27 December 2017

Annotated Game #182: Remember that your king can move (and other board sight freeze-ups)

This short, rather sad second-round tournament game illustrates the title quite well.  An example of how not to play the English very effectively, plus I got flustered by my opponent's sudden tactical threat at the end.  I occasionally have these types of board sight / move choice failures, which typically fall into the categories of not seeing: 1) king moves while on the defense; 2) pawn advances; and 3) backwards moves.  What I believe is going on is that my brain assumes that the pieces involved are either static, or should move in a different direction (forwards, in the case of missed backwards moves).  These are all understandable failures due to mental bias, but they will hold my play back if I don't think more dynamically on a consistent basis.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class B"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A11"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 11.2"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventType "simul"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%mdl 8192] A11: English Opening: 1...c6} 1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Bf5 5. O-O e6 6. d3 {I thought for a while here on this option. White can play reasonably with different approaches.} (6. b3 $5) 6... Bd6 7. Qb3 {this seems a premature queen development, although the idea of taking advantage of the absence of Black's light-squared bishop is a standard one.} (7. cxd5 exd5 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Nh4 Be6 10. e4 Na6 11. Qe2 Re8 12. h3 Be5 13. f4 Bxc3 14. bxc3 dxe4 15. dxe4 Bd5 16. e5 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Qd5+ 18. Nf3 Rad8 19. c4 Qe4 20. Re1 Qxe2+ 21. Rxe2 Nd7 {Carlsen,M (2813)-Smeets,J (2651) Nice 2010 1-0 (36)}) 7... Qc7 8. Bg5 {the idea was to get the bishop developed first, then play Nbd2.} (8. Nc3 { is a quite reasonable square for the knight, though.}) 8... Nbd7 9. Nbd2 { the position is very equal here. Unfortunately I have a lack of strategic ideas, however.} h6 10. Be3 {now the drawback of the Bg5 development is evident, with its limited squares. Compare this to how it would look on the long diagonal, for example.} (10. Bxf6 $5 {at the time, I thought that exchanging would leave Black better off, but the Nd7 is in fact well-placed where it is rather than on f6, so this would have been a worthwhile trade for me.} Nxf6 11. cxd5 exd5 $11) 10... O-O 11. Rac1 Rfd8 12. cxd5 Nxd5 13. Nc4 (13. Bd4 {when other plans aren't obvious, one can always improve the position of your worst piece.} e5 14. e4 exd4 15. exf5 Bc5 16. Ne4 $11) 13... Nxe3 14. Nxe3 {Black has the pair of bishops now.} Bh7 15. Nc4 Be7 16. h4 $6 {a pointless move, since there are no attacking prospects on the kingside and the g5 square is not critical to control. In the game, I wanted to transfer my knight to e4 via d2 and avoid ...Bg5 pinning it, but the manuever just isn't worth it.} Bf6 17. Nfd2 (17. Rfd1 Nb6 $11) 17... Nb6 18. Ne4 Bxe4 19. Bxe4 {now we have an opposite-colored bishops position.} Nxc4 20. Rxc4 {after some dubious middlegame ideas, I emerge with a pleasantly even position.} Rd4 21. Rfc1 (21. Rxd4 {there's no reason not to simplify down further at this point.} Bxd4 22. e3 Bf6 23. d4 $11) 21... Rad8 22. Rxd4 {this is not in fact the losing move, although it allows Black to set up the potential tactic.} (22. e3 Rxc4 23. Rxc4 $11) 22... Bxd4 23. Qc2 $4 {played as I recall rather automatically, not realizing until too late what my opponent could play.} (23. Kg2 $11 {this should have been easy to find (or Kf1).}) 23... Qxg3+ (23... Qxg3+ 24. Kh1 Bxf2 25. Bh7+ Kh8 26. Bf5 exf5 27. a3 Qh3#) 0-1

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