Thursday, March 09, 2006


Getting Outplayed

Have you ever played a game where you lost but just can’t figure out where you went wrong? Well, one of those games was last night. I was black against a 2029 player, who at one point in his life was a master so he’s no slouch. Facing e4, I played my shaky Caro-Kann defense. Versus 2000+ players against e4, I am lousy 0-4-2. So I did some game preparation, but it was to no avail.

The first 13 moves are popular book moves, so there is no real point in discussing them. I just can’t pinpoint what I did wrong. I’m not too mad at myself. I reviewed the game with my Chessmaster program afterwards. It didn’t help. I would make the moves that it recommended, but it’s evaluation of my position just kept getting worse. There were tactical mistake, but an earlier strategic one perhaps. I would really need a high rated master to look at the game.

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Have you ever played a game where you lost but just can’t figure out where you went wrong?

I had that once. The opponent didn't know and a few 2100 rated players didn't know what went wrong.
At move 17 I was 1 whole pawn-point ahead according to Fritz. I made 13 times the best move according to Fritz, but my position worsened gradually. in the end I was lost.
Very weird.
Poor Christopher!! He should just WWTB!
I'm having trouble pin-pointing exactly what went wrong, too. What it appears to me is that the opening variation you played seemed somewhat passive. I think this is reflective on what you call your "shaky" Caro-Kann. It looked like you opp was able to develop faster, and then he allowed you to complete your development while he improved the safety of his overall position. It also looked like you made a few passive moves. For example, your opp seemed to get some strong counterplay after 21 ... Kh8.
My best try would have been. 15…Rhe8 16. c4 Bxg3 17. fxg3 e5. I was too nervous about giving up the dark squared bishop.

My last hope would have been Nd7. I can't allow c5. I thought he could then just play b4, but after Be7 attacking the rook and Bf6 attacking the knight, I have some decent counterplay.
I tried out an idea using your opening revolving around the light square bishop exchange in a blitz game. What if you develop the king knight to f6 and then use it to take white's bishop when he exchanges it?

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. h4 h6 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Ngf6 10. Bxh7 Nxh7 11. Be3 e6 12. c3 Bd6 13. Ne4 Qc7 14. Qb3 O-O-O 15. O-O-O Nhf6 16. Nxd6+ Qxd6 17. g3 Ne4 18. Bf4 Qd5 19. Qc2 Ndf6 20. Ne5 Qa5 21. Nxf7 Qxa2 22. Qb1 Qxb1+ 23. Kxb1 Nxf2 24. Nxd8 Nxh1 25. Nxe6 Nf2 26. Rf1 N6e4 27. Kc2 Rg8 28. Be3 Ng4 29. Kd3 Nxg3 30. Rf7 Nxe3 31. Kxe3 Nxh5 32. Kf3 g5 33. Kg4 Nf4 34. Nxf4 gxf4+ 35. Kxf4 Rh8 36. Kg4 Re8 37. Rf2 Kc7 38. Kh5 Re6 39. b4 b5 40. Rf7+ Kb6 41. Rh7 a5 42. bxa5+ Kxa5 43. Ra7+ Kb6 44. Ra3 Kc7 45. Rb3 Kd6 46. Ra3 Kd5 {White resigns} 0-1
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