17 February 2015

Annotated Game #140: The lessons of drawing twice in one game

After the disappointing results of the previous tournament (which finished with Annotated Game #139), for my last OTB tournament I was looking more to stabilize my results rather than hoping for a big breakthrough.

In this first round game, as Black I successfully neutralize my opponent's play out of the opening, a Classical Caro-Kann.  My opponent commits a touch-move fault on move 21, which however I offset by not pushing my (correct) claim for a draw by repetition a few moves later.  I play some sub-par rook moves and allow a small advantage and some pressure, but my opponent overpresses and nearly gets his rook trapped (which it should have been, with a neat little tactic).  Finally material is exchanged off into a drawn rook endgame.

Despite the goofs, I ended up feeling psychologically strengthened by the game.  The failure of my opponent to acknowledge the early threefold repetition I took as an opportunity to play out the position, in keeping with the "no draws" mentality I try to foster.  I was also able to learn more about the concepts involved in trapping a piece, through the missed sequence on move 37, which in this case would have involved sacrificing a pawn to lure the White rook to its doom.  In practice, this was not a bad result and I felt better about my play in general than I had in the previous tournament.

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