An interesting game that I lost today

Jul 12, 2015, 12:45 AM |

I was just playing a game against a player here on and although I haven't actually played chess since high school (I'm now about to finish my sophomore year of college!) I think I did reasonably well. But I will attempt to analyze the game and spot my mistakes.


I began with the typical pawn e4, which was met with e5, as can be seen below.



The last move is one I couldn't quite understand. It was a puzzling addition to Philodor's defence, but that was probably the intention. What I should have done was return with d4, but instead I played g3. This may have been a mistake, but I was okay with it as it prompted his bishop to g4, as in the following few moves.


Then a series of positional moves resulted from the queen standoff, viz. nights and bishops, but then the classic move I like to make to return pressure super difficultates with rooks on the back row.


While possibly considering the additional pressure my rook was applying down the f-column (now I'm using matrix terminology), my opposition didn't quite act on it, as you can see, instead moving Nb6 to pressure my bishop on c4. Notice also that, prior to those moves, I decided not to queen trade. I'm not typically one to queen trade in fact, especially during early to mid game.


The last move inspired me to pay attention to the RHS of the board more after my bishop's retreat to b3. Thus f4 seemed like a logical move to free up their structure, as can be seen in the following moves.



I thought O-O-O at the end was quite strong because my rook, again, landed on the same column their queen was on. Their next move wasn't surprising, but at the same time it wasn't to my benefit because my queen was somewhat pinned to the pawn on h3. I also noticed the diagonal file their queen was on started to open up, which would become part of a larger plan in the coming moves. Overall, I felt quite confident at this point since my development appeared much broader than theirs. The following moves I made weren't very good at all, at least that's my belief now, because they allowed them to catch up on that development and get further ahead.



I initially found my move Ne2 to be quite strong, "backing up" both my bishop on f4 and the pawn in front of my queen on g3. But then their move, Be7, was the beginning of their comeback. My move Be3 wasn't a very good move at all, and the reason I think that is because the past two moves I hadn't really progressed in any way; rather I retracted much of my influence upon the opposite side of the board in hopes of positional strength. My following move, d4, was perhaps more defensive than it was offensive as I look it over now. Given their lack of offensive capability, I probably could have, and should have, made that move one sooner, instead of moving my bishop. That allowed my opponent to take a more aggressive move, d5. Hence, they were now on the offensive with my cautiousness, and I was to respond.


Their last move Nc3 really had me on the defensive, because I knew they would trade their night for my bishop (I had already indicated my willingness to try and save them earlier in the game).



The most logical move I saw at the time was Bd2, not realizing their advantage on black due to their bishop on e7. Thus, I took it with a rook. A better move may have been to take it with my king, but again, they would be able to get their bishop into position by putting me in check.


My intention here was to place my bishop on f5, which I thought to be a rather strong move (hence my mentioning of that opening diagonal earlier). Instead I was caught one move behind, on the defense, because of my rather bad "positional" moves earlier. Thus, I saw the best option as blocking the bishop with my knight, which they promptly traded.


The wrong move I made in the sequence above was f5. Of course, I had forgotten about the bishop they had moved back to its former position (somewhat obvious, but we all make mistakes). I decided to just continue pushing the pawns, and they took my rook to gain a material advantage.


With my bishop and rook in position to storm their king I thought that, given I was at a disadvantage at this point, I would just sacrifice my bishop. If their queen weren't in row 7 I probably could have won with this move (assuming they decided to take it thereafter).



Because I was on the defensive after f7, I had no choice but to move my rook that was being pressured after their Qxh3. My hope was that it would strengthen my assault against their king and I was hoping they wouldn't just "sacrifice" their queen for my rook -- obviously that could be a last resort as losing a queen is better than the other possibility. But instead they responded to my move, Rg2, with Qf4, which meant I most surely had lost.


I decided to resign at that point because it was simply unwinnable if they knew what they were doing. For instance, the move Kc3 would result in a queen trade and I would be at a severe material disadvantage, but also the possibility that they take my pawn on f7, which would render my assault useless. Their queen is also most effective in that position because I cannot take Qxh6, which would have been checkmate.


I look forward to analyzing future games!