30 June 2012

Annotated Game #52: It's all about the attitude

This first-round tournament game is from a weekend open tournament.  My opponent was the lowest-rated player I had ever faced, a fact which negatively impacted my play (not an unusual phenomenon).  He started the opening reasonably well as Black, but touched his king on move 6, with the touch-move violation losing him time and the right to castle.  This set the tone for the rest of the game, as the mistake clearly weighed on my opponent and at the same time gave me a psychological boost.

White's subsequent play, however, is an illustration of what not to do when given a substantial, yet not decisive advantage.  At the time I had little idea of how to conduct an attack, which is clearly illustrated by White playing premature, aggressive-looking moves rather than simply developing and consolidating his advantage.  White in fact allows Black to equalize on move 14 and if Black had played 15...Qb6 he could have taken over the initiative.  After this, White, albeit mostly by luck, manages to sort out his pieces and avoid a skewer tactic on the d1-h5 diagonal, while creating threats on the c-file against Black's back rank.  Black fumbles badly and then it's all over.

There are plenty of good examples in this game - from the winner's side - of what not to do on the chessboard, ranging from awkward piece placement to overlooking the opponent's threats to neglecting development.  However, there's also the useful lesson that a player's attitude has a lot to do with the final result on the board.  White had an (unreasonably) positive attitude throughout the game, while Black passed up chances to play actively and take the fight to White, which would have allowed him to recover from his earlier mistake.

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