Daily Games #1: Unfamiliar Territory

In this game I play white in a Rossolimo Attack with 3…Nf6 which is unfamiliar territory for me. I was reviewing a few games by the great attacking Tal and this opening seemed to do well against the Sicilian and it fit my more aggressive opening style as of late.  In the opening book the 3…Nf6 with 4.Nc3 and e5 seems to give white fairly good winning chances and I would have to agree after the capture of Bxc6 forcing Black to stack pawns early on. The game is fairly even as I am better in the opening and my opponent in the middle game, however as the late middle game comes around the advantage switches back. Some critical mistakes are made in the end game and it allows me to find a mate in 5 as my opponent plays the losing move out of 2 possible moves.

//www.chess.com/emboard?id=3552644

[Date “2017.07.13”]
[White “Jtrot79”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B30”]
[WhiteElo “1628”]
[BlackElo “1339”]
[TimeControl “1 in 1 day”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.Nc3 e5 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.Nxe5 Bd6 7.Nf3 O-O 8.e5 Re8 9.O-O Bxe5 10.Nxe5 Rxe5 11.f4 Re8 12.d3 d5 13.h3 Qd6 14.a3 h6 15.Re1 Ba6 16.b4 c4 17.dxc4 Bxc4 18.f5 Qg3 19.Bb2 d4 20.Rxe8+ Rxe8 21.Qxd4 Bd5 22.Nxd5 Nxd5 23.Qf2 Qe3 24.Bd4 Qxf2+ 25.Kxf2 Re4 26.Rd1 Rf4+ 27.Kg3 Rxf5 28.Bxa7 Nc3 29.Rd8+ Kh7 30.Bd4 Ne2+ 31.Kh2 g5 32.Rh8+ Kg6 33.Rg8+ Kh5 34.g4+ Kh4 35.Rh8 Ng3 36.Rxh6+ 1-0

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 [A more aggressive opening against Blacks’s Sicilian. I believe this move is a good counter to the unbalance Black looks to create by playing on the Queen side, it removes the Knight which is a primary piece and in place will allow White to trade and stack Blacks pawns]

….Nf6 [This move makes sense to me. Black looked to play on the Queen side but the threat of White trading the Bishop off and dampening the initiative may make Black feel as he needs some pressure on the other side of the board]

4.Nc3 e5 5.Bxc6 bxc6 [Stacking pawns early gives me a weakness to target and I will nearly always look to inflict something early on to exploit later. The line recommended here is dxc6  and generally goes against the idea of always taking toward the center and if you will notice the pawn on e5 is hanging, the reason dxc6 is recommended is that it allows the Queen to enter the fight in the middle which will ensue. The main lines get incredible sharp and most people who play the Sicilian at a lower level may not know them. (5… dxc6 6. Nxe5 Nxe4 7. Nxe4 Qd5 8. d3 Qxe5 9. f4 Qd5 10. Qe2 Be7 11. c4 Qe6 12. Be3 b6 13. O-O Qg6 14. Ng3 Qg4 15. Rae1 Qxe2 16. Rxe2 Be6 17. Ne4)]

6.Nxe5 Bd6 7.Nf3 [I’ve gained a pawn and retreated to a position that suits the Knight better and will allow me to defend the e5 square again]

…O-O 8.e5 [As stated with in the previous move of Nf3]

…Re8 9.O-O Bxe5 10.Nxe5 Rxe5 11.f4 Re8 12.d3 d5 13.h3 Qd6 14.a3 h6 15.Re1 Ba6 16.b4 c4 17.dxc4 Bxc4 [These moves have all been slow and developing. Over the course of this however I gave Black some initiative back and the position looks better to be in their favor. Black has more active pieces and his Bishop is much better than mine is]

18.f5 [ A mistake on my part, this move really accomplishes nothing besides freeing the Bishop from guard duty which is what I wanted to accomplish. A better move would have been Be3 getting the Bishop to an active square and clearing out my back rank to where I can connect my Rooks]

…Qg3 [This is a mistake on my opponent, Black should have played d4 attacking the Knight and threatening to trade rooks with check. This would allow a piece to be won]

19.Bb2 [My initial plan when I moved 18.f5, I wanted the Bishop on the long diagonal towards Blacks King]

….d4 [My opponent plays d4 now but only for it to become a mistake, now I have the Rook check and force trade which allows me to capture the undefended pawn on  d4]

20.Rxe8+ Rxe8 21.Qxd4 [The aforementioned line which Black allowed me to play]

…Bd5 [Here Black threatens mate on g2, trading is in my favor as the Bishop was a very active piece and I wanted to free my own Bishop]

22.Nxd5 Nxd5 23.Qf2 [Blacks pieces were coordinating quite well and I wanted to relieve the pressure by forcing a Queen trade]

…Qe3 [Delaying the trade was actually a poor choice on his part it allowed me to get the Bishop active]

24.Bd4 Qxf2+ 25.Kxf2[The line Black chose gave me the opportunity to get my Bishop to a more active square and also my King closer to the center which is important in an end game situation]

…Re4 26.Rd1 [Simply defending and brining my Rook to a more active file, simple yet effective]

…Rf4+ 27.Kg3 Rxf5 28.Bxa7 Nc3 29.Rd8+ Kh7 30.Bd4 Ne2+ 31.Kh2 [A fairly standard line of moves both sides taking pawns and bettering the position]

…g5 [A key move which had long term consequences]

32.Rh8+ Kg6 33.Rg8+ Kh5 [It was here in which the mate in 5 became possible, the alternative move would have been Kh7 which lead to an endgame where I was up two pawns but Black still has chances]

34.g4+ Kh4 35.Rh8 Ng3 36.Rxh6+ 1-0

Rapid Time#2: Bringing Down the Castle

Over the last week or so I’ve thrown just about all my free time into understanding and developing a bond with aggressive and tactical ideas instead of my previous ideas of slow and positional play. While the latter is certainly a way to go I don’t think it quite fits me as well as I thought it did. I like the idea of the logical chess board, steady development, control in the center, a safe king, good pawn structure, these are all great things. In practice however,  no matter how much I love the idea of going through the opening and setting up to a perfect position it just doesn’t have that spark of ingenuity and excitement.

GM Simon Williams always say that Chess is like a story you tell, in the opening, middle game and end game all your pieces play the role of that story you are telling. Everyone knows a good story needs drama and suspense with a daring protagonist and his unrelenting antagonist fighting along the way. While positional and slower chess sets up for a story more like Lord of the Rings, tactical and aggressive styles feel more like the swash buckling Three Musketeers or the ever cunning Locke Lemora. So it is here now that I found a deeper appreciation for tactical and daring play styles of Tal, Morphy and Alekhine. The successful execution of pieces in combination or daringly sacrificing everything to expose the enemy King and claim victory is something I admire much more than a slow and smothering win.

//www.chess.com/emboard?id=3547216

[Black “Jtrot79”]
[WhiteElo “1000”]
[BlackElo “1030”]
[TimeControl “900+10”]
[EndTime “17:36:46 PDT”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O b6 6.d3 Ba6 7.Bg5 Nf6 8.c4 Qd6 9.Nc3 O-O-O 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Ne2 Bd6 13.f4 Qh5 14.f5 Qxh2+ 15.Kf2 Qh4+ 16.g3 Qh2+ 17.Ke1 Bb4+ 18.Qd2 Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Qh6+ 20.Kc2 b5 21.cxb5 Bxb5 22.Rh1 Bxd3+ 23.Kb3 Qd2 24.Rhd1 Qxe2 25.Kc3 Qc2+ 26.Kb4 Rd4+ 27.Ka3 Qa4# 0-1

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O [This has been a standard game so far to this point, nothing very inspiring. With White castling already I had a target painted on h2]

…b6 [With this move here I looked to get out of the typical lines of the Ruy Lopez and get both Bishops pointed towards my opponents Kingside, additionally it pinned the pawn to the Rook on f1]

6.d3 Ba6 7.Bg5 Nf6 8.c4 Qd6 9.Nc3 O-O-O [I feel as though any real attacking position has opposite side castling with the aggressor going long, it allows both Rooks to control a file very quickly]

10.Nxe5 [I’m not sure the idea behind this move, perhaps my opponent wanted to chase the Queen while developing forward]

…Qxe5 [With this move I had 3 pieces pointed toward my opponents King]

11.Bxf6 gxf6 [This trade was completely in my favor as I wanted to add pressure to the White King, taking back with the pawn opened the g file for my Rook]

12.Ne2 Bd6 [Here I am threatening mate on h2 and looking to create weaknesses in the White Kings defenses allowing for exploitation later on]

13.f4 [Upon initial view this move seems to attack the Queen and block h2 from being hit. It also give the King and escape square in the event of h2 falling]

…Qh5 [Keeping pressure on the h2 pawn and Kingside in general]

14.f5 Qxh2+ [The King chase begins]

15.Kf2 Qh4+ 16.g3 Qh2+ 17.Ke1 Bb4+ 18.Qd2 Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 [I was looking for the most forcing line and attempting to push the White King towards my other pieces]

…Qh6+ [I missed a tactic here, 19…Bxc4 would have allowed for capture of a pawn however the line suggested by the computer allowed White to get pieces onto the defense and muddies the water potentially allowing mistakes on my part. I prefer my move which forces the King towards my side]

20.Kc2 b5 21.cxb5 Bxb5 22.Rh1 Bxd3+ 23.Kb3 Qd2 [My strongest pieces makes her way back into the fight. The computer again recommends a move Qe3, that seems to allow White some wiggle room and sharper lines on my part. Granted it is mate in 6 with Qe3 it isn’t the easiest to find and I already had a winning position and idea]

24.Rhd1 Qxe2 [Removing a defender of some squares to allow more control. This is the slower positional player in me coming to light]

25.Kc3 Qc2+ 26.Kb4 Rd4+ 27.Ka3 Qa4# 0-1 [In the end my plan worked as I had hoped with the enemy King on my side of the board where his squares were the most restricted]

Rapid Time#1: Dancing Pieces

I’ve moved from blitz primarily to rapid time controls, either 15|10 or 15|5 if possible, because it has more educational value. In the long run making deeper and more thought provoking moves will benefit me more over the board in tournaments in the months to come. I realized from the adventures in blitz I often traded pieces and was too passive in most positions, in the game here I refused to trade only looking to complicate the position more. I made two primary mistakes,  a loss of a pawn in the beginning of the middle game due to me being a step ahead of myself and  the other was a knight in the end game while there was sub 30 seconds on the clock and time scramble was relevant.  In the end I was able to add enough time to the clock to work through a way to draw the game if my opponent wasn’t careful. Lucky for me he was in a rush to promote his pawn and overlooked the stale mate that was coming.  As this is a rapid game that played to a draw it is much longer than most others that I have posted.

//www.chess.com/emboard?id=3539874

[Date “2017.07.20”]
[White “Jtrot79”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[WhiteElo “1073”]
[BlackElo “1103”]
[TimeControl “900+10”]
[ECO “D50”]
[Termination “Game drawn by stalemate”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d5 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. Bg5 e6 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxc4 Nc6 7. e4 e5 8. d5 Na5 9. Qd3 a6 10. Nf3 h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. b4 Bxb4 13. a3 Bd6 14. Rb1 b5 15. Qd2 O-O 16. Bxb5 axb5 17. Nxb5 Nb7 18. Qc3 Nc5 19. Nxc7 Rac8 20. Nb5 Nxe4 21. Qd3 Nc5 22. Qe3 Rb8 23. Nc3 Bf5 24. Rxb8 Rxb8 25. O-O Rb3 26. Nd2 Rxa3 27. Nc4 Rb3 28. Nxd6 Qxd6 29. Rd1 Ne4 30. Qd3 Rxc3 31. Qe2 Rc5 32. f3 Nc3 33. Qe1 Nxd1 34. Qxd1 Rxd5 35. Qe2 Rd1+ 36. Kf2 Rd2 37. Qxd2 Qxd2+ 38. Kg3 Qf4+ 39. Kf2 g5 40. g3 g4 41. gxf4 exf4 42. Kg2 h5 43. fxg4 hxg4 44. h3 f3+ 45. Kg3 Kg7 46. hxg4 Bxg4 47. Kf2 f5 48. Kg3 Bh5 49. Kf2 Kg6 50. Kg3 Kg5 51. Kf2 f4 52. Ke1 Kg4 53. Kf2 Kh3 54. Kg1 Kg3 55. Kh1 f2 1/2-1/2

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d5 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.Bg5 [A slight inaccuracy as I should have played e3 and attacked the pawn immediately however I noticed in other Queens gambit games I have a problem with the bishop being trapped behind my pawn chain]

…e6 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxc4 Nc6 7.e4 e5 8.d5 Na59.Qd3 a6 10.Nf3 h6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.b4 [Here is the first inaccuracy that I feel was a major part of the struggles to come. In the QG the pawn attack on the Queen side is very important. Taking turns castling after Be2 was the way to go instead as the uncastled king is a bit of a problem later on while the pieces are dancing about]

…Bxb4 13.a3 Bd6 14.Rb1 b5 15.Qd2 O‑O16.Bxb5 [Here is where I decided to let loose and see how my opponent would handle the sac of the bishop. I wanted to castle and I wanted to clear the way in extravagantly]

…axb5 17.Nxb5 Nb7 18.Qc3 Nc5 19.Nxc7 [The computer doesn’t like this move and neither do I but I wanted to continue to be a little outlandish and see if my opponent would slip up at any point]

…Rac8 20.Nb5 Nxe4 21.Qd3 Nc522.Qe3 Rb8 23.Nc3 Bf5 24.Rxb8 Rxb8 25.O‑O Rb3 26.Nd2 Rxa3 27.Nc4 Rb3 28.Nxd6 Qxd6 29.Rd1 Ne4 [White played decently well throughout this whole time, the advantage remained on his side with a fluctuation from -10 to about -4 at this move. If I had played more accurately myself the game would have taken an even more interesting depth]

30.Qd3 [This is just bad, time started kicking in and I was looking to attempt to run his clock down more and complicate the position but in the end I just lost a piece]

…Rxc3 31.Qe2 Rc5 32.f3 [Unfortunately I miss the fork coming between my Queen and Rook, it’s quite obvious but having less than 30 seconds on the clock and definitely cause problems]

…Nc3 33.Qe1 Nxd1 34.Qxd1Rxd5 35.Qe2 Rd1+ 36.Kf2 Rd2 37.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 38.Kg3 Qf4+ 39.Kf2 g5 40.g3 g4 41.gxf4 exf4 42.Kg2 h5 43.fxg4 hxg4 44.h3 [All these moves were made in the goal to simplify the position and attempt to gain some time while forcing my opponent to consider if the recapture was sound or not]

…f3+ 45.Kg3 Kg7 46.hxg4 Bxg4 47.Kf2 f5 48.Kg3 Bh5 49.Kf2 Kg6 50.Kg3 Kg5 51.Kf2 f4 52.Ke1 Kg4 53.Kf2 Kh3 54.Kg1 Kg3 55.Kh1 [The idea with these moves was to keep my King in the corner and hopefully Black would fall for the stalemate that I could see as my only way out]

….f2 [A draw in the end was good enough for me considering I had quite a bit of fun sacing and throwing my pieces everywhere]

Blitz Adventures #4: Questionable Kings

[Date “2017.07.15”]
[Black “Jtrot79”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “987”]
[BlackElo “942”]
[TimeControl “600”]
[ECO “A07”]

Today I decided to jump into a little blitz fun, having chosen to stop playing the Sicilian quite as much I wanted to see what would feel natural against 1.d4 2.Nf3 without really looking into the books. The last two games I got as black transposed into the King’s Indian Attack from the Black Mustang Defense and overall felt really good on this side of the board, less passive and similar to the lay out I’m comfortable with.

//www.chess.com/emboard?id=3532228

1. Nf3 Nc6 2. g3 e5 3. d3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg4 5. h3 Bxf3 6. Bxf3 Nf6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. O-O d4 10. Bxc6+ Qxc6 11. c3 Rd8 12. Nd2 b5 13. f3 Be7 14. g4 Bg5 15. Ne4 Bf4 16. Re1 g6 17. h4 f5 18. gxf5 gxf5 19. Nd2 Rg8+ 20. Kf1 Qg6 21. Ne4 Qg2#

1.Nf3 Nc6 2.g3 [With white playing this I was able to equalize immediately in the center]

…e5 3.d3 [ I don’t feel as though white wanted to play d3 but even less would be black playing e4 killing his light squared bishop and gaining space]

…d5 4.Bg2 Bg4 [These two moves are why I enjoy this opening so much, it allows for black to have both pawns in the center and a bishop attacking the knight]

5.h3 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 [Removing the Knight was a plan I wanted to do early on as I felt like an attack on the King side would be the goal in the middle game with White having already weakened it]

…Nf6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 [While not the most accurate line I wanted the Queen on the King side in preparation for an attack]

9.O‑O d4 [I should have castled long here, no doubt about it considering the King side attack and defending the d pawn]

10.Bxc6+ Qxc6 [Keeping the pawn structure intact]

11.c3 Rd8 12.Nd2 b5 [Looking to keep the Queen side under control before switching to the King side]

13.f3 Be7 14.g4 Bg5 15.Ne4 Bf4 16.Re1 g6 17.h4 f5 [I never castled short as I was looking to put the rook on the g file and bring a piece into the attack if White took. The other plan after 18.Nd2 would be to castle into the f file]

18.gxf5 gxf5 19.Nd2 [My opponent played Nd2 but only after it was too late and mate in 4 was unstoppable]

…Rg8+ 20.Kf1Qg6 21.Ne4 Qg2#