My game against BubbaLouie: Losing Pawns

Jul 13, 2013, 2:01 AM |
The following game is played at the 45|45 time control. I want to streamline my self analysis, and not overload the blog with information. So, I will take advice from the IM Pruess school by first evaluating only one critical position with the PGN for the full game below if one is interested. Here is a critical position:

       White's last move was Qe2-g4. First, an evaluation of the position: Material is equal. Black's weaknesses include doubled, isolated pawns on the e-file and one of them will be lost. Black's strength is that he also has control over the only open file, and his dark squared bishop enjoys great scope over the b8-h2 diagonal.
      White's weaknesses include the h-pawn moved away from the king, his dark squared bishop literally has zero moves, so, it requires 2 moves to get his rooks connected: one to free the bishop and then another to get the bishop off the 1st rank. White's strength is a healthy pawn structure, and his aggressive queen coordinates well with his knight.
      If black can take advantage of his small lead in development (counted via the already connected rooks) by coordinating a B + Q battery on the b8-h2 diagonal to take advantage of the dark squares around white's king, double on the f-file, I will count that as  compensation for the pawn.
      I played ...Rf6 leading to immediate disaster. Nxe4! immediately forks the bishop and the rook and I am losing the exchange. This wasn't played in the game because my opponent wanted to take the pawn and offer a queen trade first. This, I think, is an inaccuracy. I could have avoided the queen trade with ...Qc8, but admittedly at the expense of losing mobility for my a8-rook. ...Qc8 will be the only queen move aside from exchanging since the a8-rook will be attacked by the white queen.  So, activity, one of my main sources of compensation for the pawn, is thwarted. Not a blunder by white, but perhaps not as good as an immediate knight fork.
     Two things left: (1) what move do I now think I should have played in our critical position and (2) why did I make the ...Rf6 move to begin with?
  1. (1) ...Rae8 [continues Nxe4 ...Qb8 (...Bb8, followed by Qc7) Nxd6 Qxd6]. I do not get forked on f6 and d6. I maintain control over the e6 pawn, which would lead to a worst nightmare than losing the e4 pawn because Qxe6 comes with check, and the e4 pawn will still be a weakness. I have activated all of my pieces! I have dreams now of improving my knight, maybe trading it for white's knight which is his only active minor piece, doubling on the f-file, and getting counterplay on my bishop's diagonal leading right next to the white king.
  2. (2) Looks decent, so why did I go for ...Rf6? It's been a while removed from the game so I can't remember my exact thoughts, but here are some possible reconstructions: I only looked 1 to 2 ply! If Qxp, no big deal right? I've now defended the e6 pawn, and I got ready to double up on the f file. Great, except I missed my opponent's tactical opportunities here. This was a game played at a Dan Heisman Learning Center event, so it's apposite to say that disregarding safety was my key mistake.
        That does it for this one position I analyzed. There are more mistakes earlier and later in the game, but the full game is posted if you have any questions, comments, analyses that you want to throw my way. I greatly appreciate it!