Well, if you’ve been following this one, my last two rounds were a draw and a loss, so for this round I got a new opponent, a Class E level player that drove all the way from Denver to play!
I wasn’t feeling sharp, since I had a touch of something earlier in the day, but luckily my opponent blundered early and often (not entirely unexpected). There was one move where I thought I may have blundered, after …e5 I played …Nf5. Fortunately, this isn’t actually a blunder since …d5 can be met by Bb5+ winning a pawn, and …Nxe4, the move I was more worried about, allows Black to win the pawn back with Nxg7+ before recapturing on e4.
After the sluggish start, I felt like I got my head into the game, and didn’t need much time, around 35 minutes for the entire game. In fact, that is perhaps the shortest analysis of a game that I can remember in years, unless I want to book-up for next time.
Okay, just checked book on CA and it was what I was trying to do! After …e5, I was looking at Bb5+ Nd7, Nf5 (as the knight is now “safe” here), but then I saw …a6 and if the bishop retreats with Ba4, then …b5 and ..Nc5 looks good for Black. Turns out White is supposed to trade on d7 there, bishop for knight. What’s more surprising is that the #1 line for Black is to give up a pawn with …Nxe4(the move I had been afraid of), Nxg7+ BxNg7, Nxe4 and now this knight and queen are both hitting the backward ..d6 pawn, which Black usually decides to give up. hehe. I don’t know what to say other than that would seem like a rather dumb thing to do just to have the bishop pair. Black doesn’t have to sac a pawn, but the alternative seems to be doubled f-pawns with queens still on.
Well, since that was another short game, I’ll entertain you with a goofy Nimzo-Indian try that I just played on FICS. It feels like I’ve maybe only tried …Bb4 in a couple blitz games ever, can’t remember the last time, so being in a humorous mood, I tried my hand at it here. Should have played …f5 where I dropped a piece, but he loses with Kb1 instead of Ka2 a few moments later in what should have been a draw – haven’t looked at it with an engine. 15/0 game, the ending was blitzed out.
Okay, so I happen to have two books in my bookcase from long ago that I’ve never read. Choices are “Winning with the Slav” by Markov and Schipkov, and “Winning with the Nimzo-Indian” by Raymond Keene. The Nimzo seems to be the defense that has gotten the most traction. One problem right off the bat with the Slav is that White can play cxd..cxd on move 3, and it’s the most boring symmetrical variation that I know. Actually, I consistently lose from that position online as Black because I try to do stuff when Black can seem to do little but sit there and take it, and hope it doesn’t hurt too much.