Played a Master

as Black and lost.

I went for a dumb pawn sac, and then realized right away that it loses and I should have played …e6 first.

The post-mortem was interesting because I asked “What if I had played ..e6 before playing NxNe5.” He doubles on the c-file, not too surprising, but he showed how easily I could be constricted there and the real problem is that a Ng4 and the Bg7 get locked out of play. I have scanty recent experience with kingside fianchettoes as Black, so I was not prepared for this opening and went for a passive position. He showed the active possibilities that I could have taken early on, but I played Nd7 and took on a very passive yet rather predictable-looking position. It’s hard to defend strategically against a master, but like I say all the interesting stuff happened in the post-mortem. Strong strategic player.

I also realized after the game, more than he did (people usually see their own best moves more easily) that Rxc1 was a huge mistake, not that it wasn’t already in the tank, in any event.

When I went for the pawn sac, I wasn’t paying enough attention; I was worried about g4 and g5, but after I sacked I realized rather immediately that he couldn’t have played that move because it drops the g4 pawn after NxNe5. I was also confusing that with a variation where he plays NxNd7..QxN, IOW I was swotting variations, but naturally after I played the sac realized there was nothing real to worry about and that I had blown it. Interesting, I didn’t even sac it right, …Ng4 instead of …Ne4 was also a big mistake now that Crafty shows me.

I didn’t spend that much time on the game, was thinking about a programming task because he spent a lot of time and came late. So, by no means was I a bit nervous like back in the days when I took it all so serious and really bore down. This was the highest-rated player that I have faced, so I really didn’t know how to take the game anyhow. Like I say, I am only barely familiar with the opening that I chose. He even said he was trying out g3, which was an effective choice…but, he seemed to have researched the basic replies that I could have played, just didn’t know them in detail.

To be honest, I had called in for a bye earlier in the day, but it turned out that I had the time, and since there is not much to lose vs. not playing I wasn’t in a mood where I felt any pressure. Colorado Springs is really nice in that you know there is a tournament game going on and you can get there so quickly. In Los Angeles, going somewhere seemed like such a big deal because you were risking your car and a lot of time in traffic, so it seemed like you had better make the trip worth it. Here it’s like stopping by the neighborhood bar or something, except that it’s a chessgame instead of a social call.
Here’s the game

He is 2228, and reached Master 6 years ago, just noticed. Next week I am scheduled to play a 1300 level player again.

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3 thoughts on “Played a Master

  1. Yeah, it’s tough to play against master. I think e6 probably should be played in any case in this position. I am not sure that you have any compensation for the pawn even with Ne4 just because the queens can be exchanged. Next time you play him I would chose a less positional opening. Playing 1300 doesn’t look very exciting, do you have any other possibility to play with stronger people?
    P.S. I posted my Thursday’s game.

  2. I guess Nxe5 is the wrong move by black. First e6 and then Nxe5 followed by Nd7 to save the knight on f6 does the trick nicely.

    Also the move Qxd3 is positive for white since it undoubles the pawns on the e-file. But then again, looking at the position i dont know if there is another way to rescue the e-pawn which is still on e7 which i think is a mistake if one develops the c8-bishop via b7.

  3. I wanted to play …e6 a move earlier even, but couldn’t, had to play ..a6 then I was going to play …e6 (would in blitz), but then thought too much about it (unlike with my other moves) and thought I could get better drawing play by sacking a pawn.

    My problem is that I had horribly miscalculated. Not only is my b6 pawn hanging to his knight after my queen gets moved or traded, after …e6 (my intention) but I realized that e6 was also allowing Nf6+ winning the Bb7.

    Another thing is I was looking the Ne4 sack for many moves, just to notice what it would do, but played Ng4 almost immediately and felt clueless when I played it. I looked at Ne4 sack with Crafty and I think I could draw that ending, _but_ if I could play it over I would definitely try ..e6 instead and see if I could stop his queenside initiative. Really, I would play QGD or a more active variation of the Gruenfeld with either …c5 or …e5.

    It’s like a bomb went off, I made so many mistakes at once and there were so many reasons that they were mistakes, 3 blunder moves in a row as RxRc1, taking off the queens, was also rather hopeless. I can’t let boredom get to me in the future, and need to focus then even more. I’m sure that I could have pressed him on the clock a bit at some point.

    Rollingpawns, who I play is rather random (but is based on having 1 out of 2 points in the tournament so far). Stuck around and noticed he pairs a week ahead. If Josh had been another 15 minutes late I would have played a much, much lower rated player, an air-force colonel. Didn’t even realize I’d be playing a 2200.

    Chesstiger, Nd7 might be okay, part of me felt I should retreat the knight and wondered about it.

    The only out that Ng4 provided was a followup with Ne3 (h3, …Ne3) and if QxNe3, then …e5 forks. But he had seen/showed me this possibility, and would have guarded against it before playing h3, then g4 to kick my knight out of play.

    …e6 may not look great, but it’s probably better than a lot of the other too cute moves like the one that I played. Sure, there could be another way, though.

    RP, I’ll comment on your game tonight.

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