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If Only You Believe in Miracles

So would I...


I think that Jefferson Starship aptly sums up my experience last night.


Last night I was playing a floored 2100 player whom I have played twice before, scoring a draw when I was 1500 and a win when I was 1700.


Needless to say I got cocky and felt like there was no way I could lose.  As a result I violated a cardinal rule of chess, which is play the board, not the opponent.  That then led to some bad over the board decisions.  For example, I was cramped but I intentionally avoided trading down any material at all for some time.


After a while I found myself losing the game.  My position was becoming more desperate and in fact Fritz 12 gives the evaluation after move 21 as +4.89.  Ten moves later Queens were off the board and my position was so cramped that I was certain I would lose.


But at this point something interesting happened.  My opponent psyched himself out.  The position was completely winning, but would require a bit of patience to make progress and win.  Whereas I had been down about 35 minutes on the clock suddenly I was a few minutes ahead.  Ray started getting up from the board and shaking his head and just kept sighing and pacing.


This gave me renewed hope that I would somehow be able to hold on and I became more determined than ever to just resist as long as I could.


Then I made a major blunder when  I played 34...f6.  34...Ra8 solves the majority of my problems.  I was caught up in the idea of not wanting his pawn to advance past the sixth rank that I neglected to realize that letting it do so would completely immobilize it.


Then came move 41.  Bxc5.  Finally, the equality I craved so much had arrived!  At this point I knew I would be able to hold the draw!


On move 42 I strongly considered 42...Ne6 rather than going into an opposite colored bishop ending.  But I finally decided that even though 42...Ne6 retains some winning chances, the fact that I was surviving at all was good enough since I was getting low on time (less than 10 minutes.)


I offered my opponent a draw after 42...Bxd6 and was told "Oh no, we're just getting started." but since the position was totally drawn I wasn't worried.  We played 19 more moves and my opponent finally took the draw.


On to the game...



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