23 June 2014

Annotated Game #128: Busted out of the opening

In the post-game review of this fifth-round tournament game, my opponent said he thought he had been busted out of the opening, which is mostly true.  His 9th move was simply bad and his position became further cramped and vulnerable afterwards.  However, he missed multiple opportunities to limit the damage or even regain equality, for example on move 15 when he could have made a very advantageous piece exchange.  I finally am able to pull the tactical trigger on move 19 and Black has a losing game afterwards, quickly going downhill.

The course of this game illustrates the psychological power that trends often have on a player; in other words, once you start down a losing path, it's hard to break that feeling and transform your game for the better.  GM Alex Yermolinsky talked about using "trend-breaking tools" to counter that phenomenon and I previously discussed the idea in "Chess performance and chess skills: not the same thing".  If you've perused other annotated games here, you've no doubt noticed a number of examples where I fell into the same psychological trap and failed to take advantage of opportunities to reverse my fortunes.  In this game, it was good to be on the opposite side of the problem, for once.

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