This is a game vs a 1566 in the Traditional variation of the QGD which happens to be my favorite opening of all time.
There is one very important idea Black didn’t play to strengthen their structure which cost them the game. Black needs to play c6 in order to defend d5 in the center and then play the knight to d7.
It’s Black move, the position is equal and Black only has one real weakness which is the pawn on d5. Black needs to play c6 to bolster the d pawn, if you notice once I castle the knight on c3 threatens to capture the pawn and fork the Queen and bishop in the process.
Black does eventually defend the pawn but with the Rook instead. The fact that their bishop captured my knight allowed me to attack the d pawn twice once the King castled. There was a line to partially defend with Ne7 which I look at in the analysis. From this point Black goes down a pawn, recaptures their bishop with the Queen and I capture the knight on c6 with my bishop stacking their c pawns. We get the position below where Black is down a pawn and the Queen side structure is a wreck.
Objectively the position is lost here, even with proper defense Black has too many pawn weaknesses I could exploit while stretching their defenses too thin. The game becomes a matter of technique and clean up from here. The opening had some theory and I analysis quite a few possible lines for the future on lichess.
This was a 3minute blitz game in the Caro vs a 1500 opponent. I’ve talked about the idea of taking advantage of the c file in the Caro before and this game is another good example of how mounting pressure leads to failures. The opening is nothing spectacular, both sides play reasonably well and it leads to a balanced position til the 15th move.
Another notable take away from this game besides the c file is the choice of White’s to play Bd3 instead of Be2 or Bb5, this usually gives Black some ease of development as the light bishop tends to be weak.
Lets go through some of the main positions of the game and analyze them. Below we see White’s choice of Bd3, the natural move for Black is to capture on d3 and White recaptures with the Queen. Black has removed a potentially weak piece while White gets the Queen off the back rank which may or may not be helpful.
Below we get to another position where White choices the wrong capture and enables me to move forward with my plan earlier. White should have captured the knight on d7 forcing the recapture with my Queen. By taking the C6 knight my rook can capture and on the next move I’m in place to double on the c file which was the plan the entire time.
I expand on the Queen side and look to get the knight into c4, another common idea and more so when White pushes b4. In this case by pushing b4 White has left the knight defended by the Queen and rook, Rxc3 will simply win the game on the spot which I play and the game cleans up nicely in the next 10 moves.
While not a Panov game I came to the realization during analysis of how uncomfortable it is for me to play against. I spent a fair bit of time talking about c4 and the ways to prevent the discomfort, I’ve only found one line that’s enjoyable for me if White plays properly. If White doesn’t play the most accurate moves then the position is completely fine.
As many Caro games do, this one came down to pressure on the c file and White’s inability to counter it. Here is the position I’ll start the analysis from, everything before was decent opening play.
You can already see how easy it can be to play against the backwards c pawn. It’s also possible to play a knight route like c8-b6-c4 and have a strong knight outpost. All of my games come down to a fight on the Queen side and it tends to feel like White has the only major weakness there.
White made the first major mistake with Ne5. After Nxe5 dxe5 I am able to pressure c2 with tempo after Qc6and begin to stack all three major pieces against it. By taking with the pawn the bishop on f4 becomes much worse for the time being also. Nf5 is also a threat eyeing the isolated d pawn.
Here White has a few options as the c pawn isn’t immediately under threat but they must be careful. If they allow Qxd3 cxd3 then Rxc1 and the knight is still threatening to come to d4 and add a 4th attacker to the c pawn. With the pressure White swaps Queens off which is a safer move but I still maintain a -3 advantage. The problem being the same as before Qxc4 Rxc4 and then Nd4 comes with the triple attack on the c2 pawn and tempo on the rook.
Once the rooks come off and the pawn falls the position is as follows below, the position is lost for White since the center pawn control prevents their King from getting to my back line to find counter play. After this it’s just a matter of pushing forward and cutting the White King off while I creep on the Queen side.
I’m trying something new here and putting the entire game as a gif at the start, it allows the reader to jump into the game immediately and then understand the analysis of the position better as we move through the post.
This game was played very well in the opening by my opponent who was 1521. Until move 15 I was in familiar territory that I’d been in multiple times, the clock shows it as I used 15 seconds and my opponent a minute. This is one of the reason having a solid repertoire in super blitz is so important, not having to figure out the moves until the middle games leaves you with so much more time than if every move was considered for the first 10-15.
A key moment here is when both sides have a solid position and there is no clear way to proceed, I decide to make a 3 move knight maneuver to get to an outpost on c5.
We come to the position above where I have dominance over the c file, a strong knight on c5, and an attack on the g6 knight which will weaken Black structure after the recapture. The f3 knight is prepared to jump into e5 in another outpost once the g6 knight is removed as mentioned above.
Here on move 30 Black makes the final mistake after allowing a knight fork on the King and rook. The move to play is Nxe3 with a revealed attack on the bishop on c6 and an attack on the Queen from the e4 knight. The game is completely won after this and only lasts two more moves.