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Both of you seem absolutely terrified of the idea of controlling or even putting pieces into the center, which is usually a plan.
With the exception of Re2 at end, there were no major blunders in this game that changed it for good. I think the primary fault in the game came out for you when you started pushing too many pawns, and trading too many of your powerful minor pieces. For instance, right off the back, you pin black's knight on e7 and then trade. That knight isn't really going anywhere for black. Between your pawn on e4 and the pin with the bishop, you had yourself covered. But when you took the knight on the next move, you gave up your powerful bishop for a passive knight and broke down what was otherwise a fine development of your bishop. Instead of capturing on e7, I might of tried Qe2 or some other development form of outposting for your bishop.
All of that said, taking the knight was obviously not a game changer, but it did begin a series of trades that allowed black an opening advantage. In general, I usually say that it's better to save your minor pieces and formulate one attack with them all working cohesively. When there are more pieces on the board, it's easier for your opponent to make a mistake. It also opens up the opportunity for sacrifices and other surprising moves that might throw your opponent.
Earlier in the opening, moving the rook to e1 after castling also gave up some opening momentum in my opinion as you didn't have an open file, little chance of finding one, and plenty of minor pieces available for development. Also, since you had your bishop fianchettoed on the king side, (usually a preparation for a queenside attack or endgame play) moving the rook only furthered weakened what I believe to be a relatively weak kingside formation in the first place (Not that fianchettoed bishops are bad on the king side, but that it makes you vulnerable to a well planned kingside attack.)
Also, I didn't really understand 14. Ne2... You were gearing up some promising play on the queenside, but then you took your knight on c3 (a fine a position) and moved it toward the kingside. Did you have some other plan regarding a rearrangement of your knight?
Ultimately, I think things only started to fall apart after 18.cxb5... you lost your pawn structure and let black slowly begin to gain a tempo. Black was able throughout to patiently defend until you had little defense left to block with.
All in all though! You really did have a great game! Kudos for posting :) and stay in touch.
Re1 works well with a K-side fianchetto only in certain circumstances... such as when you can set up an overprotected Pawn at e5. That's not likely to happen if Black also fianchettos K-side, it's more commonly achieved against a French formation.
Can't Black play 14... Bxb2?
And where was this critical position you speak of? I must say I'm not too thrilled by the idea of trading off your dark-squared bishop like that.
I was kind of worried about blacks pieces clinging on my king so i manouvored my knight to kingside. I thinking of finding a nice home for my knight. I was also faced with problem of weakening my light squares if my light square bishop was ever traded. What should be done about cxb5 pawn capture u mentioned? Also what to do about his passed d pawn which was also a pain.
With regard to the knight maneuver, you're right. It is important to prioritize king side safety, and it's better to be too early than too late. However, I will point out that your pawn structure and the knight maneuver are actually very related in this game. Your center of control was defined by the pawns on d5 and c4. Once you moved your knight, you actually removed a key defender from the light squares on queen side that was protecting your center of control. Once you moved your knight, black was able to take advantage of this weakness with 15. ... a6 and 16. ... b5. Had your knight still been on c3, and your c pawn remained on c2, your knight, queen and lsb would have been sufficient for the defense of the pawn on d5.
Ultimately, I think that things still would have been okay, but when you captured cxb5, you took the bait black was hoping for. With your minor pieces no longer supporting your center control effectively, the pawn on c4 was the major defender of d5. Instead of capturing, you probably should have let it be and tried something like, 18. Nf3-d4 Qd7 (black would be preparing for a pawn storm on the king side) In the variation I describe, black cannot capture on b5xc4 because 19. b3xc4 (reestablishing control over d5 between the lsb and the pawn while also opening your rook file and xraying blacks bishop and rook) While this is not a blunder for black, it puts you, as white, in a position to attack instead of defend with central control with pawns and a centralized knight. This variation also prevents black from acquiring the d pass pawn.
With regard to potentially weakening your light squares if you ever traded bishops, it would suffice to simply avoid trading it. As long as you keep your d5 pawn intact, a trade is not likely. That said, you can think of your bishop in this game as similar to your queen: a piece meant to defend other minor pieces, not do the attacking. If you are able to reach an endgame with your bishop on the light square diagonal, you will be in a powerful position for endgame play as your bishop is already localized on its most powerful diagonal.
Let me know if you have any other questions or would like some more detailed analysis. :) Maybe you'd like to play sometime?
Still don't know why Black didn't take the hanging pawn on the 14th move...
I'm guessing he either 1. didn't see it, 2. thought it was a trap or C. was following a principle of not wasting time picking pawns.
If only I had more time to waste like that...
I know i've made time for it... ahh, the good ole days.
I like ur instructive analysis ty very much. Yes i would like to play u sometime :D
Forget Re2, 28. Nf3 was your mistake. As soon as you played that your opponent could win the exchange.
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