Time is Precious: a Chess Lesson

I haven’t posted a chess game for a while, but here is one that I finished recently that is very instructive.  It shows what terrible things can happen if you waste time.  [Maybe there is a life lesson in there too.]

You can click on this link to open the game in another window, then click on “moves” to show the move list.  Click the leftmost arrow under the move list to get to the beginning of the game.

Ray_D vs. Faith Meteor

The opening is a Sicilian Defense.  This defense creates an asymmetrical position where White has a faster development and a space advantage, but Black has a better pawn structure and opportunities to counter-attack.  It usually leads to exciting games.

My move 6. Bg5 makes this a Richter-Rauzer Attack.  Masters who play this variation often have the first 15-20 moves memorized, and they can play this many moves before they even have to think.

Black’s first mistake was to move 6. … Ng4.  this violates a principle that  you should not move the same piece twice in the opening without a very good reason.   [In life, this is like quitting your job at McDonald’s to work at Burger King.  If you are going to quit at McDonald’s, your next job should either pay more money, or not leave you smelling like French Fry grease when you get home, or further your long-term career goals.] He should have played 6. … e6, which would allow him to get his Bishop out to e7, and then castle.  Instead, I got to chase his knight with 7. h3, which gained me a tempo.  I wanted to push this pawn already, and now I get to do it without losing any time.  When he retreated his Knight with 7. … Nge5, he invited me to chase him again with f4, controlling the e5 square and starting a general pawn advance against his King.  I will do this later in the game.

My 8. Qd2 is a normal developing move, which prepares castling on the Queenside.  I am planning an all-or-nothing attack on his King, so my King needs to be safely on the opposite side of the board.

Black’s 8. … Qa5 is another time-wasting error.  I wanted to move 9. Nb3 so that I could avoid exchanging that Knight, and now I get to make that move while attacking Black’s Queen.  This gains me another tempo.  His retreat to c7 is not a great solution either, since I will be able to attack that square later.  After I chase away his queen and castle, I have a big space advantage, and I have 5 pieces developed to his 3.

With 10. … h6, Black chases me to a square that is better for my Bishop, so he doesn’t really gain any time.  He really needed to move his pawn to e6, to control the d5 square, but instead he moves 11. … Be6, failing to control the d5 square and blocking his e-pawn.  This will get him even farther behind in develpment.

This was a good time to attack his queen again, so I moved 12. Nd5.  If he trades his Bishop for my Knight, I will retake with my pawn, and his Knight will have to retreat.  Also I’ll have the two bishops and a permanent space advantage.  So his queen ran away again.  She has now made 3 moves and she is back where she started!!

13. f4 forces his Knight to the Queenside, because if 13. … Ng6, then 14. f5! wins either the Knight or the Bishop. 14. Be2 calmly develops the Bishop, and now my Rooks are linked.  I have 7 pieces on useful squares, compared to his 3.  He also has the problem that his Bishop on f8 is undeveloped and his King is trapped in the center.  He was behind in development, and if I play well he might never get developed.

14. … g6 is a desperate attempt to get his Bishop to a useful square and Castle his King, but it’s too late.  15. Nd4 causes him lots of trouble.  If he takes my Knight on d4, I will take back with the bishop, attacking his rook on h8 and ruining his castle.  The move he played, 15. … Bg7, is just as painful, because after 16. Nxe6 fxe6, his central pawns are doubled and weak, and his castle is compromised.  After 18. Bc4, he really can’t defend the pawn on e6, so I get to take it with my Bishop, which doesn’t just win a pawn.  My Bishop also blocks his central pawns and controls some key squares.

20. f5 establishes the Bishop in the center, and also opens a line on the c1-h6 diagonal.  His castle now consists of one lonely pawn.  22. g4 launches a pawn storm against the castle.  Meanwhile Black is trying to shuffle his pieces into a good defensive position.

With 24. Qg2 I moved my Queen to where she could support the pawn storm, as well as attack b7.  I didn’t really want the pawn over there, but it’s always good when a move can have two apparent purposes.  24. … Qa5 is an attempt to get some activity for the Queen, but my pieces are placed well enough to prevent her from causing much trouble.

26. Qe4 threatens f6, giving check and attacking a piece, so his King retreats.  In the next few moves I maneuvered my pieces into place very cautiously, being careful to neutralize his Bishop.  The computer thinks I could have won more quickly, but I didn’t want to let a stupid mistake rob me of victory.

Move 29. Ne2 begins the maneuver of the Knight to f4 and then g6 or h5.  With his King stuck at h8, he can’t avoid losing material.  He would have done a bit better to exchange bishops.

31. Ng6+ begins the decisive combination.  First I fork his King and Rook, gaining the Rook.  He can lose a lot of material and avoid mate for another 10 moves or so if he retreated the King to h8, but instead, he took back the Knight and got mated in 2.

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2 thoughts on “Time is Precious: a Chess Lesson

  1. In a Dragon variation, Black plays …g6 at the 5th move. In this game, Black adopted another plan, and then g6 and Bg7 were played way too late to be effective.

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