even at the board, I felt it difficult to look for his moves, because it requires that extra bit of mental energy level/freshness/clear-headedness). Unusual positions, prophylaxis, defense, sustained tension in the position, these are all things more difficult to cope with when you are not physically 100% going in there – Tuesdays game and result was a reflection of these things as well.
17…e4?? was simply a blunder from my physical state. I knew I was okay here, objectively, but my nerves finally gave out from having done so many things all day before the game, and then the game itself. I leaned back from the board as I reached to press the clock, and to my horror realized that the rook is no longer on e8. From here, I played at least as poorly as the blunder itself. In both of my games this week, I felt too fatigued/unrelaxed to blindfold the position as much as I usually would. It takes a certain physical relaxation sometime before, and during the game, to be able to blindfold, like you have to get a bit quiet within yourself to really be able to do it.
In any case, I got some more OTB game experience in, and learning material from this week’s games. It’s worth noting in my game with Paul that no material had been traded after 17 moves when I finally blundered, and he said later that he had gotten a nap in before the game. So, I feel that he maximized both his physical (I got there late), and clock advantage during this game, not to mention the tension, and quality of position as I didn’t get too much of his time to think, and so didn’t chose anything committal such as …d5, which I had opportunities to play.