Super Blitz #12: Modern Flexibility

I’ve never been a modern style player, I prefer a solid and classical approach to my games. I do enjoy playing against a modern opening as I think it is a good clash of styles right from the start.  The appeal to the modern style is the flexibility that comes with it since you don’t commit pawns to the center, instead the idea is to develop the supporting pieces before the center thrust after White has committed their center pawns. This game was a double fianchetto opening from Black.

Screenshot_2020-03-24 Modern Openings
1. d4 g6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 b6 4. Nf3 Bb7

In this position Black is pressuring the center and White does need to be cautious about specific moves. The most important idea is to finish developing and castle without over extending the center pawns. After developing on both sides we get a position where no clear action in the center has been taken until Black plays c5 which is a mistake.

Screenshot_2020-03-24 Modern Openings(1)

Generally Black wants to attack the center directly with the d pawn. Instead of c5 d5 was a better option but better than both would have been d6 followed by Nd7 getting all the pieces in the game. What happens because Black has played c5 is it allows me to play d5 gaining space and shutting the light squared bishop out of the game. Another note is Black didn’t accept the trade of dark square bishops and instead opted for Bh8. Keeping the bishop on has locked his King to the g8 square and will become a liability later.

The rest of the game becomes a good example of a modern gone wrong where Black has no center and the light squared bishop contributed nothing to the game because of the wrong pawn thrust.

Full Game and Analysis on Lichess

Super Blitz #11

I don’t know what it is but it has been popping up everywhere as of late. I exclusively play the Queens Gambit and there are many more popular responses to it but it seems to have caught on in blitz. It could be the general ELO of the opponents is higher I play now and I can see why the Tarrasch would be difficult for White to play against without some idea of what to do. In a 3 minute game you don’t have time to figure out an entire opening on the fly like a rapid or classical game. Let take a look at what the Semi-Tarrasch opening is. This is our starting position for all the analysis ahead.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My QGD, East Indian, Indian, Nimzo, Ect Games
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5

What Black wants to do is trade their c pawn for White’s d pawn or if White captures on c5 Black will recapture with the bishop of f8 while developing. It’s understand able for Black to play, generally one way or the other Black gets to trade his wing pawn for a center pawn but at what cost? Well, it depends on how White response in this position since there are 4 decent ways to recapture each leading to it’s own feel. You’ll have to do some visulization here but it’s good for practice. These line are in the game analysis which I post at the bottom where you can see them on the board.

The most common is 1.cxd5 Nxd5 2.e4 Nxc4 3.bxc3 cxd4 4.cxd4 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6Qxd2. What we get after this position is a simplifed game, two minors have been swapped off already. Black’s upside is the lead in development since they are already castled they can begin attacking the center earlier while While has to develop the light bishop and castle.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My QGD, East Indian, Indian, Nimzo, Ect Games(4)
1.cxd5 Nxd5 2.e4 Nxc4 3.bxc3 cxd4 4.cxd4 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6Qxd2

Next White opts to keep the tension by not capturing at all 1.e3 Nc6 2.a3 a6 3.dxc5 Bxc5 4.b4 Ba7. Here White captures and allows the bishop to develop but immediately kicks the bishop back with b4 gaining space and time. White has a lot of options on how the want to proceed, some people continue to attack and push on the Queen side while others will finish developing and castle.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My QGD, East Indian, Indian, Nimzo, Ect Games(1)

3rd most common is 1. Bg5 which is following in the classical feel of the Queen’s Gambit declined where you get the bishop outside the pawn chain before e3 is play. 1…cxd4 2.Nxd4 e5 3.Nf3 d4 4.Bxf6. This gets complicated very quickly, if sharp positions are something you favor this would be a great continuation for you.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My QGD, East Indian, Indian, Nimzo, Ect Games(3)
1Bg4 cxd4 2.Nxd4 e5 3.Nf3 d4 4.Bxf6 White will continue with Nd4

Lastly is what I have been playing lately and experimenting with 1.dxc5 Bxc5 2.e3 O-O 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Be2 which tends to become a very typical style game. The major upside is Blacks isolated pawn which will become a target later in the game but as a whole the position is balanced.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My QGD, East Indian, Indian, Nimzo, Ect Games(2)
1.dxc5 Bxc5 2.e3 O-O 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Be2

Of these four I would choose 1.e3 and 1.dxc5 as my options based on how I like to play. Both of them turn into relatively stanard openings but White still keeps a small edge in some way. The game continues equally until Black get tunnel vision on a checkmate and misses an intermezzo capture with check which forces them to change plans.

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SuperBlitz #10: A Single Pawn Move

This was the best game of the 10 game match I played with Mr-Raptor. I chose to show it because of its complete balance throughout the game until a small pawn move was made in the middle which lead to a completely losing position. It exemplfies how cut throat chess can be at times and all the effort put forth before can turn into nothing by a minor pawn move.

It was an exchange Caro which can be dull but that’s my style when the option is presented. The exchange allows for true chess understanding to come out, there aren’t big tactical mistakes and complicated positions instead it becomes a slow strategic game where either side will grind the other down.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My Caro Games
White’s last move b3 cost them the game.

Let’s look at why b3, a seemingly harmless move caused so many issues. The main weak spot in White’s position is c2, this is very common in the Caro once the c pawn on Black’s side gets swapped off. Black will be able to control the semi open file and exert pressure over time. White currently has nothing defending c2 but the knight was blocking it for now which is supported by the b2 pawn. Once White moved the b2 pawn the knight became a weakness it self and it was the only thing stopping the double rooks from crashing through to c2.

Screenshot_2020-03-19 My Caro Games(1)

We arrive at this position where White has attempted to place a rook on the c file as well to defend the pawn. It’s White’s move and the best move to make is Ne2 accepting the loss of the pawn instead of allowing Black to continue to mount pressure on the c file in addition to the knight which would jump in on e4. In the game White makes a far worse move while attempting to deal with the pressure and the game ends soon after.

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