Up against a tough opponent yesterday. She was an older lady who clearly had tons of experience and the ability to play quickly when needed. It was the first time I was behind on the time control for most of the game and it certainly wore on me. She even had time to go for a cigarette mid match. That said, I certainly had my chances and a clear advantage during the middle game with the black pieces. By the end, however, I was lucky that she offered a draw.
Once again, I was confronted with my weaknesses:
- Mental fatigue: my entire chess experience is based on relatively short online games or correspondence chess. Neither of these requires the same level of focus required for long OTB matches.
- Badly handled transitions: my final move of the game was a big mistake which, fortunately, wasn't punished. Once again, I secured an advantage through the opening and middle game, only to throw it away with a badly thought out transition to the end game. This is the second or third time where I made an instinct move "oh great, I can exchange queens and have a better endgame" based on an earlier/out-dated analysis of the position.
- Time Management: Part of the reason why I made the above mistake was the fact that I had only 10 minutes on the clock. Even though I can play a full game in 5 minutes, after starting this game with an hour forty minutes, 10 seems like nothing... so I rushed my move. Time control was only 3 moves away, there's no reason to rush in that situation.