I enjoyed this game since I was put into a new position by move 2. It’s not uncommon for people online to play specific systems that they’re comfortable with and not many people know. The opening below is completely playable but not played very often, it transposes to something like a Semi-Slav where Black looks to play and solidify d5.
Although not familiar with this opening, the principles of opening development are enough to make it through anything unfamiliar. I simply exchange the wing pawns since that’s my typical play in every Slav or Semi Slave structure, get the Knights to c3 and f3 to influence the center, look for good squares for the Bishops (there is a pin option on a good diagonal) and put my Rook on the open c file to pressure a piece with few defenders.
Every piece is serving some purpose in the opening, the last two pieces (The King’s Rook and Queen) have yet to be determined where they would be best. From this point on it becomes about developing a plan, there is pressure on the c6 Knight and one of the defenders of it is pinned to a Rook. The Knight attack was the start point for my middle game plan, which slowly compounded until it ended up being able to cause enough problems Black missed the proper defense and everything began to fall apart.
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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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