Here are a couple of interesting games that I played recently that revolve around the pawn structure. I noticed Tommy was looking at the Alekhine, so here that one first:
In the second game, I have to admit that 14.Na4 was hardly necessary as I had dxe followed by Bxa7 winning a pawn, but it made the game more interesting. 😉
My plan now is actually to stop playing on FICS and study openings or games or endings instead. I have the “Big Book of Busts” and just studied Owen’s Defense, so I’m ready to take that down next time I face it, although I really studied simply out of interest.
I have MCO13 and Chess Assistant, but it doesn’t do me much good. MCO is a little too, “Okay, here’s how crazy Joe handled this opening in a correspondence game, is down material but is unclear.” Well, that is a fun way to learn tactics, but studying that is almost of negative value to my rating. The super GM’s games on CA, the opening book part, remind me of lines where people are simply trying to deviate from the main-line and mix it up, really not helpful on the class level.
At our level, I think a concise explanation of an opening from a Master is best. For example, Soltis book on opening analysis for Advanced player is concise and hits the major themes of what can happen (not just boring stuff of “okay here is the main-line – yawn”). I actually gave away Alburt’s book on the Alekhine many years ago because I found it so boring, the main lines with sideline games in the notes(with not much explanation). Big Book of Busts is rather incisive as well.
But here’s my point. I used to go over this stuff and was not tactically adept enough to figure out why +- was +-, but I can figure that stuff out now. I spent a long time with Crafty going over my games afterwards, even blitz games (yes, TONS of blunders no one notices in blitz games, as you might expect). Anyhow, at G/90, if I really want to have fun winning vs. just playing and losing, I really have to look at some of these openings because there is not time to figure them out OTB, RollingPawns is right about that. At G/2hrs. at my old club, there was time and it was fun, but at G/90 I simply don’t see such a possibility, or I would have to play it quickly in any event.
Incidentally, in the second game Black stopped me from playing 24.Qc1, a useful device which is known as “Alekhine’s Gun”. Sierawan once wrote a book ‘Take my Rooks’ that covered games using this technique, but it also had something to do with a ‘double-rook sacrifice’.