OK many thanks for your remarks. I am just going to make additional comments so that you can feel a bit more concretely what was the problem, and what makes this game a bit special.
The problem is not exactly in the opening. Maybe f4 was not the best move, but still fritz indicates –0.70 after it; and I found that move in fritz database. So I guess it is not that bad. in fact, for most of the game, black is slightly better.
The problems start in early middle game. I know some of you will insist on my weak white squares, on the knight outpost on d5, the backward d6 pawn. And will therefore consider black is worse. This is not enough. Actually, these are normal weaknesses for black in the Sveshnikov variation of Sicilian, and in this kind of situation: BLACK IS NOT BAD. this is the specificity (and interest) of the Sveshnikov.Actually even fritz considers black is better. These weaknesses usually go with dynamic advantage. Here: black is more developed and white will have to leave its king in the center.
The first move I spent a lot of time on was this one. If you want to feel the difficulty, please spend some time on it: what is the good move for black? I found it a very profitable positional exercise. I hope you 'll like it.
Black to play
I would say first this is the kind of position people will spontaneously dislike to study. You will feel like an instinctive rejection: I don’t like it. So did I, in the beginning.
Now I can explain why: this position just doesn’t make sense to us. It seems messy, and we prefer not to look.
So please have a look a it, and you will see, it’s pretty interesting. What makes this position so messy?
Basically, that the value of pieces is not clear!
By the way, let’s talk about the value of pieces in chess. Some people usually say pieces are worth 1/3/5/9 points. Others are mad at them, because obviously in some situations, a pawn is worth more than a queen and so on. It is obvious that pieces are not effectively worth 1/3/5/9 points. Because if it were so, no one could win. If someone wins, it’s precisely because his pieces are concretely worth more than that of his opponent, so that he can make the difference. Which means the pieces of the two players cannot be both following the 1/3/5/9 scale. It’s precisely the fact that they are escaping that scale that make you win or loose.
So chess is all about giving value to your pieces. Now we can come back to that situation, which is precisely fascinating, because the value of pieces is highly unclear:
Again, black to play
- black pawns’ value is hard to evaluate: are they good or bad?
- black rooks: are they useful or not? Not clear.
- is black king safe or not? Not clear. White Knight can give check, but that's not so threatening for the moment.
- is the semi-open g file a strength or weakness for black? We don’t know.
- is White Knight so good? Not sure, after all, all squares it attacks are well protected.
- we don’t know where White will castle. Or even if he will castle at all. Probably short castle would not be a great idea. But would a long castle be OK? Not clear…
I would therefore say that the difficulty of the position lies in the fact that the value of the position is highly unclear. In some games, a bishop might be worth a rook, a pawn a queen, etc. and there is a shift of value. here it’s even more beautiful. Value has not changed, it has disappeared. Value didn’t “change” so much: there is nothing here like a bishop better than a rook. It simply disappeared. You cannot grasp the value of the position. It is very difficult. Because every value depends on the other values on the board (the only absolute value being that of the king of course); and every value is highly unclear.
So what do you play here? I will give the answer later…
And for my question, I will detail it later, after this first part