Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some More Unpleasantries

In a lot of these games, as I look over them, I remember feeling that I had reached reasonable middlegame/late opening positions, but then had only a weak sense (or no real sense) of how to proceed in the position. Maybe this classes as something to do with strategic assessment in complex positions. I find it hard to accurately evaluate threats and to judge potential plans.

1700 player—Joshua

1.c4 e5
2.g3 Nf6
3.Bg2 c6
4.e3 d5
5.cxd5 cxd5
6.d4 e4
7.f3 Bf5
My opponent here is playing a rather untheoretical English, and I'm not sure if a c6+d5 pawn structure was the best idea against it. Hard to say. Then, I don't really know if it would have been better to exchange e for f.
8.Nc3 Nc6
9.Nge2 Be7
Once the kings are castled, tension will build against the black center, and I needed to have some kind of a better sense of where my pieces could go to support it. Maybe I had to have the e-file clear so I could play Re8? If I just play something like exf3 here on move 9, my opponent plays 10.Bxf3 followed by Qb3 and/or Nf4 to gang up on d4. But maybe there's something tactical here. Perhaps I can really irritate him by playing 10...Nb4 11.0-0 Nc2 12.Rb1... maybe I can get a repetition... I'm not really buying it. BTW, if he swung over Qa4+ at some point to snag the Nb4, I think I can just play Qd7. Okay, maybe 9... exf3 10.Bxf3 Bb4 That seems more useful than Be7, but what about 11.a3? Maybe just 11...Bxc3 12.Nxc3. I don't think that bxc3 is good for him because of how it blocks out his bishop, though it might have potential to give him a menacing center. Then 12...0-0 and maybe I'm good. Hmmm
10.0-0 0-0
11.fxe4 Bxe4
12.Nxe4 Nxe4
13.Nc3Here, having left the center to the whims of chance, I find myself in trouble. Because I have the Be7 instead of having played that bishop elsewhere, I can't support my strongpoint on e4. It's precisely the kind of strategic mess I have a tendancy to get myself into because I will play through an opening with only a rudimentary sense of structures, and then find that my pieces are somehow not coordinating appropriately. Here, if 13...Nxc3 14.bxc3 the difference from the previous position I looked at with bxc3 is that black has no fast ability to pressurize the backward e-pawn. That means that white will be able to push it and liquidize it probably, giving him a monopoly on the center and a passed pawn to shove up my gut. I have to look at this more to determine if it's truly fatal, but at the time, I thought it was losing for me. I played
13...Re8, hoping that the threat of Bg5 would be helpful, but...
14.Nxe4 dxe4
15.Bxe4 Bg5
And I was out of ideas and facing an ugly defense. I managed to scrounge a draw, but he should have won.


Anonymous chesstiger said...

I think the fact that you let him the centre was a great part of your problem. Normally the opening is where one tries to get control of the centre which you didn't succeed in it.

3:05 PM  

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