I won an open chess tournament. Wow. Last time that happened was 1998. (Yup.) Tied with IM Foygel and was fortunate enough to not play him, as he generally hands me my butt.
Capsule of my last round game with Black against John Curdo (who also generally hands me my butt, at least when I have Black):
I’m better! I’m equal! I’m worse! I’m losing! I’m busted! I’m confused! I’m lucky! I’m totally winning! – oops. Draw.
Here’s an early critical position that I believe I botched at a fundamental level. White threatens invasion on the c-file and/or some a4-based ruckus. Black has a huge pawn mass in compensation for a sacrificed piece – but isn’t developed.
This is what I would call positionally delicate. I think the right strategy for Black is to develop in a way that doesn’t allow White to make trouble on the queenside, neutralize the c-file, then set up the pieces to support moving the central pawns forward. Can’t rush the pawn push.
I rushed it. I wanted my king around the center to help prevent c-file problems, but I brought it to d6 and then pushed pawns while my rooks weren’t in position to support that action. White put his rooks on central files and because of my king’s presence, the pawns became targets.
It reminds me of the Pirc line where White sacs his queen for three minors: 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.Qe2 Nc6 6.e5 Nxd4 7.exf6 Nxe2 8.fxg7 Rg8 9.Nxe2. If your instinct is to push Black’s center pawns forward and sweep White off the board, you will get blown up. You have to develop very carefully and time those pawn pushes carefully.
I kinda stink at these positions because I am always in a rush.
Anyway, fast-forward. Much time-scrambling so neither player should be held accountable for how we got here or what happens next. :)
Now we’ve arrived at what I’d call a tactically delicate position. White has immobilized the pawns and aims to knock out the base of the chain, with a tricky supporting tactic that allows him to leave that rotten b1 Bishop hanging: 47.g4 fxg4 48.Rxg4 Rc1 49.Rxg7 Rxb1 50.Nd5+! Bxd5 51.Rxf6+ 1-0. Oh, except 49…Re1+! 50.Kd2 e3+ 51.Kxe1 exf2+ 52.Kxf2 Rxf4+ 0-1. Oh, except 50.Kd4! Rd6+ 51.Ke5! hits d6 and f7, 1-0. Except 51…Rd7 maybe? Wait, 51…d2! 0-1. Oh, except 52.Bc2! 1-0.
If you put it in Fritz, you’ll presumably get one clear winning line, and everything will look so simple. But when you’re sitting at the board trying to figure this stuff out at blitz tempo, and every new idea switches your evaluation from 1-0 to 0-1 and back (which is what I mean by tactically delicate) it’s crazy time.
Is it any wonder we fought/blundered our way to a draw?