The Most Painful Defeat of my Life | Road to GM, Game 72

A very good game which I played in the Italian. I played precisely, got a winning position in which she couldn’t move. And then…

Tomic S. (1910) vs Maroslavac I. (1748)
Gradište Open 2019, Round 6, 06/27/2019, Giuoco Piano

After having won round 5, I was paired up against a lower rated opponent again. A very talented young player rated only 1700, but much better realistically. I had enough time to prepare. I researched all the options and found a line I haven’t played before which seemed better for white. Not much, but better and easier to play.

That is exactly what happened. Out of the opening I got a slight edge. I made a couple of strategic exchanges and created a plan. It was not winning, but definitely dangerous, and she had to play extremely precise moves to defend. My small advantage grew and grew until it became insurmountable. The game was winning. Won! Over! And then I blundered. In a position in which she simply couldn’t move any of her pieces, in which I was about to pick off her pawns one by one and win, I didn’t take my time.

Without thinking I went into a variation which draws! I played it quickly and without thinking of the consequences and ended up in a pawn up king endgame which couldn’t be won. No way. Everything was blocked and I couldn’t make progress. A horrible blunder. I got mad, frustrated, started sweating, wanted to run away in a forest and shout. Couldn’t compose myself. Stopped thinking. Stopped calculating. Wanted to go back home and quite the tournament.

Then I got an idea. I had one pawn break. Hmmm, I though. Perhaps this works! It didn’t, of course. It fails miserably, and I was too upset to see that!

I lured her king into what I thought was the ideal position for my pawn break. And played it. A second later I saw that I just lost the game. She didn’t even play the winning move yet. I wanted to throw up. Instead of having 4/6 and +10 elo, now I was at 3/6 and -11 elo.

Resigned. Got away from the board. Tried to compose myself but couldn’t. It was incredibly hard to think. What I did is incomprehensible. I never thought that was possible: +4, 0.0, -50! How? I didn’t think. And after my blunder I was too weak to admit my mistake and accept a draw. There is a lot to learn from this game.

Now I feel that it’s a good thing that this happened. It would have happened in the future at some point. And now I’m certain it’s never going to happen again!

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