Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wins and Losses

Here are two recent games. A win and a loss. I've started posting less of my wins since they all seem to happen in a spectacular 20 move mistake-fest... whereas my losses tend to have more thoughtful, deliberate play. I think this is a bad thing, since I apparently only win when my opponent does crazy things. Or, maybe I'm just really good at capitalizing on advantages. I'll begin with the win since it's a nice, short appetizer. I am proud of the fact that both of these players were rated 1500+ and my play wasn't embarrassing.

The Art of Being Underestimated

[Event "Equal Playing Field - Round 1"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2011.06.23"]
[Round ""]
[White "lindseyann"]
[Black "latencio"]
[TimeControl "1"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO " "]
[WhiteELO "1454"]
[BlackELO "1571"]

{This is a game I won against a player rated 1580. He missed an easy back-rank mate, but I'll take the points where I can get them.}
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e4 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Na2 c5
{This move takes us out of the opening. I normally don't like to be slugging it out on the queenside to regain my pawn, but a lot of time (especially since I've gotten more experience) it works out in my favor.}
7.Bxc4 e5 8.Bd5
{Thankfully, I did not miss the trapped rook.}
{b3 was a better response.}
9.Bxa8 Nc6 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.d5 Ba8 12.Nf3 Nf6 13.Qc2 Bd6
{I always feel bad for a bishop that becomes the anchor in a pawn chain.}
14.O-O O-O 15.Be3 Ng4 16.Bxc5
{This was my first big tactical mistake. He did not find the correct response.}
16...Qc7 17.Rac1
{And his tactic no longer works.}
17...Rb8 18.Bxb4
{Technically this wasn't the best move, even thought it did lead to my win. What I'm most proud of is the fact that I saw all of these exchanges until the end, when I knew a tactic (allowing mate) would prevent him from winning on b4. He didn't not see the mate until it was one move away.}
18...Qxc2 19.Rxc2 Bxb4 20.Nxb4 Rxb4
{And he resigned before I could play Rc8#.}

Win Fast, Lose Slow

[Event "Equal Playing Field - Round 1"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2011.06.23"]
[Round ""]
[White "Anari"]
[Black "lindseyann"]
[TimeControl "1"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO " "]
[WhiteELO "1516"]
[BlackELO "1448"]

{A fairly even game against a good opponent. I threw it away at the very end.}
1.e4 c5
{I'm still working on this opening. I'm not as comfortable as I was with good old 1. e4 e5, but I'm making progress and my games are more interesting.}
2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.a3
{Out of opening book. Bc4 would have been in the Sicilian Defense / Grand Prix Attack.}
5...d6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.d3 Bg4 8.O-O O-O 9.h3 Bd7
{The computer preferred either trading Bxf3 or retreating Be6. I didn't like either of these moves because I didn't want to loose my good bishop. However, it's pretty early in the game and there are a lot of pawns still on the board to be accurately evaluating the bishops as either "good" or "bad".}
10.Be3 b6 11.Nd5
{An error since Nxd5 exd5 and the b-pawn is pinned and hanging.}
11...Nxd5 12.Bxd5 Bxb2
{Perhaps e6 would have been better, getting more space, since that's hanging pawn isn't going anywhere for the moment.}
13.Ra2 Bg7
{Although white's very weak along the a1-h8 diagonal, this was the best retreat.}
14.Qe1 e6 15.Bb3 Na5 16.e5 Nxb3 17.cxb3 Bb5
{At this point in the game I'm pretty pleased with myself. I've got lot's of space on the queenside and his pawns are weak.}
18.Rd2 d5
{I may have gotten a bit carried away with my space advantage. f6 or dxe5 would have both been better options. I've got a nice position, but I don't have any lanes open for attack at the moment.}
19.a4 Ba6 20.Bf2 f6 21.Bh4
{It would have been better to play f6, instead of f5. That would have prevented this move (which was the purpose of Bf2 in the first place).}
{g5 would have been better, but I was afraid to open everything up since I couldn't see it through to the end.}
22.exf6 Bxf6 23.Qxe6+ Qf7 24.Qxf6 Qxf6 25.Bxf6 Rxf6
{Since I didn't not take the initiative with g6, I've ended up trading down to a nearly equal position.}
26.g3 Re8 27.Kf2 Rfe6
{d4 would have controlled the weak e3 square and given me some fighting chances. We are now being evaluated dead even by the computer.}
28.Ne5 Rf8 29.Re1 g5 30.d4 gxf4 31.dxc5 fxg3+ 32.Kxg3
{Here you can really see the advantage that a knight has over a bishop in the end game. I can only cover the light squares with my minor piece, and while he's got everything posted up on dark squares it's difficult for me to get anything done.}
32...bxc5 33.Rxd5 Re7
{I chose to go for the king, when it probably would have been better to try for a passer on the queenside (for instance, c4 while the knight is pinned to his rook).}
{I've officially lost my pawn advantage and I soon get frustrated and sloppy.}
34...Rg7+ 35.Kh4 Rf4+ 36.Ng4 h6
{A mistake on my part which leads to a win he did not take. I gave it away again very soon though.}
37.Kh5 Rf5+
{And hanging my rook ended the game. I had already begun to give up on the game. Perhaps his higher rating intimidated me. However, I think considering his rating I held my own pretty well.}
38.Rxf5 *