This game was a GQA where I had the dream position from the start. My opponent played moves which I had seen before and were logical but I knew to be slightly inaccurate.
The first position above immediately removes us from the book. Nc6 blocks the standard c5 push Black tends to play in order to undermine the White’s central control. It also doesn’t allow Black to immediately play b5 hitting the Bishop on c4 after Bxc4.
Again, Re8 seems completely logical. It appears as Black is getting ready to push e5 and attack the center but are they ready? There are positional problems in addition to tactical problems with pushing e5. Black needs to shore up some things in the position and get their pieces more active before venturing forth.
It might not be apparent but Black is in dire straits after e5. As played in the game after 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Rxe5 14. Nf3 (with tempo on the rook) Black doesn’t have much to show in terms of long term strategy or tactical blows. The game continues with 14…Bg4?? a completely normal looking move which aims to pin the knight to the Queen while developing but it’s this move that loses the game.
There is a tactical shot here which wins the game on the spot. Black’s attempt was to pin the knight in order to remove the attack on the rook on e5. If I were to take immediately 15. Nxe5 Bxd1 and I would be down a Queen, however, notice 15. Qxd8+! (It captures the Queen on d8 with check forcing Black to recapture on their move.)…Rxd8 (I no longer have the Queen pinned to the knight) 16. Nxe5 and Black is down a full rook.
Every mistake Black made in this game was a seemingly decent move, most of them followed principles any player should know. Under certain contexts those principles can fail and shouldn’t be followed blindly. Many positions require calculation instead of acting on blind faith, though this was a blitz game not everything can be decided on by intuition.
The final position of the game. Black resigns as there isn’t much hope being down a rook and minor piece.
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 White 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.