Everybody on the Brooklyn64 blog has been too busy with their real lives to blog, so nothing new appeared here for few weeks. Actually, the last post featured my game from the Fide Monday tournament at the Marshall Chess Club , and it will be the game from another round of the very same tournament, played earlier today (if you read between the lies well, you will understand that in between posts my games weren’t that good and I had a bye).
So anyway, this was the 5th round and before this game I had a 2/4 score. I was paired against an opponent with a rating about 70 points higher than mine and I had White pieces. If you look at this game, you will see a few things- White won in 27 moves, and had a big advantage somewhere by move 20. Move 12.Qxa5 is the last move seen in the databases before. There is one thing you will not see recorded in the game below- clock times: White spent less than 20 minutes on all of his moves, while Black took almost the entire 2 hours given to play it (by move 12, at the end of theory, White had spent about 6 minutes, Black about an hour). And that probably is the most important factor here, because White is not winning by the time of 12.Qxa5- the position is playable for both sides- White seems to have an initiative and advantage in development, Black didn’t castle, his king is on f7, his pieces are still on the back rank, but he is up a pawn. So you could say this falls into a typical gambit scenario- it’s an unbalanced position and either side could win it. But when you take the time factor in- advantage of an hour by move 12 (with no extra time added later, after 40 moves), then this is very important. So how did White gain this advantage of an hour, you may ask? It’s simple- he knew all the theoretical moves leading to the position after 12.Qxa5 and Black had to figure them out over the board. This is what you study openings for- to surprise your opponent, not the other way around. If you are past the beginner level, where you should spend time on something else, you should look at the openings you play and narrow down your repertoire. Find the line that works for you (and it’s also good, it doesn’t make sense to play any rubbish), learn it, understand it, memorize it. Yes, memorize it- spend your time on it so you will not have to spend it over the board. “Learning ideas of the openings” is not enough, it’s too vague and very often you need something concrete. You’re not Magnus Carlsen who will play a non-opening and beat anybody. You can be an ..e5 player and know you will get your Ruy Lopez setup and nothing will happen to you, but what about all the sharp King Gambits, Scotch lines, or the Evans Gambit like here? You really want to be double-checking if your ideas are correct over the board in these sharp lines you’re forced to play? Study openings so you will have middlegames which are good and playable, and you will have time to think there , not in the opening. In no way do I want to criticize my opponent in this game for burning all his time- he was a gentleman and explained he had only returned to chess recently after a long break. Besides being able to see that the preparation worked out, I was glad to see that I maintained the initiative and didn’t make his defensive tasks much easier. 15.Bb2 may be not best, but it’s a sneaky, unpleasant move for Black- the bishop will uncoil on the long diagonal sooner rather than later and become really dangerous. Especially given the clock situation where it’s unclear for Black how to react to this, it’s really an unpleasant position with the clock ticking. My move 23.Qxc3 is obviously crushing, but it would have been nicer to find Qe5 there, which makes Qe7 impossible. Enjoy the game.