I had never played 1.d4 before in a classical rated game before today. I can’t even recall ever playing it even in blitz, quick, or unrated formate OTB; as far as I know, I’ve only tried it a meagre amount of times online, probably less than twenty. Before I was a rated chess player, and played casually, I always opened with 1.d4 until I began learning about Bobby Fischer and his Sicilians.
[Event “Thursdays Swiss”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Dean Brown”]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nc3 b6 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 Ba6 7. Qc2 d5 8. b3
Nbd7 9. Bd3 Qc8 10. O-O Bxc3 11. Qxc3 Ne4 12. Qc2 Nxg5 13. Nxg5 g6 14. f4 Qd8
15. Rf3 Nf6 16. Rh3 Bc8 17. Nxh7 Nxh7 18. Bxg6 Nf6 19. Rf1 Re8 20. Rff3 c5 21.
Rfg3 Kf8 22. Bxf7 Kxf7 23. Rh7+ Nxh7 24. Qxh7+ Kf6 25. Rg6+ Kf5 26. Rg5+ 1-0
8.b3? Not just because of 8…h6, 9.BxNf6 forced, but 8…c5 is even stronger.
17.Nxh7? I saw his 18…Nf6 move right after starting this attacking sequence, but there was no backing out now, not that I wanted to in any event.
Second Time With 1.d4
[Event “Fridays Swiss”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Joe Reininger”]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nf3 Bf5 4. Bf4 e6 5. e3 Nb4 6. Na3 c6 7. Be2 dxc4 8.
Bxc4 Qa5 9. O-O Nf6 10. Rc1 Nbd5 11. Bg3 Ne4 12. Nc2 Nxg3 13. hxg3 Bg4 14. Qd2
Qxd2 15. Nxd2 h5 16. f3 Bd6 17. Ne4 Bc7 18. fxg4 hxg4 19. Kf2 f5 20. Nc5 b5
21. Nxe6 bxc4 22. Nxg7+ Kd7 23. Nxf5 Raf8 24. e4 Nf6 25. Ke3 Re8 26. e5 Nd5+
27. Kf2 Rhf8 28. Kg1 c5 29. Nfe3 Nxe3 30. Nxe3 cxd4 31. Rxf8 Rxf8 32. Nxc4 Ke6
33. Rf1 Rd8 34. Kf2 Kd5 35. b3 Rf8+ 36. Ke1 Rxf1+ 37. Kxf1 Bxe5 38. Nxe5 Kxe5
39. Ke2 Ke4 40. Kd2 d3 41. b4 Kd4 42. b5 Kc4 43. a4 Kb4 44. Kxd3 Kxa4 45. Kc4
Ka5 46. Kc5 Ka4 47. b6 axb6+ 48. Kxb6 Kb4 49. Kc6 Kc4 50. Kd6 Kd4 51. Ke6 Ke3
52. Kf5 Kf2 53. Kxg4 Kxg2 54. Kh4 Kf3 55. g4 Kf4 56. Kh5 Ke5 57. g5 Ke6 58.
Kh6 Kf7 59. Kh7 1-0
3…Bf5? I was so nervous playing 1.d4 again, and this time against an unrated who is probably playing a line that he plays online, that I didn’t want to mess this game up. Still, I was rather out of it before this game and figured I’d probably miss stuff. During the game, I figured after 4.cxd5 he’d have …Nb4, which is impossible due to 4.Qa4+ It’s +- after 4.cxd5. He has to play 4…BxNb1 because 4…Qxd, 5.Nc3 Qd8, 6.d5 Nc6b8, 7.e4 Bg6 is a surpring (for an 1.e4 player) +2!
4.Bf4 A lemon. 4.cxd5! is almost winning, but 4.Nc3 is also stronger.
5.e3?! Another lemon, allowing …Nb4. I made this move unprovoked in my last game as well. I looked at 5.c5, but figured he could play …b6??, not seeing that 6.e4!! Bxe4 (or dxe, 7.Bb5), 7.Bb5 refutes it. 5.cxd5 and 5.Nc3 are both better moves.
8…Qa4?! Not a strong move, but the trappiest one! Luckily, OTB, I spotted 9.Qd2? Nd3+, 10.BxNd3 Bb4 skewering king and queen, although 11.Nc4 holds the edge to only -1 for White. I nearly played it at first, as if Black instead plays 9….Nc2+??, I win a piece with 10.Na3xNc2 QxQ, 11.KxQ and now my king defends c2.
11.Bg3? This move is plain weak, but it shows how I am not a 1.d4 player (yet! 😉 ) 11.Be5 is preferable as if a knight captures the Be5 it is replaced by Ne5 recapture, but on g3 if it is taken, it just messes up White’s pawn structure in front of his king. If you want to get a sense of what you are missing with 1.d4, plug in the move 11.Bxd3. 11.Bxd3 is not the best move because of 11…exBd5, but every other recapture gets smoked by White! Using an engine, check it out!
Here is the difference between intuition and calculation. My intuition told me, correctly, that the best move was 12.Nb1, when it can reposition itself harmoniously on d2 or c3. My calculation told me “No way man, that is some nasty sh*t!” after shocking continuations such as 12.Nb1 b5, 13.Bd3 Nb4, 14.BxNd3 (forced) BxB Black has won the minor exchange, White’s treasured light-squared bishop, so I stopped here, but if we are to continue, then 15.Nc3! Bd5, 16.NxBd5 cxN, 17.a3! Na6, 18.b4 Qa5, 19.Qc2 Qb6 (to stop 20.Qc6+ forking Ke8 and Ra8), 20.Qc6+ (anyway) QxQ, 21.RxQ and now the Na6 is trapped and lost (if 21…Nb8, 22.Rc8+ and 23.RxNb8 picks up the knight). These queen pawn game tactics are totally different than in 1.e4 – they are much more positional!
12…NxBg3?! I was glad to see this, as he is finally relieving some pressure from White’s position! After 13…Be7, I now would have had to make the protracted maneuver 14.Nc2-e1-d3.
13…Bg4 This is interesting, but 13…Bd6 and …Nb6 or …Nf6 totally equalize.
15…h5?? Picked up that this was dropping a piece, right away, but now comes the slops-ville quick play from me.
21.Nxe6?? I literally saw this blunder as I was moving my knight, it’s just too bad that my attempt to speed up the game lead to such a blunder. 21.BxN followed by 22.Nxe6 was so obvious in hindsight that I can hardly explain why I did it. Daniel walked up to the board, and then I moved, thinking I had blunder-checked this move. The one good thing is that the quick moves meant that I had enough time in the endgame, not that that justifies blundering.
22.Nxg7? Objectively, my intution told me that 22.NxBc7 must be preserving the advantage, and indeed I would follow up with 22…NxNc7, 23.Na3, 24.Nxc4 and then Nc4-e5, when the c6 pawn is still backward. This continuation flashed through my mind when the greedy-whore-calculator part of me suddenly decided “Hey, you can’t beat two pawns! (except when they are right in front of your king, doh!), and I played this bungling move instead.
23…Raf8? This was a big mistake, and it’s actually losing now. Here is an endgame position for the big-boys. The best move is 23…Nf6, taking the e4 square before I do (note that the greedy 23…Nf6, 24.Kg1 Nh4?, 25.e4 Nxg3, 26.NxNg3 BxNg3 wins a pawn for Black, but is +1 for White).
At the board, I was more worried about 23…Rab8, but White doesn’t have to defend, as a line like 24.e4 Nf6, 25.e5 Nd5, 26.Nce3 Rxb2+, 27.Kg1 Rxa2, 28.Rxc4 is nearly +1 for White. Once again that materialistic whore calculator component of my chess brain was wrong about how to assess (or at least think/worry about) a position. In the future, I should really test these assumptions by looking at longer variations.
26…Nd5? I thought he would play this, as it was a quick move, however 26…c5 is more testing, and White needs to play a Rd1 so as to recapture on d4 with check (which prevents the e5 pawn from falling).
27.Kf2? (+.7) This was my longest think of the game. I thought that 27.Ke4 Nf6+, 28.Kf4 followed by 29.Kxg4 was over optimistic, that perhaps I wanted his g4 pawn to be there as a shield-for my king, but this was over-thinking it. This line is +2 for White.
This was a sloppy game on my part, and I am lucky/fortunate that the endgame was winning, although objectively it probably would have been better to lose this game to give this kid rating points as it is his first tournament and would have left my rating virtually unaffected. I just wanted to win to get a better pairing in the last round.
29.Nfe3?! This move leaves his d-pawn on the board. Much better was 29.Na3!, when the Nf5 is still available to recapture on d4. After this, I got lazy for not capturing his rook for the sake of playing quick moves; I have to admit that I guessed correctly that he would also return the favor by not trading them – by the time I traded rooks, I was sure it had been right for both of us to trade them all along, and since I traded first, I got the significant advantage, although only +.5.
34.Kf2?! This move only draws. I also looked at the winning move 34.Rf6+, but without seeing deeply into each line it would have been difficult to know. Ironically, in the winning line you are pinning the Black king, and in the drawing line the White king is the one getting pinned, in a number of moves. 34.Rf6+! Kd5, 35.b3 Bxd5, 36.Rf5 Re8, 37.Kf2! (37.RxB+ only draws) Ke4, and now 38.RxB+ wins, as it transposes into the game continuation.
34…Kd5. 34…Rb8, 35.b3 a5 (with the idea of …a4, bxa Rxa4) is already a draw.
35…Rf8+?! 35…Bxe5 is a draw. Now the rook trade is forced, else my king gets in close with 36.Ke2.
36…Bxe5?? I had that instant feeling that this move was losing, and that feeling is almost never wrong unless I’ve walked into a trap. Unfortunately, my ability to analyze usually falls behind in backing up my intuition, and in this case it was clock-time and luck that came to the rescue. Clock-time allowed me to eliminate all of the alternatives, and luck that the only line that didn’t lose also happened to win. 😉
Black has a likely draw here with 36…d3!, 37.Ke1 Kd4, 38.Kd2 Be8! and it’s difficult to see how White can make progress. He had plenty of time, but played this quickly. Chess, and endgames in particular, are not trivial, but are rather exact!
My first time playing White against the Dutch Defense:
[Event “Live Chess”]
[Termination “linuxguy1 won – game abandoned”]
[CurrentPosition “2rn1r1k/1p2q1pp/2N5/3B1p2/3P4/4P1P1/3Q1P1P/1RR3K1 b – – 0 22”]
1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg2 O-O 6.e3 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd2 Nc6 9.Nxd5 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 exd5 11.Nf3 Be6 12.O-O Qe7 13.Rfc1 Rac8 14.a3 a5 15.Rab1 Bf7 16.b4 axb4 17.axb4 Nd8 18.Ne5 c6 19.b5 Be8 20.Bxd5+ Kh8 21.bxc6 Bxc6 22.Nxc6 1-0