The Threat Outweighs the Execution
Last night I played a game with Mattmendez, which I will post at the end of this blog. It was a Petroff's Defense game, which I am not too familiar with. I played on instinct, and it turned out okay. According to Fritz, in a short analysis, I was slightly behind positionally for most of the game. However, I had the threat of a mate looming almost constantly against his castled king. One wrong move, and he would be mated. Despite my opponents better position, he was unable to win.
Speaking from personal experience, I can say that knowing a mate is close is definitely a distraction of a high degree. It interrupts my thoughts and makes it harder to concentrate on attacking when you must be constantly vigilant about a sudden checkmate. My attacks against f7, and along the a1-h8 diagonal during this game pinned his knights down to varying degrees. In the end, he went for an attack that didn't result in the a1-h8 diagonal being his downfall, but that left him open to a back-rank mate! I have been in his shoes before; you are watching constantly against a threat that is looming, only to be caught off-guard by something else entirely. I hate that! It was nice to be on the other end of this experience this time.
Here's the game: