So this is my first game back after a 3-week vacation to Ecuador with my wife. I did play a few games down there and got wiped out (I plan to show a couple of those losses soon but I want to analyze the games first).
For now I thought I’d play a “rapid game” (15|10). It seems funny to call that time control rapid because I’m used to playing 5-minute or 10-minute games, but of course that’s much quicker than say 45|45 or other more classical time controls.
Well, below is the game. I inserted some pop-ups in the recording so that you can pause the video and try to find key moves that would have been better than what I did in the game. Also, see below for some discussion of key lessons that we can take from this game.
Anyway this game was pretty interesting. I played pretty well most of the game I think, but on several occasions missed a key move to increase my advantage, and then I ended up losing in the end.
Here are some lessons that I learned (and relearned!) while analyzing this game.
1. Exploiting the King in the center: I am surprised I missed this one, as I usually look for ways to attack early. On move 14 I had the opportunity for a tactic right out of the opening, that is, to play e6 and try to open lines against my opponent’s king. The two trigors to consider this move should have been his king in the center and his tempo-losing move 13…Bg5. I saw one problem with that move (giving up control of c5 and making it harder for him to advance his center pawns); I also saw that he was losing tempi with his Bishop, but I did not see (and should have seen) that these lost tempi put his king and therefore position in danger.
2. Try not to have chess blindness: This is very tough to avoid sometimes. I had a plan of a dark-square blockade to keep his center pawns immobile and play with a small but solid advantage. However, at a couple moments in the game, I had an opportunity to breakthrough in the center myself, and in some cases I didn’t give e6 any or enough thought. Another reason that I missed e6 was that I was so focused on the idea of f6. My tunnel vision also stopped me from seeing a plan to remove my opponent’s queen from a great square (where it was both attacking me and defending the important dark-square diagonal near his own king). Keeping my mind open to shifting plans would have helped me in this game.
3. Think both strategically and tactically: I was more focused on strategy in this game, and at times missed concrete lines that would have led to advantage. We saw that with the missed tactic out of the opening and with important potential breakthroughs in the middle game.
4. Don’t get too relaxed: I could sense that I had that advantage through the whole game, and even toward the end, I could sense that his h-pawn push wasn’t going to be successful. Although I was correct on both counts, I didn’t play actively enough toward the end, and I let my guard down, partially due to low time but mostly I think because, after being better all game, sometimes you just feel like you are “okay.” It’s amazing how fast you can go from winning to drawing to losing (in this case in just two moves). Always keep alert until the very end!
Link to Game
Here is the link to the game.
If you’d like to analyze the positions on your own, below are the game’s moves (my server won’t let me upload the PGN file directly for you). See my other posts for where to download a strong, free chess engine, how to easily create your own PGN file from text, and how to analyze PGN files with your engine.
[Event “Live Chess”]
[Termination “nov_ser103 won by resignation”]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.e5 d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.O-O Be7 10.f3 Ng5 11.f4 Ne6 12.f5 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 Bg5 14.Nd2 O-O 15.Nb3 Bxc1 16.Raxc1 Qg5 17.f6 Bh3 18.Qf2 Rab8 19.Rce1 Rb4 20.Re3 Be6 21.h3 g6 22.c3 Rb5 23.Re2 Bxh3 24.Qxa7 Bg4 25.Ree1 c5 26.Rf2 h5 27.Nxc5 h4 28.Nb3 c5 29.Qa6 Rfb8 30.Qd6 c4 31.Nd4 Rxb2 32.Rxb2 Rxb2 33.Qxd5 h3 34.a4 Rxg2+ 35.Kh1 Qf4 0-1