Hello again RHP !!!
I've been gone for two weeks, but no one noticed (boo hoo).
Today, I decided to put my ICC membership to good use and play a game.
In 15 Minute, I am undefeated, so I knew I would get a tough pairing.
Sure enough, I got paired with a FM rated 2302!!!
Here is the game with a few annotations/thoughts during the game:
I have to mention that I am a little rusty with chess. I used to play hours a day, and now I don't play much at all. In fact, this may be the only game at ICC this entire month. As the game progressed (and adrenaline was pumping) I got more and more nervous. I think I need to play more to get back in "shape".
With 2. ... e5, I just wanted to play an opening that has it's chances for tactics (with a ticking clock) and that he might not have studied thoroughly in a while (not being a topical variation in modern GM practice).
On move 6, I was already debating between d5 or Re8+ followed by Qe7. I think I chose the right move, leading to an isolated queen pawn position.
10.a3 is actually a mistake.
11.gxf3 would have held the pawn, but led to a miserable position for white.
11. ... Nxd4 is also a big mistake. 11. ... Qxd4 would have won a clean pawn right out of the opening (pointed out later by engine).
After 13. Nd5, I had another long think. I had considered Rb8 a move earlier but rejected it. Here to I looked at 13. ... Rb8. One variation was 14.Qxa7 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Bxh2+ 16.Kxh2 Qxd5. That would have been ok, but I didn't want to simplify that much. I also wanted to try my attacking chances on the kingside since white isn't really that well developed.
Again, I think 13. ... Ng4 is in fact best.
After 17.Qxa7, another think was required! This turned out to be a really complicated middlegame, and I had a 2 minute deficit at this time (white-11:23/black-9:09). I want to play Nf3+ and attack the king like crazy. The first thing I looked at was 17. ... Nf3+ 18.Kg2 Qc6. Unfortunately, this walks right into 19.Bd5. Also 17. ... Rxb2 18.Bd5 seemed to put up a stubborn defense. I began to crack under the pressure here and not play so well. The computer pointed out 17. ... Ne5 as yet another possibility. One line goes 17. ... Ne5 18.Bd5 c6 19.Bg2 Ra8 20.Qb6 Rfb8 winning the queen! I think 17. ... Ne5 was best, but 17. ... Rxb2 was really good as well.
18. ... Rxb2 was again best with an advantage for black. My move is equal or perhaps slightly better for white. I didn't like the way the knights are tangled, but I couldn't see a refutation either. The times after 18. ... Nfxh2 were white:10:49/black:6:29.
The idea of 19. ... Qe5 was just to stay on the h8/al diagonal. You never know when a trick of Rxb2, R moves, and Qxa1 can pop up for black.
20. ... Rxb2 was also much better (slight advantage to black). My move lets the advantage change sides. I hated to simplify, but I felt as though I had to keep the attack going.
The ideas behind 22. ... Rd2 are both the move played later in the game (Ne3+) and also possibly c5.
After 23. ... Ne3+, I offered my second (and last official) draw offer. Again, my heart was racing a million miles a minute, and there was a lot of tension. Even though, I was playing a higher rated player, I never felt as though he really got anything going in the game. A draw would have made me very happy.
I told him the exchange sacrifice on move 25 made the game interesting, but I was surprised by it. He then told me that it was a mere oversight. I guess I give the big boys too much credit. Clock times after 25: white/ 7:28 black/ 4:52.
In hindsight, I shouldn't have tried to force the c and a pawns off the board. They would have left the game more complicated and given me a simple plan (push the passed pawn). The advantage of a knight vs a rook would be more easily defined as my rooks would support promoting my pawn better than his rook and knight would. In other words, I think the rooks would have coordinated better together in that type of situation.
My first instinct was 29. ... Rxf4. At that point, I would have a rook ending that would at the very worst draw and most likely win. The problem was that I lack the most experience in endings, and some of those are tricky to win with short time (4:33). Deep down, I knew I was supposed to keep the exchange too. My biggest problem was that I didn't have enough time to analyze and assess these positions correctly. Since 29. ... Rxf4 was out, my next thought was how to stop white's ideas of Nh5 or Nd5. I came up with Ra5. Then, I had another idea. How's about I chase his active rook off the seventh rank before Ra5. That's how I came up with 29. ... R4a7.
Move 32 is where I totally blew up. I lost my heart so to speak. This is obviously not a draw, but I chickened out and repeated. Hours later, I still hate that decision. Here was my line of thinking at the time:
I am in big time trouble 3:52 seconds to my opponent's 7:04.
He is blitzing me too. In the last 8 moves, he has only used 24 seconds.
The remainder of the game will obviously be played on my clock.
I don't have time to assess this position.
I only had a vague image of the f and g pawns coming off. Then, I would have to break a knight blockade of the h pawn, which is very doable, but could be tricky with seconds on the clock.
It's not like I just push a passed pawn and win, it's still going to take a little technique.
Pushing the pawns, would also leave my king a little exposed, and his king is right there were the action is going to take place.
Still, I could have had the possibility to beat a 2300 FM (or go down in flames trying) if I had better nerves and more heart.
Well, anyway, I was just sharing an interesting game, and some of my wild thought processes while playing it.
I hope you guys enjoy it and would welcome any comments.