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I think 21 f4 was a good idea. But I would prefer 22 f5 pushing the Black bishop out of play.
Your 23.Ra3 is quite reasonable. Another idea might be 23.Na3 threatening Nb5. If Black plays a6, he weakens b6 and you just return your knight to c4. Your 26.Qe3 is quite good. Another idea is 23.a6 b6 24.Ne3.
28.Nd2 was a sad move, but we've all made those kind of mistakes: you know you have an advantage and you're racking your brain trying to find a way to increase it, and then you overlook a simple tactic! Oh, well! It happens to all of us. It's particularly sad in this position, because 28.a6! looks very strong.
I hope you didn't resign after 28.Nd2 Bb2! After 29.Rca1 Bxa3 You have a lot of compensation for the exchange and you're still very much in the game.
I did resign because I only had a few minutes left and he had 13 and I was already very uncertain on how to continue before Nd2. I think a little bit of it was frustration at myself too. I think a problem that occurs sometimes is that I'm so focused on the strategic aspects of the game that I don't look for tactics. Obviously, I can tell by glancing now that his b pawn is pinned and the best thing to do would be to attack that pin but the game was such a strategic battle up until that point (which I'm not very used to) that I wasn't alert for potential tactics. I'll have to try to address that moving forward.
Thanks very much for the help everyone!
23. Ra3 I would think g3 supporting the f4 pawn be better
I didn't even consider that - of course I tend to be reluctant to push g or h pawns but in this position he has very little potential for a kingside attack.
Again, if you play f5 after Bh7 he is effectively a piece down. The only way he can ever get it out is to play f6 and Bg8, which creates holes and clogs up his other bishop.
It doesn't seem all too great because then Bg5 is possible and I was really trying to restrict his pieces. It doesn't look bad though either, just unnecessary - it's not as if his light squared bishop was playing a meaningful role anyways.
Suit yourself...but you still have 2 pieces vs 1 (and his other bishop can't really too much either). But as I say...suit yourself.
" Hack Attack with IM Thomas Rendle!"
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