Ruy López: Jaenisch Gambit | BEWARE OF TUNNEL VISION!

Ruy López: Jaenisch Gambit | BEWARE OF TUNNEL VISION!

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#ruylopez #jaenischgambit #tunnelvision 

This was a fun game of the Ruy López Opening: Jaenisch Gambit, Declined with d3 (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. d3). Those of you who've been following my channel for some time will know that I love the f4/f5 opening attacks - which includes the Vienna Gambit and the King's Gambit!  I find the Jaenisch Gambit a great way of dealing with the Ruy López Opening, without having to invest much time in learning the theory, and I often get a nice tactical game as well. This is what occurred in this game, but in the middlegame, we also have a good demonstrating and reminder of a type of cognitive bias - tunnel vision!

For White, declining with (4. d3) is probably the most accurate approach [+0.6] but it does mean that Black's next few moves are obvious. Exchange pawns, develop the king's knight, and develop the king's bishop to their usual squares (4... fxe4 5. dxe4 Nf6 6. O-O Bc5).

One of the tactical ideas in the Jaenisch is that creating a semi-open f-file is potentially advantageous, especially with kingside castling. However, after White played (7. Be3), inviting an exchange of bishops and fully opening the f-file controlled by their f1-rook, castling kingside is not likely the best tactical approach anymore. I have analysed the position previously and I knew that exchanging bishops was the most accurate move... but did I want to do this? After a short think, I decided to do so, but it meant that I would aim to castle queenside instead - something which I manage a few moves later.

On move 13, White declares their attack with (13. Qb3), which was a serious mistake [-2] as Na5 would fork their queen and bishop. However, I miss the tactic, and this gives White an opportunity to make a serious attack on my king with their bishop and queen. The evaluation is still almost equal as the attack can be defended, but I needed to play very accurately.

I manoeuvre reasonably accurate for the next few moves and managed to find the critical response on move 17 with (17... Be8), a backward bishop move that denied White's queen's access to c6. And here, having smelled blood, White launches their a-pawn forward into my position to attack (18. a4). At this point in the game, I suddenly had a feeling, an intuition, that White was going to play (19. a5) next turn - to continue with the pawn push. But I also saw that this was likely a mistake!

I was right! White had tunnel vision in the attack and had convinced themselves that marching the a-pawn forward was unstoppable... so, (19. a5??) and this was a blunder [-3.8]! I'm quite proud of the next move - (19... b5!). White's a-pawn now blocks White's own attack, and my b-pawn now physically disconnects White's queen and bishop! Indeed, the evaluation is [-3.8] as White's bishop is trapped and about to be lost!

The following moves sees a flurry of trades on the b5 square (21. Bxb5 Qxb5 22. Qxb5+ Bxb5) and it was very satisfying for me. White's attack was completely neutralised from, and I emerged a piece up in the exchange. My bishop, the victor left on b5 also had a long-range attack on White's f1-rook. White, flustered, immediately also hangs their rook.

The remainder of the game had a simple tactic. Simplify to an endgame up a piece. On move 34 in the endgame, White made a pawn blunder [-7 → -12], but it was the sort the causes emotional damage. GG!

The big takeaway from this game is to be wary of tunnel vision, especially when you think you have a juicy attack!


Hi!  I'm vitualis, the chess noob (aka chessnoob64), and I run the "Adventures of a Chess Noob" YouTube channel and blog.  I'm learning and having fun with chess! 

I restarted playing chess recently after my interest was rekindled by the release of "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix.  I mostly play 1 or 2 games a day, and am trying to improve (slowly!).  I document some of my games and learning experiences on my blog and YouTube channel from the perspective of a beginner-intermediate player!

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