Missing one tactic decided the game
In the 2023 Washington Senior Championship, I played a game as White against Leonid Gavrysh that would end up being my toughest game of the tournament. Gavrysh was a master-level player from Ukraine with a rating that had dropped to the mid-1900s.
The game started with the standard e4 opening, and Gavrysh responded with c5, leading to the Sicilian Defense. I chose to play the King’s Indian Attack (KIA) with d3 and Nf3, and Gavrysh answered with g6 and Nc6. I played passively and found myself slightly worse out of the opening and into the middlegame.
This difference in this game came down to a single tactic. If I had taken the rook instead of the knight, the position would be equal and I would likely have come away with a draw. But, for some reason, I went against my original thinking and made the wrong capture.
Chess games are rarely decided on a single mistake but there are exceptions – this game being one of them. The lesson to be learned is this: treat each move like it is your last, as it may be! Kudos to my opponent to playing accurately to convert his advantage.