27 January 2012

Annotated Game #28: End of a Second Era

This game marked the close of the second phase in my chess career, similar to how Annotated Game #12 highlighted the end of my first, scholastic phase at the Denker Tournament of Champions.  After this tournament was completed, I was away from competition for several years and did not give much real thought to continuing with chess as a pastime.

At least the game was a win, a good way to head into semi-retirement.  It illustrates well the types of positional mistakes that Class players are subject to making, in this case on both sides of the board.  I pick a solid but unremarkable defense to my opponent's King's Indian Attack setup and quickly obtain equality, but without much active play.  After neglecting development of my queenside and allowing my opponent to gain space with the d5 push, however, I find counterplay and go about undermining my opponent's queenside pawns.  After he permanently passes up control of the b4 square, my otherwise neglected knight soon establishes itself in that outstanding outpost, where its exchange only leads to my opponent's demise.

One of the tendencies I've noticed in play at the Class level is that opponents will often opt for a much quicker road to a loss by sacrificing material for nonexistent counterplay, rather than try to defend an inferior position under pressure.  This type of sacrifice occurred at move 24 in the below game.  This doesn't seem to be the best approach in terms of maximizing one's results, although I respect the attempt to play for a swindle in a losing position; at some point in the future I'll post my best one.  Most of the time, however, there is not enough of a threat to warrant a swindle attempt and the material is simply lost.  That said, it is certainly more difficult psychologically to suffer for a longer period of time in the hopes of your opponent making a mistake, rather than just hoping for the best and then getting it over with quickly.

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