By the time we reach the diagrammed position, things have picked up for me, but having spent a large part of the game getting glasses of water, feeling sorry for myself and considering the larger problems in my life, I am stupidly short of time.
My first thought is 38. Qd7, threatening both to take on e7 and to play Qe8-f7. But then I see he has 38...Qc5, so I panic, look wildly around, spot Qa7 and fail to notice it hangs e6. Of course 38. Qd7 Qc5 39. Ne3 is actually quite nice for me, by which I mean it's an immediate draw after 39... Re1 40. Nf5 Qxf5 41. Qxe7.
I am such a stupid retarded disgusting mindless child. Is that really so hard to see? Am I really incapable of calculating simple captures? I officially hate myself.
But enough about me. Let's talk about what other people think of me. I had two experiences lately in which people have told me how I play. That's always a strange thing to happen because it's hard to know what your own style is: it always seems to me like I'm just trying to make the best move. Each move is just an uneducated guess, a stab in complete darkness; there's no real agenda, much less style, behind any of it.
So after the last round Dennis Monokrousis comes over to where I'm analysing with my nice opponent, Robert Akopian, and expresses surprise that I'm not attacking him. I look at him quizzically, and he explains to Robert, "She's always been a carnivore as long as I've known her." Now, I'm immediately suspicious of this for two reasons:
1. Everyone always seems to think women are crazy attackers.
2. To my knowledge, Dennis has never seen me play a game of chess before.
But ok, maybe he's secretly studying my games. And maybe he's right; how would I know? It's not like I have some huge insight. In any case, when I got home I was amused to read Braden Bournival's "Player Analysis" of me.
Strengths: Eliz.. I mean Liz is very good at positions where she knows what she's supposed to be doing. She definitely does better in positional games where the pawn structure in the center is established.
Weaknesses: Elizabeth is much weaker when she needs to come up with her own plan at the board. If she gets an unfamiliar position out of the opening where she has to do this, she has trouble. This is why she does much better with fixed pawn structures because the plans don't change.
Now, this is clearly a huge insult. I'm a mindless robot who can only follow directions and gets easily confused? How sad. Even worse, Brad almost certainly got this insight into me from my coach, Dave. (Could he be angry at me because I haven't taken lessons lately? I'm sorry, Dave! I've been so busy!) Unfortunately, I think they're probably right. I wonder if there are any special exercises I can do to become an independant thinker.
Next round: I think I've out-strategized the Zen Master, but fall flat on my face.