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.
I’ve never been a modern style player, I prefer a solid and classical approach to my games. I do enjoy playing against a modern opening as I think it is a good clash of styles right from the start. The appeal to the modern style is the flexibility that comes with it since you don’t commit pawns to the center, instead the idea is to develop the supporting pieces before the center thrust after White has committed their center pawns. This game was a double fianchetto opening from Black.
In this position Black is pressuring the center and White does need to be cautious about specific moves. The most important idea is to finish developing and castle without over extending the center pawns. After developing on both sides we get a position where no clear action in the center has been taken until Black plays c5 which is a mistake.
Generally Black wants to attack the center directly with the d pawn. Instead of c5 d5 was a better option but better than both would have been d6 followed by Nd7 getting all the pieces in the game. What happens because Black has played c5 is it allows me to play d5 gaining space and shutting the light squared bishop out of the game. Another note is Black didn’t accept the trade of dark square bishops and instead opted for Bh8. Keeping the bishop on has locked his King to the g8 square and will become a liability later.
The rest of the game becomes a good example of a modern gone wrong where Black has no center and the light squared bishop contributed nothing to the game because of the wrong pawn thrust.