Game no.9 for the Second Team - 1.b3! Destroys Again! :)
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Today I played my very first game for my club up on board 2 - I even had the chance of a swap to board 1! But as I saw who my opponent would be, and despite having the black pieces that I like playing with, I declined my team-mates' offer and stayed on board 2 because I beat their board 1 last season and didn't really see it as a new challenge... I also wanted to prove myself on board 2 first.
But our board 1 lost in just 19 moves - kinda makes me wish I would have swapped-up to board 1 but I have had it in my head for days that I was gonna be playing with white and decided not to change my fate, and just as I thought I would, I didn't decide on my opening move until my clock had been started and I went with what my heart was saying and that was to thrash-out a Nimzo-Larsen attack!
Despite the name of the opening I played a quiet positional line but one that had good long-term strategic chances. I've played this line on the computer but never otb so it was a whole new game for me to try - at the end of the game I had about 16 minutes left whilst my opponent still had about 40 minutes, so I think I used my time wisely in the critical moments.
The game looks very drawish until I decline the draw offer and get brave (see a winning tactic ), I was literally just about to shake his hand and accept the draw but my hand went on the board and played on instead of the handshake My opponent made it very hard for me to make any progress for most of the game and it could have easily been a draw... but I could have also lost my queen in the endgame - here it is...
So a definitive win when he resigned I thought he'd play on to checkmate but he didn't. I had to be so careful not to get caught by perpetual checks like I have in the past and threw away winning positions into draws like I have done before... I also had to make the correct captures so I didn't lose my queen (see the last variation where I had actually calculated wrongly otb!)
So overall very happy, yet another win against a higher-rated player they just keep on coming lol My opponenet was graded 134 ECF (1722 FIDE equ.) in the last gradings and has been as high as 138 ECF (1754) so he is an experienced player and was a challenge to beat!