In the other checkmate games material was close to being even. None of the games were resignable when they came to their abrupt end. However the clock played a critical role in each of the games
Mate #1 Outsmarted by Mr. Smart
In February I had played this kid on a Thursday night. He was the kid who kept offering me a draw with a lot of material on the board. It never fails that when I give a kid a lecture about offering early draws to higher rated opponents that I end out having to play the kid again with a much different result. (Yes Dario and Giancarlo I'm talking about you guys!) Here it was three weeks later I'm playing Black again against this same kid. Once again he played the Grand Prix against my Sicilian. Unlike the last game, he didn't allow me to force the early queen trade. Instead of playing the queen to h4, he pushed g4 and then put his queen on g3. He got a very good attack going, but I defended well. We both had less then a minute when we reached this position.
He just played 36. Qe2. It's too bad I don't have that little arrow showing when I'm playing. Perhaps then I wouldn't make such moves like 36...Rf8?? I had 26 seconds left. Just maybe if I had used a few of those 26 seconds I would have found 36...Qd7. Fritz rates the position even after Qd7. Then if he offered a draw, I would take it. After I beat back the attack with 35...Rh8, I considered offering a draw. I think after our last game, I didn't want to offer the draw. He did not need any of his remaining 34 seconds to find 37. Qe6#
Here's the entire game.
Time Pressure Meltdown Mates #2 & #3
On Sunday I travelled out to Westfield, New Jersey to play in the Westfield Quads. My last visit there resulted in a Wacky Wednesday post where I actually was the recipient of an early gift. Two of my three opponents this weekend were in my quad last month too. There were no early gifts to be had this weekend. Instead almost every game was decided in the last few seconds of play.
In round 1 I reached this position after 48. Ne8.
Black is down a pawn, but with correct play might be able to hold a draw. Though after 48...Kg5 49. Rg7+ Kh4 50. Nxf6 Kxh3 Black has her hands full. However playing this line entails having the time to find it. Unfortunately I was Black, and I had been playing the last few moves with only 1 second left on my clock. I had just been making moves in order not to run out of time. My opponent had 25 seconds, so anything could happen. I had given a whole series of checks chasing his king to b7. Then I moved the rook from a7 to a1 to escape his king's attack on my rook. After he played 48. Ne8 I was not thinking about mate threats. I was concerned about his attacking my weak f pawn with the knight, followed by the rook coming to d6. I decided to defend the pawn with 48...Bh4??, overlooking 49. Rg7# A quasi-epaulet mate with pawns instead of rooks.
In round two I'm paired against Rodrigo Vinluan again. I played him in the second round the last time I was there. He was the one who made the exchange sacrifice where I ran out of time trying to figure out if I could accept it or not. In this game I was looking to get revenge. I actually won an exchange after losing a pawn early. Unfortunately like our last game I got way behind on the clock. He got a nasty attack, and was on the verge of winning back the exchange when we reached this position. Once again I only have 1 second left. Black just played 41...Bd5. This stops me from getting any perpetual check tries after 41...Nxd2 42. Qxd2 Qxa3 43. Qd8+ Kg7 44. Qf6+.
After having my one plan stuffed with his bishop move, I panicked here and played the horrendous move 42. Qg4?? Not only do I outright hang the rook, I hang it with mate. 42...Qxd2#. My best try here is 42. Qd3 but it's still going to be very difficult after 42...Qxe5 43. Rc2 Nxg3+ 44. Be2 Nf5.