Swiss 10 - Round 5 - A symphony or "I got knocked down but I got up again!"
I was not looking forward to this game. I have a bit of a mental block with this opponent. In fact, the last time we were paired, he pulled a Sicilian on me and I lost in nine moves after getting my bishop trapped. That burned pretty bad. What was worse is that I was actually quite ill when that game took place and I just didn't have the energy to fight back although I'm told I could have.
Anyway, I did my homework and looked into what the opponent plays and as per usual, my teammates at Art of War were encouraging me although they knew I was really down about it. Dex did several practice games with me. We found that Niraj likes to play the Ruy Lopez as white. I like the Ruy too! Niraj might know that, however, and may choose to play a d pawn opening so we practiced d pawn openings and we also practiced three games during lunch where I played black. One was a disaster but I managed to hold up pretty well in the second. The third was also a disaster for me. Haha. Even when Dex tries to play weaker, he's still stronger than I am at times!
All that prep meant nothing at first. I was nervous. I couldn't even keep a straight thought in my head to talk and I kept stuttering. I turned on some classical music to try to relax.
It didn't work. I got developed okay but the minute we transitioned to the middle game, I screwed up. **sigh** I was furious with myself. If I take a long time for a move, it means I'm stuck and almost always, my next move will be a blunder and it happened here as well. I was trying to see if I could find better squares for my pieces and figured I'd reposition my knight. It backfired. Oh cripes. I changed my music to a more aggressive music style and started my way to a comeback. Despite being a pawn down, it was actually pretty even for a long time so I guess that's a good thing.
I did most of the anntotations here myself. Dex helped me with a few thoughts. We mention these.
Anyway, here we go.