This is hands down one of my best 3-0 games that followed my opening prep. It was a Traditional GQD main line and my opponent was eager to trade off some minor pieces from the start.
I’ve had this opening a million times but I never seemed to make it to the point where I can launch a minority attack against the Black Queen side which is the standard idea in the pawns structure once cxd and exd is played.
We arrive at the position above where both sides are structurally sound. The imbalance is 2 knights vs knight and bishop, Black with a Queen side majority and I with a King side majority. This is the point where a minority attack will weaken Black’s advantage and turn it into more of a liability.
The whole idea behind the minority attack is to trade off pawns and leave Black with something to defend, generally the c pawn. You can see above that the c pawn is backwards and the weakest point in the position. Even if it can be defended it means that Black will be tied down while defending.
Ideally Black would play something like Rec8 and I’d play Rfc1 and there would be some poking and prodding by both knights. The position above is dynamic but equal.
Black drops the c pawn by failing to defend or thinking that taking the b pawn is a better trade so they might have a passed pawn. The main issues is the c pawn was the support for both the b and d pawns, Black has now made two weaknesses in exchange for the one.
The position above seems like Black has found a way to win material due to the double attack on the Queen and the knight with no way to defend both but there is a move. 22. Nxd5! counter attacking the enemy Queen if 22…Rxc6 23. Nxe7+ Rxe7 24. Bxc6. Instead play goes 22. Nxd5! Nxd5 23. Qxd5 Rfc8 24. Rxb5 1-0
Black resigns in this position as being down two pawns and only have 26 seconds compared to my 1:32 doesn’t look promising.
I’ll admit tunnel vision in a blitz game can some times come back to bite me but luckily in this game I was focused on a decent line instead of overlooking a major threat. My opponent also had their own hyper focused idea which followed mine the next move but luckily I realized and corrected my oversight before they managed to have a chance to. We’ll get to the position later in the game as it happens near the end when I was winning and got a bit complacent.
The first interesting thing about the game was the opening we played. It was a QGD Anti-Nizmo where Black still played Bb4+. If Black is playing this line it’s best to know the proper moves to follow it up because anything but the best line gives White an advantage right from the start.
The whole point of White playing Nf3 here is to dissuade Black from playing the Bishop to b4 and instead using it to break the pin on Nf6 when it’s played. Black plays it anyway and white has a few replies. My favorite and what I played in the game is Bd2 immediately challenging the bishop. This is where most people go wrong, the best move is to retreat the bishop to e7 since capturing with Bxd2 means Black has moved the bishop twice and I will get to recapture with knight or Queen developing at the same time. Most people don’t want to retreat and will capture or even worse will play Nc6 giving white an advantage from the opening.
Here is my mistake: I have the option to recapture in e6 with the rook or the knight. Clearly the knight is better as it forks the two rooks but I recaptured with my own rook with the idea of doubling and then infiltrating the 7th rank. I had done this very thing so many times in so many games I did it without considering anything else. As I said before the move was fine but it wasn’t as good as winning an exchange.
It’s Black’s turn to move and miss an idea: They choose to play Nc4 getting the knight to a great outpost and threaten a3 which I would have to defend by moving my rook to a passive square. The problem is the looming knight fork on the King and rook on g6. Black does win the pawn but at the cost of a rook and eventually the 7th rank.
This game was against a 1540 opponent who played an interesting idea in the exchange slav.
You’ll notice the red arrow showing the bishop hitting the pawn, this is because in the Slav it’s typical to play Bf5 or Bg4 which can no longer be played. Black tends to play bg4 due to White not having pushed e3 yet so the bishop wouldn’t be pinning the knight to the Queen.
My assumption here is that this is a pet line of Black’s and it does accomplish some things. For example, Black has control over the d4 square at the moment and may have ideas of pushing f4 in the future to attempt to restrict me from play e4 directly. I was interested to see a new position, usually the games in the 1500-1700 tend to have a good amount of opening theory so the same lines are played until the middle game.
We come to the position as seen above where the light squared bishop isn’t accomplishing much and I have pressure on f5 and an xray attack on on h7 with check if the knight moves from f6. In the end the threat of Bxh7+ costs Black the game since they used a tempo to play h6 when other threats were on board.