I played Mike, a grizzled-veteran of club play, as Black in a French. He said he’s been giving away Christmas presents early this year, I won in a short but exciting game (at least for me, anyway, Crafty would probably find it a yawner).
December ’09 Open, round 2
We both made our mistakes, and had our chances. I slept before the game. When I got there, Mike asked me if I wanted to play G/2 hrs instead of the usual, so right there that got rid of two of the usual suspects that contribute to my losses.
He blundered with d4 (or at least now I know), but he was creative about it, and I decided wrongly against …Qe8, which looks obvious now (he thought that …Qe8 looked winning for Black, but probably figured this was the trickiest he could make it). The real blunder of the game was his move Rh8-e8. It’s hard to think that that’s such an incredible blunder, but Crafty gives me about 2 more points after …Bxh, in what could have been an even game (but I still liked my chances, and apparently he liked his – we went over the game afterwards). Nice fellow. Going over the game together afterward with someone who wants to is always an enlightening experience, to get their perceptions.
It’s ironic that Neal was surprised by my tactic at the end, since it was only a two-mover. This is why it pays to study tactics. I saw it right away, simply pattern-recognition, only 2 moves! 🙂
I played this opening again because I was feeling inspired, fresh, but this variation does have an obvious weak spot. A pawn on e5 can support a knight on d6 for White. Like I told Mike after the game, my hope/plan was not to allow him to cover the e5 pawn with f4, as then I would never be able to get rid of the supportive e5-pawn. If Mike had known theory, he probably would have got that f4 pawn going early, and then the opening becomes much more problematic for Black, I would guess, until the proper defense could be found.