GO Swiss Round 3 -- Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory!
Dedicated to Lumper who gave me the snappy title!!!!
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Uh... shouldn't that be the other way around?
Well, it would be if my OPPONENT was doing the blog. Unfortunately, it's ME that's doing it!
Let's talk about this for a second. Some players would get angry, no matter what side they were on. If they were in MY shoes, they'd be angry and furious with themselves and would stew about it for days if not weeks. If they were in my OPPONENT'S shoes, they might be angry for letting a lower rated player get the advantage.
None of this happened, however.
Let's talk about my opponent. Without a doubt, my opponent was one of the loveliest people I've had the pleasure of playing. Interestingly enough, we chatted quite a bit throughout the game which is something I usually do NOT do as I need to focus. However, we actually discussed the game a bit. I had told my opponent that I had done my homework and he played something that I didn't expect. He told me he was familiar with the opening but hadn't seen it in a while. We had a few other things to say as we went along. At one point, he told me I had the advantage. I remember writing, "Are you kidding me?" and he told me he was completely serious and ENCOURAGED me. Wow. Yes, he encouraged me! I have a LOT of trouble with winning positions and that actually made me somewhat nervous! I said I'd take a draw but Lumper declined. He said he wanted to see if he could find a way out. A few moves later, he commented, "nope, I can't..." and was really encouraging me, helping me to remember the clock (which was, of course, getting low, as per usual!) and all but told me the winning move. He could not have been a better sport. And although he didn't take a draw and I completely blew it and missed a MATE IN ONE (ugh!!!!! - stupid time trouble!), I was actually glad he didn't because it only made it a better learning experience for me.
"But Cris Angel", you might be saying, "Aren't you upset? You had a mate in one against a strong player! And you missed it!!" Well, maybe a little; however, there are FAR too many positives in this game to let a "little" thing like that take away from this terrific experience. That is probably my ONLY negative of this game. There are FAR more positives. Let's take a look at them (including my goals).
Those that know me know my goals:
1. Focus as much as possible. Feel that I'm doing my best. Yes, I did this. I prepped all week for hours in fact. I did my research on my opponent's openings, watched videos, worked on the live analysis with a mentor. I played with positions, discussed possibilities, questioned alternative moves and I was SO looking forward to this game!! It's a LOT of fun to prep and be fired up. It was my first try with this opening and it was a blast!
2. Do NOT give the opponent an easy win. Make him work for it. Haha, I made this goal as well. Of course, his win was my own dumb mistake but it's forgiveable. Time pressure, inexperience with winning positions, nervous energy... The wins will come.
3. Survive the opening For cripe's sake (that was for you, MattHolye!), make it at least 15 moves. Hehehe. I did this too.
More positives to take from this include an AWESOME opponent who treated me with dignity and respect, HELPED me, ENCOURAGED ME, and annotated this game as well. It's what the DHLC is all about, "share the learning" and members helping members.
This game was FUN!!! Midway through, I told my opponent that win or lose, this game was going in my victory column. I had a LOT of fun in this game. That's probably the MOST important thing!
And here's another positive!!! (And BOY did this one feel good!!!). I was praised for some of my moves. Lumper commented a few times on good moves. When I went over this with a stronger player (Dacster13 - Dex - expert strength -- go look at his tactics rating for pete's sake) I was praised on a few of my moves. Right after the game finished, Dex mentioned two specific moves in the chat with which he said he was impressed. When going over this later, he was able to explain exactly why they were so good. Here are the two specific moves he had mentioned:
1. 36. ...Kb5!! -- Says Dex, "Firstly, it unpins the d-pawn. Secondly, it brings the king into an active position so it can support the advance of queen-side pawns. Thirdly, it protects the knight on c4. Finally, it sets up the mating net. It's just that good. I didn't even see it; for some reason I thought the king should stay on c6 to protect the d6 pawn. But once I saw it, I realized it was brilliant! Michaele amazes me from time to time with strokes of genius lolz". Not only that, he mentioned that I played this instantly. It was an "intuition" move. :P
2. 37. ...Rxg2!! - This is what Dacster has to say about this one: "This threatens checkmate in two ways by Rb2# and Na5# and white can't address both. This mating net was only possible due to the fact that she played Kb5!! earlier so it's a great followup move".
Okay, with compliments like that from stronger players, HOW COULD I BE UPSET? No way.
Lastly, before I present the game, let me add one more thing. My opponent was remarkably gracious. He's in a time zone 12 hours away from me and played this at a very late hour after working all day. He didn't have to do that. But he did. He was tired and admittedly, I probably got him at a time that he wasn't at his sharpest. In the spirit of good sportsmanship, he offered a time that he knew would probably be good for me in my time zone. This does NOT go unnoticed or unappreciated by me and he deserves to be commended on that along with all the other wonderful things I've said. As I mentioned in my last blog, I am indeed grateful for the unselfish people in this community who often go the extra mile. My opponent is one of them. Cuddly thanks for that.
Are you ready? Let's go!!!