I know the local readership of this blog’s typical reaction “Oh, look, that’s your excuse!” No, actually I was pleasantly surprised to get Paul, and I could at least tie for first-second with a loss. I’m glad Paul decided to play as house-player, since with so many other players gone, they were literally out of opponents for me, and I could use the experience playing against an Expert more than anything else.
I flipped my sleep schedule successfully, woke up at 3:30 am that morning, which also meant I wasn’t going to be at my best, but who is (?) This blog is just as much a sort of diary of how it goes as a chess player, you expect a 1,000 rated opponent, and get a 2,000 rated opponent, the life of a chess-player. Anyway, I saw I would be playing Paul, so I drank a cherry-coke and was fine as could be. If anything, I feel less resilient, less able to handle adversity when I am awake that long.
My biggest mistake in this game, I feel, was my poor time-management, it felt like it crept up on me.
21.Rf1 I didn’t see this move, and finally made my blunderous reply with two-minutes remaining; it was an attempt at a bail-out.
21…Bxh2?? I pretty much knew this was a mistake, but was playing a coffee-house move in time-pressure, like it was an internet blitz game, or the good-old days when I was rated 1300; naturally, Paul had plenty of time with which to crush this feeble reply. I did consider the obvious 21…f5, but didn’t bother to calculate it (21…Re8 works for the same reason, because the pawn will recapture on e4, threatening the Nf3). This move changed the eval from -+ to +-, although I was technically never winning this game.
24….Ne7?? I considered the normal move 24…Bd6, but missed his 25.Rh1 move, winning on the spot. Mental freshness, or lack thereof shows up in no place like in time-pressure. In any case, I practically deserved to lose this game due to bad time-management.
17.f3 I was happy to see this move. Engine said he should play 17.Qc2 now as I remember. I didn’t see this idea of Qc2 during the game until he played it, though.
19…Bd6? Not best. I did consider other moves such as …Qd7, but the winning move that escaped my attention was 19…Bh3+! Actually, I remember Paul looked at his watch a lot during this game, as if bored, and he looked at it here, so I just moved, didn’t want to bore him any longer, but unbeknownst to me he was worried about this check, and I hadn’t really finished considering other moves, but it did seem like I was going to play my move, so I just did it.
In the post-mortem, we looked at 19…Bh3+!, 20.Kg1 (forced) Nxg3!, and I immediately said that this must be just winning for Black. Somehow he got out of trouble in the post-mortem, and was generally beating me up in the post-mortem, as I was clearly not in a decent shape. The engine said this was +2 for Black, and when I looked at it with the engine, I noticed that there is an interesting continuation here. 21.Ne5 NxN??, 22.dxN Qxe5, 23.Qf3, double-attacking the Ng3 and Bh3, winning a piece for the pawn. But instead, after 21…Rd6, 22.hxNg3 NxN, 23.exN Rf6, Black is threatening to mate on g3 with …Qxg3, and is like +5, if I remember.
One thing I’ve noticed about Paul, when he does notice a blunder or blunders, he doesn’t act nervous, and usually acts bored, like he might go and collect the scoresheet from a finished game or something when he is TD, and acts like he has other things to do whenever something goes wrong, so he sort of disassociates himself a bit from a blunder or a loss. Well, actually he exhaled loudly like he was bored, so I just played …Bd6 when I heard him do that. When Paul does act nervous, and you think that is confirmation that you’ve got him, he will make some strong defensive move that you didn’t see. So, Paul’s body language is often somewhat deceptive.
[Event “Classical Wednesdays”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[White “Paul Anderson”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
1. d4 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. e3 Nc6 6. O-O Be7 7. b3 O-O 8. Bb2 b6
9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Re1 Rc8 11. c3 Qc7 12. Rc1 Rfd8 13. Bf1 e5 14. Bh3 e4 15. Bxc8
Bxc8 16. Nh4 Bg4 17. f3 exf3 18. Nhxf3 Ne4 19. Kg2 Bd6 20. Qc2 Bxg3 21. Rf1
Bxh2 22. Nxe4 Bxf3+ 23. Rxf3 dxe4 24. Qxe4 Ne7 25. Rh1 f5 26. Qe6+ Kh8 27. Rxh2
Rd6 28. Rxh7+ Kxh7 29. Rh3# 1-0