The Defenders: Strange Heroes
Whilst we all love attacking, one mustn't forget The Defenders. These are "strange heroes" who never get Man of the Match awards. They seek no glory, often forgotten when the battle is over and retire with nothing but battle scars whilst more illustrious colleagues bask in glory.
I paid a heavy price in forgetting these "Strange Heroes". I discarded them cheaply in the name of exchanging pieces in a "cramped" position, misbelieving my opponent would not have as much firepower to hurt me.
What is wrong with 13. ... Nh4?
I played 13. ... Nh4 in the (mistaken) belief that I was easing my position by exchanging off two pieces.
The flaw in my logic is that I was exchanging defenders of my Kingside position!
After 14. Bxh7+ Kxh7 15. Nxh5 Bxh5 16. f4! it suddenly dawns on me I have no one left on my Kingside to fight against the advance of f5.
Then after 16. ... g6 17 Rg3! I am sorely missing my defenders as White's Rook on c3 swings over to the Kingside via the 3rd rank.
Excellent play by my opponent. This taught me a lesson. Value your defenders.
What is Black's priority?
Black is faced with a very difficult position. Rh3 and Qg4 are coming.
I played 17. ... Nb6? but it's too late for this. This is the type of move that should have been played when I had Kingside defenders.
I believe the most important thing for Black to prevent is the advance of f5, which would allow White's Bishop to crash through to h6.
Black had to play 17. ... f5 18. ef Bxf6 in order to fight on, as the lesser of all evils.
My Game Annotations and Analysis