Nikita asked that I blog a few of my chess games, so here is one. Like Nikita, I only post games that I win or draw. 🙂 Since I am on a 34 game streak with no losses at Chess.com, which BTW is a great place to play chess online, that is pretty easy. My over the board games are not doing so well.
You can open the first game in a new window here, Echo2008 vs. Ray_D. Click on “Moves” and then click the leftmost arrow under the moves to get to the start. This game was pretty wild and well played until the very end, when my opponent, who was already losing, made a blunder.
The first 5 moves make this opening a Sicilian Defense, Najdorf variation. It is a very popular opening. Rather than oppose White directly, Black accepts a space disadvantage early, but hopes to counter-attack later, usually on the Queenside.
With 10. … b4 I decided that White was over-extended, so I attacked his Knight, chasing it away from protecting the e4 pawn. 11. … Qa5 double attacks his Knight on a4, and also threatens the Bishop on g5. His Bishop is practically forced to take my Knight with 12. Bxf6. If he doesn’t do something creative, I will have a much better game after this exchange. I considered re-taking with the pawn on g7, but I thought that would damage my pawn structure too much.
White’s 14. Nxe6 was not a blunder. It was a well thought out sacrifice that will give him some pawns in return for his Knight, plus it makes my King unsafe. I saw this coming, and I believed that I could weather the storm. I was able to force a Queen trade to lessen his attack, but that cost me another pawn, so by move 18 he had 3 pawns for my extra Knight. This is materially equal but unbalanced.
My 18. … Nc5 forced his Bishop back to b3, where I was glad to trade it off. Taking the pawn on e4 would have let him win a piece with 20. Rhe1, pinning my Knight and Bishop.
The d file was open, so it was only natural that we would exchange Rooks on it. I had the idea that if I traded both Rooks, my Bishop could chase down his pawns. From move 21 to 25, I worked to exchange the Rooks without letting his pawns advance too far. I took with my Bishop on move 25 to avoid losing time. If my King was on the back rank, his king would have gotten to the front in time to penetrate my position, force one of his pawns to queen, and finish me off. With 27. … Kc5 I arrive just in time to keep his King on his side of the board.
White tries to break through by pushing his pawn to e5, then supporting it with his King. 29. c4+ is an attempt to get his queenside pawns rolling. I decided that taking the pawn ‘en passant’ would add to my troubles, and my best chance was to sit tight and defend.
30 … a5 is a counterattack that restrains White. If he pushes his King up the middle to queen his e-pawn, I push a4, and start attacking his weak queen pawns. He took the threat to heart and retreated with 31. Kd3.
Now I was expecting a draw. If my Bishop leaves the d8-h4 diagonal, then he will get to Queen a pawn, and I’m dead. His King is able to defend all of his pawns and keep my King from getting in. OTOH, he is unable to advance any of his pawns safely, so if we both play our best, we will shuffle our pieces around and eventually agree to a draw.
However, White tried for more, and made a losing error 35. e6, which made all of his dark squares weak. Now my Bishop moves 35. … Bf6, to a perfect square that defends against the advance of the e-pawn while attacking the weak pawn on b2. My King can now occupy d6 to prevent the e-pawn from advancing any more. His King is now kept out of the center, too. After a few careful defensive moves, I am able to play 39. … Bxb2. Now he has only two pawns for my Bishop, so I have a material advantage. More importantly, the demise of the b-pawn enables me to advance one of my pawns to queen.
40. g5 is another blunder, simply losing that pawn. Now White can’t keep my king from picking off his pawns, and he can’t keep me from queening either my a or b pawn. 44. … a4 starts the pawns rolling, and I will queen first.
I did forget a little detail with 47. e7. If I take his pawn, he takes mine, and my win will take much longer. If I were playing with a time control, I would have taken the pawn and won slowly. However, I was able to calculate a forced mate in 8 moves or less starting with 47. … a1=Q. He gets his queen, finally, but he is checkmated before she ever gets to move.