My first game of the year was a win. You can replay it here on ficsgames.com.
I still needed to get my other knight off the peripheral - he wasn't doing any good there anymore. So when he moved Qd2, it didn't take me long to move Nc5 (37.5 seconds to be exact). The intention of course was to plant the knight on b3 for the fork. He ended move moving his rook to b1.
My next move was a bit aggressive. I plopped my queen on g4. I had this idea for a while. I was a bit unsure of this move, but decided to go ahead with it as it created an attack on g2 and e4. I figured I could recall the queen back to safe land if the plan didn't fly. He followed with g3. I had a decision to make ... take e4 or pull back. I tried to calculate as many possibilities as I could and I'm sure I was not thorough. After over seven minutes of internal debate, I decided to go for it. I thought he would move Nxe5 and we would go down the path of exchanging pieces, but he opted for exchanging the knights right away.
So, 16...Nxe4 17. Nxe4 Qxe4 18. Rd1 cxd5 19. hxg6 (this was a bit surprising to me). Qxg6 otherwise I'd be mated with 20. Qh6. Next he moved Rh6, I moved Qg7.
He played Nf5, I took his queen (check) and then moved my queen out of the way. From there, I just needed to ensure I didn't stumble in the end. There was still a possibility of him aligning rooks and bishop to attack h7. But I managed it successfully, got rid of his knight and then eventually was forced to take his bishop with my queen after which I took his rook and I was up a full rook. He capitulated fairly quickly - he didn't resign, but he didn't fight either.
As a side note, the time negotiations for this game were a bit strange. But in the end, we ended up starting the game at 5:00am my time. Early morning games aren't my preference, but sometimes you have to play at that time to accommodate the Europeans. Even though I was a bit worried about lack of sleep, I was able to get a good sleep and my brain wasn't too foggy. To help clear the cobwebs, I got up a few minutes before 5:00am and played a few games of Bejeweled Blitz. I've found that playing Bejeweled Blitz is a great way to scan an 8x8 grid extremely quickly - I highly recommend this game!