Almost a year has passed since those posts were made. Have I applied what I learned from them? Errr, umm, well..... Rereading them today it was like I was reading them for the first time. Probably intuitively I know this stuff, but rereading them gave me a fresh perspective on trying to analyse my games. I've printed them out, and will look at them more and see if I can think about this stuff when I'm playing. Too bad I didn't click on those links Saturday when I read the post. Maybe my last round game on Sunday wouldn't have ended the way it did.
There are three crucial positions in the game.
Position #1 after 19. Nd6 Nxg2. I've forked the rook and the bishop, and Black has just sac-ed his knight on g2. I'm not sure why I was afraid to take the knight right away. Instead I debated about winning the full piece (20. Nxb7) or the exchange (20. Nxf7, Kxf7). Both moves threaten the queen. What I wasn't looking at with either move is where is the queen going? This is where #9 Reason we blunder comes into play. I'm ahead in material (after the capture on b7), but I'm not looking close enough at Black's threats.
I opted to win the full piece with 20. Nxb7. Better is winning the exchange 20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. Kxg2 Ne5+ 22. Kg3Nxg4 23. Kxg4 Kg8 24. Qf4.
The game continued 20... Qh4 21. h3 h5 22. Kxg2 hxg4 reaching this next position.
Here I have to be very careful. If I play 23. hxg4?? That loses horribly with black getting mate in 3. Answer in the brackets. [ 23... Qxg4+ 24. Kh2 Rh7+ 25. Qh6 Rxh6# ] I found what I felt was the best defense in 23. Rh1. Also I have attacking possibilities on the h file once the h pawn is traded off. After 23...Ne5 I have to worry about Reason #10 Knights in enemy territory.
Technically the knight is not in my territory but it is controlling 4 squares in my territory. I should have challenged the knight by attacking the knight with my queen. 24. Qd4, 24. Qe3, or 24. Qc3. Any one of those moves puts black on the defensive by having to protect his knight. I was too anxious to open up the h file and try to get play there. I played 24. hxg4 Qxg4+ 25. Kf1. This where I really needed Blue Devil Knight's "Thing to remember list." These things come to mind:
"9. When ahead in material, keep your cool. It is easy to get overexcited, start moving quickly when you are ahead. Your opponent is doing everything possible to make sure you don't get the full point. You still need to think. You still need to use the time on your clock."
Too anxious to trade pawns and open the h file.
"14. Defend with threats. You will need to defend against attacks and other threats in many of your chess games. Often there are multiple moves that meet the same defensive goal. Try to take back the initiative by playing the defense that generate the biggest threats against the opponent. Sometimes it is even possible to ignore a threat by making an even bigger threat that your opponent must deal with."
Attack the knight with the queen. Make him deal with the threat.
"16. Play the board, not the rating. If he is rated higher than you, play the board in front of you. If he is rated lower than you, play the board in front of you. You can win this game if you just slow down and think."
I tried to ignore the fact that his rating was 1173, especially since he had beaten two 1600s in the first two rounds before losing to a 1750. However some of his earlier moves didn't impress me, so perhaps I took him a little lightly at this point.
Now we arrive at crucial position #3 where Black has just played 25...d6?
Here's where reason #7 on blunder list comes into play. "When I'm thinking about potential complicated tactics I often miss simple captures I can make." DUH! 26. Nxd6 covers some key light squares. Light squares are black's only entry points into my king.
Instead of the simple capture on d6 I go for the mate threat of 27. Qh8# with 26. Qh6?? The problem with my plan is I've taken my queen away from the defense of my exposed king. Now he has perpetual check on the light squares c4 and g4 with 26...Qc4+ I had totally missed the check on the diagonal. This could be added to the blunder list as 5a. Queen moves sideways but attacks on the diagonal. This is why it's so easy to miss queen forks since the forked pieces may be on the same diagonal and rank (file) as the queen.
If I had tried to avoid the perpetual I would find myself losing. 27. Ke1 Nf3+ 28. Kd1 Qd3+ 29. Kc1 Qc4+ 30. Kb1 Nd2+ 31. Qxd2 Qe4+ 32. Kc1 Qxh1+ 33. Kc2.
The game ended with 27. Kg2 Qe4+ 28. Kf1 Qc4+ 1/2 - 1/2
Thanks BDK for such wise advice. Next time I'll read it before I play.