17 January 2014

Annotated Game #112: A positional squeeze by Black

This 45 45 game, played in the first round of a Slow Chess League quads section, features a strong positional squeeze by Black.  My opponent varied from his previous Nimzo-Larsen on move 4 and went into a more standard, but still rather passive, type of setup; the database shows it as a transposition into a Reti opening.  Black as a result of his space advantage easily equalizes and then starts to turn up the pressure on the queenside, while actively seeking to shut down any White counterplay.  Along those lines, the decision on move 15 to shut out White's dark-square bishop with ...e5 is a direct result of analyzing the previous encounter with my opponent (Annotated Game #106: A first Nimzo-Larsen), so that was a useful lesson learned.

By move 24 I am able to clearly seize the initiative and start making tactical threats against White's cramped position, which results in winning the exchange and achieving a dominant position.  The big guns then come into play on the open d-file and the game is effectively won after White is forced to exchange queen for rook.  However, my opponent still puts up stout resistance, hoping to take advantage of the mostly closed nature of the position, so careful endgame play is needed to seal the win.  This game was a model of play for me, as I was able to consciously stick with my thinking process for the entire time, ensuring that no blunders occurred.

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