White has just played 17. f5.
Before White plays this move, Fritz will tell you that White is up with an evaluation of something like 1.00. But during the game, I didn't mind the position. Sure, it's not a great position (I had no idea what to play against White's Bird opening), but it's playable, perhaps winnable, certainly drawable.
Up until this point my attitude had been a relaxed "show me, prove it" approach. When White played 17. f5, my whole disposition changed. For some reason, I was tense, scared; suddenly, I was falling off a ciff. I went into the marshy bog. I began calculating, deeper and deeper into the abyss. Frightful monsters appeared everywhere. Sigh. Now, as I look back pieces simply were not where, or could not go to where, I was imagining them, where I was visualizing them, where I was projecting them in my calculations.
You know what Fritz says about 17. f5? He says -1.00
If you're counting, that's a 2.00 swing. Two!
Could any club level player, with any certainty, during a tournament game see this? I looked at the position, and incredibly saw demons that were not there, and played the horrible move 17... d4 in an attempt to block the center. Had I done normal, simple moves, exf, followed by Bg7, all have been well. But even so, I would not have known that Black's position is -1.00. Of course, I didn't play simple. No! I had to get complicated.
I sulked for a few days, but then I realized, that while I played a really bad move (i.e., 17... d4), my opponent played as bad a move before me. Despite a rating difference of 250 points he did not understand the position any better than I. But I'm the one that calculated, rather than playing simple chess and making him prove his position.
Lessons learned: don't enter the abyss; play simple chess.
Rich (1800) - HDK (1530) [A03]
June Quad, 20.06.2007
1.f4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.b3 e6 6.Bb2 a6 7.Bxc6 Bxc6 8.Ne5
Bd6 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Qf3 c5 12.d3 c6 13.Nd2 Re8 14.Qg3 Bf8 15.Nf3
g6 16.Ne5 Rc8 17.f5 d4 18.fxg6 hxg6 19.Qf3 Bg7 20.exd4 Qd5 21.Nc4 cxd4 22.
Qxd5 cxd5 23.Nd6 Rxc2 24.Nxe8 Nxe8 25.Rf2 Rc8 26.Rc1
Rb8 27.Rc6 a5 28.Rfc2 Kh7 29.Rc8 Rxc8 30.Rxc8 Nd6 31.Ra8 Nb7 32.Ba3 e5 1-0
Update (06-26-2007): I just realized that I had the results wrong. Updated to the correct result (1-0) in favor of White.