It is strange that I cannot write or think the words "final round" without adding a "fight" at the end. If you've been playing that videogame as much as I have, you know what I am talking about. Which game you ask? If you have to ask, you're not getting it.
Anyways... This post is not about the final round of a videogame, but the final round of my very first tournament.
I had studied my game with white from the day before, and had a good idea of alternatives in the opening, depending on my opponent's reply. I saw that Magnus Carlsen had played the semi-slav in the Shamkir tournament, so I took that as a sign. I had some ideas that I wanted to run by a friend before the game, so we sat down at a table and discussed the opening. Some random guy came over and asked which game we were discussing, and we replied that we're just fiddling about. It was only later that I realized that the random guy was actually my opponent. To quote a famous TV-personality: D'oh!
As you can imagine, my opponent did not go into the semi-slav. Figures.
Final round. Fight!
My opponent chose an opening that I had never played, so I felt a bit off. I felt I had a grip on the position, but made a few decisive mistakes and finally miscalculated and blundered a piece. I tried to save the draw, but had to throw in the towel at the end.
So a key learning point from this game: Never show your opening preparations if your opponent might see!
Please feel free to comment the game. I am especially interested in alternative lines for white from move 18 and on.