Annotated Game #3: A Hard-Fought Draw
First of all, I want to apologize for not posting at all last week. I erased my annotations last Wednesday and completely rewrote them for one reason: because reading @solskytz's incredible Untitled Tuesday report made me realize that my annotations weren't written that well at all. I hope the better notes were worth two days.
I'm writing to you early in June, having not played a slow game in two weeks. I guess I'll have to fix that because I'm not signed up for anything right now, but anyway...
This was the last game I played in May, in the third round of the monthly tournament against an 1850 player. I had been in generally great form throughout the past couple of months and scored 3/4 versus opponents averaging about 1650-1700.
I like this game because of its overall good quality and a good and almost aesthetically pleasing defense of a bad position by simply grabbing the remaining positive features of my position with two hands and throwing them at White repeatedly.
So, where to start? There's quite a bit to talk about with this game as regards improvement, so I'll just run through it from start to finish.
- Failing to play ... d5. I think this was a result of me playing the opening and not the board, and I don't really know how to fix that, as there are very strong players that do the same thing. I guess this ties in to my "inconsistent thought process" problem in that ... d5 should be one of the first things to occur to a player in positions like these.
- The passive plan with ... Nd8. This was a combination of multiple things. The first is that I completely missed the move 19... a5! after 18... Nb4 19. Bb1, the second was possibly subconscious "rating fear" and the third was that I was familiar with the idea of ... Nd8-f7 and didn't care to calculate two or three moves ahead and see that the Knight was misplaced on f7.
- 24... Bf8?! and "mental breakdown" on h6. I guess this move was reflexive in a way and so was 23... b4?!. Both have something in common: I saw an annoying idea by White and just reacted to it in a knee-jerk fashion. In the case of 23... b4?! it was the spatial gain b2-b4 (although I could have challenged that threat more too) and for 24... Bf8!? it was seeing White pointing stuff at h6 and freaking out not realizing that White owns the h6 square already. Overall, this was a very good game for me, and I'm proud of the way I handled the ugly position after 29... hxg6. There are some flaws, but these are problems that every class player has, and I'm good with that.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the archived comments to the VC game where I played this variation as Black. It's a really rich and complex game and the comments serve as a better, more engaging version of annotations, showcasing the evolution of each team's decision as a thought process in slow motion.
I'll see you all whenever I post next, whether I post again this week or maybe next week. One thing's for sure: I fully intend on giving you guys three posts in these next two weeks.