Blitz Adventures #43: Fighting Fire With Fire

Generally speaking I’m a conservative and solid player so going against the King’s Indian tends to be abrasive to my style. This game was a little different than usual. I had been reviewing games where Black moves the knight from f6 in preparation to play f5 and White replies with g4 immediately before f5.

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 Nbd7 8. Be3 Ne8

The position is going to get very sharp for Black but not so much for White. Since I haven’t castled yet I have the liberty of playing Qc2 and then 0-0-0 when the time is right, the g and h pawns will be thrown up the board supported by two rooks and the center is closed so there won’t be any center attacking pressure. As for Black, their pieces aren’t very active. In the position above both bishops aren’t on good diagonals, the rooks aren’t connected, the knights are on the 7th and 8th ranks still and the pawn shield in front of the King is more of a liability than anything when h5 and h6 come.

9. g4 c5 10. Nd2 f5 11. gxf5 gxf5

Because Black pushed f5 largely unsupported after 12. exf5 Rxf5 what can Black do? Whites plans of Rg1, Qc2, 0-0-0, and Ne4 are very easy to play but not very easy to interact with. In the next position we can see Black hasn’t accomplished very much, two tempi were wasted with a superficial Queen side attack.

12. exf5 Rxf5 13. Qc2 Rf7 14. Bd3 Ndf6 15. 0-0-0 Qa5(Black moves the Queen rather than developing) 16. Nb3 Qc7(again Black must move the Queen rather than a supporting piece) 17. Rdg1

Black is under a lot of pressure here, the h7 pawn is weak, there is a pin on g7 looking to be exploited, Ne5 is on the table, the h pawn can still be thrown up the board.

The game is over in a few moves after this position because there is no possible defense for Black. The e3 Bishop is coming to h6 threatening to remove the best defender of the Black King and from there the combination of Queen and rook is too much with so few pieces.

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Blitz Adventures #42: Facing the Witch King

Recently I’ve started spending more time on chess study and analysis rather than just playing a bunch of blitz and trying to take pieces of information from those games to learn from. The topic has been the Caro Khann lately and I had a game a couple days ago where the benefits from targeted study really became apparent. It was against TheWitchKing13 who’s 1622 in a 5 minute game and from the start it looked like a good fight, they knew the opening principles in the Caro well enough.

Screenshot_2020-06-27 Caro
1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. d4 e6 5. c4 Nd7 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Nc3 Ne7 8. Bb5 Nc6 9. O-O Be7 10. h3 h6

We get the position above after move 10, both sides are solid and there are no apparent weaknesses. White wants to attempt to capitalize on the fact my King is still in the center for another move but there aren’t any aggressive options so White follows with a6. This prompts me to play Qb6 putting pressure on the b2 and d4 pawns which both become targets, additionally if Bxc6 I can play Rb8 and have the Queen and rooks control the b file. After 11. a3 Qb6 12. a4 a6 13. a5? White has gone all in on the pawn push but lacks the support for it. Pushing a5 allows for the knight on c6 to capture it and be supported by the Queen so White simply drops a pawn.

Screenshot_2020-06-27 Caro(2)
11. a3 Qb6 12. a4 a6 13. a5? Nxa5 14. Bxd7 Kxd7

White captures the knight pulling the King to d7 but this actually helps my plans and connects the rooks. The King will be safe on d7 for the time being until I situate my rooks. Nc6, Bd3, Rhc8, Ke7 are played and we get a position where White has spent all but one move on moving the Queen over to the King side while not developing any other pieces.

15. Qa4+ Nc6 16. Nd2 Rhc8 17. Qd1 Bd3 18. Re1 Ke8 19. Qh5??

White has overlooked an important weakness while focusing on an attack, the d4 pawn. My next move is clear, Nxd4 threatening Nc2 forking the rooks. The game continues 19…Nxd4 20. Qg4?? (White is all for the attack without calculating anything else, the definition of tunnel vision. There isn’t another piece to support the Queen’s attack) 20…Nc2! 21. Qxg7?? Nxe1 22. Nf3?? Nxf3 23. gxf3 Kd7! (dropping a pawn but preparing to play Rg1+) 24. Qxf7 Rg8+

White has committed to the attack but left his King’s safety as a second thought. The combinations of the Rook on the g file and the Queen on b6 eyeing the f2 pawn is too much for White to stop.

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Blitz Adventures #41: Kangaroo defense?

I had an interesting 5+3 game today in an opening I can’t remember the last time I played against. Naturally I wanted to take a look post game and see how well I played without knowing the lines. Just following principles I played a near perfect game since the opponent made an early mistake on the 12th move I was able to capitalize on.

Black immediately puts the question to White’s development, where is the knight going and where is the bishop going? It’s not a bad opening and generally transposes to the typical style QGD if played normally. My opponent decided to support the Bishop after 3. Bd2 Qe7 which isn’t the main line.

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ 3. Bd2 Qe7 4. a3 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 Nf6 6. Nc3 a6 7. e3 O-O 8. Nf3 h6 9. Bd3 Nc6 10. O-O Re8 11. b4

Above is the critical position, Black is in a bit of a tangle and needs to get out of it. The bishop is stuck on c8 and there isn’t a clear plan for what the knights are trying to accomplish. Black needs to try to break open the position and get their pieces free. Playing e5 offers what Black is looking for but instead of that they play b5?? which immediately loses a pawn and severely weakens the c7 pawn. The game continues where Black fails to defend the c pawn and I am left with outside passed pawns that cannot be stopped.

 

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