What a game to start the tournament! Before we started Mr. Nitz informed me that he hadn't played a serious tournament for several months and although he was rated approximately 350 points lower than me, I had a feeling that this was going to be a tough struggle none-the-less. In the beginning I was able to get a slight advantage and a kingside attack. However, Mr. Nitz is apparently a very good defender and I was unable to crack his defenses until an ensuing time scramble. Luckily for me the time control for the tournament was G45 with a 10 second delay. Had it not been for the long delay per move this game may have ended very differently.
1.e4 b6 To be honest I was already in very unfamiliar territory as I have just started playing 1. e4. This was just my third touranment game using it.
2.Nc3 Bb7 3.f4 e6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.Bd3! The other options just did not seem very attractive to me. If d3 then I would walk into a pin from the bishop on b4. If e5 then I was worried that Black's bishop on b7 would be too dangerous. With Bd3 I was not concerned with blockading my d pawn and dark squared bishop. My plan was to play b3 and get my bishop to either b2 or a3. If Black ever responds to my plan with Bxc3 then my bishop will be freed along the c1-h6 diagonal.
5...Nf6 6.Qe2 Bxc3 7.dxc3 Ultimately I decided my bishop would be best on this diagonal. Also with this move I retain the option of castling queenside.
7...Qe7 8.a3 The reason I played this was because I wanted to play e5. [8.e5 Nd5 9.c4 Nb4 Now Black can force me to trade my lightsquared bishop. Something I definitely wanted to avoid. ]
8...d6 9.0-0 [I think this was the most accurate time to play e5, forcing the knight to retreat to d7 and the knights will interact with each other awkwardly. 9.e5 Nfd7 ]
9...Nbd7 10.b4 Preventing Nc5 to trade off my bishop.
10...0-0 11.e5 dxe5 12.fxe5 Bxf3 13.Rxf3 [Dreaming of a mating attack I played quickly and missed this simple move that would have won an entire piece. This is a good reminder to always consider all of the most forcing moves in the position. 13.exf6 Bxe2 14.fxe7 Bxf1 15.exf8Q+ Rxf8 16.Kxf1 ]
13...Ng4 14.Rh3 The threat is Bh7 and Qg4.
14...f5 15.exf6 Ngxf6 16.Bg5 The imbalance of the two bishops vs. two knights in an open position is an advantage for me. Black also has a weak e pawn. However, things are not as easy as they seem and Mr. Nitz put up a great defence.
16...Qd6 17.Re1 Rae8 18.Bb5! Provoking c6 so that after
18...c6 19.Bc4 Nd5 20.Qd3 Now the Knight is pinned since the Black queen is undefended.
20...g6 21.Qe4 Rf5 22.Qh4 Rf7 23.Bd3 e5! 24.c4 Nc7 [24...N5f6 25.Bxg6+- ]
25.Re4 c5 Black has succeeded in setting up a fortress. It is not easy for White to break through. Indeed the computer evaulates it as perfectly = 0.00. Here I was forced to stop notating since my clock had run down to 00.02. Soon Mr. Nitz joined me with 00.12 on the clock and a crazy time scramble ensued. Chances were missed for both sides and I was the fortunate one to be able to capitalize on his mistakes by checkmating him. An unfortunate ending to a well played game. In this game the 10 second delay was crucial to my success. 1-0