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I've been experimenting with different responces to d4, and I think I found one that I like.
This is one of my first games with it (my second or third).
I annotated it with my thoughts and some alternate lines that I either considered or was afraid of.
Well done, you totally dominated that game and seemed to play well above your rating.
Many of your comments also seem accurate (for example, I also think that 9... Nxe4 should be somewhat more accurate). White lost because he played the opening too slow, without a plan and forgot to castle. For example 8. a3 is basically a wasted move since Nb4 is not a threat and playing b4 in the near future is not realistic due to black's strong Bg7 (for example 9. b4? is refuted by 9... Nfxd5). playing e3+e4 in two turns also makes bad impression.
I also got the impression that he was unfamiliar with this opening. I knew that 5. e3 was a weaker move that e4, but I didn't know how to take advanage of it.
Well, 5. e3 is only bit passive but probably not weak move per se. White's mistakes came later. Maybe 8. a3?! is the first move that genuinely looks suspect but also, since white had already committed to e3, maybe he shouldn't be in that much hurry to close the centre with 7. d5).
I see what you're saying. With the d5 push, is that something generally done when you have a pawn on e4 to back it up?
I ask because I play queen's gambit lines, and I've been seeing 1... Nf6 as opposed to 1...d5 more often as my rank rises, and I'm still working out how to play against it.
Yes d5 claiming some space is often standard reaction followed or preceded by e4.
Here, the problem was that white played e3+e4 in 2 turns loosing a move. In general, whatever setup is chosen one should always try to play logically and demonstrate good sides of their position. In this game white maybe should have used the one positive aspect of e3 namely that it protects d4.
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