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Hi - I haven't been playing much live chess recently as currently involved in many daily games within two tournaments. I have managed to salvage a couple of rapid wins lately so thought I would post up one of these for a change however I think there must have been many mistakes from me and my opponent with this one as the computer analysis said I made 10 inaccuracies/mistakes/blunders in total...
I didn't use the computer analysis to evaluate the game as usual, but tried to identify the main mistakes myself. Could do with some help especially in the opening as I am sure when entering the middle game I was behind. Thanks.
Here are my thoughts on the game. Be prepared for an essay long of grilling.
- You must consult a better opening player for the opening moves up to move 4.
- On move 5, White is a pawn down in exchange for some lead in development and some authority on central squares. Of course 5. Bxc4? Bxc4 since the Black bishop has already moved to e6 on move 4.
- 6. Qa4+ might be a bit premature unless you are planning to recapture the c4 pawn with 7. Bxc4 (except if opponent plays 6...Qd7, where 7. Bxc4? loses a piece to 7...Qxa4 8. Nxa4 Bxc4).
- 7. b3? is a good development idea played at the wrong time. After 7...cxb3, White is a pawn down, and I believe that there is not sufficient grounds for compensation in other forms.
- 9. Bb5 is okay, but there is actually no need to put so much pressure on the c6 knight if the Black king intends to castle kingside. Giving Black doubled c-pawns is a good strategical ideas involving destroying the pawn structure and the occupancy of the c5 outpost by a White piece, but somehow I do not like the defence naturally provided by the doubled pawns. Black may also try and turn this weakness into some advantage by putting a Black piece on d5 to try and undouble the pawns. Eventually in the actual game, White dismissed the plan of doubling Black's pawns.
- On move 10 I would play 10. Ba3 to send the Black queen back home, even though this attempt is probably a futile one.
- 11. Bc4 is okay, but I prefer developing other pieces as well, such as 11. Ba3 to attack the queen directly, or the not-so-accurate 11. e4?! with the idea of opening the c1-h6 diagonal for the dark-squared White bishop at the expense of the possibility of the d4 pawn being bullied.
- I tried to find tactics after 11...Nd5, but could not see any good ones. Note that 12. Bxd5 Bxd5 13. e4 Be6 14. d5? fails to 14...Bxc3.
- Again, 13. Ba3 is a move worth considering.
- I did not consider 15. b5 at all, but as it turns out, the move is ok.
- It is good to refrain from capturing the e5 pawn on move 16, as the exchanges eventually provide Black with a lead in development, on top of the fact that Black is still up a pawn. 16. Rad1 and 16. b5 are ideas worth considering.
- The moment of magic came on move 17. An elementary miscounting of the number of defenders versus the number of attackers to a particular square costs Black a piece. Three attackers versus three defenders, not sufficient firepower for Black to bring down the d4 White pawn effectively. Now White is winning.
- I like the idea 20. Rd8!? to try and trade down the game, rather than 20. Qa1 which does not really accomplish much actually; bringing the White queen to h6 is a little too slow; though Black must still remain careful here. 20. Rd8 separates the Black rooks from defending each other (like burgers with some meat placed in between the buns) while attacking the Black queen simultaneously. Of course, 20...Qxb2 fails to 21. Rxe8 Rxe8 22. Qxe8+, while 20...b5 can be refuted by 21. Bxe5 bxa4 22. Ra8 Rxa8 and the a4 Black pawn will fall soon.
- I am now looking to see whether 21. Rd5 Qxd5 22. Bh8 accomplishes anything after the follow up 22...Kf8 or 22...f6 (22...Re5 and of course 22...Qe5 are lousy interventions). Seems like this idea is not a good one for White.
- Note that if Black has another piece attacking the e1 square (directly or indirectly) apart from the e8 Black rook, then 22...Qxf1+ 23. Kxf1 Rxe1# is checkmate.
- 22...Qe2?? is a poor selection of the available moves, since 23. Rd2! and Black is toast (I leave it to you to consider the few, but all losing, responses from Black), but 23. Rd8?? Qxb2 or 23. Re4?? Qxb2 drops the b2 White bishop.
- Both 23. Ba1 and 23. Bc3 are playable. The dark-squared White bishop may look weird on a1, but it is defended by the f1 White rook.
- 23...c5?? is another bad move. Look at what I wrote after move 22 from Black above, and I will leave it to you to find out a similar-looking move that wins immediately for White (I am sure many moves win actually, but at least make a guess on what I would play for White on move 24).
- 24. Rd7 is definitely winning, and I feel that the move is completely ok, but seems like 24...Re5 stops White's immediate checkmating attacks temporarily at the expense of going from a bishop down to a rook down after 25. Bxe5 Qxe5.
- Do not, do not, do not, I repeat, do not, do not, do not, fall for this one trap. 24. Qxh7+?? Kxh7 25. Rh4+ (with the intention of 25...Kg8 26. Rh8#) Qh5 - + and White's attack has evaporated, leaving Black with an exchange plus one pawn up.
- As long as you can avoid another trap 25. Re1?? Qxe1+ 26. Bxe1 Rxe1#, any reasonable move is ok. So 25. f4 is perfectly ok.
- Avoid the last trap 28. Rfxf7?? (which fails to 28...Qe1+ 29. Rf1 Qxf1# or the more stylish 28...Qa1+ 29. Qc1 Qxc1+ 30. Rd1 Qxd1+ 31. Rf1 Qxf1#), and you are set to win. After 28. Rdxf7, White has three simultaneous mate threats, one on f8, one on g7 and one on h7. Black cannot defend all three checkmates at the same time.
- Congratulations on winning the game with 29. Qxh7#, the game is definitely well played at your level and deserves better praises than what you have made it out to be, and continue to improve and have fun in chess.
Thanks Eric, always grateful for your thoughts and contributions.
I like the idea 20. Rd8!? to try and trade down the game, rather than 20. Qa1 which does not really accomplish much actually; bringing the White queen to h6 is a little too slow; though Black must still remain careful here. 20. Rd8 separates the Black rooks from defending each other (like burgers with some meat placed in between the buns) while attacking the Black queen simultaneously. Of course, 20...Qxb2 fails to 21. Rxe8 Rxe8 22. Qxe8+, while 20...b5 can be refuted by 21. Bxe5 bxa4 22. Ra8 Rxa8 and the a4 Black pawn will fall soon.
I had a look at this position and 20...Qxb2 also fails to 21. Qxe8+ straight away. A nice discovered attack on the queen that I missed. Nice move. I was too concerned with losing the bishop and didn't see the monster threat.
wish I had also seen your suggestion 23. Rd2 threatening the queen but more importantly allowing the bishop a clear path to help the queen mate on g7.
I don't think I am not strong enough to see these sacrifices and how they pan out - particularly queen sacrifices so your suggestion of 24. Qxh7+ would never have occured to me!!
Going back to the opening moves, I did a quick check against the computer to see if my thoughts regarding 5. Nc3 were correct but the computer does actually prefer my move to Bxc4.
The computer did NOT like my move 6. Qa4+ and instead suggested 6. Ng5 - moving a piece twice in the opening - not sure WHY this is a good move, possibly attacking the bishop on e6 and disrupting black's pawn structure around his kingside should this piece fall, but black can play Bg4 threatening the white queen and then f3 disrupts white's pawn structure?
7. b3 was a poor move by me - this is where the computer agrees with my alternative move 7. Bxc4 followed most likely by 8. Bxc4 Qxc4
Another classic example of playing a move in order to play another (queen out to protect the bishop so it can take the pawn back) but then not seeing it through and finding myself fortunate to get through the opening really. Black is stronger at move 14 until he plays that dubious looking rook move.
The moment of magic came on move 17. An elementary miscounting of the number of defenders versus the number of attackers to a particular square costs Black a piece. Three attackers versus three defenders, not sufficient firepower for Black to bring down the d4 White pawn effectively. Now White is winning.
Yes it was fortunate for me that my opponent miscalculated with 17... Nxd4? This is the sort of thing I would do!
17... b5 looks tough for me at this stage.
A quick question to you (or anyone else) - why does the computer prefer 18. Bxd4 over 18. Nxd4 for white?
I wanted to leave my bishop on the board as it as power down the open diagonal attacking the black king. I am not sure the knight is as strong and I was happy to lose this piece for the black bishop.
When I first analysed 20. Rd8, I saw 20...Qxb2 21. Qxe8+. For some reason I have already forgotten about it. Anyway, the continuation after 21. Qxe8+ is 21...Kg7 22. Qh8+! winning the Black queen; even simply 22. Rxa8 wins, but trading down the game as far as possible is better; the Black rook can pose fewer threats than the Black queen.
At first glance, 20. Rd8 is ridiculous because the move hangs two pieces at the same time, but the point is that the same two pieces attack other pieces on the board, and Black can only tackle one of them in one turn. I have encountered similar situations before, where I won as Black after playing some Rxf2 move which hangs both that rook and the queen, but if Black received another free turn, then Black can win an equally hanging White queen or simply play Rg1#, and both threats cannot be met at the same time. A simplified scenario of the position is as follows, although there were actually more pawns on the queenside and one surviving knight from each player, both of which are out of play.
Of course after 20. Rd8, the better option for Black is to play 20...Qe7, keeping the material equality balanced.
The reason you play 22. Qh6 is to administer Qg7# at some point of time.
Won't it be great if the White rook on d4 does not block the view of the White bishop? After pondering about these two points, then you can try to move the rook somewhere, but the move must be effective. In this case, 23. Rd2! attacks the Black queen directly and cuts off the Black queen's access to the b2 bishop. Moreover, the queen cannot move to defend the checkmate effectively (other than giving itself up by 23...Qe5). These points are sufficient to deduce that 23. Rd2 is likely a strong move, and after further inspection, you will find that Black does not have sufficient defensive resources to hold the position. This tactic is called an interference tactic, since the White rook interferes with the Black queen's path to b2.
For a similar reason, 24. Re4!, the mystery move that I had wanted you to find earlier) works as well. You may work out the relevant lines and see if you can come up with a reasonable defence by Black without losing lots of material.
The 24. Qxh7+?? idea works only if the Black king has to move because that is the only legal move available. This checkmate pattern with a rook and a bishop, assisted with a friendly pawn, is commonly seen in games and forms part of the tactical and checkmating ideas that intermediate players should know. Some tactics puzzles do include these ideas (and I learned about this idea in the past because of puzzles).
Actually, I do not find the 6. Ng5 line very intuitive other than the fact that it attacks the e6 bishop. Computers may see deep ideas with certain moves that a human may not be able to, and thus evaluate the move as being the best amongst the good moves. However, I believe that the evaluations between 6. Ng5 and the other developing moves should not differ by a magnitude of greater than 0.25, so 6. Ng5 is not a very big deal actually. It is better for the average human player to play some sequence of moves that you are more familiar with rather than venture out into risky or ridiculous lines even if the so called risky lines actually win. If you are given a choice of trading down to an easily winning one rook up endgame or playing for unpleasant, weird-looking complications to emerge a one rook and one knight up endgame, which will you opt for?
As White in the game, I would probably play 6. Be2. simply to quickly get the White king into safety as soon as possible.
In this case, White has already obtained a good control of the central squares with the d4 and e3 pawns, so it is timely to recapture the c4 Black pawn with 7. Bxc4 before that pawn gets defended in some way. White should hold a small, but not sufficient to force a win, advantage (I estimate the advantage to be +0.75, though I am not exactly sure what the computer will evaluate it as, since I am lazy to seek its opinion).
Though Black is up a pawn in the actual game, White should still be able to continue the game - definitely not a resignable position, and neither a position to cry over, Anything can still happen after the oversight, and well, the opponent blundered a piece later in the game.
The rook move 14...Rfe8 is ok for Black, and is in fact a common idea for players. With an eventual Rad8, both rooks can claim the central d- and e- files to themselves.
The temptation to win the pawn with 17...Nxd4? is there, but proper counting must be done beforehand. By the time Black makes the commitment to the move, there is no turning back. And by the time Black realises his insufficiency of attackers, it will be too late - a piece has been lost already.
After 17...b5, I will play the awkward-looking 18. Qa3. Well, this puts the queen in a poor position, but I would do so to keep the b4 White pawn alive. Drop that pawn, and White will be another pawn down, with Black's now passed queenside pawns becoming a threat as well.
The question of which piece to capture with is a bit difficult for me. There are many considerations in the game, including the refusal to recapture a piece. In the case of 18. Bxc4 versus 18. Nxc4, probably the computer has already foreseen that the White bishop will somewhat dominate the diagonal with 18. Bxc4 by immediately challenging the g7 Black bishop for the diagonal (the same cannot be achieved as efficiently with 18. Nxc4). If Black moves the Black bishop away from the a1-h8 diagonal, the White bishop wins the battle for the important diagonal, while exchanging bishops (initiated by other player) trades the game down into a favourable endgame for White. Also, the White knight is already protected on f3 (by the g2 White pawn), while the White bishop is undefended on b2, so moving the bishop reduces the likelihood of White hanging a piece unintentionally due to carelessness. Also, probably the knight is better placed on f3 with the prospects of moving to g5 as well. It is likely that because of these considerations, the capture 18. Bxc5 is evaluated by the computer as superior to 18. Nxc5.
Still, obviously 18. Nxc4 is also a good choice.