If you think that loss was bad just take a look at this. There was never a game more won than this. I draw your collective attention to my intriguing 23rd move.
This sure wasn't my worst loss ever, though. Probably the one that most hurt took place in about 1997 in a big, big tournament in Bogota, Colombia. It was a Swiss system and I was drawn in the first round against the country's top female player (Adriana Salazar, I think her name was). Anyway, she was titled, had represented her country in countless olympiads, etc. etc.
We sat down to play and I just thought I would hang on as long as possible because defeat was inevitable. To my surprise, she started talking to me, asking me where I was from etc. We chatted, the clock ticked away (on her time, of course) and before I knew it we had eaten up about 25 minutes on her clock (two hours time limit).
She then realised, started playing, got a good attack, which I defended ok and then, suddenly she got into a panic. Her plan hadnt worked, material was even and she had no plan b.
To cut the story short, we got to an even position endgame but with three minutes left on her clock and about 35 on mine. It was one of the last games being played in this enormous room, and a crowd had gathered around the board (people at the back drew up chairs to peer over the others). I could sense the victory, I could picture the headlines in the paper the next day "Unknown tourist humiliates Salazar". She was really nervous and jittery, kept looking at the board, then looking at the clock, board, clock, board, clock. I was witnessing the greatest chess victory of my long and undistinguished career.
And then...I screwed it up. She grabbed a pawn, I got worried about the material advantage so came up with a little combination to grab one back. But in doing so, I abandoned a vital square, allowing her to give me check and drive my king into a mating net.
It was all so unnecessary. Losing the pawn didnt matter. I should have just hunkered down. There was no time for her to do anything. But I screwed up as I usually do. But Ill never forget that missed opportunity.