I Played Dean in this game, as White, our 7th encounter OTB. Recently, he has dropped some rating points – it is usually over 1600.
He trotted out his Accelerated Dragon again, and perhaps sensing (correctly) that I had something in store for his usual reply of …d5, decided to play ..e6 and …f5 instead, which Crafty is real down on. He also felt that it was a mistake OTB.
I missed a tactic, after 11…f5, there was 12.exf6 which I figured would go 12…d5 and my knight has to move back with Nc3, but I missed that the correct reply would be to let the knight hang and play 13.Qd4 attacking Rh8, threat is f7+ QxRh8. I had seen the f7+ possibility , but missed Qd4, only looked at Ng5.
He makes a huge mistake with 16…Qb7 instead of 16…Qe7, as 17.Bc5 prevented him from castling.
What’s interesting is that if he had played 16…Qe7, I could respond with 17.b4 axb, 18.cxb and later if he plays …Nd5 can even play BxNd5, advance the b-pawn
to passivate his bishop and then play opposite bishops with a free bishop essentially and look for queen, rook and bishop mates. This was recently a hole in my knowledge until RollingPawns had pointed it out – Dvoretsky also pointed it out in his ‘Secrets of Chess Tactics’ book.
IOW, the b4 push and BxN doesn’t surprise me as I had thought of doing those things OTB, but the thing I found surprising was to not approach it as an endgame position (with the outside passer to be promoted, simply keep it as a threat) but rather as a middlegame position. White is up to around 2.75 according to Crafty, and yet there is no material advantage. Just as interesting is that White can still promote an isolated a-pawn with queens off the board.
Again, I have a nice workable position against him, but he keeps his queen up front as a target, allowing me to win his a-pawn cleanly and that was basically it. I saw his counter-moves and stuff that could have happened but didn’t, but there was simply no need to play the fancier lines as a win is a win.
Also, 21…Qa5 is the wrong idea as I saw that I also had 22.QxQ RxQ, 23.Bb4 Ra8 and I am still winning the a-pawn as in the game, minus the queens, but I wanted to keep queens on as she was a nice target for my attack. Black no doubt wishing for some lucky sort of Qd1+.
29…Qa5 was possible, and I was looking at responding with 30.b6 with the idea of deflecting the Bc8 from defense of d7, but even the queen is out of play I now see and the queen and bishop mate threat is back on.
Near the end, I felt that he could have sacked his queen on a8 for rook and bishop, but then I would have sought to mate Black on g7 with queen and bishop. Turns out ..Bd7 was not possible, so I goofed with that thought, but I played so prophylactically that it did not matter.
Also, I thought about pushing d7 toward the end, instead of Ra8. d7 would have been relatively quite a blunder; no need to entertain these sorts of moves as there is no crowd about to bust out the gold coins. hehe.
Some people there play some really outlandish stuff. I feel my game is more staid/Karpov-ish than theirs, but everyone is different I guess, some play looser than others, but then I guess I don’t have a low rating that I can let bounce all over the place like some of them do. One of the guys I talk to there intentionally blocked his own defense of c2 to allow a Nxc2+ fork, only to get in his own Nc7+ fork and win the Na1. That is sick, so to speak, and he spots lots of traps, quite talented, typically has an hour left at the end of games, but is back to around 1500 again, WTF? But that’s the thing, the rating system isn’t about who is most talented and gets the prettiest wins, it simply describes who wins most, period, the end.
Mark (1880-ish rating) played a game where he had a knight, rook and 3 pawns vs. a bishop, rook and 5 pawns – the extra two pawns being isolated – against a 1400 level player. Mark won but had 5 seconds on his clock the whole time, the other guys had 30 minutes but walked into a mate with 7 minutes left. I didn’t watch, didn’t want to make him nervous in case he did. But another guy that looks up to me finally took issue with me when I said I expected Mark to win, and then I added that it was because of the ratings differential – around 450 points. The other guys all thought that the 1400 player would win. It very much reminded me of the conversation that RollingPawns, Chesstiger, and I were having the other day.
I’m not saying that I could have won that position with 5 seconds left, but Mark has a lot of endgame experience and recalled when they used to play 7 hour time-control games. I probably couldn’t have won that position, but a chess rating is there for a reason! He said that the move was one where the other guy had 3 ways to go wrong, and chose one of those bad moves.
At the end of my game, I had 8 1/2 minutes left to my opponent’s 27 minutes or so. Really, I want to end my games with ten minutes on the clock as I am not really comfortable with the quality of my game once I go below that, but in this case it was a winning position against lower-rated so didn’t quite matter as much it could have.