I played on Wednesday

Last moment decision, decided to follow my regular routine of playing to take some stress away from the job search. Mentally, I am in a different place now, but it was still nice to get out of the house and do something that I like to do anyway.

Played a quick game against a 1400 level player, spent 25 minutes on the whole game and he even less – first one’s finished. Debated between leaving and hanging out, but realized that in the future that I can play a quick game and go, and it’s not like my whole night is gone or anything.

The game was initially quite interesting because I didn’t see that I was dropping a pawn, but was happy when he took it. Apparently, Crafty is trying to tell me that I was in some big trouble if he hadn’t taken the pawn and played …Nf6 instead, looking to recapture with the knight on e4, himself. But, he let me off easy by taking the pawn, and then played the opening too aggressively. If he had gone Qh4 I was looking at 0-0-0, which apparently could have given me a standard opening edge as White of around .4.

It was nice in that the opportunity let me play the Caro-Kahn Fantasy variation as White, in which I have little tournament experience, possibly played it once before, long ago. In the final position, White will mate in a few more moves.

I want to point out that there is a neat little tactical line for White in 7.fxe Qh4+ 8.g3 Qxe 9.Qd2 where 9…QxRa1 is taboo, so 9…Nf6, 10.Bg2 where Black is up a pawn, but the position is strategically even. If anyone has an opinion on this line, let me know. After 11. 0-0 Black’s queen probably has to move again at some point, to a5 most likely. The good thing about a line like this is that you can play it against a lower-rated player and it’s interesting because it’s an out-of-book line.

I’ve analyzed this pawn sac line with Crafty. My whole understanding of chess has changed. Intuitively, all that effort for Black to win the pawn seemed bad and now I have confirmed to my own satisfaction that it is indeed a bad line for Black, but the sacs that White has in store will look outrageous at first. Definitely, when a pawn down, they style changes, no more straightforward-looking chess play from White – the sacs leave terra-firma endgames behind.


4 thoughts on “I played on Wednesday

  1. I played Fantasy variation twice, against higher rated ( +1, =1). I played 5. Nge2, it’s a second choice, solid move, the best could be Bf4, the first choice. I think 5. Be3 against 1400 is OK, but I am not sure I would play this against same/higher rated. But everyone ‘s style/taste is different. After 7… Nf6 Fritz doesn’t think White is in big trouble, just – -0.21, still I don’t quite like White’s position after 7… Nf6 8. Nh3 exf3 9. gxf3 Nd5. Also Fritz doesn’t think that 9…QxRa1 is taboo, since Black has R+N+P for the queen, still it’s 0.86 for White. Regarding 9…Nf6, 10.Bg2 line – Fritz gives 0.4 after 10… Qf5 11. Nf3 O-O. You can probably get kingside attack after O-O.

  2. I was actually afraid of ..Nf6 when I played ..Qd2, but was trying to not make a big fuss on the clock (as I’ve done in the past).

    The taboo part is that White can whip up a mating attack before Black can mobilize much (with best play, of course).

    Continuing on your last line, c4 followed by c3. Black has the extra pawn but his center/piece-development is constricted, and if Black tries to position his pieces aggressively, White can look to sac the house for a win. Play becomes delicate, even though that doesn’t appear to be the case on the surface – it’s more like, one false step for Black and big trouble arises for him/her.

    I will take this line over the Bf4, for now. I don’t understand the Bf4 idea yet. If anything Black doesn’t have to take the pawn and that would be more the refutation of Be3, although I was originally looking to play the 0-0-0 line. He saw the pawn falling right away, so perhaps he simply knew it (?) – of course, I would play it again against him, unless I wanted to try out Bf4 for learning’s sake.

  3. 5. Nge2 is passive, so I wouldn’t play that. There is a game in the current issue of Chess Life (I realize you are in Canada) where Shankland defends against Nd2 (which blocks in Bc1) as Black and wins, so that is also a passive move (though not losing).

    These pawn sacs are awesome! Thanks for the video-links, Rollingpawns! 🙂

    I’m not so sure about his exchange sac, as Rybka did like …0-0 as he points out – main reason being it may not be as threatening without that extra pawn, but does still look threatening! So White probably still has an edge.

    Black’s …Ba6 looked like a mistake, right off the bat. I like …b5 there to allow the queen back into the game via d8 or c7. Oh yeah, the endgame was a monster advantage, even with opposite-colored bishops – I could sense that right away.

    Clearly, this looks like a lot more fun than facing another open Sicilian as White! 😦

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