Rapid Time #13: A soliloquy

Chess has always been a fall back for me. It’s easy to envelope myself in a world of the concrete analysis where there are good moves and there are bad. Winning is solely reliant on my ability unlike some other games which rely on luck or teammates. Chess is a fluid interest of mine, it takes the shape of who I am at the time. There are weeks or months where playing blitz without calculation is what I do and chess takes on a leisurely feel in these times. Then there are times where Chess becomes the escape and the longer time controls and slower games allow me to fully invest myself, to completely occupy my mind in a place that makes sense. The blog and detailed game analysis are grouped into the former of the two states as a way to continue the escape while further my understanding of the game.

So it goes without saying that life is in the second state and I can see a large portion of my time being invested on the board and post game analysis. I fully expect to see a marked improvement as I switch to longer time control and full reviews of the games I play. Without any more hesitation lets jump into the analysis:

This was a QGA 10+0 game where my opponent (1623) had apparently never seen the standard opening trap or felt there was a way to out play it. I will say that it’s not a game winning trap like some can be, there are plenty of ways that White can make mistakes on the Queen side.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 b5 4. a4 c6

Black is already in trouble here, attempting to protect the c4 pawn with b5 gives White a slight edge and continuing to move pawns to protect the b5 pawn with c6 gives White an advantage. This is the trap. Play continues as 5. axb5 cxb5 6. Qf3! Black doesn’t have to recapture on b5 and it would be best if they didn’t.

5. axb5 cxb5 6. Qf3!

Black capturing the b pawn with the c pawn has opened up the diagonal to the rook which is trapped in the corner, the Queen on f3 exploits this fact immediately. Black must lose something here, the best move is 6…Nc6 (giving up the knight but allowing it to be followed by Bd7 with tempo on the Queen)

The game went to completion. Black played a good defense for what they had available and found some sharp moves I had to be careful with. As I said before the initial material is only for White is only +2 at the cost of development so if Black is accurate and aggressive enough it possible to catch White underdeveloped which I’ll analyze in the full game link.

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Super blitz #18: Two Bishops Ain’t All That

This game is a perfect example of 2 bishops vs a knight and bishop and where the strengths of each lie. My opponent traded off the major pieces in succession, rook, rook, Queen but didn’t consider how the minor piece endgame would be. They had two doubled isolated c pawns and a weak isolated a file pawn. Our game starts in one of my favorite variations of the Nimzo-Indian Defense.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nf3 b6 6. Be2 Bb7 7. O-O

Both sides have a solid setup. White has a good center, Black hasn’t committed to a center break and keeps some flexibility. Most times Bxc3 is played and White ends up with the two bishops but a slightly weakened structure.

7…d6 8. a3 Bxc3 9. bxc3 Nbd7

Black’s idea with this setup is to push the e pawn forward after Re8 and if possible continue to push through to e4. The position is equal here and there is plenty of dynamism for both sides to play for the win.

10. Bb2 Re8 11. Qc2 e5

White has made a mistake putting the bishop on b2, the c3 pawn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I get the break I’m looking for and the ideal position I am comfortable with. From here it’s White turn to decide how to proceed. The best moves are Nd2, Rfe1. Not incredibly intuitive moves to play. Nd2 attacks the e4 square not allowing me to push any further. Rfe1 looks to support the file once all the tension breaks.

12. d5 e4 13. Nd2 Nc5 14. a4 a5 15. Nb3 c6 16. Nxc5 dxc5 17. dxc6 Bxc6 18. Rfd1 Qc7 19. h3 Rad8

The tension in the center breaks and d file opens, White looks to trade off the rooks and Queens which I oblige as I notice how weak the c and a file pawns are. The end game will surely favor a N+B instead of 2 bishops.

20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rd1 Rd6 22. Rxd6 Qxd6 23. Qd1 Qxd1+ 24. Bxd1

In the position above it becomes apparent what my plan is. White’s bishops are tied to c3 and a4 which leaves my knight to hop around and poke at other weakness along with my King.

25. Kf1 Ne5 26. Bc2 Nxc4 27. Bc1 f5 28. Ke2 g5 29. f3 Nd6 30. Bb3+ Kg7 31. Bb2 Kg6 32. fxe4 Nxe4 33. g4 fxg4 34. hxg4 h5 35. gxh5+ Kxh5 36. Bf7+ Kg4 37. Be6+ Kg3 38. Bb3 g4 39. Bc1 Kg2 40. Kd3 g3 0-1

In the end the power of the two bishop was rendered ineffective because of the weaknesses and lack of open diagonals for them to exploit.

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Super Blitz #17: A False Pin And Rationally Inaccurate Moves

This game was a GQA where I had the dream position from the start. My opponent played moves which I had seen before and were logical but I knew to be slightly inaccurate.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3

The first position above immediately removes us from the book. Nc6 blocks the standard c5 push Black tends to play in order to undermine the White’s central control. It also doesn’t allow Black to immediately play b5 hitting the Bishop on c4 after Bxc4.

4.e3 Nc6 5. Bxc4 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Nf6 7. a3 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 O-O 9. O-O Re8?!

Again, Re8 seems completely logical. It appears as Black is getting ready to push e5 and attack the center but are they ready? There are positional problems in addition to tactical problems with pushing e5. Black needs to shore up some things in the position and get their pieces more active before venturing forth.

10. Rc1 h6 11. Re1 e5

It might not be apparent but Black is in dire straits after e5. As played in the game after 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Rxe5 14. Nf3 (with tempo on the rook) Black doesn’t have much to show in terms of long term strategy or tactical blows. The game continues with 14…Bg4?? a completely normal looking move which aims to pin the knight to the Queen while developing but it’s this move that loses the game.

12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Rxe5 14. Nf3 Bg4??

There is a tactical shot here which wins the game on the spot. Black’s attempt was to pin the knight in order to remove the attack on the rook on e5. If I were to take immediately 15. Nxe5 Bxd1 and I would be down a Queen, however, notice 15. Qxd8+! (It captures the Queen on d8 with check forcing Black to recapture on their move.)…Rxd8 (I no longer have the Queen pinned to the knight) 16. Nxe5 and Black is down a full rook.

Every mistake Black made in this game was a seemingly decent move, most of them followed principles any player should know. Under certain contexts those principles can fail and shouldn’t be followed blindly. Many positions require calculation instead of acting on blind faith, though this was a blitz game not everything can be decided on by intuition.

16…Bh5 17. h3 c6 18.g4 Bg6 19. Nxg6 b5 20. Ba2 Kh7 21. Nf4

The final position of the game. Black resigns as there isn’t much hope being down a rook and minor piece.

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