It’s a good feeling when you’ve played an opening enough to have it memorized up to the 15th move. This was a Caro I played where I didn’t even have to think until the 16th move, my opponent played sound but simple moves that I had seen in some form and none were challenging. The game ended up being a perfect 0 inaccuracies, 0 mistakes, 0 blunders game.
At this point I’ve got a slight edge of -0.6 which I’d say is owed to the c file pressure and the lack of piece mobility of some of the Black pieces. I usually focus on the c2 pawn since it’s the weakest point by stacking rooks or getting a Queen and rook battery on the c file.
White really drops the ball here by having pushed a4. It removed the defender of b4 and allowed Nxb4 with an attack on the Queen while supported by the bishop on e7. You see this kind of thing a lot when players don’t know what to do and I think it’s the separating skill between an intermediate player and advanced player. The repercussions of pushing a single pawn with out calculating lead to the loss of the entire game but it must be calculated. There is no obvious move here or obvious tactical blow but there are ways to improve the position. Bxf6 and Rc1 are both slow but are what’s required in a longer positional game and most intermediate blitz players want to attack and push forward.
After Nxb4 White should have played 18. Qd2 to keep in contact with the c3 knight but instead played 18. Qe2?? allowing Rxc3.
White willingly gives up an exchange here, perhaps the knight on b3 was too strong after the rooks stacked up against the c pawn with the addition of the knight. The position is lost after the exchange however, White just doesn’t have anything to strive for and must react the the discover on the e1 rook.
I offer White a Queen trade while attacking the rook on b5 but White declines the trade and leave the Queen hanging in the end. The game ends quickly in 7 moves after this position.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.