02 September 2017

Annotated Game #178: Patience is a virtue...which I lack

Analysis of this next tournament game, along with the previous ones, helps highlight one recurring flaw in my play: lack of patience.  This is a common fault in Class players, often reflected in the idea that each single move has to "do something" big.  Here, as in Annotated Game #176, when there is no obvious immediate breakthrough, I get frustrated and acquiesce to a draw.  Fixing this conceptual flaw in my play should bring better results over time.

The game itself contains some interesting ideas (not just psychological ones), including alternatives for Black on move 9 and move 12.  As part of the analysis process, it's very useful to see how modern engines (Komodo 10 in this case) help evaluate plans, not just individual moves; for example, it consistently highlighted the value of the b8-h2 diagonal and building up pressure on it through the variations on moves 12 and 15.  I also like the idea of the knight retreat on move 19, getting out of the way of the pawns and playing a more maneuvering type of game.  Finally, it was worth looking at the different options towards the end of the game, for both dynamic and maneuvering play, to continue working my positional advantage.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "4"] [White "Class C"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D00"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 10"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventType "simul"] [EventRounds "5"] 1. d4 d5 2. e3 {usually an indicator that White is heading for a Stonewall formation.} Nf6 3. Bd3 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. f4 Bg4 {getting the bishop to an active square before playing ...e6} 6. Nf3 e6 7. Nbd2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe1 cxd4 { Normally it's a good idea to exchange c-pawn for d-pawn, and it isn't bad here. But there may be a more effective path forward for Black.} (9... Bf5 {is a more sophisticated positional idea, which is both the database and engine favorite. After} 10. Bxf5 exf5 {Black has a lock on e4 and White's e3 pawn will be weak on the half-open file.}) 10. exd4 Rc8 11. Ne5 Bf5 {I'll give myself credit for recognizing this idea, even if a bit later than optimal.} 12. Qe2 a6 {this was perhaps a waste of time. My idea was to play follow up with .. .b5 and prevent White from advancing the c-pawn to exchange off my d5 pawn. However, this is not a real threat as long as the Nc6 is there (due to the d4 pawn then being unprotected). If White exchanges on c6, then a subsequent pawn swap on d5 would just leave d4 isolated and weak.} (12... Qc7 $5 {would develop the queen and connect the rooks. It also starts to build pressure up on the b8-h2 diagonal.}) 13. Qf3 b5 {sticking with the original idea.} 14. a3 $6 {done to prevent b5-b4, but this is too weakening.} Na5 $15 {now having a pawn on b5 is actually helpful, thanks to my opponent making holes on the queenside.} 15. Re1 Re8 {not really necessary. Komodo still favors the plan of building pressure on the b8-h2 diagonal with ...Bd6 and ...Qc7.} 16. g4 Bxd3 17. Nxd3 Nc4 18. Nxc4 bxc4 {now I enjoy a significant space advantage in the center and on the queenside.} 19. Nf2 g6 (19... Nd7 $5 {would activate the Be7 and give White fewer kingside targets for the pawns.}) 20. Qh3 (20. f5 exf5 21. gxf5 Rb8 $15) 20... Bf8 {rather too cautious.} (20... Rb8 {with the idea of pressuring the b-pawn and forcing White to tie down a piece to its protection.} ) 21. Bd2 $6 {White will just have to move this back next move.} Rb8 $17 22. Bc1 Qb6 {here either more patience was called for in a largely closed position, or some more dynamic play.} (22... h5 $5 {is the dynamic option.} 23. gxh5 Nxh5 $15) (22... Re7 {is a more slow maneuvering approach, clearing the e8 square for the knight to go to d6 and perhaps to double rooks on the b-file.}) 23. Qg3 Bd6 24. Qf3 {at this point I saw no obvious breakthroughs for Black, so took the draw. Basically a lack of energy and patience was the reason, along with not really understanding the needs of the position. These include the importance of the b8-h2 diagonal and activating the bishop, the possible ...h5 advance, better and earlier development of the queen and rooks, etc.} 1/2-1/2

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