Yesterday, I played a nice game on chescube.com . Although I eventually managed to grab the win, I was not very pleased with my performance. Both me and my opponent made mistakes, but I find some of my errors rather annoying, given the fact I had the white pieces.
The end of the opening was far from satisfactory - Black equalized quite easily, and began fighting for the initiative. Probably, this was partly due to my choice to play English Opening once again. Besides, I made an early inaccuracy with the move 6.a3?!, instead of the much better 6.d4!
In the early stages of the middlegame, I decided to go for an exchange sacrifice, and played Nxd5, taking the important central pawn. I think this was not a wrong decision, as I practically saw no other acceptable variations to play. To be honest, I had some doubts about this move during the game , but I found nothing better I could play.
Anyway, as the game evolved, I got a passed c- pawn, after Black made several mistakes, especially on move 25, where he played thе erroneous 25...b6?, and on move 30, where he blundered with 30...a5??. Meanwhile, my play was no better at all. Perhaps even a complete beginner would not have made a move like 31.b5??, which probably deserves more than two question marks. Of course, I could have easily won the game after "31. bxa5 bxa5, 32. Qb7 Rf8 33.c7! Qd7, 34.Bc6". This would have lead to an ending where I would have enjoyed an extra Bishop and full domination.
I made another miss one move before this. Surely, instead of playing 30.e4?, I should have seized the opportunity to take the pawn on f7. After "30.Bxf7+ Kf8 31.Bd5 Qxd5 32.c7!", White has a winning endgame with at least two extra pawns. I saw this variation during the game, actually. But I thought I could win in a different, perhaps more straightward way, instead of hanging on to some pawn advantage and trying to convert it into a victory. This looked too slow for me, as I was hoping to find a faster method to win. Well, I did not make the correct decision !
I was lucky. I eventually managed to win the game, inspite of my blunder. Actually, even after 31.b5??, white had the better chances, but there was still plenty to go to deserve the full point. However, after the opponent played the inaccurate 36...Rc7?, and especially after the queens' exchange on move 38, the game was decided. Which is no excuse for my somewhat careless play in the end too. I continued with my childish mistakes. For example, I made up my mind to centralize the king. Instead, I could have secured the win almost immediately, with the simple 39.b6!
However, all is well when it ends well.