Lunch is done. I am determined to do better. I have White against Bird. We have started playing online at chess.com, and where I am stronger online, he is stronger OTB, usually. So, this is closer to an even match.
I stick with 1.e4, Bird is a Two Knights players, so I take him to Two Knights via the Scotch Gambit. I need to study the opening a bit, not sure I'm exactly following the Alberts' book, but here it is:
Now for late opening and middlegame positioning: 10.Re1 c5 11.Nf3 Bg4 12.h3 Bh5 13.Nc3 c6 14.Qd3 Bg6 (not sure my Queen move was a mistake or not...) 15. Qd1 Na6. Now, usually at this point, I don't have a pawn on e5. I am determined to make the most of it!
Push! 16.e6. At this point I expected 16...fxe6, but then after 17.Rxe6, 18.Bg5, etc. Black's problems increase. The game continued 16...f6, Preventing the immediate rapid buildup, but giving White a passed pawn on e6. White knows he may not be able to hang on to the pawn and promote, but White will seek to trade for some other kind of advantage.
First job is to trade minor pieces, to make the passed pawn harder to handle: 17.Nh4 Qd6? (better to castle?) 18.Nxg6 hxg6 19.Qg4, ugh! Better to play simple chess with a double attack, 19.Qd3. Pressing on, 19...g5 20.f4 Rh4 21.Qf5 O-O-O 22.fxg5 fxg5 23.Bxg5 Rf8.
At this point, White can grab more material (two Rooks for Queen) with 24.Qxf8+ Bxf8 25.Bxh4. However, White (perhaps because both players were so low on time) played "safer", but allows Black to technically equalize a bit, however psychologically White still has a big initiative, if only because White has been calling the shots for so many moves.
24.Bxe7 Qxe7 and Black is equalizing 25. Rf1 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Nxe6 however, Black is so eager to turn the game around, he gives White an opening to check the Black King and take the initiative, plus Black is exceedingly low on time, as is White. 27...Nxe6 28.Ne2 Re4 29.Qh5, and the rest of the score is lost.
The remaining moves were spent by White chasing the Black King over to the Queenside, where it got mated, see the picture below.
I'd like to say Black was mated due to superior play, but I think here that time was a big factor. Nonetheless I happily took the point.
Photo of final position. Personal photo taken by author immediately after the game at Vortex CC, Framingham MA.