Pausing to Reflect


I am pausing to reflect before I get started on the Zurich 1953 series. I thought I’d share a game that I won last week at the club against an 1800+ player. That may not be saying much as I am closing in on the Class A threshold but it's a significant game as I won it with a tactic.

This game was interesting to me as I played the white side of a Slav defense. Since I usually play the Slav as Black, I debated whether to see how far down the rabbit hole I could take him before either of pops out of the main book lines. Instead I decided to lessen his chances and play a tamer exchange variation that has a drawish reputation. I wasn’t up for any dxc4 lines so this was what I played against this Class A player. I managed to win this by sticking it out positionally through-out the middle game and hitting him with a tactical shot that won me a knight. But being the fool that I am, I almost blew it as you will see. I had to do some fancy dancing and was glad his time was running low during a complicated position that he didn’t play his best move. Phew! I’ll take the point.

( I chose this “headline” since play shifted on both sides of the board)


Key Points:
1) Playing an exchange Slav could be drawish but against a higher rated played I'll take that chance
2) When Black plays an early QB to f5 and locks it out with e6, Qb3 is strong and immediately exposes the weakness in the position.
3) Knowing when to exchange queens is crucial.
4) Tactical shots nets a knight but sloppy play almost lost the game.
5) Look deep during desparate times.
So far this month I have no losses. 1 draw and 2 wins means I go into the last round of the month with a plus score. If I lose I am still gaining 20 rating points which will bring me to my highest USCF score to date. Winning will get me over 1800, wish me luck. I face Count Draw-cula again.