This game my opponent really seemed to know their opening, it was very solid on both sides initially but White seemed to slip more as the middle game came around. Middle game ideas were something I struggled with for awhile, the opening and end game made sense but the middle game is the wild west of the chess game. The tipping point came shortly after the position below, play followed 1.Ne4 Bxe2 2.Qxe2?! Nxd4 since the Queen left defense of the d pawn. From that position I retained the pawn advantage until I was able to win another by stacking Rooks against the c2 pawn. It ends with a little Rook sacrifice in order to deflect the White King from their last pawn and allows me to promote.
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This was an exchange Slav with Nf3 Nf6 Nc3 Ne4!? This is a suspect move this early, the typical idea is for Black to play e6 and Bb4 pinning the Knight and then play Ne4 looking to double attack the piece while pinned. Having been and exchange Slav Qc2 is a nice reply and the Queen already has an open file to sit on while defending the c3 Knight and attacking the e4 Knight. It’s possible this is a pet line of my opponents and might work in a blitz game to catch someone off guard but in a longer game where time isn’t such a factor it can be exploited. The game hit some fireworks on move 7 where Nxd5 is played where if the Queen captures the Queen is free to take the Bishop on c8 with check (that’s what happens).
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The Benoni has taken on the feelings I have for the Marshall defense, I used to dislike playing against it in general but now I welcome it. People don’t seem to understand the ideas and weaknesses behind the openings even though they play them and the Benoni is very sharp for both sides if there is accurate play.
Black in this game replied to my push past his gambit pawn by pushing in turn. This fails for a number of reason including Black’s pawn not posing a threat, it’s harder to defend and easier to attack where the White pawn hinders Blacks development, controls center pushes and makes coordination harder. As you’ll see in the game Black is forced to play Knight a6 but is a move behind in actually threatening anything as it’s obvious where the Knight is going. Black abandons his pawn early on and attempts to attack the supports of my advanced pawn, the problem with this is the over extension of Blacks pieces with no support from pawns or other minor pieces. In the position below Black is forced to trade off his primary active pieces and falls into a double attack of a hanging piece and a knight fork picking up a Rook.
Had Black developed and supported the attack better the Knight wouldn’t have been hanging and a developed Bishop would have made castling at response to the fork threat.
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