03 November 2018

Annotated Game #200: A ghastly little game

This ghastly little game teaches a few things, so perhaps it wasn't a total waste of time.  Firstly, the strategic error of 4...Bg4?!? is not in itself losing, or even bad according to an engine, but it does not fit at all with what Black really needs to be doing in the position (4...e5).  These types of early strategic errors often result in a very narrow path to equality, which is easy to fall off of and into a worse position which slowly (or more rapidly here) leads to a loss.  The other major strategic error, 7...Qxd1, is also useful to illustrate how flawed is the idea of always going for piece exchanges (including the queen) against a much higher-rated opponent.  Just because material is off the board does not mean you are any safer, and in fact can simply heighten your opponent's advantage.  Don't be afraid to keep material on the board and maneuver, in other words, rather than simplify into a lost position.  You can see one of the earlier games on this blog, my simul against GM Yermolinsky (Annotated Game #4), as another good example of this.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Expert"]
[Black "ChessAdmin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D10"]
[Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 11.2"]
[PlyCount "33"]

{D10: Slav Defence: cxd5 (without early Nf3) and 3 Nc3} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3.
Nc3 dxc4 {an aggressive continuation unique to the Slav.} 4. a4 Bg4 {the best
that can be said about this move is that it's creative.} (4... e5 {striking in
the center is more to the point, exploiting the now-open d-file for Black.}) 5.
f3 {I confess I had been hoping for a move like this in reaction, which causes
problems for White's development.} Bh5 {a logical retreat, but it doesn't do
anything for Black's development.} (5... Bd7 $5 {with the idea of} 6. e4 {
and now} b5) 6. e4 e5 $146 {the right idea, just played a little late.} 7. dxe5
Qxd1+ $2 {a strategic blunder. I now have a much more difficult time dealing
with White's pawns, while White's king position is effectively no longer weak.
I believe I let myself be dominated by the idea of 'against stronger opponents,
trade down quickly'} (7... Nd7 {should be equal. For example:} 8. e6 (8. g4 $6
Qh4+ 9. Ke2 Bg6 10. Nh3 Qe7 $15) 8... fxe6 9. Bxc4 Qh4+ $11) 8. Kxd1 Nd7 {
again with the right idea, played later than it should have been.} 9. g4 Bg6 {
although Komodo only gives a small edge to White, it's easy to see how White's
space advantage makes it much easier for him to play.} 10. f4 $14 h6 $2 {
unfortunately the correct defense is moving the h-pawn two squares forward,
not one. I was concerned about providing a haven for the bishop on h7, but
also should have recognized the need to break up White's kingside formation,
which now rolls forward and crushes me.} (10... h5 11. Bxc4 (11. f5 {is now
less effective:} Bh7 12. gxh5 $6 (12. g5 Nxe5 $11) 12... Nxe5) 11... hxg4 $14)
11. Bxc4 $16 {the most straightforward winning continuation. I'm now down a
pawn with no compensation and still being squeezed.} Bb4 12. Nge2 O-O-O 13. Kc2
$18 {now White's king is out of danger and he can fully mobilize his forces.}
f6 $6 {a desperate move that hastens my downfall.} (13... h5 14. g5 Ne7 15. Rf1
$18) 14. f5 {good enough to win.} (14. e6 $5) 14... Nxe5 {again accelerating
the loss, but I was done for anyway.} (14... Be8 15. exf6 Ngxf6 16. Be6 $18)
15. Be6+ Kc7 16. fxg6 Nxg4 {why not? Basically wishing that White would miss
the backwards bishop move, with no other hope.} 17. Bxg4 {a quick end to a
ridiculous game.} 1-0

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