My Nineteenth Chess Tournament, Game 1 (Outplaying the Marshall Defense)

Aug 6, 2013, 8:21 PM |

For almost a whole year, all of the games that I've played with the White pieces started exclusively with 1. e4. The last time I played 1. d4, or any opening move other than 1. e4 for that matter, was on August 10, 2012, in which I played the Queen's Gambit and missed several opportunities to win. I eventually repeated positions in a winning king and pawn ending, and the game was drawn.

After that disappointing game, I stuck to playing 1. e4 for a while. Perhaps I was afraid to play other opening moves, as I don't have much knowledge of Black defenses to other common opening moves like 1. d4, 1. c4, or 1. Nf3. I know a good amount about the Queen's Gambit. In fact, I usually play the Slav Defense when I face the Queen's Gambit with the Black pieces. However, my knowledge of the various Indian defenses isn't so great. For instance, I know very few lines of the Nimzo-Indian, Bogo-Indian, and Queen's Indian.

In this game, I put aside that fear of playing into an unfamiliar opening, and decided to give 1. d4 a try. After a couple of moves, the game transposed into the Marshall Defense in the Queen's Gambit, which was advantageous for me. This was an opening that I found relatively easy to play with White, as Black loses time and all of his central control. After creating several pawn weaknesses in my opponent's camp, I exchanged several pieces so that I could target those weaknesses in the endgame. The win came easily when my opponent blundered a piece near the end of the game.

Here is the game:

Themes: Double Attacks, Forks, X-Ray Attack, Clearance Sacrifice, Zugzwang, Pins, King Activity, Opening Lines, Simplification, Using Bishops, Isolated Pawns, Weak Pawns, Backward Pawns, Doubled Pawns, Blockading, Passed Pawns, Central Pawn Majority, Converting Extra Material, Mating Nets, Bishops vs Knight