One Stupid Endgame

One Stupid Endgame

Jul 16, 2015, 9:51 PM |

Inspired by Phil's own self-deprecating posts, and being around the same rating, I present my own pathetic game, wherein I made at least 65 mistakes, and probably 65 blunders, fill players in on what I was thinking, and send the games through Chessmaster Grandmaster Edition (my substitute for a real GM). I would use Stockfish, but I don't know how. 

I've been playing the Queen's Gambit as White since... 2005. It's my opening. I love it, and I daresay that I know all its transpositions and lines. As Black, I naturally play QGD against White's 1.d4 d5 2.c4 (which, in my experience, is the only reasonable counter to 1...d5) or the Sicilian--one of the Advanced Dragon lines--when faced with 1.e4. I think I actually do better as Black with the Sicilian than I do as White, but I haven't run the numbers.
Anyway, the move 4. Nf3 isn't anything special. It is, however, my last chance for e4. Both Knight moves are pretty much "stalling" in the Queen's Gambit (although helpful, no doubt). I really wanted 4...dxc3 5.e4 Bb4 6. e5, but would probably have gotten the Slav Defense: 4...dxc3 5.e4 b5 6.a4 c6 7.b3 followed with 7...Bb4 or 7...a6. This honestly isn't my favorite result of the Queen's Gambit, because the Slav Defense butchers White's Queenside with very little advantage, but as you'll see, the position later becomes almost exactly like the Slav Defense--my Queenside is almost gone. All in all, I really wanted that pawn to be taken.

Chessmaster has this to say: Queen's Gambit / Declined / Declined 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3.

Thanks, Chessmaster. That's very helpful. 

5.c5 is either a ! or a ?. It's not a neutral move. On one hand, it could lead to this:

...which is a position that I think is pretty solid for White. I feel really good about that position, but I didn't spend much time looking for a true counter and went with 5...b6 for reasons that probably aren't good. 

Chessmaster helpfully says: Protects White's knight at c3 and blocks Black's pawn at d5. White wins a pawn for a pawn. Black is ahead by a pawn in material. 

That is about the little sideline there. Returning to the actual game, I did continue sorta as I would have liked:

...Not very pretty for White. I have no idea why I didn't move Qa4 instead of taking the stupid Knight. Qa4 is vastly superior, from what I see, but I didn't even consider the move during the game. 

Chessmaster finally offers some feedback: Score: -0.75 9.Ne5 Bd7 10.a3 cxd4 11.exd4 Be7 12. O-O O-O 13. Bg5 Rb8, which would look like this:

That is certainly a powerful position for Black. In fact, it's clearly winning. I would have an extremely difficult time breaking through that defense.

Another bizarre pawn move that I can't really justify, since this basically gives Black a pin and a pawn, managing only to free my Rook (which does prove very helpful) and force Bb2, which isn't very helpful itself, before I can actually castle kingside.

But, if I'm going to be honest, my intuition was telling me something here. I know that chess is not won by intuition. But, at the same time, you do have some inner sense that tells you when you have an advantage that can be capitalized on. 

But I didn't find that advantage. I didn't even look for it. My eye was heavily focused on that extremely weak f7 pawn, and I spent way more time than I should have, looking for a way to sacrifice that Knight and blast his Kingside open with my Queen.

This move did save the Knight, which is what I wanted; I was not willing to give up the e5 square, nor was I willing to trade Knights for Bishops. The position was simply too unstable for me to be willing to trade off my Knight for a Bisho. 

Chessmaster had nothing useful to say.

Honestly, I'm still feeling pretty good about the position. It has striking similarities to the end result of the Slav Defense, a line I am very familiar with, and I'm also a pawn down in the Slav Defense. Unlike the Slav Defense, I do not have a black pawn breathing down my beck at c3, so that's a plus. 

Chessmaster says of this position: Score: -0.78 16. Rxa7 O-O 17.Ba5 Qc8 18.Bxc7 Ra8 19.Rxa8 Qxa8 20.Qb2 Qa6 21. Bd6, which looks like this:

 And I just accidentally deleted half the post. Um... Not redoing it. The full game is here. Notice how it takes me 20 freaking moves to checkmate with K-Q. 

I apologize for the mistake, if anyone actually reads this, I will be more careful on future posts. Unless there's a rollback button...?