23 April 2012

Annotated Game #42: The Punishing Slav

The following game occurred in the last round of this particular tournament and was a much-needed win.  Even with the victory, I ended up at -1 (win-loss) for the tournament along with three draws, all of which were with significantly lower-rated players.  Not a terrible overall result, but one that served to underline the declining trend in my chess performance, primarily due to the lack of systematic practice between tournaments and only playing seriously around once a year.  This was not enough exposure to chess to either improve my skills or keep my mind in good practical shape for OTB play.

Nevertheless, this game is a good example of what I was capable of when warmed up.  White with 5. d5 enters a falsely seductive line against the Slav, one which you won't find in any opening books, for good reason.  Black correctly reacts aggressively and soon regains the gambit pawn, along with forcing the win of the exchange (although alternative play on move 9 is objectively better).  Despite Black's material advantage, White has good attacking possibilities and some compensating factors, leading to a tactical tussle.  White leaves his remaining rook out of the fight - a classic amateur mistake - and then Black is able to force enough simplifications to segue into a clearly won endgame.

The Slav has a deserved reputation as a solid defense, but it can also be a punishing one when White does not respect it, as this game shows.


  1. Hey man I just went through the game. You make very good notes, informative for both yourself and the reader. I'm not so much a fan of the Slav (more of a Dutch player) but I can definitely respect it and you played it well. Love how you pounced on the seemingly innocuous Bxc4 thematic recapture that QGD players are so used to.

  2. Thanks for the comment. If you've seen my earlier posts on the Dutch, you know I'm a fan of that as well.

    This is one of those games that's great to analyze - it has an opening deviation punished (although the opponent is not put away), some nail-biting tactical complications and a successful winning strategy. While my play wasn't perfect - such is chess - it's good to go back and be able to see how I've won games like this, as well as taking appropriate lessons away from the losses I've looked at.