28 July 2013

Annotated Game #99: Why it's bad to be positionally dominated

This final round tournament game saw Black achieve complete positional dominance by the early middlegame.  At the time, I thought I had played reasonably well against my higher-rated opponent until that point, but more objective analysis shows how I simply did not understand what was required in the position after playing some standard opening moves. I also had not learned much at all from my earlier round loss in the English where I mishandled the central pawn structure and failed to play e4 at a critical moment (see the recent Amateur Hour post for more on this).

Overall, it was bad to be White and good to be Black in this tournament (for me at least), since Black was the victor in all five of my games; I had Black twice.  Perhaps a contributing factor to this performance was a certain overconfidence in my experience with the English Opening and an unconscious assumption that the rest of the game should easily take care of itself.  As I was paired up by a significant margin each time I had White, this did not work out so well.

In this game, Black's central threats could have been nullified by White on move 14 with the prophylactic e4 push, but White fails to comprehend his weaknesses (including the hanging Nc3) and ends up with his pieces offside and ineffective by move 18.  Black's subsequent careful, relentless crushing of White is instructive and shows how this kind of positional dominance can nullify any hope of an opponent saving themselves with tactics, as none exist.

This was the last tournament game I played before starting this blog and getting serious about chess improvement.  Although for the next annotated game I plan to look at a specific game from earlier in my chess career, after that we will get to see more contemporary games and what lessons they may hold for my ongoing development as a player.


  1. First of all, I enjoy your blog! I like that you hang it all out by annotating your games!

    I am in the same boat as you and my blog is http://ontheroadtochessmaster.blogspot.com/

    I like the embedded player that you are using. I think I might have to give that a shot.

    Keep up the awesome work!

    1. Hello Chris, thanks for stopping by! Will have to check out your blog.

      While everyone has an ego, I think ego has no place (at least no useful one) in the training and improvement process. Analyzing and annotating my games is probably the most useful thing I'm doing.

      The ChessFlash player is the best all-around publishing app I've run across and if you don't like the color scheme etc. it's pretty customizable.