I played Tom as Black for the second time, last time it was a Scotch game, so I guess the two openings are a bit related.
A move earlier, I had thought to play Nbd7 before ..e6, but I got over-confident when I saw Bd3, forgetting to watch the queen’s power for making consecutive moves.
I was planning on playing ..Bd6, should White take on b7 with the queen, but instead he was hoping that I would play ..b6, and allow Ne5-c6.
Tom spent a lot of time in ultimately not taking the b7 pawn, and what is more bizarre is that he was actually right not to take it!
9.Qxb7 Bd6, 10.Bg5 0-0, 11.Ne4? This was as far as I had seen, although I was wondering whether 11..Rb8, 12.Qxa Rxb2 was a good idea or not. I probably would have played that only because there is hardly another suitable plan on the board, but Black can win that c or a-pawn of White’s.
I should mention that on move 8..Nbd7, I missed a principle variation 8..Nc6, 9.Qxb7 and I thought to myself “I can’t take on d4, so why would I think to goad him with this?” But actually, there is 9..Nb4, which I missed. White plays 10.Qb5+, 11.Qe2 to defend against the knight fork at c2. Still, the ..Nbd7 move seems to turn out better for Black.
The problem with 8.Qb5 (yes, it probably is too tempting for the average class player to pass up) is that Black has immediately equalized. White’s queen is in the wrong sector of the board, and in a gambit that sort of detail matters.
I thought, perhaps a quick pawn push for White with 9.d5, but then after the trades on d5, Black has ..Bb4+ followed by Qe7+, and Black can 0-0-0 so as to not worry about a possible Re1 pin of queen against king, as shown by Fruit.
When he played 14.Rhf1, that is when I saw that things were going my way, working the pin against his Qe2.
After 15..f6, I felt I had everything under control, a solid pawn up, since 16.Ne3 BxB+, 17.NxB QxQ, 18.RxQ and White can get Ne6 in, but I had calculated that it goes nowhere, he is simply a pawn down.
White plays a crazy, yet interesting sac. I accepted it and was prepared to give up my rook for two minor pieces, which wouldn’t be a guaranteed win, but a big advantage. I played ..Qf7 to halt his initiative. I had planned on the game continuing with 19..RxB followed by 20.RxR Nxe, which would be a very interesting ending. Perhaps he had calculated on this, I figured (although he did play it quickly enough, for such an important sac).
He took so long on the recapture 19.dxe5, that by the time he moved I had already seen that the exchange sac wasn’t necessary. I was simply winning the pawn, and will be up a whole piece.
22..g5 was a rather impetuous/foolish quick move. 22..Nf6-h5 would be a sensible way to win the pawn, and if 23.Re5 to prevent it, then ..Ng4 forks rook and pawn.
Perhaps 25.b3 could have prevented a rook trade. I could see that after 25.Re7, that I could play ..Rf1+, ..Rf2+, then ..Re1+ forcing trade of one set of rooks. The rook-pair was his best chance.
Once he played 30.c4, that is when I breathed out that sigh of relief and whipped out 30..c5, which basically ices it. If he had followed it up after 31.a3 with 32.b4, then I was still going to follow it up with 32..Nd4, which Fruit approves of.
He made it colorful at the end. If he had played 38.Kd6, then I was going to continue with 38..a6, 39.Kc7 b5.
I kind of goofed off at the end for the fun of it, since I saw that I could let him have my knight, instead of 48..Kd4, which I knew would be more bleak for him and less colorful. Well, I could see that it was just winning his last pawn. I thought about sacking my knight for his pawn, but I knew that if Chesstiger ever stopped by, he would lambast me for it. I’d been studying king and pawn endgames this week.
I had 7 minutes left at the end of the game, and he basically took as much time as I did, so that one the one hand it was a nice long game, but OTH I had the luxury of not playing a blitzer who is still in H.S. He had 12 minutes at the end. Tom is an older gentleman.