I played this game on Sunday, regular G/90, against opponent rated 150 lower. I had a draw with him before. So I play French, second time. It looked like after the first few moves it was “terra incognita” for him, he was spending time finding the moves, I played pretty quickly.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Nf3 a6 – second choice move to prevent Nc3-b5-d6 maneuver – I hate knight getting there. 6. Bd3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O Nc6 9. Re1 Be7 10. Bf4 O-O. Crafty evaluates position after move 10 as equal, time +10 minutes.
11. a3 Nc5 12. b4 Nxd3 13. cxd3 f6 14. d4 – I evaluated it as better for me, Crafty thinks the same – ~-0.50.
14. d4 fxe5 15. Bxe5 Ncxe5 16. Nxe5 Bd7 17. Rc1 Rc8 18. Qg4
Now I realize that I am in trouble – there is a threat 19. Nxd7 Qxd7 20. Rxe6. I can play 19. … Rf6 – but I see right away that it’s not good – 20. Nxd7 Qxd7 21. Nxd5 … ( and I found out later that I lose e6 pawn too) . Still I don’t think I have a choice and hope that my opponent wouldn’t see it. Advantage in time disappears. Of course, Crafty found here an excellent counterattacking move – Bf6, and also there is Rf5, in both cases I am OK. So, again, it’s not opening/endgame knowledge, not deep calculation – just seeing the right move. But that’s what masters are about – they see it, we don’t. Anyway, I play Rf6, luckily for me my opponent plays 19. Ne2. So, 19. … Bd6 20. f4 Bxe5 21. fxe5 Rg6 – better Rf7, 22. Qh3 Qg5? Crafty says another bad move – 23. Rxc8+ Bxc8 24. Rc1 Qd8 25. Qc3 Bd7 26. Qc7 Qxc7 27. Rxc7 Bc6 28. Nf4 Rh6 29. Re7 Kf8 30. Rxe6 – 1.46. But White plays 23. Rxc8 Bxc8 24. Rf1
24. Rf1 Bd7 25. Qf3 Qe7 26. Qc3 Bb5 27. Rf2 Bc4 28. Qc2 Rh6 29.
30. Rxe2 Rh4 31. Qd1 Rf4 32. Rf2 Rxf2 33. Kxf2
Draw agreed. Looking on the bright side, I got out of the opening OK and with more time than my opponent. Still need more experience in playing these positions.