06 January 2013

Annotated Game #78: Chess is 99% Calculation

This fourth-round tournament game continued my woes and ended rather quickly due to a calculation mistake.  Eerily I made a very similar mistake in yesterday's game against Rocky Rook during our first game of the Double My Egg Nog tourney, involving a miscalculation that dropped a pawn after ...Ne4 (see move 17 in this game).  Had I fully analyzed this game beforehand, I probably could have avoided that mistake.  Losing twice in that manner should be incentive enough to avoid doing so again, however.

The opening is similar to the Colle that made an appearance in Annotated Game #75 (and in the Rocky Rook game).  White, rather than going for the b-pawn on move 6, instead transposes into a Stonewall Attack formation.  White's early unusual move order choices (2. c3 and 3. e3) indicated that was a strong possibility from the start.  Black has no troubles in the opening, despite helping White's cause by prematurely exchanging pawns on d4 and then trading off White's bad dark-square bishop.  It's pretty obvious from these moves that I had no idea at the time how to play a Stonewall formation.  Nevertheless, Black was equal coming out of the opening.

It's the early middlegame where Black's lack of understanding becomes even more obvious and hurtful.  Pieces are moved incoherently and there is no real plan.  Had White been more quick to exploit this, he could have had an excellent game, for example with 17. Rc7.  However, it wasn't good play by White, but rather a miscalculation by Black that ends the game, in the sequence starting with 17...Ne4.

This game is an excellent example of where it's not enough to see a tactical theme, one must calculate and visualize its consequences.  The saying that Chess is 99% tactics isn't quite true; it's 99% calculation.  Black in this case wasn't forced into the sequence; rather, it was chosen based on faulty calculation and judgment (why do it at all?)  A good lesson for the future, both for this particular middlegame structure and in general.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class B"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D00"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2006.??.??"] {D00:1 d4 d5: Unusual lines} 1. d4 d5 2. c3 Nf6 3. e3 {one way to get to a Stonewall Attack type formation.} Bf5 4. Bd3 Bxd3 5. Qxd3 e6 $146 {as pointed out in Annotated Game 75 in a similar position, this involves a pawn sacrifice if White follows with Qb5+. Black scores well with the other two main moves, for example:} (5... Nbd7 6. Nf3 e6 7. Nbd2 c5 8. O-O cxd4 9. exd4 Bd6 10. Re1 O-O 11. Ne5 Qb8 12. f4 b5 13. Re3 Rc8 14. Rh3 Nf8 15. g4 Bxe5 16. fxe5 Nxg4 17. Nf3 f6 18. Bf4 Ng6 19. Bg3 Qb6 20. exf6 {Prymula,R-Jirovsky,M/CSR 1990/EXT 2002/0-1 (40)}) (5... c6 6. Nd2 Nbd7 7. f4 e6 8. Ngf3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Kh1 Rc8 11. g3 c5 12. h3 c4 13. Qc2 b5 14. a3 a5 15. g4 b4 16. Rg1 b3 17. Qb1 g6 18. Rg2 Qc7 19. g5 Nh5 20. Nf1 {Nykanen,O-Hodokainen,J/Mikkeli 1998/EXT 2000/ 0-1 (59)}) 6. f4 (6. Qb5+ $5 {is noteworthy, says Fritz.} Nbd7 7. Qxb7 $11 { Nonetheless Black's better development and piece activity will compensate for the pawn.}) 6... c5 7. Nf3 {Now the Stonewall Attack formation has appeared.} cxd4 {typical amateur move, Black is in a rush to release the tension. Further development with Bd6 or Nc6 would be better.} 8. cxd4 Bb4+ {Black helps White here by exchanging off White's bad bishop.} 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nbxd2 O-O 11. O-O Re8 {poor developing move, as what exactly is the rook going to do on the e-file?} 12. Rac1 Nbd7 {this isn't bad, but putting the knight on c6 would have been a little more active placement.} 13. Rc2 (13. Ne5 {if White is going to play the Stonewall Attack, he really should go for this move, which thematically uses the e5 outpost.}) 13... Rc8 14. Rfc1 Rxc2 15. Rxc2 Qa5 { this starts an unsupported, unproductive demonstration against White's position by the queen. The better plan would be to clear the c-file immediately, for example with Qb8 followed by Rc8.} 16. a3 Qa4 17. h3 (17. Rc7 {would punish Black for his inattention to the c-file.}) 17... Ne4 $2 {this simply loses a pawn, due to miscalculation of the following sequence.} (17... Nb6 $142 $5 $14 {is a viable option, notes Fritz.}) 18. Nxe4 $16 dxe4 19. Qxe4 Nf6 20. Qd3 Nd5 {I had seen things to this point and thought that Black would be able to recover the pawn by force.} 21. Ng5 h6 22. Ne4 Nxe3 $2 {the key miscalculation. The deflection theme was there, of course, but I simply overlooked the blocking move with threat to the queen.} 23. b3 $18 1-0

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