The Cat With Nine Lives

The Cat With Nine Lives

GM Illingworth

For today's post, I've shared a recent blitz game I played, where I used one of my nine lives to win a game where I got outplayed up and down the board. My annotations ended up being quite brief, so I've included them in full. 

Three things I learned from this game:

1) In the position after 14...f4, Black is threatening 15...f5! and the idea behind 15.Rfd1 or 15.Rad1 is to stop ...f5 - e.g. 15.Rfd1 f5? 16.exf5! Bxd5 17.f6! Rxf6 18.Bxh7 Kf8 19.Rxd5. That's why you see Black meet these rook moves with ...Kh8, to prepare the ...f5 break. 

2) I played the middlegame far too quietly - it's important to be quite direct in these positions, before White plays a4, pressures the a6-pawn and stabilizes the queenside and center. A good example is 15...Kh8? followed by 16...Ra7?, which reflected the fact I hadn't studied these positions in a long time. 

3) I completely missed 20...Bb3!, which I would normally see immediately, because I was too fixated on my opponent's threats, and forgot to look for whether I could make a stronger threat.

See you tomorrow with a new post!