Can You Play Like (or Better Than) a WCM?

Can You Play Like (or Better Than) a WCM?

beccrajoy
WCM beccrajoy
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23

Happy New Year everyone, I hope your 2021 is off to a good start! It’s been a while since I did any games or analysis on my blog, so I’ve decided to show some of the games I played at the end of 2020 as part of a classical (60m+10s) double round robin tournament with my chess club. Although they haven’t been OTB games, the games were played with a longer time control and I took them more seriously than I usually take online chess; overall, I feel like I’ve had some good games.

I present two of the games below, where I focus on key moments, presenting a number of positions as puzzles for you to try out yourself. I didn’t always find the best move myself, so hopefully you can do better than I did!

GAME ONE

This game was one I’m quite proud of, against a player I usually lose to. I felt comfortable out of the opening, and although I battled with some plans in the middle game, I fortunately hit upon the right plan:

Qa2-Qb3 has just been played, and the a3 pawn is now under attack. What is the correct plan for black here?

Instead of recapturing on d4, my opponent opted for 23. Nf1. Here, I had a number of options to consider. Capturing on c3 is the best according to the engine, but although I felt I was better after 31… dxc3, I felt the position was still complicated and I couldn’t see anything more than a few-pawn advantage. Can you find what I opted for instead?

The rest, as they say, was a matter of technique and it ended with a nice tactic after white played 30. Ne3, resulting in the following position:

GAME TWO

The second game was against a player who I’ve played against countless times in blitz games, but not in a slower time control. I managed to gain a good advantage out of the opening, which I partially lost with the sequence of moves shown below.

Fortunately, my opponent played too aggressively, and I was soon dealing with a large advantage in a sharp position. I played fairly well until I reached this critical moment where I felt a king move had to do the trick. It does, but sadly I chose the king move that drastically reduces black’s advantage!

In the position below, which of the king moves is the worst?

I then doubled down on my earlier blunder, and the game petered out to a draw. Nevertheless, I was happy with the various advantages I had gained during the game, and once again I realized that I need to improve on converting my advantages into full points!

OTHER GAMES

Some of my other games in the event have had some nice tactics, so I present two as puzzles for you to try solve. Thank you for reading, and good luck with your chess in 2021!

Black has pressure on the white king, but the white pieces seem to be covering everything. How should black proceed?

After being attacked on b7, black's queen has offered itself for exchange on c7 with an attack on the c4 knight. How should white respond?