|KEG: After obtaining a won game with 15...Nxe4, Sterling quickly threw away his advantage. |
After Mieses' 16. g5, Sterling would have had an overwhelming position with 16...Ng3. Instead, he played 16...Bf7+. This was not as good, but Sterling would still have had the game in hand after 17. Ke2 had he played the simple 17... NxB. But he erred again, this time more seriously, with 17...Ng3+. Now, Mieses was able to restore material equality with 18. KxB NxR+ 19. QxN. Sterling was still better, but he no longer had anything approaching a won game. Just to be sure his edge was gone, Sterling now played 19...c6 (instead of 19...Bxf5). Now the game was roughly even.
But Mieses promptly lost his head with the awful 20. Rf1 (instead of just 20.Qf3). Now Sterling just grabbed Mieses' f-pawn for free, and had a probable win in hand (although with Bishops of opposite colors, the win might not have been easy against strong defense).
But Mieses was not guilty of best play here. His 25. Qg1 was poor (his King should have continued running to the Queen side with 25. Kc1). Now, Sterling had the strong 25...c5 at his disposal. Things looked good for him again.
Uh-uh. Instead of 25...c5, Sterling chose to weaken his Queen side with 25. a6? This created a glaring weakness on b6. But this weakness would prove to be a benefit to Sterling in a strange way.
After 29...Qe4, the position was as follows:
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Here, Mieses obviously needed to defend his c-pawn with something like 30. Qh2. But no, Mieses decided it was time to exploit the weak b6 square with 30. Qb6. Now Sterling was able to gobble up another pawn with 30...Qxc2+. After 31. Ka1, Sterling had a clear road to victory with 31. Be6.
Game over? Nope! Sterling played the much weaker 31...Qd3, and suddenly his win was in doubt. Now, Mieses could likely regain his lost pawn with 32. Qb3+. Instead, Mieses played 32. Re1? Now, Sterling was able to play the crushing 32...Rd8.
Time for Mieses to resign? No way. Remembering the dictum that no one ever won a game by resigning, he played 33. Qb3+ (theoretically inferior to 33. Rc1) but given what occurred his move proved to be a gem.
The position was now as follows:
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33...Rd5 would presumably had wrapped up the game for Sterling. But here he hung his Queen with 33...Qd5??? Now, with 34. Rd1 Mieses had a double pin on Sterling's Queen, forcing resignation one move later.