Saturday, June 28, 2008

Composting the Old Rot

That's how I'm thinking about it. I've been doing a lot of gardening lately, and it seems to me that the pile of old games I've played, some of them successful, many of them blighted, are fertile material to support a new crop of experiences if I will only turn them over a bit and lay them out.

Here's a 2007 win that I think I never blogged. It came near the end when I was writing a lot and increasingly strained for time, but it was a good experience.

1600 player-Joshua
1.d4 Nf6
2.c4 e6
3.Nc3 Bb4
4.Bg5 c5

It makes sense to me to mark this move dubious because I don't see how an f3-e4 structure will work with the bishop on g5 here. It's possible that it's just a later move that makes it all go wrong, but I think that white's plan is kind of flawed. The point is that after a potential cxd4, Qxd4, if Bxc3, Qxc3, any time white plays e4, Nxe4 will be in the air as a possibility. Hence, f3-e4 would make sense if, and maybe only if white had also played d4-d5.So I played 5...h6
6.Bh4 cxd4
7.Qxd4 Nc6
And even now I could have played Ne4!?, though I think it's not much better than equal at this point—still not what white would be looking for. Anyway, instead,
8... b6 and now
9.e4? Nxe4And white's in trouble.
10.Bxd8 Nxd2
11.Bh4 Nxf1
12.Kxf1 Bxc3
13.bxc3 Ba6And here I mopped up.

Alright, and here's another fertile disaster I had in 2007. This game is from a duel of many games played against one particular master, in all of which I had black... it wasn't really a duel, more like me just getting smooshed over and over and over.This is one of those organic kinds of positions without a lot of theory where I always thought that black should just play hedgehog-type moves and keep it chill and white's space advantage would eventually melt. I read somewhere once that black should not play d5, but should play for e5 in this kind of position, so that's usually how I would coordinate my pieces in this variation, but it seldom works, I find. This is the kind of position for me where I think that a little more opening theory knowledge would be helpful, as it would encourage me to have a more useful plan instead of just shuffling about until I get squashed.
10.Nbd2 a6
btw, I think a6 looks kind of lame, but I lost a game once in this structure by letting my opponent (another master who suckered me in this line) play Ba6 and trade off the light-squared bishops and then crucify me on the queenside light squares. So I was learning... but maybe not learning the right lessons.
11.Ng5 Nbd7
12.Nge4 Nxe4
13.Nxe4 e5So, I've gotten in my e5 push, and it looks like I might get to play f5 too and have some play.
And now I was suddenly stumped. It looks like f5 is not on the table, and my e5 pawn is pinned, which shows that I might have been kind of hasty. Maybe I needed to play Re8 and Bf8 first? Yeah, I think I need to look this up. Instead, I played
14... g6?!
15.f4 Bf6
16.Ne4 Bxe4
17.Bxe4Probably I'm close to lost now. I played 17...Ra7 to avoid losing the a-pawn, but that badly misplaces the rook, and the position just keeps getting worse.
18.fxe5 dxe5
And now the e5-pawn (the advance of which was my entire plan in this bloody line!) is a major weakness, and I have to play the miserably groveling,
19...Re8 just to avoid losing it.
20.Bc6 Re6
21.d5 Re7
22.Qf2 Bg7
23.Be3Now I'm losing material. From here it was short and awful.
24.Rad1 f5 Ahhh, my groveling advance. The plan is going so well...
25.d6 Re8
This game was bad enough, but taking into account that it was just one of a whole series of such disasters in this line, I think that's time for me to reexamine my approach to the position. It's tough to play against the these Colle/Trompowsky/Torre/Stonewall type positions, because as the player of the black pieces, you know that if you don't do something active, the white player is going to slowly suffocate you. (I find that there are simpler plans against the London). Maybe I should look up some theory and games and try to build a broader repertoire of potential ideas against these lines so that I can meet them more flexibly. Certainly my, play b6, d6, and strive for e5 idea is not flying most of the time...


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