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Hey guys, so this was a game I finished a few days ago in online chess. I was thinking I could list the mistakes that I noticed and then y'all could add to it if you saw any others.
Thanks for taking a look, and please tell me what other mistakes you see (or if my analysis was off, I would like to know).
Consider that I agree with all your comments that I do not criticize in what follows.
3...g6 (?) is already a slight mistake, better ...Bg4 followed by ...e6.
6.Bd3 (?) is certainly a safe square, but not an active one. The bishop hits granite on g6. I know there is nothing much better, but still better is Be2 because Black's bishop will go sooner or later to g4.
6...Bf5 ? contradicts the end of my previous comment, but that's a serious mistake. Certainly after White takes Black has a good grip on the e4 square while White has no longer his good bishop, but as Whtie has not castled yet, it gives him attacking opportunities by Qe2, 0-0, Rg1, h3, g4, etc. (or even best, see what follows) The black f pawn helps white to open the files.
8...e6 (?) although it looks ok should be replaced by ...Nbd7 for safety reasons. Because if instead of 9.Qf3 (?) White had found 9.g4 ! (opening the g file, exchanging the knight that defends the Kside, etc.) Black's position become all of a sudden very difficult. (after 8...Nbd7 9.g4 ? just loses a pawn after 9...Nxe5)
10.Qg3 ? and not 11.Qf3 (forced) is the next mistake. Again, 10.h3 with the intention of g4 was better (castling can wait, as it can be played at any moment).
12.exf4 ! is actually a good move, and not an obvious one to find. If Black want to push ...f6 as your comment indicates it, he will kill his bishop. If instead 12.Qxf4 ?, White's structure looks safer but Black can cure his by 12...Nxe5 13.dxe5 f6 (there might be better, but that line is enough to prove 12.exf4 is best) 14.exf6 Qxf6 where Black has a development edge, some better central control and also has created space on his kingside to transform the previous liability (the semi-open g gile that weakened the king) into an asset (he can maneuver to use the g file.
On move 13, 13.Qe3 looks ok for White : 13...Nxe5 ? 14.fxe5 followed by 0-0-0, f4 etc. ; 13...Bxe5 ? 14.dxe5 where Black's kingside is weak ; 13...cxd4 14.Qxd4 Qc7 (?) 15.Nb5 Qb8 (15...Qa5+ 16.Nc3 with a draw by repetition, but White cannot hope much more it seems) 16.Nxd7 Bxd4 17.Nxb8 with an equal endgame. Another option but not for the faint-hearted is 13.g4 !?, but I am unable to ensure I give a correct evaluation of it. 13.Nxd7 (?) gives Black a good game.
15.Qg3 ? : indeed, more urgent was either 0-0 or 0-0-0. I would play the latter, because castling short gives White no active prospects. The position could probably be drawn, but it needs some hard fight, and White has absolutely nothing to attack.
17.Rab1 ? : Although I agree the pin is not important, I don't know where the knight should go. e5 looks a good square, but it is far away from c3 in knight-walk distance. The ugly truth is that White is very passive here, so I would probably go for Re1 followed by Re3 and maybe attacking on the h file - not that it is dangerous, but at least it does something.
17...Rfc8 (?) : an imprecise choice. Better 17...Bxc3 if Black wants to win a pawn on c3 (18.bxc3 Rfc8 and c3 is lost, but this gives White some play along the b file and trades White's worst piece for Black's best) or exploit the g file (with the idea ...Rg8)
18.Rfc1 does nothing, but again, it's hard to give a move for White (18.Rd1 for me).
19.Rd1 is pretty much forced, and actually it prepare to block the pawn on d3 which limits the bishop. The c pawn is lost anyways.
20.Ne2 is not forced, there is the crazy line 20.Qg5 (?) where 20...dxc3 ?? draws at best for Black due to 21.Re8+ with an unpleasant choice between 21...Rxe8 ?? 22.Qxe8+ Bf8 23.Qxf8# or 21...Bf8 22.Qf6+ Kg8 where White has at least a draw by perpetual (23.Qg5+) if it happens that Black has some miracle resource against 23.Rd3 ! threatening Rg3+ with devastating effects. But, if Black sees all that, the simple 20...Rg8 kills all the fun out of 20.Qg5.
22.Qxc4 ?? loses on the spot indeed. 22.Kf1 gives certainly White a probably lost position, but still some hopes to defend like a rattlesnake and save half the point.
After 23.g3?? it is over, 23.Kf1 was forced, but objectively the game is already lost if Black has the technique for that.
Hey Irontiger. First off, thanks for taking such an in depth look at this game. I really appreciate it.
3...Bg4. Definitely interesting. Would you leave it as a pin or take? Say, if white responded with 4. e3?
6...Bf5. I agree that this was probably an inaccuracy. Would you prefer Bg4 still?
8...g6. The suggestion for g4 look very interesting, and I wish I would have seen it if for no other reason than it would have added intrigue to the game.
10. Qg3. True enough, the whole idea of attacking with my queen instead of pawns was just a poor one.
13. Nxd7. I'm sure there's a better alternative, but I still don't see it.
15. Qg3. I agree, and I think that was the motivation behind this poor move. The thought was to attack the kingside with my queen, but I agree that castling makes a lot more sense here.
20. Ne2. Great spot! I had to think through this for some time even while looking at the explanation, but it does give some great counterplay to white. I wish I'd seen it while playing the game, but oh well.
It was a pleasure, I'm glad to help when people make the effort to analyse themselves before asking (politely) advice.
If 3...Bg4 4.e3 (?) (traps the Bc1 into passivity) then Black will just play what should have been White's role in the opening (pressuring d4 by moves such as ...c5, trying to keep the Bc1 locked) taking advantadge of the 'lost' 2.Nc3 tempo.
20.Ne2 : my 20.Qg5 line objectively is even worse if Black sees the trap (in the meaning that it makes the path to mate 'with best play' shorter). But, as White is lost anyways, it costs nothing to play it - except if the opponent is in medium time trouble : if he is in severe time trouble, he won't see the trap, but if he is moderately in time trouble, you have a better try by fighting tooth and nail the endgame and might swindle a draw. But of course, those are extra-board considerations...