Yesterday Nigel Short came to our club. He was number 3, played with Kasparov for the world championship and even now is in top 50 with a decent rating of 2698. First it was a lecture, I was a few minutes late because of the bad traffic and didn’t hear with whom was the game GM Short was commenting on. There were a few interesting moments in the middlegame, but it was the endgame – B vs. N that was simply fascinating. His deep positional play plus sudden tactical decisions on the board and in the calculated lines were not on another level, they were from another world, I even shook my head a few times. He looked good, English gentleman, very funny and entertaining.
Then the simul finally starts. He plays 1.e4, as on at least all the boards around me. I play 1… e5, as always and I am a bit surprised to get 3. Bc4, here is the game. OK, so I play 3… Bc5, Italian and look with a bit of jealousy on the board like 3 boards on the right where I see Ruy Lopez. This feeling gets stronger when he plays 4. b4 – Evans gambit. I studied it a lot when I was young and I know how dangerous it can be in a good hands. I know one “quiet” variation – 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Be7 – I played it once against 200+ higher rated about 3 years ago and managed to draw:
I think now, that 6… Nf6 that I played in that game would give me better chances, than first choice 6… Na5 that I played here. After 6… Na5 my opening knowledge ends and I start to play myself. It is OK until I, being afraid of Qa4+ with following d5, play 10… Bd7. I think this move loses the game. Of course I had to play Nf6 instead, I wanted it, thought I couldn’t do it. I didn’t see that the knight and the queen together protect d5 square, so d4-d5 is not possible. After Re1 I realize that I can’t play Nf6 because of Ba3 and decide that I have to castle queenside, though I see that the lines there are open and I will definitely get under attack.
I didn’t mention that soon after simul started they began to set aside the tables for casual chess (because all the regular ones were in the circle for the simul). It created some noise, that I didn’t like. Then some people started to play blitz. It really got me mad, hearing clocks noise when GM Short plays Evans gambit against me and I try to survive. I get up and say to one of the organizers my opinion about that, no reaction. Then, maybe in 6-7 minutes, I get up again and talk to the president of the club and his assistant, saying that it is not possible. I look angry at this time. No action follows anyway. Then Short makes a pause and looks in the direction of those tables. He continues, then makes another pause and looks again, he is not happy. The organizers finally come to the players and ask them to move to another room. The space clears soon, I calm down (I think), it is around move 9 or 10. I regret it now, that I got angry and showed it, and it didn’t do any good to me. Still I think it was very disrespectful to play blitz, I would throw these people on the street, not move to another room and I don’t understand why the organizers thought that a bunch of morons that paid 5 bucks is more important than members of the club (mostly) that paid 30 bucks and came especially to play super-elite GM Short, even from this point of view.
I don’t know how much what I described above affects my move 12… O-O-O instead of Nc6, which I considered too. He plays Re5, it’s a trivial fork. My first reaction is embarrassment, I think that I will be the first to lose the game, though there are quite a few patzers here. Then I see Bb4 and think that I have some chances and will continue to play. The first person resigns, then the guy rated 2000+, so I feel better. Soon I see that he can get another piece for his rook after 16. Nb5 Bxb5 17. Bxb5 Kxa7 18. Qa4+, but he plays even stronger and after thinking about 5 seconds just sacrifices the rook on b2. I have to take, then another rook sacrifice on a5 follows, I can’t take because of the mate. I resist a few more moves, just to get more than 20 and see another few people resigning. When I am about to lose my queen, I resign. I ask for the autograph and he signs the scoresheet.
I walk around, practically everybody remaining stands worse, amazing. Today I learned about the final result – +29, -1, =2, impressive. By the way that guy with Ruy Lopez was the one who won.
I just confirmed with the engines, that Bd7 was the game-losing move. 2 draws after Nf6 and 2 losses after Bd7, both times Black forced to castle queenside and that’s it.