In this game I had Black against a 1400 level player (as if a rating were something permanent). He played the English opening and I replied …e5, not wanting to test out my scant experience with the Four Knights defense.
It felt …Be7 would have been more solid and I have more experience with that, but as you know each new game is an adventure.
Well, basically it’s almost like I was playing to hang on in this game, missed two huge combinations, one a mate in three ending on f2. I think the three things of the clock, trying to figure out what to do positionally and what to do tactically make it harder to find tactics OTB than in a “tactics book” where all you care about is the tactic.
At the end of the game, his knight is trapped so he resigns.
The most interesting result was that my friend Alex 1480 beat Richard, the Expert that I lost to a week ago. He had to leave earlier than usual but wants to train with me some more, go over games. That’s the thing about rating, anything can happen for any given game. All I heard was at one point Richard said “Darn, how did I miss that!” hehe. Alex finds lots of tricky tactics all game long.
This game was a pleasure to go over with Crafty afterwards. What I’ve learned from this game is that I need to try harder to allow more time for moments when I sense combinations could/should be there in order to wrest the initiative away from my opponent. One may only get a couple of those of those moments over a long series of moves, don’t let them go to waste. Yeah, they win material and are winning, but the key virtue seems to be grabbing the initiative by using all of the resources in the position. After that winning moves almost find themselves since there is more than one way to win the won game usually.
The missed combinations are as follows:
15…Rxe3, 16. RxR Qh4 mates on either f2 or h2.
21…NxB followed by either
22. NxN f4 (deflects the knight from defending d4, plus f4 undermines d4 by attacking the e3 pawn – Bxd4 threat forks king and rook.
22. RxN allows Black to either fork the rooks or win the e-pawn. For example 22…Na5, 23. Qd3 c6, 24. Nc3 Nb3 forks rooks on d2 and a1.