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.
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.
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.
This game is a perfect example of 2 bishops vs a knight and bishop and where the strengths of each lie. My opponent traded off the major pieces in succession, rook, rook, Queen but didn’t consider how the minor piece endgame would be. They had two doubled isolated c pawns and a weak isolated a file pawn. Our game starts in one of my favorite variations of the Nimzo-Indian Defense.
Both sides have a solid setup. White has a good center, Black hasn’t committed to a center break and keeps some flexibility. Most times Bxc3 is played and White ends up with the two bishops but a slightly weakened structure.
Black’s idea with this setup is to push the e pawn forward after Re8 and if possible continue to push through to e4. The position is equal here and there is plenty of dynamism for both sides to play for the win.
White has made a mistake putting the bishop on b2, the c3 pawn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I get the break I’m looking for and the ideal position I am comfortable with. From here it’s White turn to decide how to proceed. The best moves are Nd2, Rfe1. Not incredibly intuitive moves to play. Nd2 attacks the e4 square not allowing me to push any further. Rfe1 looks to support the file once all the tension breaks.
The tension in the center breaks and d file opens, White looks to trade off the rooks and Queens which I oblige as I notice how weak the c and a file pawns are. The end game will surely favor a N+B instead of 2 bishops.
In the position above it becomes apparent what my plan is. White’s bishops are tied to c3 and a4 which leaves my knight to hop around and poke at other weakness along with my King.
In the end the power of the two bishop was rendered ineffective because of the weaknesses and lack of open diagonals for them to exploit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The final position of the game. Black resigns as there isn’t much hope being down a rook and minor piece.
It’s a good feeling when you’ve played an opening enough to have it memorized up to the 15th move. This was a Caro I played where I didn’t even have to think until the 16th move, my opponent played sound but simple moves that I had seen in some form and none were challenging. The game ended up being a perfect 0 inaccuracies, 0 mistakes, 0 blunders game.
At this point I’ve got a slight edge of -0.6 which I’d say is owed to the c file pressure and the lack of piece mobility of some of the White pieces. I usually focus on the c2 pawn since it’s the weakest point by stacking rooks or getting a Queen and rook battery on the c file.
White really drops the ball here by having pushed a4. It removed the defender of b4 and allowed Nxb4 with an attack on the Queen while supported by the bishop on e7. You see this kind of thing a lot when players don’t know what to do and I think it’s the separating skill between an intermediate player and advanced player. The repercussions of pushing a single pawn with out calculating lead to the loss of the entire game but it must be calculated. There is no obvious move here or obvious tactical blow but there are ways to improve the position. Bxf6 and Rc1 are both slow but are what’s required in a longer positional game and most intermediate blitz players want to attack and push forward.
After Nxb4 White should have played 18. Qd2 to keep in contact with the c3 knight but instead played 18. Qe2?? allowing Rxc3.
White willingly gives up an exchange here, perhaps the knight on b3 was too strong after the rooks stacked up against the c pawn with the addition of the knight. The position is lost after the exchange however, White just doesn’t have anything to strive for and must react the the discover on the e1 rook.
I offer White a Queen trade while attacking the rook on b5 but White declines the trade and leave the Queen hanging in the end. The game ends quickly in 7 moves after this position.