Insufficient Attention

I’ve been experimenting some this week with the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon. Informal Internet games give me the opportunity to try different openings. I find, at my level, it’s hard to get anywhere close to the Dragon Sicilian. So I decided to give 2 … g6 a go for several games. What attracted me is the sharp, tactical play that tends to result. Plus, at my level, most of my opponents are completely unfamiliar with the opening. You can seen the immediate pause to consider when the g-pawn moves forward immediately. I usually end up with a quick initiative.

My opponent this afternoon was the first all week who appeared to be familiar with the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon. That’s my surmise based on the practically instantaneous replies for the first several moves. I felt off-balanced until move 30. At that point, I felt I could — at a minimum – hold the position to a draw. This was not just chutzpah relating to my defensive skills. I know full well, at my level of play and in my own case, defensive technique is not so well-refined. I had a huge time advantage. I had seven minutes on my clock, my opponent less than two minutes.

With such a large time advantage, I should have slowed down. I also should have paid better attention to the entire board. I completely overlooked the winning opportunity with move 43. … b4 and instead played Kh7. As a consequence, I ended up with a drawn position, when I could have won rather easily.

Houdini 3 believes that my final move – which drew by repetition – was a blunder. The Houdini engine concludes black has a winning advantage. I believe that to be a piece of flawed analysis that gives too much credit to material advantage and not enough to the inability for black to convert the advantage into a win by force. I’ll be curious to learn from one of my titled coauthors if I’m dead wrong on this score. I concluded at the time that the position was a cast iron draw. The only way for black to force a win was for white to blunder. I spent a good 30 or more minutes with Houdini as a kibitzer, looking for a forced win and could not find one.

Glenn Mitchell