Free Game Analysis: Online Battles
For today’s post, I would like to show an online game that shared with me from a young player out of Virginia Beach. If you too would like your game analyzed by me, make sure to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll feature it in the next post!
Bchninja4 – rob13 (15’+10″, chess.com)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+
Even though I’m not a 1 e4 player, this move cannot be the most accurate way to handle a Philidor. White invites Black to attack the b5 bishop while creating a hold on the center. Remember, the only reason why 3. Bb5 is a strong move in the Ruy Lopez is because when Black has a knight on c6, it becomes uncomfortable for Black to move the d-pawn. A general idea to remember is that it's not worth checking your opponent if you cannot also improve your position.
3…c6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.dxe5 Bxf3?
This move deserves a question mark because it defeats the purpose of Black’s last move, 6… Bh4. In general, If you play a move like Bg4/Bg5 to pin the knight, you need to be ready to take the knight should your opponent attack your bishop with the h-pawn. By not following this concept, Black lost a critical tempo to develop.
8.Qxf3 dxe5 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Nc3 Nbd7 11.O-O-O Qc7 12.Rd2 h5?
A strategic mistake! With this move, Black makes it much more difficult to castle kingside while also making it more difficult to kick the g5 bishop. Black should have considered 13… Ne5, attacking the a4 bishop. Black’s intention should not be to trade for the light squared bishop, but to castle kingside and contest the d-file – specifically the d4 square. From c5, the knight can always trade for the bishop, but for the time being, it would put pressure on the e4 pawn.
13.Rhd1 O-O 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.g4!
Good technique! White punishes Black for having a poor kingside structure, and plans to make use of the weak d7 square.
15…hxg4 16.hxg4 Nh7 17.Rd7 Bg5+ 18.Kb1 Qb6 19.Bb3 Nf6 20.R7d2??
I give this move two question marks for the thought process that went behind it. In his email to me, White explained: “I sac the rook since that bishop was worth 5 to me since it was blocking my pawn and aiming down on the king side”. This thought process is incorrect for a couple reasons. 1) This move is a passive tactic, meaning that the entire line assumes that Black will willingly take the rook, when in reality a move like …Ra8-d8 can be played. Such moves need to be considered for this move to work. 2) The bishop on g5 is actually a really bad piece. The weakest square on Black’s kingside is h7, which the dark square bishop can never protect. Furthermore, should the bishop move, it risks allowing the g5-g4 push. If a rook was to be sacrificed, why not for the f6 knight? At least its a much more active defender and covers Black’s critical squares. A sample line would go 20. Qf5 Nxd7 21. Rxd7, and Black now has to deal with pressure on f7 and a g-pawn push. White is winning. 3) Using point values to calculate generally leads to really artificial play. Even though we are taught each piece’s point value when we learn how to play, these are merely heuristics for computer engines and constantly change based on the position. In general, don’t compare point values, compare actual value to the position.
20…Bxd2 21.Rxd2 Rfd8 22.Rxd8+ Qxd8
Either way Black recaptures is losing, but Black should have recaptured with the rook to have one more active piece in the game.
The try …g7-g5 might not be inconceivable here. Already in a worse position, Black can seek counterplay using his one passed pawn.
24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Qxb7 Rb8 26.Qxc6 Rc8 27.Qd5 Qxg5 28.a4 Rd8 29.Qb7 Qg1+ 30.Ka2 Qxf2 31.Nb5 Nf6 32.Nxa7 Qd4
An unfortunate blunder, but White is already winning the endgame. Again Black needed to make the position as complicated as possible by pushing the g-pawn and hoping for the best.
33.Nc6 Qxe4 34.Nxd8 Qxb7 35.Nxb7 Nd5 1-0
Black blunders on the final move, ending the game.
In a rather one sided game, we learn a lot about mentality and attacking chess. Let’s go over the key points:
- “Patzer see a check, patzer play a check” – In this game, White lost time with an early Bb5+ when a move like Bc4 would have been much more practical. Only check your opponent if it helps you make progress.
- Don’t weaken your own pawn structure! – The move 12… h5 alone may have cost Black the game as White had a lot of counterplay as a result. Look for ways to activate your developed pieces once you’ve finished the main opening ideas.
- Don’t consider point values when analyzing – Trust your own intuition when calculating the differences in piece value. Knowing that a piece covers key squares and another piece serves little to know function might be enough for you to make rational over the board decisions.
- “When you are losing, go crazy!” – This was something one of my former coaches taught me when I was ~1800. If you are worse in a position, you have to seek counterplay and contest your opponent’s desires. Black failed to make a serious push for the advantage in the endgame and thus failed to stay in the game. Simply making his g-pawn promoting a threat may have helped him get back to a more tenable position.
I’ll be looking forward to more game analysis posts in the future! Send me games!