I can’t write a blog post with that title without linking to this:
[Warning: This video contains brutal but obviously fake Medieval violence, lots of fake blood, and vulgar Medieval trash talk.]
But this post isn’t about Monte Python and the Holy Grail. It is about one of my chess games from my latest tournament. My opponent is a candidate master from the Philippines, so he is probably better than me. The game can be found here:
When you open this game, click on the “Moves” button to play through the game.
In the first game, my opponent played 1. … e6, beginning the French Defense. I know what you non-chessplayers are thinking. That sounds like an oxymoron, because we all know that a war hasn’t really started until the French have surrendered. But in chess, the French Defense is a stubborn opening played by strong-willed players who like trench warfare, and who like to lure their opponents into a fruitless attack.
Come to think of it, that reminds me of this:
Anyhow, his move 3. … Bb4 steered the game into the Winawer variation. White gets a space advantage and an early Kingside attack, but in return he is saddled with doubled pawns. If the attack fails, Black’s counterattack on the Queenside will usually be decisive.
With 7. … b6, Black made an unusual move. He was trying to get rid of his White Bishop, which was blocked by his center pawns and therefore weak. My White Bishop was better than his, so he was probably happy with this trade.
After 12. dxc5 bxc5, Black has a space advantage, and my Kingside attack hasn’t really started. His pieces are also better developed than mine. I am playing without a good plan, and I will begin to suffer. 14. … Rb8 grabs the b-file, which is a good place for his Rook. As you can tell, I am writing about his plans, because I didn’t really have a plan. At this point I was looking forward to being slowly strangled.
However, his move 15. … g5 seems to be a mistake. He probably thought he was beginning to attack me on the Kingside too, but it actually exposes his King to attack. He should have continued attacking on the Queenside and not wasted his time. 18. … 0-0 and 19. … Kg7 just get his King closer to trouble. By the time he gets back to attacking on the Queenside with 20. … Na5, it is too late for him to win.
My 21. Nf6 chased his Queen and puts my Knight in a place that is impossible to dislodge. Also, if he moves his Knight on g6 after this, then my Queen can go to h7 checkmating him. 21. h4 ripped his castle position open, forcing him to either take the pawn or lose both of the pawns protecting his King.
At this point I considered how to press my attack, but nothing looked promising enough, and if I faltered, then he could play Nb3, which would threaten both my Rook on a1 and my Bishop on b2. Then it would be his turn to attack, and I would be in trouble, so I started checking his King with my Knight. My Knight was almost as annoying as these Knights:
If his King moved back to g8 or h8, I would take the pawn on h6 and I will be able to checkmate him, with my Bishop, Knight, and Queen, which will go to e2, then h5, while his King is trapped in the corner.
So he had no choice but to repeat moves and take the draw. Even though the game ended in a draw, it was well-played and exciting.