Continental Open 2013, Round 3, "Neither side could find an advantage"

Aug 17, 2013, 11:50 AM |

2.b4, White plays the Wing Gambit. Psychologically I got eviscerated in an OTB game at the Southwest FL CC (SWFLCC) about 18 months ago:

However, also note that I played 2...b6 in both games, and 2...b6 is not the recommended response (2...cxb4). I guess I have more to learn... back to the game... I was still smarting from that past game, played the same response (hoping to get a different result)...

Nonetheless, I strived to be better about the center, and fight hard. However, instead of a strong center, I engaged in "hanky panky" before I was fully developed. Arg! 

By 10...Nxc4 I realized, that while I was not too far behind in development, I was behind, and critically I had a dreaded backward d7 pawn, my King isn't castled, etc. I was starting to get that feeling... This is why I am thinking about switching to the Najdorf Sicilian with 2...d6, not that it would matter in this Wing Gambit. But in the Hyper Accelerated Dragon, I frequently get into real problems with those center pawns.

On the plus, even after 11.Qxc4, Black is ok, he just needs to get moving on development. First tend to the Queen, 11...Ba6 with a soft pin against the Rook. 12.Nb5 and the simplest would be to capture the Knight with 12...Bxb5 for a roughly even game. But no, Black increases tension, which is usually a good thing to do, however in this case 12...Qb6?? allows a tactic 13.Nc7+. Undaunted by Black's blunder, White ignores the tactical possibility and instead plays 13.N1c3?? which Black should have accepted and played 13...Nc6 to stop the tactics, but Black was feeling generous, and played a relatively pointless 13...Be7? and this time White saw through the "fog of chess" to execute 14.Nc7+. And there may have even been stronger moves for White.


Sometimes these types of situations are what is needed for a player to "sit up and pay attention". So that is what Black did. By 16.Qe4 material is even, however Black's King is in the center, behind the backward d7 pawn, just waiting for White to pile rocks on top of it... 21...Rhd8, and the tension in the center is building. Clumsy tactics ensue, resulting in 24...Qxc5=, and Black is stabilizing the position. By 29.Rd2, Black is smelling a draw. A few moves later a draw is agreed on 32...R7c6.