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There's no free lunch: a simple case of identifying threats that can be ignored

There's no free lunch: a simple case of identifying threats that can be ignored

Nov 9, 2016, 1:03 PM 0

The following game is from a couple weeks ago. Forgive me for choosing a blitz game (at least it's a 10 min blitz game). In the game, my opponent chose a divergence from the main line of the variation of the Scotch Game we were playing. I believe the game was still salvagable (for him) until he chose to double my pawns on the f-file by trading his strong white bishop for my sedentary knight on f3. This appeared to be strong since I was castled kingside and a semi-open file was created on the g-file with my king seemingly wide open. Unfortunately for my opponent, I think this apparent static advantage was useless given my overwhelming dynamic advantage.

In the following analysis, I will attempt to prove the assertions above by referring to other games, evaluating alternative moves, and utilizing Stockfish in complicated positions. It is entirely possible, maybe even probable, that this evaluation will reveal that my lofty opinion of my advantage in the game is unsubstantiated. Let's find out. First, here is the game until he diverted from the mainline:

The last move played above, d6, was the point at which we diverted from the mainline. According to MCO-13, the correct move would be either dxc3, d3, or Nf6 (which transposes to the Giuoco Piano). Nevertheless, a search in chess.com's master game database reveals that d6 is actually the second most common response in this position. A further investigation reveals that I, rather than my opponent chose the slightly inferior continuation after:
Given that this is a blitz game, the aggressive Qb3 is not bad at all especially at the given rating level. Computer evaluation does not give black a significant advantage anyways. Stockfish's recommended continuation only gives black a 0.2 lead:
Our continuation was not quite as precise as the continuation chosen by one of the highest rated chess engines, but I believe it still provides some valuable insight (despite a couple irksome tactical blunders). Black decides to trade off his bishops, leaving me with the bishop pair and a strong center. Further evaluation reveals I missed an obvious in-between move however after:
The correct move however was:
Given that I instead chose to take the bishop black decided to return my gift with a defensive blunder of his own after:
Instead black should have played:
Then after Na5, black would be able to play b6 and retreat his king to the other side of the board via d7, e8, f8 if necessary.
Choosing an alternative to Na5, the game ended rather quickly:
Looking at my blitz game closely revealed a number of errors that must be corrected. My initial opinion that I had the upper hand for most of the game was very wrong. If anything can be learned from this game, positional considerations should be a lower priority than tactical considerations especially in a blitz game. Also, playing a couple standard games instead of a lot of blitz games would be much more productive as far as becoming a better chess player is concerned. 

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