The art of self-binding

Today was the day I was supposed to win my first OTB game. It was time for a rematch against my opponent 1876. His name is of course not 1876, but this is his rating, so it will do as a nick for this post.

I have spent some time trying to prepare a good opening. Usually, I open with d4, but I felt I wanted to give e4 a whirl. I expected that he would respond with e5 or c5. I had found an exciting version of the sicilian that I have studied a bit, and also some ideas for how to play against e5. However, my opponent chose the French defense. *sigh*

Along with Caro-Kann, the French is the opening system I am the least familiar with (among the "standard" systems). So I quickly found myself in unknown territory, and managed to outplay myself on behalf of my opponent.

In the game, I lost my focus and blundered a piece, but in the post-mortem, we concluded that white was busted anyway because of extremely poor piece placement.

Take a look at the position below. How does white even survive?

There are many things to take from this game, such as the nice mating net that black found (and I missed), and the potential tactics in the middle game. But most of all, the positional blunders I made just make me feel nausious (or nauseated, according to Sheldon Cooper).

So I take with me some lessons.

  • Learn the main ideas of the "standard" openings
  • Don't let pieces trip over one another
  • Don't trap your own pieces!
  • Develop pieces to squares where they have a future
  • (Beware of tricky mates)

As ususal, feel free to comment below.


  • 3 years ago


    Having reviewed the game, and your comments, cheesemate, I can agree that things would not have been quite as bad as suggested, if I had played the intended line (instead of 15. Bxf3). My computer gives black just a minute edge after 15. Bc4+ Kh8 16. cxd6.

    That being said, I will maintain that my "learning points" are still valid. I got myself into more trouble than I had to, and without having done any deeper analyses of alternatives for black, I am sure that I could have been punished more than I was, even if I had not blundered the piece. Having the pieces on top of each other is rarely a good thing. It limits the options, and gives the opponent an unwarranted advantage. 

  • 3 years ago


    Hey man, I took a look at your game, and I don't think it was as bleak as you thought it was. I put some comments in brackets below. I didn't check with a computer or anything so you might want to double check my thoughts
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