Playing with broken strings - Bourne End Rapid Play Rd 2
The previous round I had played well. My reward was a tough pairing against another Fide Master. I had white but this time I forgot that my moves should follow each other like pearls on a string. The strings were broken, my opponent found good moves and I was crushed. Very humbling.
In the opening, my plan was to put my pieces on sensible squares. In the early middlegame my opponents plan was easy...expand on the kingside - whilst I had no obvious targets to attack. My pieces were like spectators...they may have been in the box seats but were unable to influence the performance.
So I decided to sac a pawn with 13. b4 - however, once again my planning was faulty as I did not follow up with a3 until move 19. In the meantime I fiddled in the middle - giving up the e4 point for no particular reason.
The b4 idea was not bad, I just played it too late. Bobby Fischer in his come-back match against Spassky demonstated the power of the sacrifice - if played on move 7.
Compare these two positions - my game on move 13
and Fischer-Spassky on move 14.
It is hard to believe that they both arise from the same position after move 6. I had played 7. b3 whilst Fischer had played 7. b4. This gave him the opportunity to play d4 on move 10. He has smashed blacks centre pawns. Note that in both games the white knight has gone to c4 and the bishop to b2. It seems wrong to give up the bishop pair by Bxc6 and then to open up the position - but the key would appear to be blacks lack of development - giving white the chance to gain massive activity for his pieces. Whilst my delay - by playing b3 and d3 has allowed black to get his attack rolling.
Once I had opened the a-file on move 20, I did not make the most of it, playing Ra6 rather than Rxa8 and then Ra1.
All this shifting plans had cost me time on the clock and my opponent was bold enough to exploit it by playing 25....Bxh3. I trusted his calculations and did not accept the piece. I was already beaten and was just waiting for the right time to resign.
Soon my wish was fulfilled - well played by my opponent.