Super Blitz#16: Practice Makes Perfect

It’s a good feeling when you’ve played an opening enough to have it memorized up to the 15th move. This was a Caro I played where I didn’t even have to think until the 16th move, my opponent played sound but simple moves that I had seen in some form and none were challenging. The game ended up being a perfect 0 inaccuracies, 0 mistakes, 0 blunders game.

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 Nc6 8. Bd2 Nf6 9. O-O Bd6 10. a3 a6 11. b4 b5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 O-O 14. h3 Rc8 15. Rfe1 Re8

At this point I’ve got a slight edge of -0.6 which I’d say is owed to the c file pressure and the lack of piece mobility of some of the White pieces. I usually focus on the c2 pawn since it’s the weakest point by stacking rooks or getting a Queen and rook battery on the c file.

16. Rab1 Be7 17. a4 Nxb4 18. Qe2 Rxc3

White really drops the ball here by having pushed a4. It removed the defender of b4 and allowed Nxb4 with an attack on the Queen while supported by the bishop on e7. You see this kind of thing a lot when players don’t know what to do and I think it’s the separating skill between an intermediate player and advanced player. The repercussions of pushing a single pawn with out calculating lead to the loss of the entire game but it must be calculated. There is no obvious move here or obvious tactical blow but there are ways to improve the position. Bxf6 and Rc1 are both slow but are what’s required in a longer positional game and most intermediate blitz players want to attack and push forward.

After Nxb4 White should have played 18. Qd2 to keep in contact with the c3 knight but instead played 18. Qe2?? allowing Rxc3.

19. Rxb4 Bxb4

White willingly gives up an exchange here, perhaps the knight on b3 was too strong after the rooks stacked up against the c pawn with the addition of the knight. The position is lost after the exchange however, White just doesn’t have anything to strive for and must react the the discover on the e1 rook.

20. Rb1 Be7 21. axb5 axb5 22. Rxb5 Qc7 23. Bg3 Qc4 24. Rb7

I offer White a Queen trade while attacking the rook on b5 but White declines the trade and leave the Queen hanging in the end. The game ends quickly in 7 moves after this position.

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