09 March 2013

Annotated Game #86: A ratings draw

This third-round tournament game is about as clear an example of a "ratings draw" as there is.  The final endgame position should be a win for White, or if not I certainly had all the winning chances, so why didn't I continue?  Psychological factors, of course.
  • I was relieved to have secured a draw with a much higher-rated (by 300 points) player, which I viewed as a positive outcome in itself, regardless of the board position.
  • I was mentally tired by that point and did not see an easy way to make progress. (One way would be to play h3 on the next move to kick the Black knight, then work the king to the center and have the rook attack laterally from the flank.)
  • The tournament situation - a first-round loss to a much higher-rated player followed by a win over a much lower-rated player - left me wanting some stability in results.
  • Most importantly, I did not have a winning mentality.
Unless there was some other significant factor at play, for example a big time clock deficit, I would not repeat the decision today.  While I now focus much less on the ratings factor than I did previously in my chess career, I've also realized that if I want to make real progress and gain strength, I can't take the easy way out.

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