Touch move

Feb 28, 2013, 7:29 PM |

Lost a tournament game tonight.  Tempting to blame it on the "touch-move" rule, but that would be a superficial conclusion.  There is always something more to be learned.  In the following position, I intended ...Bxd2, but mistakenly reached for the f6 knight.

What moves pop out at you here?  I analyzed ...Bxd2 and ...Nxe4 immediately, but I'm guessing that most of you will immediately find a better move.  ...Be7!  It prevents the doubling of black's pawns and, more significantly, fights for control of the c5 square.  So why couldn't I find it?  I think my mistake is attributable to a fixed conception of the dark squared bishop.  In these opening lines, exchanging bishop for knight on c3 is an extremely common idea.  I had unconsciously committed to doing so at least 5 moves ago.  When a superior alternative presented itself, I was blind to it.