It's the last round of the 2010 Alaska State Championship. Having scored 3-1 in the first four rounds, a win in the final round would assure a share of second place, some cash and a ratings gain. I felt like I was tuned up after only five rated games in the previous 18 months.
I had watched my opponent get through the previous rounds and while he was playing pretty well for a 1400 player, there had been a certain amount of luck involved. I had seen him play the King's Indian as black and thought out an approach for this critical last round game: Keep it as tense and complicated as possible, stay ahead on the clock and wait for the mistake that must come, sooner or later...
Only one problem--he didn't "cooperate" and after a tense struggle I finally became too focused on "my attack" and in a couple of moves he was winning. This game is a good example of the psychology of "must win" situations, where a player's objectivity about the position goes lost.
I'll admit it took the rest of the day to get over this game. After spending hundreds of dollars on travel and three days in the sub-zero cold of Anchorage, Alaska, I felt like I'd come away with nothing. Nothing but humiliation, anyway. I felt seriously like retiring from tournament chess, and said so after the game to my friends.
Looking back with some objectivity, justice was done. He played well (especially for his rating) and deserved to win. I need to learn from this defeat and get better, not whine. Still, I have had few losses in my career that stung quite this much, so this is Memorable Game 10: