So in my attempt to write a blog that resembles those of Silman's as much as possible, here I present to you my round 5 game from the 2014 IHSA State Chess Tournament.
Leading up to this game, I was having a pretty bad tournament. The first round game that I played is the first, and hopefully the last, game that I will ever drop a queen, rook, and a bishop in. Therefore, I got obliterated by an opponent that I was much better than. So after that disturbing experience, in round 2, my hedgehog was slowly crushed by my opponent. However, he happened to hang a knight when I had a completely lost middlegame leading to my victory.
So after those two demoralizing rounds, in round 3, I played an opponent that was far inferior to my opponent in the first two rounds. As a result, I had the following "masterpiece" (not really).
This beauty gave me some confidence going into round 4 where I faced another opponent that I knew I was better than. However, he put up a good fight but eventually resigned in a position where I was only slightly better (-0.7) leaving me completely confused.
In Round 5, I would face the toughest opponent I would all tournament (~2000 uscf).
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.Nf3 O-O
It's typically a bad sign when it's move 6 and you already have no idea what you're doing.
6.e3 b6 7.Be2 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Bb7 9.Be2
At this point, I realized that his Bb7 was quite strong and that there was really no way to dislodge it (oops). However, it is actually quite a common theme in openings like this and is no need for worry yet.
9... Nbd7 10.O-O Bxc3 11.bxc3 Ne4 (diagram)
Bxc3 caught me by surprise as it just surrenders his two bishops in control for the e4 square. The problem that I saw with this was that I could easily dislodge his knight from the e4 square while in the future, my bishops have the chance to wreak havoc in the now open position.
12.Ba3 c5 13.Rfd1 Qc7 14.Bd3 Ndf6 15.Ne5 cxd4! 16.Bxf8?!
When I played the move Ne5, I had forseen the exchange sac that would come when he played cxd4. Even though I knew that he would likely have the better position after I took the exchange sac, the materialist part of me looked at it and couldn't resist.
Likely throws his entire advantage away. Let's see if you can try and find what he should've done.
17. cxd4 Qg5 18.f4!?
A move that my opponent completely missed. In my mind, it was a logical move kicking the queen while allowing my queen to protect the g2 pawn along the second rank. After the queen's forced retreat, I would simply remove my bishop from attack.
18...Qh6 19.Bb4 Ng4 20.h3 Nxe3 21.Qe2?
The move that I thought was best as Qxf4 was "impossible" due to Re1. However, I completely missed something.
21...Nxd1? 22.Bxe4 Qxf4 23.Bxa8 Qxd4+ 24.Kh2 Qxa1 25.Bxa8
Now all of the complications have cleared and I have a piece for 3 pawns. However, my bishops dominate the board while his knight is well, terrible. Surprisingly, the computer only gives me +0.5 here, but in my opinion, white is winning.
25...Qd4 26.Qe4 Qb2 27.Bd6!
Controls the diagonal and eliminates any perpetual check possibilities
Now see if you are able to finish the game for me
Here is the entire game for those interested
Hopefully you enjoyed the game and my notes. Thanks for reading!