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.