This game I was White and knew enough about the English Opening to be able to quickly punish Black's 2...b6 approach after he opened with 1...e5. White ends up with a pawn and the initiative out of the opening, able to rely on a strong center and open lines to use against Black's uncastled king. A key attacking opportunity employing a pawn sacrifice is missed by White on move 21, although there were some other attacking inaccuracies prior to that which analysis also usefully revealed. White soon afterwards very unwisely delays taking a pawn offered by Black, forcing White to then exchange down in order to neutralize Black's potential attack. Despite being a pawn up when the dust settles, the opposite-colored bishops mean that the game is drawn.
Lessons taken away from the analysis include:
- Don't stop analyzing prematurely after an "obvious recapture".
- Look to maximize dynamic piece activity, even at the cost of a pawn or a positional defect, if concrete analysis supports it.
- Don't trust your opponent; analyze carefully any potential gain of material and don't be deterred from taking it if there is no refutation.
- When the conditions are right, keep your primary focus on attacking the opponent's king; other considerations are not as important.