Playing and misplaying positions: an instructive game

Sep 10, 2015, 1:54 PM |
Most beginners ,amateurs or even pros sometimes are not used to the "application" of positional play; we merely have the ideas, some would have practiced problems or seen positional niceties or blunders in master games. However, master games are no easy business, and most of the time, we, or atleast I, do not get the whole ideas of them properly, and end up studying the game with lots of questions inside my head. This game, where I played as black, is one where some positional features came, the piece placements generated ideas, and te game proceeded with somewhat planning from both sides. The game, unlike GM games, should be lot lot more easier for the players below expert level, to get a grasp on positional features.
 And last but not the least, this game shows, how a single bad move can ruin the whole advantage within moments. Hope you find the game instructive and enjoyable 

I tried to mention the ideas in details after critical moves, without showing much calculated variations.
The clash of ideas:

Here, let us take a break and evaluate the position. Let's use simple basics like open file control , piece placement, King safety, threats etc to evaluate. 
1. The files: there are only two files open, the c and e file, and black is inching closer to controlling the e file. 
2. Targets:  Black "had" the weak pawn on d6, but the 16. Nd5?? "exchange idea" blunder slaps in the face and actaully d5 protects d6 now.The f4 bishop somehow attacks d6 still, but needs more firepower to win the pawn.
                Black, on the other hand, clearly puts lot of pressure on b2, the only good way to defend is to play c3, which is pretty much forced now. The b7 bishop eyes d5, although he dare not take it, since white could find that d6 target again, with huge play if black does so. however, d5 is a weakness, and can be mined afterwards. The queen on e2 is also subject to harassment along the open e file. Black is about to get some tempos.
3. Piece placement: The position of the queen, light squared bishop and the b3 knight of white is questionalbe, and demands better places, it would have been a lot better for white if the queen and bishop of f3 were interchanged.
            The only bad piece for black, if any, is the rook on a8, (I do not think b7 bishop as bad piece) and it is not hard for black to use the rook to good effect. The c4 knight is one power horse, devouring all the dark squares he can, the queen and the bishop on f6, set up a perfect dark square domination,
Black is better, Unfortunately, I am not strong enough to say how much better, and if it can be won or not.  
I, having played black, took a lot of time bringing about this position, and was feeling very happy; but, I was in a bit of time trouble. so I had to keep and eye on time too. The only downside of black maybe, he lacks time.
Pushing positional advantages:
Lets look at the position, again:

 Black's endgame is superior, as he has managed to create white pawn islands, his king approaches the center faster. If somehow, just somehow, he activates the b7 bishop, white should be in trouble. 
 Positional "Misplay": game gone:

This simple game, rich in so many positional little concepts, ( well, until the disaster endgames) , and subtlities, should offer some ideas on how a position could be played, or " misplayed" ( I did both ofcourse ). I found the game so very instructive while revising through it, I just could not help sharing, despite being on the losing side; and not to mention, publishing my first blog. :)

Hopefully it was fun and worthwhile reading. Thank you