In chess it can be very gratifying to weather the storm–i.e., to fend off an opponent’s attack with precise, logical moves. Even better if you can emerge from the skirmish with an advantage, something that happens often when players of my caliber, on the offensive, make mistakes or overextend themselves. This is what I thought happened in one of the games I played this evening. White attacks my position right out of the gate but I thought I defended (more or less) accurately. As it turns out, I did not play as accurately as I had thought. In any case a mistake on my opponent’s part leads to my being a piece up, at which point I employ a good strategic principle: when you have a material advantage, trade pieces as often as possible, as material advantages increase as pieces get swept off the board (2 against 1 is a bigger advantage than 16 against 15, even if the advantage is only ‘1’ in each case). I’ll post the game and then my post-game ‘analysis’ afterwards:
Some comments on this game:
White’s opening moves comprise the Scotch Game (e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 d4).
After my 4…exd4, I was expecting the typical 5. Nxd4 Nxd4 followed by 6. Qxd4, but White surprises me with the aggressive 5. Ng5. Computer analysis says this move by White is a mistake.
My 10…Bxg5 was apparently a mistake. The computer says that with this move I go from roughly equal to losing, and recommends c6 instead!
White’s move 12. Rae1+ is a blunder. Why not just take my Knight on d4? Now I’m back in play….
White misses a great move with 15. Qf4, attacking my Queen. If I capture, he re-captures with his Knight. This would have saved his piece. Keep in mind, though, that these are timed games and everything looks so obvious after the dust has settled.
On move 17 I have to resist snatching the pawn on a2. That would be met with b3 and my Bishop is lost!
My move 23…Bd5+ was a mistake. Qf1+ would have ended up winning White’s Queen. Oh well…
This game illustrates something else I’m learning about chess. One can play a game and come away thinking he played very accurately, only to submit his game for computer analysis and find that he made a bunch of mistakes, some of which would have cost him the game against a stronger opponent. But I suppose in the end what matters, in any given game, is that your mistakes are fewer or less costly than your opponents!