We’ll be learning and playing chess at 6:30pm Wednesday 10/13 at Pulpit Rock Brewing Company. Come join us!
Last week, we played a round-robin style tournament, although we couldn’t quite play everyone. I won two of my games and lost one, and wanted to try and analyze those here. Although I don’t think the players would care if I gave their names, I’ll keep it anonymous. These games are purely amateur, and the purpose of the write up is for the experience of writing and analyzing chess matches.
My first opponent, Fifty, drew white. In my last few games against Fifty, I noticed he’s been bringing out his queen early. This can be a bit aggressive and is not advised against good players, as you find yourself needing to move the queen around a lot. Our game started 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Qg4.
I’m not sure if it was the 15 minute timer ticking away while I recorded the moves, but I neglected to see the easy double attack on the queen and e4 pawns with 4. …d4. This theme would continue as I never did see Black’s light squared bishop attacking the queen! Play continued with 4. …Nf6 5. Qh3 Nxe4 6. d3 Nf6 7. Bh6 Bxh6 8. Nc3??. This was Fifty’s major blunder. I was expecting Fifty to take my bishop with his queen to keep things close, but he gave me an out.
I quickly retreated my bishop out of harm’s way and play continued. 8. … Bg7 9. Nb5 0-0 10. c3 d5 11. Be2?? This was Fifty’s next blunder leaving his queen open for the taking by the light squared bishop.
But guess what? I didn’t see it! WTF?? 11. … Bf5?? I have no idea how I missed this. 12. g4 Bxg4 13. Qg3 Re8 14. 0-0 a6 15. h3?? Here again, Fifty didn’t calculate the exchange. Instead of retreating his knight, he attacks my bishop, which just forces me to exchange his knight for my bishop before stealing his knight.
15. … Bxf3 16. Bxf3 axf3 17. d4 exd4 18. cxd4 Nxd4 19. Re1 Nxf3+ 20. Qxf3 Rxe1 21. Rxe1 Rxa2? The pawn was too tempting. Better play would have been 21. … Ne4.
22. Qb3 Qa8 23. f4?? Fifty should have taken the pawn I left hanging with 23. Qxb5.
It didn’t take much longer before Fifty abdicated. 23. … Ne4 24. h4 Rxb2 25. Qxb2 Bxb2 (I DID see this bishop attack) 26. Kg2 Qa3 27. Rf1 Qg3+ 28. Kh1 Qxg4+. White resigned.
There was a mate in 3 from this position with 29. Kg2 Qg3+ 30. Kh1 Bd4 31. f4 Qh3# [31. Rf3 Qg8#] [31. Rf2 Nxf2#]. In fact, if 28. … Bd4, I had mate on the next move.
My second game was against The Advocate, who plays quite a bit more than the rest of us. He is very good at timed games! The Advocate drew black, but was able to take advantage of my early blunders using a French variation of the Sicilian. The game began 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bb5+ Bd7 5. Qe2??
Much better was 5. Bxd7 as this would have maintained a small advantage for white. However, The Advocate played 5. … a6 which gave me a good chance to get back in the game with 6. Bxd7. Alas, I didn’t want to take the bishop for some reason. 6. Ba4 Nf6 7. d3??
This was my biggest mistake of the game and I could not recover from here. If I had finally decided to trade bishops at this point it would have remained a somewhat even game.
The computer suggested that taking my bishop at this point was best, as the exchange would win the knight by 7. … Bxa4 8. Nxa4 Qa5+ 9. c3 Qxa4. However, The Advocate gave me a fighting chance.
7. … d4?? Here again, I could have made it a close game by exchanging bishops before moving my knight. But, no. 8. Nd1, which I wish I could say was my worst blunder of the game. The moves 8. … Qa5+ 9. c3 Qxa4 quickly won my bishop. After a few pawn exchanges 10. cxd4 cxd4 I quickly made the second worst blunder of the evening with 11. Ne5. I guess I didn’t learn from my previous mistake. Much better would have been 11. b3.
The Advocate took advantage to win my knight. 11. … Qa5+. Instead of 12. Bc2, I played 12. Qc2 which could have been really bad if answered with 12. … Bb4! I would have lost much more material that way. The knight was too tempting, 12. … Qxe5 13. 0-0 Bd6 14. g3 Nc6 15. f4 Qb5 16. e5 Bc7. With white to move, isn’t it obvious? I should take the knight, right? Maybe I recorded the game incorrectly?
We were not really down in time. I had much less time than The Advocate, but I still had time. Why I missed this for several moves is beyond me. Instead, I was more interested in getting my knight activated by giving it a spot to go to with 17. b3 Ne7 18. a4 Qd5 19. Nb2 Ba5? Eventually The Advocate would see that Bc6 was the better move. I had to defend my queen, but should have went for the trade at this point with Qg2. Instead, 20. Qf2 Bb4? 21. Nc4 Bc6. Focusing on the f3 and g2 squares as possible attacks for black, I did not see the mate square for the queen on h1. Thus, the game ended with the biggest blunder of them all… not seeing the mate. 22. Nxa5 Qh1#. While I may not have learned a great deal while playing that game, I certainly learned some things writing and analyzing it.
My third game was against Double Oh Seven (007). He is a great player when time isn’t an issue. I won on time, and am anxious to analyze the game to see who may have had the advantage. I played black while 007 played white.
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 d5? This game is referred to as a Three Knights variation of the Russian game. Apparently, 3. … d5 was not a good move as this gave white a +1 advantage using Stockfish 10+ on the lichess analysis board. My better move was 3. … Nc6.
4. d4 dxe4 5. Nxe5 Nc6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Bc4 c5 8. 0-0 Qxd4? I made a series of bad moves which kept giving white an advantage, but 007 continued to answer back with mediocre moves of his own that kept driving it back toward even. Using the queen to take the d4 pawn was a mistake. A good answer to this would be 9. Nb5 as it attacks my queen, and if I were to decide on taking the bishop, white wins the c7 pawn and my rook after the check. Stockfish gives white a +2 advantage at this point. However, the next series of moves it to black advantage with -1.
9. Qxd4 cxd4 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxd7 For some reason, I neglected to see the protection the knight was offering my e4 pawn with my bigger desire to maintain the ability to castle. 11. … Nxd7 quickly evened up the game.
12. Nxe4 Be7 13. Bf4 Rc8 14. Re1 0-0 15. c4 Re8 After this series of moves, 007 and myself are even-Steven. Instead of getting his h file rook into the game, 007 wastes a few moves with his e file rook.
16. Red1 c5 17. b4 Bh4?? A huge blunder on my part! The better move is to simply take the b4 pawn with 17. …cxb4. While it allows the rook to gain ground with 18. Rxd4, the game remains somewhat even. Now that I’m in this bad situation, the best move is for 007 to fork my rooks with 18. Nd6.
18. Re1?? He didn’t see it in time! This was lucky on my part, which gave me a huge out. If he goes forward with the fork now, I can simply exchage rooks after a check and readjust my own rook. Right now, I should just take his b4 pawn!!
18. … Rc6?? This was a much bigger blunder than I had realized. I was not thinking at all of my back rank weakness with this move. If 007 answers with 19. Nxc5, he is attacking my knight as the back rank check mate must be addressed! After 19. … Rxe1 20 Rxe1 saving my knight would be futile. He gave me a fighting chance by missing this move.
19. Nd6 Re6 20. Rxe6 fxe6 21. Re1?? This was a game changing blunder on 007’s part. By applying pressure on my rook with 21. b5, he would have maintained the advantage. This move took the advantage from +1.2 to -2.4 by Stockfish’s standards!
21. … e5 22. Bxe5 Nxe5 23. Rxe5 Rxd6 24. bxc5 Rc6 007 didn’t calculate that exchange correctly and vocally said so. Time was beginning to be an issue as he was down around 2 minutes left. I was sitting comfortably around 5 minutes. White’s next best move is not obvious. Stockfish suggested that it should be 25. g4.
25. Re4?? This should have been answered with 25. … Bf6 to offer the pawn protection while providing protection for my bishop. I miscalculated however.
25. … d3 26. Rxh4 I did not calculate this correctly, or if I had, I lost it. I neglected to see I couldn’t protect my d3 pawn as the d6 square was guarded. However, I also did not see 007’s back rank weakness and how the the move 26. … Re6 would eventually win his rook (or checkmate him if he didn’t see it) by 27. f3 d2 28. Rd4 Re1+ 29. Kf2 d1=Q 30. Rxd1 Rxd1. I didn’t think enough on my next move because I wanted to keep the time advantage. My next move 26. … Rxc5 eliminated all advantage, and in fact, gave white the advantage.
27. Rd4 Kf7 28. Rxd3 Rxc4 29. f4 Rxf4 30. g3 Ra4 31. Rd7+ Kf6 32. Rd6+ Ke5 33. Rd7 d5 34. Rxg7 Rxa2 35. Rxh7 Ra1+ 36. Kg2 a4 37. g4 a3 38. g5 Kf5 39. h4 Kg6 40. Ra7 Kh5 41. Kh3 a2 42. Rh7+ Kg6 43. Rd7 Rh1+ and white (007) was out of time.