Well, the pawn structure in this game was quite unique, and it took me a while to come up with a plan, or at least until Dean blundered it did. It was still complicated after that.
3…c5 Unusual for Dean, who normally plays a Nimzo-Indian. Now, 4.d5 would turn the game into a Benoni, whereas with 4.e3 it became a Tarrasch Defense.
6.Nc3 I could play 6.d5 here, but it’s so far outside the norm of anything I’ve seen before, maybe next time!
7.a3 For me, this opening is highly unusual after 7.Bd3 d5, so I hedged my bets with a3 instead.
10.a4 Black is now slightly better after …Rc8. Houdini likes 10.Bf4 best.
10…a5?! Giving up an entire point, just in positional advantage. White is now +1, and I haven’t even won a pawn yet.
11.Ba3 11.Bg5 is a little better, according to Houdini – I thought so OTB as well, since it puts some pressure on Black’s kingside.
12.0-0 I didn’t realize that 12.d5 Nb8, 13.dxe6 dxe6, 14.0-0 0-0 could be such a huge advantage for White – It’s nearly +2 by Houdini. It’s funny, I almost never play 1.d4, so I assumed we were in a line. Heck, we were in a race to see who could leave lines the fastest!
15.Nd2 15.Ng5 is more active, but I thought it not prophylactic enough after 15.Ng5 d5, 16.Qc2! h6?? (..g6), 17.Bxh7+, and it’s mate-in-one. I guess my prophylaxis from now on should be checkmate. hehe.
15…d5 I was glad to see bite, by playing the most obvious move. Houdini prefers 15…Ne7.
16.Qf3 This threat was enough to get Dean to make a mistake, but 16.Qb3!, attacking d5 and b6 is very strong for White.
16….Qc7?? I figured I’d be okay after 16…e5, and was expecting 16…Rc8.
17.cxd5! At first, I looked at 17.c5 bxc5, 18.Bxc5 and figured a pleasant positional advantage, but when I turned to 17.cxd5, I saw all of the back-rank threats, and actually played this move relatively fast.
17…BxB (best, according to Houdini). I wasn’t completely sure if 17…exd5 was entirely losing, but it turns out it will lose both d5 and b6 pawns, so -2 for Black.
19…Red8. 19…Nd5 right away seemed more compelling, but he chose to hope to win the d-pawn back instead with the idea 20…Ne8.
20.Nc4 20.Ne4 seemed best (and is according to Houdini), but the lines are more complex after 21.Nd5.
21….Qa6 I was hoping he would bite on the pin against my queen, and play this, but 21…Ra6 is a much more complex defense, which I also noticed at the board.
22…Rxd6 This is the best move, yet I didn’t realistically consider it, possibly because it’s easier to defend against. I am more of a tempo-counter than a pawn guy, so I was more afraid of 22…Rbd8, 23.Bc5 (Bc7 is better) RxR, 24.RxR Rb8, 24.RxR NxR, and now I am left in this pin where any knight move trades queens but also drops the c3 pawn. I saw that my queen covers b1, but hadn’t seen here 25.Qb1! (…QxNc4, 26.QxNb8+) Nd7, 26.Qb5 QxQ, 27.axQ Nxc3, 28.Ne5 Nf6 (trading knights would connect the pawns), 29.b6 and the pawns race to queening ++-.
24…Nc7?? Anything but this. Dean says he was issues with trying to visualize, but I don’t think that can be at (he spent a long time on this move). I should think he has trouble keeping lines straight in his head, to make this sort of blunder. In this game, I was doing a much better job of keeping lines differentiated in my head, keeping track of lines (by self-verbalizing them) – IMHO, it’s an important trait for a chess player, the anticipation and collection of lines during a game.
[Event “Classical Wednesdays”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Dean Brown”]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. e3 cxd4 5. exd4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8.
bxc3 b6 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. a4 a5 11. Ba3 d6 12. O-O O-O 13. Re1 Re8 14. Rb1 Ba6
15. Nd2 d5 16. Qf3 Qc7 17. cxd5 Bxd3 18. d6 Qb7 19. Qxd3 Red8 20. Nc4 Nd5 21.
Bc5 Qa6 22. Bxb6 Rxd6 23. Bc5 Rdd8 24. Rb5 Nc7 25. Rb6 1-0