This is my analysis of a game that I won, that I probably shouldn't have, as I made many blunders, both tactically and strategically.
I decided to open with the Queen's pawn opening. I alternate between 1. e4 and 1. d4. Since this opponent usually opens with 1. d4 when he plays white, perhaps 1. e4 would've been better, to throw him out of his comfort zone.
I go for the Queen's Gambit, and he plays 2...b6. I'm not sure I understand this move. He wants to fianchetto his bishop perhaps?
I take his pawn, and he recaptures with his Queen; that makes me happy, cause I'll gain a tempo with 3. Nc3 when I drive him back.
I develop, he retreats. Stockfish reports a +2.0 advantage in my favor.
I use this opportunity to create a pawn duo in the center. d4 and e4 now control four very important squares (c5..f5). I have an advantage in space. His knight move surprised me; I'm not sure what it accomplishes. It doesn't attack the center, it blocks his c8 Bishop and his Queen.
At this point, I'm not exactly sure how to continue my development, so I follow the "knights before bishops" mantra and play 6. Nf3. Black moves is King pawn forward, thus opening diagonals for his Queen and f8 Bishop.
I continue my development by bringing out my bishop and I prepare to castle. Black wants to drive it away and plays 7...a6. And this is where my first mistake occurs.
I take the knight, and he takes my bishop. Much better (and something I should've seen, and will see next time) was 8.Bb6; this would keep the pin and attack the a8 Rook, thus gaining me a tempo. Instead, I trade my active and developped Bishop for his backward Knight, and at the same time, help him develop his own Bishop.
I see an advanced outpost for my Knight, and decide to take it. Black plays 9...Qe7, I think to avoid having to move his King and forfeit castling if I were to do 10.Nxf7.
Again with the bad trades? Again, taking an active piece and trading it for one that is not as active. I seem to recall that my thinking at that point was that it was BNN vs BBN and because the center is easier to open than to close down, I didn't want to end up with knights in an open position. What were some better moves here?
- Castling was an obvious choice
- Developping the Queen to f3 or g4
- Developping the Bishop to d2 perhaps
Now I decide to castle and Black develops a piece. He brings his Bishop to a nice square I think, it controls two long diagonals.
I chase the Bishop away from its nice post.
Another bad move on my part; I move another pawn instead of developping a piece. Black takes my Knight...
And I take his Bishop. A few moves ago, I was worried about him having two bishops in an open game. Instead, I get a super bad, inactive Bishop against a Knight. Just goes to show that I should stop worrying about what might happen and instead a) concentrate on what is happening, b) making what I want happen.
I've heard about a saying that pawns point to where you should attack. Clearly, mine are pointing at the kingside, so why am I putting my rook on a semi-open file on the queenside? Meanwhile, Black starts getting his Queen active.
In retrospect, it was probably a very bad idea to want a Queen trade here, as it would've weakened my King. Fortunately, I hadn't even seen that his Knight could interpose, so I guess that saved me. Before the Knight interposition, Stockfish reports that I was a -1.0 underdog, and the Knight move brought the evaluation back to even.
His Queen is attacking my pawn, so I protect with my Bishop, and connect my rooks. Opponent finally brings is King inside a nice castled position.
At this point, I wasn't really sure what to play, so I decided to bring another defender to c3.
Still not sure what to play, but I think at this moment I remembered that I should develop my Kingside space advantage, so I moved my h and g pawns
Opponent brings his Queen into my "zone". Stockfish recommends Qd1, but instead of protecting my Bishop, I decide to go after his Knight.
Two bad moves. c4 made the evaluation go from 0.0 to -2.0, but his backing off his Knight made the evaluation go up to +1.6.
I could've also played Bb4, but I was still playing with the mindset that I should be playing on the Kingside.
I can finally trade off my bad bishop. At this point, I notice something; his Queen can't move. So I decided to try and trap it. Stockfish reports that it was a bad idea, but at that moment, it was my plan. The idea was to bring my Queen to d3, move the c rook back to the d file, then up to the second rank. Three moves, a very long time, but I went ahead with it anyway.
Oh, problem in my plan; if I play Rd2 like I wanted and take his Queen, Black can win a pawn and have a passed pawn (26. Rd2 bxc4 27. Rxa2 cxd3)
I decided to throw my plan out the window and take his pawn. Since Black had declined the Queen trade earlier, I figured that he'd bring out his Queen instead of taking back my pawn with axb5, and I was right.
His escaping his Queen allowed me to gain a two pawn advantage and have doubled passed pawns. His making a battery on the d file tells me he probably wants to gain that pawn.
I move my Queen out of the line of fire. Now, if he takes my pawn, he'll lose the exchange, so he decides to trade Queens.
I capture is Queen and he brings his Rook to d5. Being up two pawns, I decide to trade Rooks, as it advantages me.
Now, I can see that my passed a-pawn is unstoppable. I'll get a Queen and then the game is mine. The rest of the game is pretty much just me going through a basic King+Queen checkmate after I've captured the pawns that were in my way.