Category Archives: Queen’s Gambit

Rapid Time #13: A soliloquy

Chess has always been a fall back for me. It’s easy to envelope myself in a world of the concrete analysis where there are good moves and there are bad. Winning is solely reliant on my ability unlike some other games which rely on luck or teammates. Chess is a fluid interest of mine, it takes the shape of who I am at the time. There are weeks or months where playing blitz without calculation is what I do and chess takes on a leisurely feel in these times. Then there are times where Chess becomes the escape and the longer time controls and slower games allow me to fully invest myself, to completely occupy my mind in a place that makes sense. The blog and detailed game analysis are grouped into the former of the two states as a way to continue the escape while further my understanding of the game.

So it goes without saying that life is in the second state and I can see a large portion of my time being invested on the board and post game analysis. I fully expect to see a marked improvement as I switch to longer time control and full reviews of the games I play. Without any more hesitation lets jump into the analysis:

This was a QGA 10+0 game where my opponent (1623) had apparently never seen the standard opening trap or felt there was a way to out play it. I will say that it’s not a game winning trap like some can be, there are plenty of ways that White can make mistakes on the Queen side.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 b5 4. a4 c6

Black is already in trouble here, attempting to protect the c4 pawn with b5 gives White a slight edge and continuing to move pawns to protect the b5 pawn with c6 gives White an advantage. This is the trap. Play continues as 5. axb5 cxb5 6. Qf3! Black doesn’t have to recapture on b5 and it would be best if they didn’t.

5. axb5 cxb5 6. Qf3!

Black capturing the b pawn with the c pawn has opened up the diagonal to the rook which is trapped in the corner, the Queen on f3 exploits this fact immediately. Black must lose something here, the best move is 6…Nc6 (giving up the knight but allowing it to be followed by Bd7 with tempo on the Queen)

The game went to completion. Black played a good defense for what they had available and found some sharp moves I had to be careful with. As I said before the initial material is only for White is only +2 at the cost of development so if Black is accurate and aggressive enough it possible to catch White underdeveloped which I’ll analyze in the full game link.

View Full Game on Lichess.org

Super Blitz #17: A False Pin And Rationally Inaccurate Moves

This game was a GQA where I had the dream position from the start. My opponent played moves which I had seen before and were logical but I knew to be slightly inaccurate.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3

The first position above immediately removes us from the book. Nc6 blocks the standard c5 push Black tends to play in order to undermine the White’s central control. It also doesn’t allow Black to immediately play b5 hitting the Bishop on c4 after Bxc4.

4.e3 Nc6 5. Bxc4 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Nf6 7. a3 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 O-O 9. O-O Re8?!

Again, Re8 seems completely logical. It appears as Black is getting ready to push e5 and attack the center but are they ready? There are positional problems in addition to tactical problems with pushing e5. Black needs to shore up some things in the position and get their pieces more active before venturing forth.

10. Rc1 h6 11. Re1 e5

It might not be apparent but Black is in dire straits after e5. As played in the game after 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Rxe5 14. Nf3 (with tempo on the rook) Black doesn’t have much to show in terms of long term strategy or tactical blows. The game continues with 14…Bg4?? a completely normal looking move which aims to pin the knight to the Queen while developing but it’s this move that loses the game.

12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Rxe5 14. Nf3 Bg4??

There is a tactical shot here which wins the game on the spot. Black’s attempt was to pin the knight in order to remove the attack on the rook on e5. If I were to take immediately 15. Nxe5 Bxd1 and I would be down a Queen, however, notice 15. Qxd8+! (It captures the Queen on d8 with check forcing Black to recapture on their move.)…Rxd8 (I no longer have the Queen pinned to the knight) 16. Nxe5 and Black is down a full rook.

Every mistake Black made in this game was a seemingly decent move, most of them followed principles any player should know. Under certain contexts those principles can fail and shouldn’t be followed blindly. Many positions require calculation instead of acting on blind faith, though this was a blitz game not everything can be decided on by intuition.

16…Bh5 17. h3 c6 18.g4 Bg6 19. Nxg6 b5 20. Ba2 Kh7 21. Nf4

The final position of the game. Black resigns as there isn’t much hope being down a rook and minor piece.

View Full Analysis on Lichess.org

Super Blitz #15: Carlsbad Minority Attack!

This is hands down one of my best 3-0 games that followed my opening prep. It was a Traditional GQD main line and my opponent was eager to trade off some minor pieces from the start.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5

I’ve had this opening a million times but I never seemed to make it to the point where I can launch a minority attack against the Black Queen side which is the standard idea in the pawns structure once cxd and exd is played.

4…Be7 5. e3 h6 6. Bh4 O-O cxd5 exd5 8. Nc3 c6 9. Bd3 Bg4 10. Be2?! Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nd7 12. Bxe7 Qxe7

We arrive at the position above where both sides are structurally sound. The imbalance is 2 knights vs knight and bishop, Black with a Queen side majority and I with a King side majority. This is the point where a minority attack will weaken Black’s advantage and turn it into more of a liability.

13. O-O Nf6 14. Rb1 Nbd7 15. b4 b5 16. a4

The whole idea behind the minority attack is to trade off pawns and leave Black with something to defend, generally the c pawn. You can see above that the c pawn is backwards and the weakest point in the position. Even if it can be defended it means that Black will be tied down while defending.

16…a6 17. Qc2 Rfe8 18. axb5 axb5 19. Ne2

Ideally Black would play something like Rec8 and I’d play Rfc1 and there would be some poking and prodding by both knights. The position above is dynamic but equal.

19…Ra4 20. Qxc6 Rxb4 21. Nc3 Rc4

Black drops the c pawn by failing to defend or thinking that taking the b pawn is a better trade so they might have a passed pawn. The main issues is the c pawn was the support for both the b and d pawns, Black has now made two weaknesses in exchange for the one.

The position above seems like Black has found a way to win material due to the double attack on the Queen and the knight with no way to defend both but there is a move. 22. Nxd5! counter attacking the enemy Queen if 22…Rxc6 23. Nxe7+ Rxe7 24. Bxc6. Instead play goes 22. Nxd5! Nxd5 23. Qxd5 Rfc8 24. Rxb5 1-0

22. Nxd5 Nxd5 23. Qxd5 Rec8 24. Rxb5 1-0

Black resigns in this position as being down two pawns and only have 26 seconds compared to my 1:32 doesn’t look promising.

View Full Game on Lichess.org

SuperBlitz #14: Tunnel Vision

I’ll admit tunnel vision in a blitz game can some times come back to bite me but luckily in this game I was focused on a decent line instead of overlooking a major threat. My opponent also had their own hyper focused idea which followed mine the next move but luckily I realized and corrected my oversight before they managed to have a chance to. We’ll get to the position later in the game as it happens near the end when I was winning and got a bit complacent.

The first interesting thing about the game was the opening we played. It was a QGD Anti-Nizmo where Black still played Bb4+. If Black is playing this line it’s best to know the proper moves to follow it up because anything but the best line gives White an advantage right from the start.

screenshot-lichess.org-2020.04.17-13_12_53
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+

The whole point of White playing Nf3 here is to dissuade Black from playing the Bishop to b4 and instead using it to break the pin on Nf6 when it’s played. Black plays it anyway and white has a few replies. My favorite and what I played in the game is Bd2 immediately challenging the bishop. This is where most people go wrong, the best move is to retreat the bishop to e7 since capturing with Bxd2 means Black has moved the bishop twice and I will get to recapture with knight or Queen developing at the same time. Most people don’t want to retreat and will capture or even worse will play Nc6 giving white an advantage from the opening.

screenshot-lichess.org-2020.04.17-13_12_532

Here is my mistake: I have the option to recapture in e6 with the rook or the knight. Clearly the knight is better as it forks the two rooks but I recaptured with my own rook with the idea of doubling and then infiltrating the 7th rank. I had done this very thing so many times in so many games I did it without considering anything else. As I said before the move was fine but it wasn’t as good as winning an exchange.

screenshot-lichess.org-2020.04.17-13_12_533

It’s Black’s turn to move and miss an idea: They choose to play Nc4 getting the knight to a great outpost and threaten a3 which I would have to defend by moving my rook to a passive square. The problem is the looming knight fork on the King and rook on g6. Black does win the pawn but at the cost of a rook and eventually the 7th rank.

View Full Game Analysis on Lichess