This is a game where I chose to revert back to my old C3 sicilian of yore. I played it for years before going to f4 closed Sicilian, and then lately to the open Sicilian. I seem to win from losing positions as White in the Sicilian, and I really want to stress endgames more in tournament play, anyhow, so I switch to C3 here.
The other reason is that my opponent is pretty good when I play poorly. I’ve played him before, and respect his strength against me. He passes up a usual line of ..Nf6, e5 Nd5 d4 cxd Bc4 Nb6 Bb5, and lets me go French on him. Bwahaha.
Some notes are that he could have exchanged his bishop on c3, and I would play bxc, probably have to do some defense Q-side, like Rb1 before focusing K-side. He does lose a tempo with his queen by playing Qa5, when he could have played it earlier. Incidentally, my Na4 was a blunder, since I meant to exchange pawns first, and only if he recaptures with bishop would I have needed to play Na4; I was relieved when he played Bf6 anyway. I’ve always wanted to reach this position, but have personally never been able to because my opponents are virtually always to keen on mixing things up more.
The main thing to note from this position is not that Black simply blunders, but how sort of busted his position is from a static perspective. If you are new to the French, you may get these positions where all you can do is temporize as Black, better not to disturb it. Years ago I would get these positions and lose on time, nowdays, I virtually never get them.
There was a Russian master or Grandmaster teacher who once said (it was in Chess Life many years back) that the deeper part of chess strategy is to get the opponent into a position where he really doesn’t have any good moves left – anyhow, that was the goal of my play.
I could aim to trade on e5, then look to play Be2g4 to attack the backward pawn. But in this position, he blunders the pawn, and game really, with Nf5.
Okay, so I’m noticing that Crafty liked Black with a slight edge, and it’s true that Black had a Qb4 move in there that would have probably forced me to castle o-o-o, which looks decent for White.
Well, with the help of Crafty, White to play one big long WTF and win! 🙂