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Keep in mind I am ranked between 1200-1300 and just started playing the game again a couple of weeks ago after almost a decade away. I have never studied or read books but have been spending an hour or so a day watching videos and playing live games. Any advice or critique welcome as long as it is informative. This game was a 15/15 against a slightly higher ranked opponent on another site. I just joined chess.com and am loving it so far. I have included my thoughts after several moves. Thanks again to anyone who takes the time to view.
You did a nice job keeping the pressure on and taking advantage of your opponents mistakes. :)
35. Qf5 mate.
It's better to be lucky than good, though.
How so? I'd place skill over luck.
You did very well and had the balls to attack your opponents exposed king at the expense of your own king's safety and even gave up your pieces and pawns for the attack. You played an "all or nothing" game with a very pretty finish (35. Qf5# just doesn't look as awesome as a queen between both rooks). Sometimes, it's not how many pieces you have, but how many active pieces you have, and although you gave up pieces, it was really you that was up in material because all of your opponents pieces were inactive. Very well played.
There were a number of players who had world-championship class skill but never quite made it to the top because of bad luck. Paul Keres and David Bronstein are the most obvious examples.
Keres won the 1938 AVRO tournament, which meant that he was first in line for a WCC match against the reigning World Chess Champion, Alekhine. While negotiations were underway, the Second World War started. Alekhine spent the war years in Axis-occupied lands or in Axis-aligned countries such as Franco's Spain; while Keres spent those years on the Russian side of the front. By the time the war ended, Alekhine was under boycott because of some anti-semitic rants that had been published under his name (it's hard to say how much he had to do with writing them). Before the controversy was put to rest and a match arranged, Alekhine died. Keres was denied his title match. He continued to compete for the right to a WCC match... coming second in the Candidates Tournament on four occasions but never quite qualifying.
Bronstein's story is similar. He tied for first in the 1950 Interzonal, and had to play a sudden-death match with Boleslavski. It was also drawn, so they had to play yet another playoff match. Bronstein won that one, but only drew him WCC match against the reigning champion, Botvinnik, after leading the match until the second-last game. Then in the 1958 Interzonal, he had all but qualified when a power-failure at the playing site broke his concentration and he lost his last-round game to a much weaker player. Then in the Amsterdam 1964 Interzonal, he scored well enough that he would have advanced to the Candidates if he hadn't been Russian... under the then-current rules, only three players from any single country were allowed into the Candidates, and Bronstein would have made four Russians.
Keres won the 1938 AVRO tournament, which meant that he was first in line for a WCC match against the reigning World Chess Champion, Alekhine. While negotiations were underway, the Second World War started. Alekhine spent the war years in Axis-occupied lands or in Axis-aligned countries such as Franco's Spain. By the time the war ended, Alekhine was under boycott because of some anti-semitic rants that had been published under his name (it's hard to say how much he had to do with writing them). Before the controversy was put to rest and a match arranged, Alekhine died. Keres was denied his title match. He continued to compete for the right to a WCC match... coming second in the Candidates Tournament on four occasions but never quite qualifying.
I see. Wow, that's interesting! ^-^
Thanks to everyone who posted and also thanks for the great history lesson.
You could castle Queenside to get a rook on the d-file and protect the b-pawn.
Maybe I should have but felt like I didn't have enough protection to castle and wanted to lure his queen away from middle by offering b pawn sac while still controling d file.
Luck, sort of? It takes skill to have a plan and execute it, but you by no means forced him into a mate. You have enough advantage to probably win it eventually anyway, but he played poorly starting with Qxb2 and from there going from bad to worse rather than evaluate the position and handle your attacks. Kf6 was a mistake, he should probably play Rd8? I think he can block any queen checks with his queen if he plays it correctly, and nothing else can get in there to attack. You could hang your knight for nothing in the proecss, or castle behind a poor pawn structure, but IMHO its about equal before Kf6.
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