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  1. 19 Jul '10 20:13 / 2 edits

    Until now, I have been playing chess just for fun, but I have a little time off school right now, and I would like to improve my chess. My goal is 1800 on this site by

    To do this, I am beginning by analyzing my own games, going through Josh Waitzkin's academy on Chessmaster, practicing tactics on Chesstempo, and going through analyzed games of GMs. While my game lacks many things, one of thing I lack most I feel is a plan to my game. I am trying to play with more of a plan, though I do not know if I am doing a good job. I would like to analyze my most recent game here publicly in order to receive feedback from you guys as to how I could have played better. I will try to do this on a normal basis.

    In the game above, I do not believe I missed any major tactics, however I'm sure many of my moves were suboptimal. I have tried to pick them out to the best of my abilities, but if you guys could point out others, I would appreciate it.

    1. e4 c5 2. c4 Nc6

    The game begins as a Sicilian, which is what I play as black. I am not used to seeing 2. c4 from my opponent, however unless I see 2. Nf3 or 2. Bc4 I usually play Nc6. This seems like a good response in almost all circumstances, as it seems natural to develop the queen-side knight to c6 in the Sicilian.

    3. Nf3 d6 4. d3

    In this position white has some threatening looking central pawns, which makes me uncomfortable. At this point, fianchettoing my dark-bishop seems like a possibility for me, as it cuts straight through his pawn structure into his queen-side. This is what I am likely to do. However, first, I want to challenge his central pawns a little more directly. I do not know if the following move is suboptimal, however it is in my style as it is aggressive, gains space for me, and possibly breaks up his pawns. Therefore I played

    4 ... f5.

    If he captures, I develop my light squared bishop to a good spot, if not, I accomplish gaining space, and challenging his central pawns.

    5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Be2 g6 7. Qa4 Bg7 8. Nd5

    Throughout the game, I never really considered capturing his e4 pawn with my f-pawn directly, though looking back at it, it may have taken apart his center a bit, making both e4 and c4 pawns potential targets. It looks like white is going to castle king-side. I do not have any immediate threats on the king-side, and it would have taken a lot of maneuvering for me to attack the king-side, so at this point my idea was to attack the queen-side, which seemed more natural in this position. If I could whittle away at his queen-side, I may be able to set up a favorable end-game, win material, or at least distract him on that side while rearranging my pieces to attack his king directly. That was my plan, anyway. More immediately, however, his knight on d5 seemed like it could be a thorn in my side. I decided to play

    8 ... e6

    This at least forces the knight out. I do not mind exchanging knights, as it would allow my queen to capture his on c6, furthering my idea of attacking his queen-side. He declined the exchange, however:

    9. Nf4 Bd7 10. Qb3 Rb8

    I moved the rook to b8 with the idea of eventually playing a6 and b5, pressuring his queen side. The e6 and d6 pawns seemed like weaknesses in my position, however I did not think the were likely to fall any time soon.

    11. 0-0 0-0 12. exf5 exf5 13. d4

    I had never considered the possibility of d4. In this position, I was afraid of capturing his d4 pawn because of the following continuation: 13 ... Nxd4 14. Nxd4 cxd4 15. c5+ Kh8 16. cxd6

    The position scared me since he would have such a deep pawn which I felt it may be hard to take after that. Furthermore I was scared of him playing things like Nh3 followed by Ng5 and Qh3. So instead of capturing his d4 pawn, I decided to kick his queen out of her spot

    13 ... Na5

    This may have been a bad idea. If he plays Qc2, I haven't accomplished too much, in retrospect, and my knight is on the edge of the board. His pawn's not going to be as far advanced here, but it may not have been as big of a problem as I had been worried about in the first place. He played

    14. Qd1 b6

    Perhaps here I should have played cxd6. If my opponent played e5 it would have locked in my light bishop. The intent of b6 was that I expected white to capture my c-pawn (perhaps a bad expectation), and then I intended to put my bishop on c6, and my knight to b7 and then d6, continuing with the idea of attacking his queen-side, but mobilizing my light-squared bishop as well, and applying a little pressure to his king-side. Luckily for me he did play

    15 dxc5 dxc5 16. Nd5 Bc6 17 Nxf6+

    At this point, I'm quite happy with the way things have turned out. I can capture his knight with my queen, and have a pretty good-looking position I think.

    17 ... Qxf6 18. Bg5 Qxb2 19. Bd3

    My opponent has missed a tactic for me, and I believe I have a distinctly winning position now, as we can swap queens, and I will win the exchange.

    19 ... Qxa1 20. Qxa1 Bxa1 21. Rxa1

    Here it might be a good idea to capture his knight and mess up his pawn-structure in front of his king. I am not very comfortable playing against two bishops in the end-game, however, so I decided against it, although it might have been the way to go. I played Nb7 to activate my knight, but I missed his Ne5 response, which captured my bishop anyway. So in retrospect, I should have just captured his knight, or moved one of my rooks over to the e-file.

    21 ... Nb7 22. Ne5 Rc8 23. Nxc6 Rxc6

    And here my opponent resigned. If I had white I may have kept playing for a little while, but it was an enjoyable game for me.

    Sorry if I over-analyzed here, but your critique of my game and analysis would be appreciated.
  2. 19 Jul '10 20:50
    You seem to have analysed your own game pretty well. After such a bizarre start I am surprised your opponent didn't blunder earlier.

    The only point I would make is if you didn't want to exchange your bishop then Rc8 is a poor move, why not Ba4? It makes little difference, but as you noticed yourself you had a good opportunity to trade earlier and mess up his pawns.
  3. 20 Jul '10 00:32
    I think at that point I just thought it was best to let the bishop drop and activate my rook.

  4. Standard member clandarkfire
    Grammar Nazi
    20 Jul '10 00:39
    The hole on d4 was crying for a knight....

    I think such analysis is a good way to improve your game, but if you do it again I'd suggest you chose a game against a stronger opponent. You seem to be about 1600, but your opponent was rated 400 points below you; thus the game was decided by a one move blunder. I think you, (and others) would benefit more from a game against a better opponent. Just my two cents though.
  5. 20 Jul '10 00:44
    Thank you.

    I intend to do such analysis with all of my games played on this site from here on out. I would like to play higher rated opponents, but as I am currently in the 1300s it is difficult for me to get an opponent in the 15-17 range. I've had it on open invites with no rating limit right now.
  6. 20 Jul '10 06:13
    4...f5 is very risky positionally.

    White could take the f pawn and put a rook on the e file and black would have scarily weak white squares.

    In a blitz game I would have played 4...b5

    I might play something else in lethargo chess but anyways its a move to consider since if white takes he will be decentralizing.
  7. 20 Jul '10 06:17
    Could black not counter by putting his Rook on the f-file?

    Also, what do you mean by "scarily weak white squares?" I am not sure I see what you are seeing
  8. 20 Jul '10 21:16
    Imagine black`s f5 bishop being traded for one of whites minor pieces ---any old one.

    See now that the e6 square is beckoning a white piece to invade on that square.