I kept good score, but misplaced my scoresheet. I recreated the game, but for all I know it’s 100% exactly what happened.
9.Nge2 My longest think of the game, just not on the move I made of course. My instinct on seeing 7…b5 was to play b4 and a4, so I saw virtually every variation you can think of here. Earl said that if I had played 9.a4, he was going to reply with 9…bxa, 10.Rxa a5, 11.b5 (we whipped these moves out in the post-mortem, as I had already planned this line during my OTB analysis). Rather late in my analysis, I also saw 9…Bd6 and 9…Na6. I figured that White would be okay after 9…Na6, 10.axb Nxb, 10.Qd2 but wondered if this were really worth it as it might be equal (which it is) and I am letting his pieces out when instead I could defend and see whether I could build an attack.
Naturally, I contemplated f3, Ng3, and Nh3 – too bad I didn’t choose any one of them over what I played!
11.Nec1 This is too slow, but I wasn’t looking far enough ahead from his side of the board. I thought he would try to play …Nb6-c4, BxNc4 but Earle always seems to go after my king instead, and this game was no exception. I thought I should have played 11.c3, and Nac1 (the other knight), but apparently it’s all too slow and already -1 even here.
17.e5 I saw his sac coming the moment I played this move, and thought instead I should have played 17.h3 Qg3, 18.Bf3 but it turns out that that is just as bad.
20.hxBg3. Earl thought I should have played 20.Rf2, and that was my original plan as well, but I had to pick one and chose the greedier option.
25.Qe4? Totally missed 25.Rf2! Qg3+, 26.Kf1 but saw this idea later.
27.Qf3? (second best move) Earl said he was expecting 27.Qg4 (the third best move). I was going to play the best move, 27.QxNh4 but somehow my choice looked safer, and more positional. Guess not! Who knows these things. lol.
32.Na2? Patzer sees check to queen, gives it. 32.Nd1! I maneuvered my knights clumsily.
41.Kf1?? Either 41.Rc3 or 41.Rc8+, followed by 42.Rc7+ would save the rook.
An interesting, exciting game, but in the few games where I ever try to maneuver, something like this happens. I am often amazed how GMs seem to hold a solid enough position where they have plenty of time to maneuver there pieces back and fort, to and fro.
[Event “February Swiss”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Earl Wikle”]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qd3 Ne7 6. a3 Ba5 7. Be3 b5 8. b4 Bc7
9. Nge2 a5 10. Na2 Nd7 11. Nec1 e5 12. c3 O-O 13. Be2 exd4 14. cxd4 dxe4 15.
fxe4 Ng6 16. O-O Qh4 17. e5 Ndxe5 18. dxe5 Bxe5 19. g3 Bxg3 20. hxg3 Qxg3+ 21.
Kh1 Qh3+ 22. Kg1 Qg3+ 23. Kh1 Qh3+ 24. Kg1 Nh4 25. Qe4 Bf5 26. Rxf5 Rae8 27.
Qf3 Nxf3+ 28. Rxf3 Qg4+ 29. Kf1 Re6 30. Nc3 axb4 31. axb4 Qxb4 32. N1a2 Qe7
33. Nd1 f5 34. Rc1 Re8 35. Bc5 Qh4 36. Re3 Rxe3 37. Bxe3 Rxe3 38. Nxe3 Qf4+
39. Ke1 Qxe3 40. Rxc6 f4 41. Kf1 Qh3+ 42. Kf2 Qh2+ 43. Ke1 Qh1+ 0-1