Italian Game, Two Knights | The Battle of Red Hill! | Chessnut Air Travels

Italian Game, Two Knights | The Battle of Red Hill! | Chessnut Air Travels

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#italian #twoknights #chessnut #chessnutair #travelchess 

Recently, I travelled to Canberra, the capital city of Australia for work for a few days. I brought along my Chessnut Air and on a day off, played some chess on Red Hill, a lovely spot which overlooks Parliament House and the central CBD of Canberra! Those of you wondering what playing online chess on the Chessnut Air is like, I hope this video gives you some inspiration! You can buy the Chessnut electronic boards from the Chessnut Store, and will get a nice discount by using my coupon code: CHESSNOOB64

I had the black pieces, and my opponent lead with the Italian Game, I responded with the Two Knights Defense, and White played a slower positional line with the Modern Bishop's Opening (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3). I must admit that this is one of my least favourite openings to play against!

On move 8, White made their first slightly inaccurate move with (8. Bb5), which is a fantastic achievement for someone rated under 1000 ELO! This second move of their bishop, ostensibly to pin my knight to my king doesn't work. It's effectively a "too slow" Ruy Lopez Opening as Black is already too developed for the pin to be a threat. Indeed, I castle kingside immediate (8... O-O), which renders the bishop's second move and loss of tempo questionable.

This is reflected in the next few moves where I force White to trade some pieces, and then win more tempo with pawn moves that pushes back White's bishop. Indeed, by move 14 I hold the centre with my central pawns, control more space on the board, and both of White's bishops are awkwardly hemmed in on the queenside. Although there is material equality, I held the initiative with the Black pieces.

Nonetheless, White is still okay as this was a complicated position to play for both Black and White. White's (17. Ne2) was a blunder, but it required me to see the winning line, something that I didn't see in the game, losing the advantage. However, my control of space meant that White's inaccurate moves were more impactful. On move 22, they struggled to find a move, and eventually opted for (22. Qd2). This seemingly innocent looking developing move was a mistake according to Stockfish [-3], though the engine's preferred move, c4, would have been difficult to contemplate.

We go through several moves battling for the g3 square. Curiously, Stockfish doesn't think this is good for either White or Black! As we start to run low on time, White makes a tactical blunder [-5.3] with (26. c4). After en passant (26. dxc3) White superficially calculated that they had three attackers on the c3 square, but Black only had two defenders. However, White was mistaken as after (27. Bxc3 Bxc3) their knight on e2 was pinned to the queen!

With each of us only having a minute left on the clock, I stuff up! I knew I was winning, but White found a tricky counterattack. Playing outside, distracted by some friendly hikers who walked past, and being mindful of the camera resulted in me losing track of time and the clock. At the point I was about to commit to Rc1+, I ran out of time! 😅

I've included in the PGN below a line to checkmate from this completely winning position for Black. I'd like to think that I had the moral victory, but as Savielly Tartakower quipped, "moral victories don't count"! Only winning is winning. 😂

The big takeaway from this game is to keep an eye on the clock!

Game on