Tag Archives: boardgames

Rapid Time #16: An Achilles Heel

In this game there is a singular weakness I look to exploit from the very beginning, sometimes to my dismay. Today’s focus is on the ability to keep plans and ideas fluid throughout the game rather than zoning in a singular idea.

Our game starts in a position I am extremely familiar with and very happy to get in any game. The first thing to notice here is that Bg4 accomplishes very little, in fact, it’s an inaccuracy. The power of Bg4 comes from pinning the knight to the Queen and forcing the opponent to unpin via their bishop, here there is no pinning of the knight without e3 being played. The best move here is Ne4 attacking the bishop on g4 and removing the threat of capture with doubled pawns.

The the movements in this position for White revolve around the central control and tempi gained from Ne4 and Qb3 which double attacks the b and d pawns.

From the opening we get the sequence of : 6. Ne5 Bc8 7. Qb3 Nc6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Bf4 e6 10. e3 Bd6 11. Bxd6 Qxd6 12. Bd3 O-O 13. Qc2 which takes us to the position below. The Achilles heel I mention in the title becomes the backward c6 pawn which I warp my entire game around trying to attack. There’s a general rule of thumb that one weakness won’t win you the game, it takes at least two. Two weaknesses allow the attack to be spread across the the board in an attempt to exploit one of them beyond the defense of the opponent.

Because I focused on the one weakness and attempted to trade off pieces without creating other issues the game came very close to being a draw. In the rook end game Black was able to get their rooks and King defending c6 which was enough to stabilize that issue. With the one weakness being covered I had to resort to pawn pushes look for another opportunity, which is much harder to find when there are less pieces on the board.

As the custom, the game is fully reviewed on lichess with their engine and annotations along with in depth analysis.

Full Analysis on Lichess.org

Rapid Time #14: The Classic vs The Modern

Another game which shows the two schools of thought pitted against each other. Personally I’m a very classical player and have never been a fan of hyper modern opening but I do enjoy playing against them as the are the antithesis of my style. We get the full double fianchetto, double 7th rank knights in this one.

We’ll start in the position below where it’s White’s turn to move. One thing that’s immediately apparent is the scope of the two sides. I’ve got pawns extending to my 4th rank controlling the 5th while Black’s got pawns extending to the 6th rank controlling the 5th.

The primary thing here is the total space I’ve got control over directly, I can operate in my 4 ranks while Black has 3. The same can be said about the scope of the knights, having knights on the 3rd rank influence more of the board thank 2nd rank knights.

Our next position below exemplifies what can happen when the center opens the wrong way and pieces get shut out. When you play a more modern opening you’re looking to attack the center indirectly after a build up of pressure, usually with c5 or a central pawn. Because both bishops need to have open diagonals it makes it very important to plan for specific captures in the center.

Here Black did in fact place c6 to break but I pushed passed to d5 knowing I’d block the b7 bishop out and that the pawn on e6 was there which would force Black to make a choice. As we can see the choice wasn’t made very well as the light bishop was stuck behind pawns for the majority of the game.

As usual the full analysis of the position and other possible lines is on my profile on lichess linked below.

Full Analysis on Lichess.org

Super Blitz #24: Why We Book Up, The Englund Gambit Refutation

This game here is a perfect example of why knowing theory is important, even early on against lower rated opponents. The opening we play into is called the Englund Gambit and is incredibly dangerous if you don’t know how to respond. Our position starts below.

Black’s next move is Qb4+ hitting the b2 pawn and the bishop on f4 while checking the King, all the threats can’t be answered. You can’t save everything so the best move is to play Bd2 and attack the Queen giving up the b2 pawn, which is Black’s whole purpose. Black is already losing at this point, however, precise play is needed or get White ends up in a terrible position. So from the above position we get 1…Qb4+ 2. Bd2 Qxb2 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Rb1

Black played Bb2 to double attack the knight on c3 with only the bishop defending it, there are all kinds of tactics involved between the Queen, bishop and c6 knight depending on response if the c3 knight moves which it shouldn’t in any circumstances. Those lines looked at in the full analysis.

We end with the position above where Black doesn’t have time to capitalize on the double attack on c3 because the Queen is under attack. This is a tactical defensive idea and the core to why the opening is refuted. At this point with optimal play from Black’s side it’s around +2 to +3 for White. The game follows with 1…Qa3 2. Rb3 Qa5 3. a3 and then Black slips up going from +3 to +7. They play 3…Bxa3 and the Queen is going to end up trapped with a threat of a fork on c7.

In the above position Black’s Queen is feeling extremely cramped and is going to be the source of much misery. After 1…Qa6 2. Nd5 there is the threat of Nxc7+ forking the Queen and King so naturally 2…Kd8 then the subtle 3. e4! which opens the bishop on f1 to the Queen on a6.

This is the final position we’ll look at in the overview, Black panics and decides to capture the rook on b5 with the Queen allowing the bishop to recapture. From there the game is a matter of converting an advantage while the Black King is stuck in the center. The link for the full analysis is below.

Full Game Analysis

Bullet Time #2: No One Knows How to Play This Line!

Last time I posted a bullet game from my bullet account it was about 1250 from the initial 1000, we’ve made it to nearly 1600 after this last game which I wanted to show. It ended up being a perfect 0-0-0 against a 1715 in an Exchange Slav which I love. There is a very sharp line that happens in the opening that’s surprisingly popular and not many people seem to know what to do.

Our analysis starts in the position above where Black played Bg4. It’s normally played to pin the knight to the Queen provided e3 has been played. This is the 4th most common move in all of Lichess’ database so it’s not rare by any means. Black is immediately posed a question, do you take the knight, move the bishop, play e3? For lower rated players it can be a bit much so early on, especially in a bullet game where calculation is kept to a minimum. The best move is Bd7 admitting Bg4 was inaccurate, however that is the 5th most common move in this position and surprisingly Nxe5 which is an inaccuracy is the most common!

The evaluation after Nxe5 dxe5 is +2 for White, essentially putting White into a winning position immediately. We’ll see why the position is so good but it most of it relates to the weakened Queen side and the initiative White gets. This position alone I spend at least 30minutes reviewing, the Lichess analysis has all the lines and comments which would be too much for the blog.

Instead of taking on e5 my opponent plays a similarly bad move which is the 4th most common played. Do you see the tread of players who can’t navigate this position? The average rating is 2142 for those who played it. There are a lot of arrows below but it’s pretty simple why this move is a blunder. White starts with Qa4 pinning the knight on c6 to the King and proceeds to follow with e3 readying Bb5. Black simply can’t defend it properly with the Queen, knight and bishop hitting c6. My opponent plays a terrible defensive move after 1. Qa4 Rc8 2. Nxc6 Rxc6 3. e3 a6 which is below.

The idea here is Black wants to stop me from playing Bb4 and adding an attacker to the rook but there is a tactical shot here. Bxa6! Black cannot recapture the bishop with the b pawn because the b pawn defends the rook on c6. Taking would allow Qxc6+ and it would be even worse for Black. After 1. Bxc6 e6 2. Bb5 the game becomes a matter of simplification and pushing my outside passed pawns. The tactics in the opening get a much deeper analysis on Lichess but the simple overview does it some justice here.

View Full Game Analysis on Lichess.org