Sometimes a chess game is like a wild roller coaster ride where you keep going and going until the ride operator says "time's up, gotta get off now." Truth be told, I hate roller coasters. They scare the crap out of me. I hate the steep drops and the sharp turns. Forget about the ones that turn you upside down. There is not enough money in the world to get me on one of those suckers. Closing my eyes doesn't help either, because I've already seen the monster at work. The only one I really like is "Space Mountain" at Disney World. Maybe it's because I can't see what's coming in the dark.
There are times during a game where I feel like I'm going to lose. Either my position sucks so bad that it's inevitable that it's going to collapse, or I'm down material of some sort. Also if I have a history against the player in question that also plays a part in what's running through my mind. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with my win-loss record against the player. It may just be remembering situations from past games. They say that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes in chess it's better to forget history so we don't repeat it.
In this game it would have been better if I had not remembered all the times that my opponent has executed correctly with less then 5 seconds on his clock. Just maybe not thinking about that would have helped me get off the "I'm going to lose" rollercoaster before it was too late. John and I have played 14 times up to this point. My record is 1 win, 1 draw, 12 losses. He's a master, and for the most part I've had pretty close games with him. Many games have come down to winning a pawn, and then executing the end game correctly. So when I dropped a pawn against him, and it appeared I'd lose another one I thought to myself "Here we go again."
He had a number of moves that make it easy to convert the ending, but in his time pressure he didn't come up with the killer moves. My problem was I thought there was still a win for him, and I just kept playing on instead of offereing a draw that with 2 seconds left on his clock, he probably would have taken. Despite my time edge, it wasn't like I was playing to run him out of time. I was just trying to hold on for dear life, and somewhere I lost focus on my time and the fact that the position was now a dead draw. As several spectators observed, the game had been drawn for at least the last 20 moves. But no, I got too wrapped up in the rollcoaster ride, and couldn't stop in time.