Is too tame a description for this game; I was schooled.

Sometimes you find out later that your intuition was right, more than you could have realized. This was one of those games.

I figured that 8..Be7 looked solid, but wanted to play as actively as I could against someone strong (figuring that I would probably lose by doing so) and find out where I stood. Well, I know where I stand now, 8..Bb4 was, for all intents and purposes, the losing move. Naturally, you won’t quite believe this, but I just looked at about 30-40 different checkmates, and I can assure you that this man knew what he was doing.

At the end, I though I just lost interest, and somehow made a losing move that I knew was losing …Nf8, I had already seen before a couple times that it loses, but was at my wits end, forgot a moment, and just picked a move. I was right, everything loses! I don’t expect you to believe it because I just spent a couple hours on it. He said my best chance was to get in …f5, but curiously enough he was going to play Kh1, Rg1, g4 against anything I played, and play it right too, better than Crafty. He was right! His intuition and experience are stronger than Crafty’s.

Dean told me after the game not to feel bad, as Imre was on the cover of Chess Life back in the 1950’s.

My intuition told me that he knew what he was doing after 7.Bb5+, as I began to consider that move as being very interesting right after I moved, and I predicted most of his moves. But going over this game, an old thought came back to me that I had realized a very long time ago. The better/more experienced player has a better evaluation of who is winning, what the real score is, and at this level better than an engine. For example a 1300 and 1500 could have the same analytical ability, but the 1500 player may have a better sense of the ‘art of the possible, and probable’. I could have analyzed much better, and he still would have trumped me in that dept.

He beat me like it was nothing in the post-mortem, as I tried a few of these other variations. He said that after I didn’t get in ..f5, “You were losing”, like it was some kind of joke how easy it was for him. We even went over …f5, and he had no problem blitzing out a win there. Which is why I had to force Crafty to play this stuff and realize he was right. Sort of like at the feet of the Master, I didn’t know who I was fooling with.

Now I know why my made up move 4..d5 after 4.e4 doesn’t work too well with …Bb4. 4…Bb7 is theory and better, then if 5.e4 Ne4 and Black is quite alright, to be followed by 5…d6 in any case. I always wondered why this was book, and not what I played. Still, I don’t know how 8..Be7 would have worked out, probably okay, dunno.

I badly wanted to play 18..Bg5 instead of …Nf8 which lost at once, but could see that it looked losing and it does, some pretty mates if you go over it with an engine. In the post-mortem, he immediately responded with 19.Ng6 (like I say, I predicted nearly all his moves, just didn’t realize where it was all heading to) fxg6, 20.BxB Qc7, 21.g6 (we both blitzed this out with no hesitation), and now ..hxg6 can lead to a Qh3+ fork, while ..h6 is only going to give him a pristine seventh rank with which to sac on and generally abuse my king with.

I realized that allowing e6 and then Ne6 recapture was winning for White, and is, which is why I moved the knight. The best move was 18…Qc8, but that is also a lost cause, completely. Admittedly, I will try to lose better than this next time I am in a jam. 😉 As the crude saying goes “I got my butt handed to me” in this game. By the end, I felt like I was never in it, never got a chance in. I was more like his personal assistant in trying to spar against his winning plans, and not a very needed one at that.

I’m hoping my weekend tournament doesn’t go like this. I registered and found out pre-registrations are almost all going toward the Open Section (>1500). It will probably be fun. I can learn more from a genuine strong player (I know some of these kids have semi-cheesy 1900 ratings), so that even if I lose, it should improve my chess understandings.


12 thoughts on “Outclassed

  1. Well played by your opponent. Have you studied the NimzoIndian at all? This game vaguely resembled a dream come true Nimzo-Indian Samisch for White. I’d say there are 2 major lessons to take from this game.
    1. Black cannot let White have the move e2-e4 with a perfect center “for free”. On move 3 you have to play d5 (QGD) or Bb4 (Nimzo) to control e4. Unfortunately this is an instance where avoiding theory means avoiding good moves. There is the English Defense which breaks principles but is tricky enough 1.d4 b6?! 2.c4 (2.e4 best!) 2…e6 3.Nc3 Bb7 4.e4 Bb4 when White owns the center but Black is working against it.
    2. Black simply must play the blockading move 14…f7-f5 to stop White from pushing f4-f5. This is known in Nimzo-Indian since Bronstein vs Najdorf 1950. As a general rule once White goes f4-f5 in Nimzo structures Black is basically busted. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1033775

  2. Thanks, Katar!

    I have never had a problem with this variation before, but I also never really play ..Bb4, when it becomes less of a Queen’s Indian and more of a Nimzo-Indian. Essentially, I lost a tempo with that bishop in order to be able to exchange my kingside knight and light-squared bishop (I was initially happy to get this exchange, and thought I had messed up by not doing it before he had castled when it would have been forced, but he lets me do it anyway). So, I achieved my goal, but it was apparently a bad one. The fact that I never got in…c5 in was very damaging.

    This game showed why …d5 in the Q.I.D can be bad, and that ..d6 can slow White’s attack down once he has played e4.

    I’ve studied the Nimzo a little, but it seems as if White players have a better idea, or some really deep understanding, of how to attack it. Why I thought I could try it against him, I dunno, but it was done more out of ignorance. I spent a lot of time debating whether to play it.

    The English opening is a bit whimsical perhaps, Nge7, I take it, yet still interesting.

    He was all set to go about breaking down an …f5 reply. No doubt that he knew exactly what to do from a past experience. This is why I like QID better than Nimzo. Nimzo seems interesting when one reads it in a book, but it is more knowledge-based than QID, and White players have usually already concocted strategies against it.

    That lost tempo with …Bb4-Be7 was virtually decisive. I thought that I had relieved enough attacking pressure but was wrong about that; doesn’t take that many pieces and pawns to checkmate with.

    …f5 may look okay, but even if Black tries to refrain from …g6 at first, and play ..Qc8 and ..Qa6, that is too slow, White is crashing in on kingside and can play Nf4 and e6, among other things, and a Ne6 is rather decisive as piece sacs for mate begin to happen at every turn.

    For example, here is one of many wins that White had. At least this one would have been more challenging than the others, but was just as certain. (17…Bf8 instead of …Nf8):
    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 b6 4. e4 d5 5. e5 Ne4 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5+ c6 8.
    Bd3 Bb4 9. Qc2 Bf5 10. Ne2 O-O 11. O-O Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bxd3 13. Qxd3 Be7 14.
    f4 Nd7 15. f5 Re8 16. Qg3 Kh8 17. Nf4 Bf8 18. e6 Nf6 19. exf7 Re4 20. Qh3
    h6 21. Ng6+ Kh7 22. Bg5 Rc8 23. Rae1 Qc7 24. Rxe4 dxe4 25. Ne5 Qd6 26. Qg3
    c5 27. Bxf6 Qxf6 28. d5 c4 29. Qg6+ Kh8 30. Nd7 Qxc3 31. f6 Qd4+ 32. Kh1
    Qd3 33. Rg1 e3 34. Nxf8 Qxg6 35. Nxg6+ Kh7 36. f8=Q Rxf8 37. Nxf8+ Kg8 38.
    d6 Kxf8 39. fxg7+ Kxg7 40. d7 e2 41. d8=Q

    …f5 may have been the most practical try (although not against him), but one more try is f4..a5 (I pretty much knew ..Nd7 was losing even when I played it, but couldn’t find anything else), f5..f6, e6..Bd6, Rf3..Ra7 and perhaps I can get in ..Na6 one day here, but I may need to move that Ra7 over before playing …Nc7.

    ha! That also loses:
    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 b6 4. e4 d5 5. e5 Ne4 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5+ c6 8.
    Bd3 Bb4 9. Qc2 Bf5 10. Ne2 O-O 11. O-O Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bxd3 13. Qxd3 Be7 14.
    f4 a5 15. f5 f6 16. e6 Bd6 17. Rf3 Na6 18. Rh3 Kh8 19. Qf3 Ra7 20. Qh5 g6
    21. fxg6 Re8 22. Qf5 Rg7 23. gxh7 Qe7 24. Bh6 Rxh7 25. Rf1 Nc7 26. Bf4 Rxh3
    27. Qxh3+ Kg8 28. Bxd6 Qxd6 29. Qg4+ Kf8 30. Rxf6+ Ke7 31. Rf7+ Kd8 32.
    Rd7+ Qxd7 33. exd7 Re7 34. h4 Rxd7 35. h5

    So ..f5 was the only practical try.

    My impression after this game was right, I’ve simply played too many weak players to know what chess is really about. I obviously have had a very poor understanding of higher-rated chess, which is a lot more about checkmates than it is about material.

    At the beginning of the game my opponent kidded “This one is for the championship!” (we had drawn last time), which immediately had me thinking “Gee, this old man is more excited about playing this game than I am!”

  3. Is it really true that a QID can result from the 1.d4 2.c4 3.Nc3 move order?? I thought QID only resulted from the 3.Nf3 move order. But i am somewhat new to these openings (6 months or so).

  4. Katar,

    I was wondering that myself (questioning myself more like it). Yes. The weird thing is that …d5 is sometimes playable, but not in this early Nc3 line. …Bb7, instead of …d5?, would have been strong for Black. And he must have known what he was doing when he futher gummed up my position with Bb5+, encouraging c6 or weak light-squares with no light bishop for Black.

    Here is the game, Davidson beats Euwe (his name is apparent pronouned like ‘oven’, except there is an ‘eww’ at the front, and not quite a full ‘n’)


    This variation is perfectly fine for Black because g2 is weak. This is the typical looking QID middlegame (among weaker players) that I am used to.

    The games which I see, and never play, but the strong players do goes Nf3…d6, d5 then maybe …e5. It’s also blocked up and Black has to wait to counter-attack with moves like …h6 and ..Re8. This is less of my natural skill-set. If Black gets too uppity with moves like …Nf6-h5-f4, then BxNf4..exf, e5! White blasts open the center, exposing Black’s undefendable center pawns, and should win.

    Just for grins, I re-confirmed that wins on FICS come much more cheaply. ; -)


    I feel like I played the opening in that OTB game rather quickly, and got suddenly caught pulling out my “FICS” crap repertoire on him, before I knew it. I usually do play ..Bb7 OTB.

    Going by my FICS results is like setting myself up for failure, OTB. hehe.

    …d5 after …Bb7 doesn’t lose to the scary kingside assault (which is why White doesn’t play Nf3 first, so as to get in f4 in one go, huge-pawn center and push on the kingside), but instead it is +- because Black has a big problem defending his …d5 pawn; e.g., a Nbd7 block’s communication with ..d5, so that ..Na6 is more palatable, but still Black has little to hope for beyond a draw, without serious mistakes by White, so that the line is very unpopular for Black.

    Hmm, it does simply take too long and is too difficult for Black to build up a defense of the kingside after ..d5, e5. White has the bishop pair, and while ..Na6-c7-e6 may look pretty, it doesn’t do enough to stop White’s mating sacs. Black would have to castle 0-0-0 as in the one game given as a draw in the CA DB.

    The way the loss goes is like this cxd5..exd, e5 and now the absence of that pawn on e6, let alone the bishop not being on that diagonal, gives White too much time and space with a piece attack. So that a more comfortable setup is ..Bb4, ..d6, ..c5. Is this the Nimzo already? Which would mean that ..f5 is also an option.

  5. I don’t think you are going to end up with a QID after 3.Nc3 unless white agrees to it and transposes.

    3..b6 is very rare after 3.Nc3, with ~1,500 games compared to 3..Bb4 and the Nimzo having roughly 80,000 games in my database.

    From Chessville review of Gambit’s The Queen’s Indian:

    In addition, the Queen’s Indian is not normally a player’s only defense to d4 because it is not aggressive enough if White plays Nc3 before Nf3. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 b6 is sharply met by 4.e4, allowing White too much control in the center. That is why the defense is often paired repertoire-wise with the Nimzo-Indian (3. … Bb4), unfortunately requiring even more study.

    and from a post on the chesspub forums:

    You only have to learn the QID if you are intending to play Nf3 as 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 b6 is well met by 4.e4 with a good version of the English Defence for White.

  6. Thanks, Snits! Well, that settles that, I do need to learn the Nimzo-Indian defense then, and no wonder it is so popular. I did not know about that and didn’t even know there was an English Defense, let alone anyone who paid attention to it. 🙂

    So much for all the negative knowledge and dis-information I came to, as a conclusion of “learning an opening” by playing it on FICS. haha. This gets reinforced by a chess engine like Crafty because it will say you are doing everything fine, until it suddenly changes it’s opinion and is too late to prevent the onslaught.

  7. There is nothing wrong with learning an opening by playing it on FICS ;). Just follow Dan Heisman’s advice and look up the opening afterwards and see where you deviated and what move should be played.

  8. Theory is huge on the Nimzo, and quite naturally I never saw my line. I do have all 5 ECO 2nd editions though, and could probably find the line there. Even little encyclopedias, or MCO, have a massive amount of Nimzo lines. Most of them are with a3, and I virtually never see that, even though it’s the main line.

    There’s no way that I can see around it, I would have to crack open the book and go through the lines of my Black repertoires, one by one.

  9. you could also go 3…d5 with a queen’s gambit declined, which is rather simpler and more straightforward than nimzo. there is a lot of theory, but it is easier to figure out and the moves are pretty logical. that way you could combine QID and QGD. something to look into!

  10. Thanks for the suggestion, Katar, however I started with the KID, then switched to the QGD, so I know what that opening is about. I can switch back to it. The variation of it that I disliked the most, I believe started with the exchange variation (although I could choose the Capablanca variation, yet White still dictates), and then White plays Rb1, b4…a6, a4, b5 and then has Black’s backward hanging c6 pawn to take. IM John McDonald did a whole article on how White can win this endgame and it was pretty depressing, since Black is not creating counter-chances so much trying to delay the inevitable. I have gotten lucky with counter-attacks, but they were always unsound unless I followed theory exactly. The one variation that seems okay for Black is that …Nf6-e4xc3. That is good for a draw, but Black is always playing to equalize, essentially, but in a very non “asymmetrical” way, so that White is in no danger unless a very clutzy endgame player (which oddly many players are).

    If you play KID, or maybe Gruenfeld, you at least feel like you are attacking as Black, Nimzo is a bit of that way as well, so it’s a morale boost for Black compared to the QGD.

  11. This game can explain why I play Benko.:) I tried to play QID/Nimzo online, didn’t get great results, and didn’t see that I feel the position, so I never tried it OTB. Of course, we all at some point have to learn it. I agree with previous comments about letting e4 in this structure and White were ~1.00 right after Bb5+. You get another 0.6 down after Nd7 instead of f5. The position after f5 just looks scary for Black.
    You can’t learn it from the books, you have to play, so I think it will be useful experience.

  12. Yeah, the Benko does have it’s advantages. 😉

    I’ll try playing a Nimzo tomorrow, if I see Nc3. You are right, RollingPawns, I am not trying to book up at the low 1800, as much as trying to find my way OTB. Expert needs to book-up for sure.

    My …Nf8 was a disgrace as I had seen that I was losing the bishop before I played it, but was looking at many different lines and remembered it was bad, but forgot that it drops a piece. Okay, it’s a loss either way, but I really admire and appreciate how you hang in there in your games. I need to stretch out my lost positions more, can’t just lose like that, on move 20 or so, need to hang in there more.

    Here is how Browne handled the Nimzo against Keene:

    This “The Master Game” series of videos has recently been uploaded, and I recommend watching some as the GM’s explain what they are thinking OTB, even topics such as “How will I explain this loss to my friends (Christiansen), and how bad do I need the prize money (Adorjan).”

    I watched a few of these, so forgot that one above a bit, but I think Browne said the exact same thing about playing ..c5,..d6,..e5 that I said in a comment above.

    If you want to see something really cool, go to 7:36 of this video and watch how fast Carlsen sacks his queen:

    Quinteros, Browne 1982 is my favorite video of the series. One thing I noticed is that all the players seem more optimistic than I, when making their move choices. They don’t look for safe/boring looking moves so often, as would be my propensity, and they keep their chances alive for quite a long time.

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