Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Project 30: What Did I Miss? (5)

We now present the concluding part of the current series on missed opportunities.

This is the position we saw yesterday.

White to play
I played 35 Qe6?? but my hopes of a fine finish turned to dust after 35 ...Qxe6 36 Rf8+ Qg8! which is considerably different to the line I was hoping for (as posted yesterday).

I had completely missed that the black queen could drop back immediately. This was due to three factors.

1) The clock situation. We were both down to our last few minutes.

2) Matt's incredible resourcefulness. He just never gives up looking for ways to turn the trend of a game, which makes him very hard to put away - regardless of the size of the advantage.

3) The desire to finish off the game quickly and in style. My intended checkmate pattern was a pretty one and it clouded my judgement.

Going back to the position before 35 Qe6?? we can find several superior paths. These include: 35 Rf8+ Rxf8 36 e8=Q; 35 Rd1; 35 Rf7 and, best of all, 35 Qe5! which forces a checkmate which can only be delayed slightly by 35 ...Qf6.

It is never easy to accept it when excellent positions slip away into unexpected defeats. One of the major differences between masters and the rest of us is the way in which the former can keep control of their positions to ensure winning positions don't evaporate as often.

This brings our current series to a close but more new content will follow soon.

Thank you to everyone who supported the third year of Project 30. I learned a lot from my own games against Dave Baillie, John Garnett (in both events), Richard Harris, Sean Cassidy, Matt Jackman and Peter Harker - all of whom caused me lots of problems over the chess board but remained - of course! - fabulous friends at all times.

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