If Only You Believe in Miracles
So would I...
I think that Jefferson Starship aptly sums up my experience last night.
Last night I was playing a floored 2100 player whom I have played twice before, scoring a draw when I was 1500 and a win when I was 1700.
Needless to say I got cocky and felt like there was no way I could lose. As a result I violated a cardinal rule of chess, which is play the board, not the opponent. That then led to some bad over the board decisions. For example, I was cramped but I intentionally avoided trading down any material at all for some time.
After a while I found myself losing the game. My position was becoming more desperate and in fact Fritz 12 gives the evaluation after move 21 as +4.89. Ten moves later Queens were off the board and my position was so cramped that I was certain I would lose.
But at this point something interesting happened. My opponent psyched himself out. The position was completely winning, but would require a bit of patience to make progress and win. Whereas I had been down about 35 minutes on the clock suddenly I was a few minutes ahead. Ray started getting up from the board and shaking his head and just kept sighing and pacing.
This gave me renewed hope that I would somehow be able to hold on and I became more determined than ever to just resist as long as I could.
Then I made a major blunder when I played 34...f6. 34...Ra8 solves the majority of my problems. I was caught up in the idea of not wanting his pawn to advance past the sixth rank that I neglected to realize that letting it do so would completely immobilize it.
Then came move 41. Bxc5. Finally, the equality I craved so much had arrived! At this point I knew I would be able to hold the draw!
On move 42 I strongly considered 42...Ne6 rather than going into an opposite colored bishop ending. But I finally decided that even though 42...Ne6 retains some winning chances, the fact that I was surviving at all was good enough since I was getting low on time (less than 10 minutes.)
I offered my opponent a draw after 42...Bxd6 and was told "Oh no, we're just getting started." but since the position was totally drawn I wasn't worried. We played 19 more moves and my opponent finally took the draw.
On to the game...
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