Yes, yes, play the French

For the first time, Isaac did not play 1..e5 against me. Hard to believe he deviated openings first.

Round 4

I have White and it’s C3 Sicilian, but he plays it the same as his coach Paul (from last night) does, so I know I can lead him into still waters, where experience helps. Of course, once again I played ridiculous on my clock, after ..f6 spending 20 minutes deciding whether to the play the quiet Be2, or fxe Nxf6, Bd3 which would be even and up Isaac’s alley. Not much choice after all, and Fruit likes Black better. One thing I didn’t like about that line is that he can form a Qc7,Bd6 battery against my f4 pawn, plus his knight is good on f6, how much more do I need to give the boy?

Well, he sort of “castles into it”, but I blunder a pawn with my b5? push (I figured I should have played Na4 earlier, forcing his queen to c7) where I would say he spent two seconds on the reply, but that is only because it took that long for him to reach the piece. He spent less than 20 minutes on the game, which was disconcerting after having played so many slower players lately, yet oddly the time that he did spend was a big help to me.

Still, I like my position. Then…it gets crazy, Isaac-like crazy. Luckily, ..a5 was not played instead of his ..Bc5??, which would have immediately equalized for Black. Thank you very much, I play a5 instead.

He started to throw tactical spanner-wrenches at me, but I dodged and weaved as best I could. I don’t know how one could call this positional play. The position was 100% pure tactical.

Luckily, he resigned prematurely as I told him as soon as he had that he could have continued on with …QxB, QxQ bxR. We played out the scenario post-mortem where he advances his center pawns, but like I told him “It looks close, but I think White can hold” and I did.

The best thing to happen at the end was getting paid. πŸ™‚ My rating temporarily shot up to 1831, but the Wednesday tournament will bring it down unless I win my last round there against someone high-rated like Mark (if he shows).

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7 thoughts on “Yes, yes, play the French

  1. I laughed at the title, understood right away that you won. πŸ™‚
    That’s a lots of tactics, indeed.
    Na4, Nc5 instead of b5 was giving you advantage.
    His resigning was not premature, he is -8.
    You just take his f6 and a6 pawns and it is queen vs. knight.

  2. RollingPawns, what’s funny is that I was going over this game with Alex, and then played the move …0-0-0 for Black, Jason walked up as I played it and said “That’s just losing!” πŸ˜€

    My new motto before this game was “I don’t want want to learn anything from Isaac, I want him to get a chess lesson from me.” πŸ˜‰

    Yeah, once a couple center pawns go, the knight should be picked off cleanly.

    I told him after the game “The only reason that I won is because I got a strategic advantage against you”, but he insisted that it was his bad moves. He said “I love playing the French!” Music to my ears. It’s not that it’s great for White or anything, but that it favors experience, and requires quite a bit of it.

  3. Castling queenside – yikes….
    he had better ideas Qb6 or Nh6 around move 6

    I think there was a tactic for white around move 25 Bb5 – it is kind of cute πŸ™‚

    I used to play king pawn for White – and would normally play advance variations against French and Caro-Kann. When I examine those positions, I feel comfortable playing either side on the french side.

    In blitz on Fics, as black I enjoyed facing c3 players, smith morra, closed sicilian, and rossolimo players. I think it was more of an attitude thing, I considered those players “scared” to play main lines.

  4. Against certain people, I will play C3 Sicilian, Isaac for example. Against those I deem as positional players, such as Kurt, I will play Open Sicilian on principle.

    Forget lines, lines are for Black, lines are for openings. I have won more Open Sicilians as endgames than any other opening, and you wouldn’t come to that conclusion by studying GM games. The Open Sicilian is basically a hack attack by White. It is a mistake to take the attack too seriously, as it’s usually about tempos if Black doesn’t do something strange, but strangeness is also pretty standard. Black feels good because Black knows opening patterns and such, plenty of play, open lines, sac possibilities.

    CK Advanced is difficult for White, Black can genuinely outbook in that opening, and more unlike the Sicilian, that advantage can be permanently lasting.

    That’s why Be2! against him is powerful. When he sees no threats he might not play so well. I’ve played these opponents enough times that I am now playing both the board and ‘the man’.

    Doesn’t mean it will work every time or that chess is strictly about the opening, it’s simply a way of hedging the bet.

  5. Black made many mistakes in this game. First and foremost was his 0-0-0 which leads to a heavy attack of white against black’s king like you showed in the game.

    Enjoyed the game but I doubt that after …QxB, QxQ bxR (like you mentioned in your post) white has trouble bringing home the full point.

  6. If he had dropped his queen on move two and gotten mated on move three, I would have been just as happy about the result. I had given him two wins from my bad sacs recently. It was time to take some rating points back.

  7. I looked at some of my openings for Black last night and today. Hadn’t done this in years, it seems, or at least not for the Black side – heck, for the Black side it’s been closer to never.

    Some interesting things I learned: 1) Transpositions. If you know them, you can transpose into a line you prefer. 2) Sharp lines. Most of them I have never been down! It seems as if a lot of the stronger class players do not play sharp lines, so that I am unaware of them, even as they are so basic and germane. Experts or Masters will play these sharp lines. Some (not many) weaker class players may know lines, but this was often at the expense of studying other aspects of the game.

    I would really have to study some of these sharp lines with an engine to know if my feelings toward them are accurate, and that they are worth trapping an opponent in a line.

    My main goal is to get out of openings quickly and confidently as Black. I have a lot more of this study to do over time, though, as I have just begun and most often have relied on figuring things out OTB even for main-lines. A little bit of opening study should go a long way, as compared to tactics.

    856 combinations completed. All ten thematic sections are done, and that was the key. The last part is the “Smorgasbord” section.

    I got the great majority of combinations wrong, but the main thing was learning patterns. The thing I learned most is to look to use all of your pieces in a combo, even your king. Consider sacking everything except all that is needed for mate, which is often only two or three pieces.

    The thing about combos is that it’s not going to be a normal developing or defensive move which also develops. Those types of moves would be called “a normal win”, and a book on combos wouldn’t quite be required for those types of moves. Combos are like an “acceleration” of what would have been. Instead of continuing to move into position, the trigger gets pulled right away to keep up the checks on the opponent’s king usually. Often, a lot of material gets sacrificed, so it is a very exact thing. If one thing were off, you’d probably lose, and combinational players often lose this way at the class level – which is probably why they don’t improve their endgames as much, instead it’s either a good or bad middlegame sac.

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