All was not lost at the Eastern Class Championship last weekend. My first round victory was anything but boring. I actually wasa rook behind and I pounced all over my oponent. So I thought I'd share this game and some of the thoughts that went on as I faced 1.d4 as Black.
My opponent was a solid class C player from Connecticut. The game started out as an exchange Slav: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 ( I actually thought of throwing him the Baltic with 2...Bf5 but decided not to get "fancy" and stick with my tried and true). 2...c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 e6 Uusually in the Slav I like to get my bishop out before locking it in. Although I have been studying the Meran variations latey and liked the idea of Keeping the Bishop home since the c-file was opening up. 5. a3 Nf6 6.Bf4. I thought about playing my queen to c7 instead of Nf6 so as to prevent his Bishop from coming to f4. But I decided I wanted to develop my king side and castle early before trouble comes. With the c-file open, I would have been chased by the rook eventually and he would still have gotten in Bf4. So I saw this instead:
6... Bd6 7. Bxd6 Qxd6 8. Rc1 0-0 . This was a mistake. I underestimate the potnetial of the open c-file and his knight. Here is one of those moments that I didn't look hard enough at my opponent's Checks captures and threats. Instead I said " Yeah, good time to castle." This would have been one of those times where an a6 would have been handy.
(white to move)
I was wrapped in castling and running for safety for my king I failed to look at 9.Nb5! Qb6 10 Nc7.
I did a deep think here. I used the law of tenacity and the fact that I had the initiative and development I saw some central play and gettign my Knights and queen in "scoring position" and I played 10. ...Ne4 11. b4 Nc6 12. Nxa8 Qd8 13 Nf3 Bd7 14. b5 and this is what the position looked like:
(black to move and a rook down)
First, look at the dynamics. I am developed and castled. I have control of the central squares and I have the intiative. White's King can't move ( seed of a tactical destruction) His bishop is 2 moves away from developing and his knight is becoming trapped. b5 was a blunder that started to turn things back my way. This allowed:
14... Qa5+ 15 Nd2 Nxd4 and for the life of me I didn't know why he played 16 Rb1 allowing me 16...Nc3 to gain back material with a winning position.
(white to move after 16...Nc3)
Prior to Nc3 I was threatening the crushing Nb3 to put pressure on d2. So probably giving back material was the best choice of survival. Again, i want to point out.... I had the initiative and development. I made strong use of these as I also saw a weak king position still stuck in the center. I got my knights in scoring position and went for teh jugular.
The game continued: 17. Qc1 Nxb1 18. Qxb1 Rxa8 19. e3 Nxb5 ( now I am up two pawns too) 20. Bd3 g6 21 h4 h5 then it went down hill form here for White 22. Rh3? e5 23. Bxg6
Position after white's last ditch effort 23 Bxg6
I saw the series of upcoming queen checks But without any supporting members from the cast, his majesty just takes a casual stroll.
23... Bxh3 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7 25 Qh7+ Ke6 26 Qg6+ Kd7 27 Qg7+ Kd6 28 gxh3 Nc7 29 e4 Ne6 30. Qxb7 Rg8 31. exd5 Rg1+ 32.Ke2
I have to watch out for check mate. I did see Ne4# and Qc6 is troublesome. But again I had some initiative on my side so I played 32...Nd4+ 33. Kd3 Qxa3+ 34Qb3 and I took with the knight on a quick move. Better would have been to take with the queen and be up in teh exchange with a Knight. but it continued a few more moves: 34... Nxb3 35. Nc4+ Kxd5 36. Nxa3 Nc5+ 37 Ke2 Ra1 38. Nb5 e4 39. f4 exf3+ 40 Kxf3 a5 41. Kf4 Rf1+ 42 Kg5 Ke5 43. Kah5 a4 44. Kg4 and then I saw the mating net:
44... Rf4+ 45. Kg5 Ne6+ 46. Kh5 Rb4 47. Na3 Kf6 48. Nc2 Ng7+
and black resigns.
This guy was so worked up over this game that he was 55 minutes late for his next round the next day. He claimed he was up until 6 AM playing over the move 14.b5 over and over.
I had my share of bad mistakes that weekend... but none I never lost sleep over.
I hope this gave some insight on how I attempted to apply the thought process of my previous post.