Sounds strange, right? You will see. I played on Monday, my opponent was former Canadian women’s champion (twice), WIM.  I know her well,  she taught my kids.

I had White, here is the game. She played French, her favorite, I went for Tarrasch, that’s what I play against French. We went along main line and then on move 10 she played second choice move I wasn’t familiar with. The line ended up with a move 14. O-O (though Fritz says 17. Nf3 was the last book move) that lead to a draw between 2 experts, so I guess I was OK after the opening.

My troubles started I think after 15. Ng3, when I didn’t find Be3. I have to say that all the time I was worried about exchange sacrifice on f3 which never happened (maybe exactly for the same reason). Fritz didn’t like my next 2 moves, anyway I found myself on the defensive side, not being able to get any active play.

Now if we return to the title of the post – she was in a such time trouble all the time that I saw probably just once in my life when the guy didn’t make his 30th move in time. After 20-something moves I had 1 hour left, she – 30 minutes. She was thinking heavily on every move. Her attack was becoming more and more aggressive, and her time was shrinking, it was 15 vs 45, 10 vs 35, 5 vs 30,…. I was sure that she will lose on time and because of the following:

– in the beginning my clock probably stopped a few times (when I noticed it once I  restarted it, maybe in total it was 6-8 minutes)

–  I didn’t feel comfortable winning on time sitting under attack and being worse, it was like I didn’t deserve it

– there was a slight chance of getting mated

I thought about offering a draw. When the flag started to go up (I don’t know how much time it is, maybe 2 minutes, I hate these old clocks), it was around move 30, maybe earlier, just before queens exchange, not sure, I offered a draw. You know – she refused! I said – OK.

She started to play faster, still writing the moves in my time. The attack continued, with all her pieces targeting my king. My last chance was, I think, nice 35. Ba2 found by Fritz. Eventually I got under the pin and then she also created a threat of Rxg2 – the mill. She was still somehow finding good moves, I couldn’t understand how. I didn’t see how I could defend, seeing Rxc6, of course, but thinking that after that I will also lose a pinned knight. I played Kh2,  Fritz found a better line, losing an exchange, anyway it was bad.   After that I still had a little hope that I will escape on time, but not so. It was a matter of technique. My time also went down and I stopped writing the moves being under 5 minutes.

Her flag was in 9-o-clock position when I resigned being one move away from checkmate. That was highest level of play in very limited time I ever encountered playing OTB.