Like I said after the game, I was hoping that Daniel would speed up his play and not refute my moves, or at least take a long time doing it 8…Ndb7?, 9…e5?? where I wasn’t so sure that either of these moves wasn’t a blunder, OTB, but I was banking on surprise value as well. Daniel’s style of play now reminds me of his coach, Master Josh Bloomer. Both take a lot of time in the opening trying to recall lines, but as soon as you mess up they are quick to be all over it.
I played something I hadn’t tried before against the Trompowsky, 2…c5, hoping that this would add to the fun value and take us out of the books, but that totally backfired. This game became one all about capitalizing on opening missteps.
Even if I had played this opening properly, I now realize that it is not terra-firma, it plays more like a correspondence game on opening theory – it does not play like your standard chess game.
when I played 4…Qxb2, as I said to Daniel, I was hoping he would play 5.Na4 Qb4+, 6.c3 Qa5, which Houdini puts at -1, in Black’s favor, but Daniel said he would never offside his knight like that (which is what I was hoping for). As soon as I saw 5.Bd2, which I figured he probably wouldn’t do (he could have captured on f6, which I would have immediately captured back on f6), I could see that it was very strong, and didn’t waste too much time in retreating my queen all the way back to d8.
I thought that Daniel might play 11.Ng5, but once he played it, I saw that my preliminary thinking of 11…Nb6, 12.Bb5+ Bd7 was going to be refuted by 13.Nxe6!, and so I spent most of my time considering other possibilities. Houdini gives a lot of moves which if you run through turn out more poorly than it indicates at first. For example, I almost did play 11…Nb8, but then got fatalistic over 12.Bc4 which Houdini doesn’t even suggest, so I plug in 12.Bc4 d5, 13.exd5 exd5, 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 (winning a piece for Black, right?) 15.0-0, but then Houdini starts finding all kinds of shots for White and actually ends up with an eval around +5 for White! 12.e5 was Houdini’s #1 choice until I plugged in 12.Bc4, which it thought was nothing at first. Either way, both moves win.
Two solid ways to play this for Black are 8…g6, and 8…e5. Both have a tricky style to them.
LM Brian Wall makes a good point, my 8th move was not a blunder, but it requires a more than average imaginative follow-up. 9…Qc7, 9…Ng4, and even 9…g5 are quite playable. 9…Nbd7-b6 may look okay at first, but if you follow it down the line after White plays a2-a4-a5, the evals will switch on you and White is taking a commanding lead. 9…g6 is also semi-suicidal as White can respond with 10.e4-e5, then e6 when Bb5+ can win a piece if a pawn is left on e6 – also, after 10.e5 fxe, 11.Ng5, as Daniel showed after the game, is a very effective follow-up at this point.
I did suggest that 8…e5 might be playable, after the game, but that was after we had also looked at 8…Nf6-d7, which I had also been considering, and that didn’t turn out too well in the post-mortem.
My rating ends up 1767 after this tournament, still in the U1800 dungeon.