19 May 2024

Annotated Game #276: The KISS principle

The first round of the next tournament I played unfortunately kept to a familiar pattern: lose as Black. Often I play worst the first round, having to "shake off the rust" from not having played in a while, then my form improves. In this case I did not have that excuse, it coming just two weeks after the previous tournament - so perhaps that was the problem?!?

Regardless of the overall circumstances, game analysis shows I did not follow the KISS principle, which is very important in many endeavors - "Keep It Simple, Stupid" is the version I learned. Nowadays it appears that is considered offensive. In any case, the point is that making something needlessly complex = stupid, as overcomplicating things often leads to errors and failure. This is a repeated observation in this game - and in some of my other games - as I do things like avoid simple development and unnecessarily weaken my position. Eventually my opponent is able to take advantage of this, but really it was my repeated, unnecessarily complex moves that tipped the scale. When a move looks natural and good, maybe it just...is.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class A"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Dragon 3.2"] [PlyCount "67"] [GameId "489173303297"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. O-O Bg4 {so far a standard response to the Reti, having adopted a Slav formation.} 5. h3 Bh5 6. c4 Nbd7 (6... e6 {immediately is a more natural response, giving Black a choice of pawn recaptures on d5.}) 7. d4 e6 8. cxd5 cxd5 {choosing to preserve the symmetry and not provide a target for a minority attack on the queenside by White.} 9. Nc3 Rc8 {a little premature, with Black's king still in the center. Best to continue with simple development.} (9... Be7) 10. Bf4 a6 {again delaying development. It is useful to take away the b5 square from the knight, but not necessary at this point.} 11. Qa4 (11. Qb3 {would be more to the point.} b5 12. e4 $14 {gaining the initiative by starting operations in the center while Black's king is still there.}) 11... Rc4 {now the rook actually has something to do.} 12. Qd1 {b3 would again have been the more active square.} Bxf3 {choosing to exchange off a good attacking piece for White, so control of the e5 square is less important.} 13. Bxf3 Nb6 $6 {I resolutely continue ignoring the development of my bishop.} (13... Bb4 $5) 14. Rc1 Bd6 {finally!} 15. Bxd6 Qxd6 16. b3 Rc7 $11 17. e4 {my opponent correctly initiates action in the center, but with fewer pieces on the board there is less attacking potential, and the position is equal.} dxe4 18. Nxe4 Nxe4 19. Bxe4 O-O 20. Qh5 f5 $6 {this is unnecessary, weakening the e-pawn, although Black can still hold.} (20... g6 {is much simpler.}) 21. Bg2 Rd7 {a worse square than e7, reinforcing the e-pawn. Simply exchanging rooks would be fine, as well.} 22. Qe2 {correctly pressuring the one weak point in Black's camp.} Nd5 $6 {still not seeing the danger sufficiently, plus removing the threat to the d-pawn.} (22... Re7 {and Black has an extra tempo to play with.}) 23. Rfe1 $14 Re7 24. Rc5 Rfe8 {essentially forced. Black is now passively defending, but at least still defending.} 25. Qd2 b6 $6 {kicking the rook unfortunately does not help.} (25... f4 $5) 26. Rc4 a5 {hoping to support a knight on b4 and prevent a White queenside advance.} 27. Rec1 Qb8 {played for lack of a better idea.} 28. a3 Kf7 $2 (28... f4 $1 $11 {this freeing idea with counterplay did occur to me briefly, earlier, but by this point I was far too focused on passive defense.}) 29. Qg5 $16 {still not decisive, but I still crumbled under the pressure.} g6 $2 {now the kingside is too full of holes.} (29... h6 {would be a better pawn move.}) (29... Nf6 {would add to the defense.}) 30. Rc6 {good enough to keep the advantage and continue squeezing.} (30. Bxd5 exd5 31. Rc6 $18) 30... Kg7 $2 {now White finds the correct attacking idea.} (30... Qd8 $16) 31. Bxd5 h6 (31... exd5 32. Qf6+ Kg8 33. Rxb6 $18) 32. Qh4 g5 33. Qh5 exd5 34. Qxh6+ 1-0

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