06 January 2013

Annotated Game #78: Chess is 99% Calculation

This fourth-round tournament game continued my woes and ended rather quickly due to a calculation mistake.  Eerily I made a very similar mistake in yesterday's game against Rocky Rook during our first game of the Double My Egg Nog tourney, involving a miscalculation that dropped a pawn after ...Ne4 (see move 17 in this game).  Had I fully analyzed this game beforehand, I probably could have avoided that mistake.  Losing twice in that manner should be incentive enough to avoid doing so again, however.

The opening is similar to the Colle that made an appearance in Annotated Game #75 (and in the Rocky Rook game).  White, rather than going for the b-pawn on move 6, instead transposes into a Stonewall Attack formation.  White's early unusual move order choices (2. c3 and 3. e3) indicated that was a strong possibility from the start.  Black has no troubles in the opening, despite helping White's cause by prematurely exchanging pawns on d4 and then trading off White's bad dark-square bishop.  It's pretty obvious from these moves that I had no idea at the time how to play a Stonewall formation.  Nevertheless, Black was equal coming out of the opening.

It's the early middlegame where Black's lack of understanding becomes even more obvious and hurtful.  Pieces are moved incoherently and there is no real plan.  Had White been more quick to exploit this, he could have had an excellent game, for example with 17. Rc7.  However, it wasn't good play by White, but rather a miscalculation by Black that ends the game, in the sequence starting with 17...Ne4.

This game is an excellent example of where it's not enough to see a tactical theme, one must calculate and visualize its consequences.  The saying that Chess is 99% tactics isn't quite true; it's 99% calculation.  Black in this case wasn't forced into the sequence; rather, it was chosen based on faulty calculation and judgment (why do it at all?)  A good lesson for the future, both for this particular middlegame structure and in general.

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