I took the day off from work as I was feeling exhausted with a backache, and stomache, and didn’t get my weekly jog in during my “weekend” (still haven’t). I still have this chronic stomache problem that plagues me a bit at work, and not sure what’s going on there, but I cut out energy drinks as I think that was likely what started it, long-term drinking of those things (I don’t think it’s caffeine, more like it’s the guarana or whatever is in those things.
I was supposed to be paired with Daniel, but he took a bye. I think he was exhausted from all his chess activities, and then has to play scholastic on the weekend on top of that. So instead, I got paired with young Eugin, who is sort of under-rated like myself as he was consistently rated over 1500 during one stretch.
Unfortunately for Eugin, he went wrong during the critical moments of the game, and that is where his rating showed.
I spent a long time looking at 5…Bg4 and we all kind of went over it after the game (Alex, Earl, Peter and I). I went for a more solid-looking system instead, where I am keeping the bishop-pair instead of the knight-pair.
11.a3!? Already, he has spotted that if 11.Nf4, then …Ba6, and the knight has to go back to e2, 12.Ne2, for example, so he plans to do something about that.
12.Qa4!? I missed this move and will soon find myself threading the needle on the kingside.
13….Nf5! The star-move of the game. If instead 13…Ng6? then it’s not too early to start talking about White’s mating attack. 13…Ng7, 14.Qh5 h6, 15.Bxh6 gxh6, 16. Qxh6 followed by 17.Ng5. Black would have to find a constructive, and like a “computer-move” defense here as I stated to Earl that 14…Ba6 that he was interested in looking at is not going to work because White can sac the exchange on f1 and has four pieces attacking the kingside starting with 15.Ng3 or 15.Ng5. However, Earl seemed to have found the precise blow with 15.Bg5! Qd7, 16.Bf6! (I had seen his idea as soon as he tried Bg5, but this is unstoppable – not to mention that if White every needed more firepower, which he doesn’t, he also has the Ng3-h5 hitting f6 and g7 maneuver). So I was glad that I was playing this game very slowly and precisely, or at least by my own standards.
14. Qh5? A bit of the “…and fools rush in”, taking up the gauntlet type of move; trading queens, followed by playing Nf4 seems more prudent here, and White is fine.
19.Ng5?? This is the move that really drops the ball, as now White will be playing a piece down, and the result should be assured with careful play. Evidently, he missed my simple reply of 19…Qg7! rather than 19…Rf7?.
The scary move to face was 19.Bg5!, when possibly there could continue 19…Qxb2, 20.Rae1 Ba6 (or …Bf5 which seems more solid), 21.Re7 Rf7, 22.RxR KxR, 23.Qxh7 Qg7 and queens must trade as Rf1 is hanging, so instead there follows 23.Rfe!1 and Black cannot defend that I can see with either 23…Rf8??, 24.Qxh7+ Qg7, 25.Re7+ winning queen for rook, nor 23…Qg7, 24.Qh4 (threatening 25.Re7+) Re8? Qf4+ will win the rook on e8. This is where it looks better to have played the more solid 20…Bf5, so now 24…Qf4 is without check, and even g4 is too slow because White must move his rook first and then Black can get his king out of the pin, and if the rooks get traded Black can move his king to the other side of the board.
I think the moral to this game is that when your sloppy kingside attack is no longer there, it is a wiser choice not to insist on it, and instead play more positional, or even crazy-positional with 14.QxQ RxQ, 15.Bg5 Re8, 16.Nf4 h6, 17.g4 looks fun for White, which naturally shouldn’t occur as well because Black could play 16…Bb7 instead (stronger positional play), and now White’s pieces look silly after 17…h6.