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.
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.
I don’t play against the Grunfeld too often and I usually don’t enjoy it when I do. Black’s goal of a swift Queen side attack in conjunction with the g7 bishop is completely different than the standard QGD or QGA which I feel more comfortable in. I’m not quite sure of my opponents rating since they were the default 1500 rating but they seem to be in the 1700s classical and 1500s blitz which seems low, however it’s a new account.
They played well, only 5 inaccuracies and 2 mistakes. I think they used the opening book and chose the highest win percentage lines, something common in correspondence games, it’s noticeable when 7…Nc6 is played instead of c5 which is the thematic break in the Grunfeld. Nc6 scored 41% winning for Black but is seen as an inaccuracy and the game changes completely without the c5 break as Black’s main plan. I follow up Blacks move with f4 which takes us out of book and they immediately make a mistake.
The typical Grunfeld opening, Black is looking to play c5 and pressure the Queen side while opening up the g7 bishop.
I mentioned in the intro that Black immediately started to make mistakes when taken out of the opening book. After f4 they played e6 allowing Ba3 and preventing the King from being able to castle. This one mistake plagues Black til move 15, wastes time having to move the bishop back to swap it off and removes their castling ability anyway as the King recaptures.
The Queen side structure is something you’d see from a Grunfeld opening where Black has more pawns on the Queen side but in this position Black is about to lose the a and b pawns after axb5 axb5 Bxb5 Rxb5 and left with only the c pawn which becomes a target.
The c pawn is eventually lost and we end up in this position where Black appears to have a tactical shot. Black plays Ne6 with a discovery on my Queen and an attack on the d4 rook. Play follows as 1…Ne6 2. Qxc8+ Kg7 3. Qb7 Nxd4, if you’re following along mentally there is a attack on the f7 pawn 4. Rxf7+ Kh6 5. Nxd4 Qd1+ 6. Kg2 Qxd4.
The below position picks up from the above with 7. Qe7 and Black is simply lost here. There is no perpetual since my King can hide on h3, mate is coming after Qh4.
This is a 3 minute Caro game where White never really applied any pressure and gave me control over the c file which ultimately leads to their loss. I can’t stress enough how often the c file becomes a weapon in the exchange Caro.
Below is a typical position you’d see albeit a little different of a move order. Generally I would hope to have played Rc8 and if the exchange of knights happens I can recapture with Rxc6, my opponent swaps them off immediately rather than after Bg5. There is an up side here, I can still play Rc8 after Nxc6 bxc6 because pushing the pawn with the support of the rook helps destabilizes the center and gives me more control over the c file before the other player.
We come to the position below where I’ve used the f rook to support the c file in addition to the Queen assisting from d6. There is an obvious down side for me and that’s the isolated a pawn which my rook needs to defend at the moment. Eventually the a pawn will move forward and look to trade off against the majority leaving me with the strong c file.
Here the Queen laterally defend the weak a pawn while both rooks threaten the c2 pawn. At some point if I need to break I can look to play Qc6, a4 and if b4 then Rc3.
Ultimately the game ends in a rather anticlimactic fashion, White simply forgets to make luft for the King and loses the game due to Rc1+.