A Fun Rebound From Last Week

NM blitzcopter
Aug 2, 2016, 10:05 PM |

[no you don't have to read the whole post]

[I started doing Tables of Contents for Chess^Summit posts!]

After my rather sudden defeat (to say the least) from last week, I needed a nice comeback rather badly. I was happy to do so in a rather fun game tonight, especially given the amount of pressure I put on myself in similar situations. NM Grant Xu talked about psychological resiliency in his Chess^Summit post from two weeks ago, and if I may say myself, I think tonight is a good example. Who would have thought I'd eke out a 4-hour win against the top seed after being crushed mercilessly by an 1800 the week before?

Nevertheless, last week's game has already started to make an impression on me; I finally started exploring some similar Caro-Kann positions, which I talked about in my Chess^Summit post this morning.

Unfortunately this didn't leave a lot of time to think about what to play against local master Kevin Carl. We played twice before officially, and some blitz, and his openings didn't play well with me. So I just settled on a less theory-heavy old favorite - French Tarrasch 3. Nd2.

Overall, a solid and exciting game. I likely didn't play against the IQP optimally but was never significantly worse, managed an initiative out of my tactical escape (pawn sac), and stayed cool under pressure (both of us used almost the full 2 hours) when Kevin tried to push for too much.

Some notes:

  • 4...c5?! doesn't seem to mix well with 3...Be7; Black just commits to giving up a tempo early
  • 6. Bb5+ was kind of rushed. 7. Qe2! would have been a nice find, but Bb5 is kind of pointless unless I trade it off. Also could have kept the tension til a more favorable moment.
  • 14. g3 was kind of weird, but rerouting the bishop to attack d5 worked out in the end (underscores the futility of Bb5 though!).
  • 18. Bf4!? seemed like the only obvious chance to untangle, but I was kind of surprised Black took the pawn (I gave it a 30% chance).
  • Screwed up move order a little; 21. Nxc6 cuts down Black's options a bunch.
  • I think Black would have been safer not trading the knights on move 24. Too much open b-file.
  • Missed a nice tactic; 28. Bxd5+!! Qxd5 29. Qe7. I was still better after 28. Qxd6 but it dissipated.
  • Forgot Ba4 defends d7 after 31. g4. Still 32. Rb5 was there, but kind of peters out.
  • Later, it's pretty equal obviously. 42...Rd3?! is playing with fire, although if Black had traded pieces with 45...Nxa2 instead of 45...Rd2+ 46. Kg3 Be4? (what's he going for) I don't think the pawn would have been enough to win.
  • Nice mating possibilities I got there.