20 July 2013

Annotated Game #98: An attacking Slav

This fourth-round tournament game was a ratings mismatch but nevertheless enjoyable and interesting to play - of course when you are the winner, that's easier to say.  What I thought was a poor idea by White in the opening (an early d5 advance) is not necessarily bad, according to Houdini and the database, as White could have gained some development and spatial advantages in return for his gambited pawn.  Instead, faced with the prospect of being down a pawn with no compensation, my opponent sacrificed a piece for what turned out to be only some brief pressure.

This game showed some positive signs of improvement in my thinking at the board.  Overall, it was a blunder-free game on my part, which reflected the care taken to anticipate possible White threats.  The defensive moves are coherent and sound, also reflecting a more sophisticated understanding of using dynamic factors, for example on move 21 when Black's e5 pawn is tactically defended.  The breakthrough tactic on move 23 may be obvious to many players, but for me it was the product of a less strictly materialistic way of thinking, which has been one of my historical handicaps.  (Although it's worth noting that I focused on recovering material rather than delivering an immediate mate as a follow-up.)  Analysis also showed an interesting pawn sacrifice on move 19 which would have lead to an earlier breakthrough.

When annotating games it's necessary to concentrate on your deficiencies in order to avoid them in the future, but at the same time it's also important to recognize examples of good play in order to repeat them in the future.  This was a positive game in that respect, despite the mismatch.

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