Yesterday I got that boy that I played against twice recently.  I decided to play French again, I thought I can improve on my first game 5 months ago. We played the same variation, Milner-Barry, this time he offered a pawn, I didn’t want to suffer for that and declined, just exchanging his bishop. Here is the game. I remembered that I was too slow and not careful on the queenside and tried to fix it. I have to say that I did it quite well, getting nice post on b4 for my knight and stopping all  possible threats on the kingside.

He started to play passively after that and I occupied “c” line with my rooks. He spent an awful  amount of time by move 20,  having about 30 minutes left vs. my 1 hour. It got even worse later. After 27… Qc8 I missed the move that would probably win the game quickly – 28… Nc2. Then I was trying to find a decisive blow and couldn’t. Fritz showed a nice way to win an “a” pawn with 33… Qe8.

His time trouble deepened, I remember having 45 minutes vs. his 4.5. He started to play faster. We went into the endgame, where I thought I would have some advantage due to his weak pawn d4. I could win his rook after 55… Rd2, but missed it having already a few minutes left myself . He had  20-30 seconds when he made decisive mistake allowing (actually forcing) bishops exchange, after which I got 2 connected passed pawns in the center. The rest was technique. He managed to make a few moves when his clock was showing 2 seconds and it didn’t change! I was astounded by that but continued to move quickly having less than 2 minutes myself. When his clock showed 1 second left I mated him with 2 pawns, king and a rook.

I was (and still is) very satisfied with my positional play, it was probably my best French game with Black from this point of view.

Yes, I couldn’t find the decisive strike, at least I tried.