The reason I am making this post is because I would like some (human) advice, as to how I can improve my defensive techniques, in particular my positional play early, possible development errors, getting nervous in face of a pawn storm etc.I ended up winning the game, but that is not why I am here. Lets dive into the game!
So I have annotated my thoughts during the game. Could someone please take some time to flick through the game, noting down possible psychological errors, reasoning errors, pure positional mistakes, ways to better defend etc.I feel that my opponent had me on the ropes, and a very strong player (no offence intented toward my opponent) could have crushed me with the way I played.Thanks Chess.com!
I got the same impression, that you were afraid of this looming attack... this sort of nebulous unknown threat.
Your first reaction was right though, you want to open lines to take advantage of his non-developing moves and to take pressure off your king. I like to think of it somewhat like a balloon. If there's only one open file, then all the pressure is going to go through that. If you open a file somewhere else, you can spread out this pressure so it's not so intense where you don't want it to be (on your king ;)
So your impression was correct that 10...d4 is bad on principal alone.
Now I want to mention your Ne7 move. One downside of white's moves at this point (looking after move 10.Ba2) is that the lightsquares somewhat, but g4 definitely is abandon. It would be nice if you could play h5 and even consider Ng4. In general it's better to play your knight to the 3rd rank if you can get away with it.
Wanting to keep your bishop diagonal clear is good thinking. But have to weigh all your pieces together. Don't ask if the bishop is better here or there. Ask if your overall mobility is good concerning the formation (all pieces). Also in general it's a bit short sighted. The knight of f6 is not a permanent fixture like a pawn may be. This is the development stage, you can't attack yet, your moves have to be useful 10-15-20 moves from now, not in the immediate. So keeping the bishop diagonal clear makes sense if you were involved in an immediate fight in the center or queenside, but not in the general developing sense.
That said, Ne7 is not a bad move! This is just some psychology type talk you may be interested in. (oh, and it made the kingside defense more difficult IMO, as mentioned).
Speaking of a lightsquare blockade to stop his pawns (remember I said h5 would be nice to play). You can do that with 10.h6-h5. I'm pleased the computer agrees with me on this one. Of course the principled move, 10.dxe4 is also very sensible and good. In general play in the center > flank play. But especially because he's not developed enough for his "attack" to make sense yet, opening a file somewhere else is a bit of an embarrassment for the white pieces IMO.
Ok this goes with 13.h6. 13.h6 is a move black would usually have to pay white a good sum of money to play... it permanently closes the h file... thank you white! This move should not make you nervous. Attacking is all about opening lines.
2nd thing, relating to my opening comment. When trying to play defense you must must must (IMO) ask yourself what his specific threat is. If all you have is a general anxiety, your moves will not be to the point. So what does 14.g4 threaten specifically? It threatens to open the f file. White cannot do anything more than that without your cooperation (first look at it like this, what lines can he open). Of course this also weakens e6 (after fxg fxg).
I mention this because Bf6 with exf5 seems not correct strategically. In general you don't want to trade it off and don't want to open those lines. I see there is a tactical point, but I think of that as a last resort when "regular" moves fail (that is seeking play in the center or queenside). It may simply be a style thing, oh well, it worked well for you in the game, just thought I'd mention it.
After 20.Ne5 I like black better... but I'm also nervous that if my attack doesn't work, and the heavy pieces get traded off in the process, that the endgame will be unpleasant due to the exchange sac. In the game it worked out fantastically, but as you said after Ng3 you had some very good moves.
As for 25.Qg4+ are you kidding? Chess is all about being ruthless! You may be friends, but over the board sometimes 2nd best moves might as well be the worst move :p
Thankyou for taking the time to review and give honest feedback wafflemaster!I see what you mean when you talked about developing my knight to f6 instead. Obviously I didn't know that my opponent was going to leave a hole on g4, however now that I've seen it (well, had it pointed out to me!) I will always keep it in mind as a possible error my opponent may make. I also thank you for pointing out h6 (kicking the knight) with a possible h5 later. I will also take your advice about thinking about the general position instead of a single pieces best placement. As you pointed out, just because my bishop is in its best place (or has the best scope) doesn't mean my knight isn't suffering. Perhaps a 3 star bishop AND a 3 star knight, is better than a 5 star bishop and a 1 star knight.And finally yes, as you also noticed I did get a bit overwhelmed with all the pawn pushes (I think this is due to me not being a very good calculator so I can never accurately tell how a bunch of exchanges will turn out), however next time I will take some time to analyse what my opponents major threat is, and try and put a stop to it before it becomes to strong (a much earlier h6 comes to mind). Again thankyou for taking the time to check it out and comment, I will take it all to heart and try to improve my defence! :)(on a side note does chess.com have a reputation system where I can give you positive karma or whatever for helping me?)
Thankyou for taking the time to review and give honest feedback wafflemaster!
No problem, I like to unwind by talking about chess :p
Perhaps a 3 star bishop AND a 3 star knight, is better than a 5 star bishop and a 1 star knight.
(I think this is due to me not being a very good calculator so I can never accurately tell how a bunch of exchanges will turn out)
I know what you mean. I didn't say it very well, but that's why I try to simplify it by asking what is the most my opponent can do (just pretend he has 3 move in a row and all you can do is pass or re-capture). In this case the most white could do was open the f file after fxg fxg (and now he's out of pawn breaks).
Your tactical solution was creative though, and it's always good to think outside the box (attack me? oh yeah? Well I'm going to attack HIM on the kingside!)
(on a side note does chess.com have a reputation system where I can give you positive karma or whatever for helping me?)
No, but I appreciate the thought :)
I think wafflemaster already has enough positive karma. He's helped me with almost every game I posted .
Also, I play Ne7 frequently in the closed. Normally my position feels better when I expand on the queenside with moves like Nd4, Rb8, and b5, rather than opening the center immediately with d5 (although this break is usually quite successful later). I also advise that you kick the knight with h6 earlier.
My key piece of advice though - when you opponent pushes pawns, most often at your level he doesn't have an "attack". His pawn wave just opens up key squares such as g4 for your pieces to infiltrate on, and his king usually ends up more open than yours (as was evidenced by the ending position). Also, when your opponent plays an "attacking" move such as Ng4 before finishing development, higher rated players don't consider this to be an attack or worry about it, but see it as a waste of time as the knight is misplaced and can always be kicked with h6. So don't worry if your opponent attacks, just decide if their are any concrete threats and what squares your opponent is weakening.
Hahahaha this made me laugh a lot for some reason!Thanks, I consider my greatest strength looking for tactical combinations (simple ones though so I don't have to calculate a great deal hehe). I also like to punish mistakes, which my opponent made difficult in this game because I thought he played quite well up until the h6 push. Then it began to unwind.
I see what you mean shepi13. I agree that at my level players often push pawns simply because it seems like the right thing to do. I noticed early on in his pushes that his king was unsafe, and was really just waiting for the right time to punish it.After looking at the game a few times, I really think after 9.. d5 and 10. Ba2 I really should have played 10.. h6 11. Nf3 11.. dxe4 with a good position. It was my most accurate play (that I have found) and would have made my life much easier hehe.