Game 180309

Mar 9, 2018, 5:13 PM |
The primary purpose of this blog is to keep a record of my OTB games so as to be able to learn from them and discuss them easily with my fellow club players. However if anyone else has any useful comments, I would be happy to read them. This game is played in the bottom chess league in the UK. Don't read it and expect a beautiful game ;-).
I mistakenly thought during the game, that my opponent had played the faulty Slav by playing 4...Bf5, and was trying to find out how to take advantage. His move 8...Be6 was not good because it forced my queen onto a better square and blocked his central e-pawn from challenging the centre. It also forced his black bishop to develop to g7, where it was firing at a brick wall at c3 and d4. I missed a tactic  where I could have played 10. Rb1, skewering the Queen to the b pawn. I had thought that if black replies Qa5, then he is threatening my a pawn, and I have to move it, losing a tempo. However, in fact if my opponent plays Qa5, I can take the b-pawn with my rook and am threatening to take the knight on b8, so black has to move the knight and does not have time to take my a-pawn.
I got greedy at move 15, and went for a cheap shot tactic, playing 15. Be3, taking the bishop off the powerful h2-b8 diagonal, in order to x-ray the queen, hoping to play d5 on the next turn, with discovered attack on the queen, winning my opponent's white bishop. He saw through that and moved the Queen safely out of the way to c7, losing me the equivalent of a pawn in position according to's stockfish analysis. 
I finally got 16. Rab1 in, but too late to skewer the Queen and gain any advantage. I lost another 0.7 of a pawn with the next move, 17. Rfd1, according to Stockfish, which would rather that I push the c-pawn forward. I can't understand why this pawn push is so much better than centralizing a rook. At this point, we were almost even and my opponent offered a draw. However as I incorrectly thought that my opponent had misplayed the opening, and as my pawn centre was strong and my development was ahead, I declined, and went on to win the match.