16 May 2015

Bad Decisions

It has been several years since I have lost a game on a Saturday during a weekend Swiss. As one of a half-dozen A Class Players at the top of the local pool, I can usually finish Saturday with two wins and my half-point third round bye.

Today, however, I played poorly against an underrated youth in the second round. After both of us pursued a somewhat unorthodox move order in the opening, I tried to be clever and gave my opponent the initiative and better squares for his pieces.

Stripes,James (1877) -- Miller,Travis (1667) [A40]
Inland Empire Open Spokane (2), 16.05.2015

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 f5 5.c4 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Nf6 7.0–0 0–0 

White to move


8.a3 Bxd2 (8...Be7 9.b4 a5 10.b5 a4 11.Bb2+/-) 9.Bxd2 d6=

8...a5 9.Rd1 Ne4 

9...Qc8 was played in a 2002 game won by Black.


Still thinking that because I'm the higher rated player, I should have the advantage, I try to keep things complicated. Trading knights was better.

10.Nxe4 Bxe4 11.Bf4 transposes to a game drawn in 1998.

10...Qf6 11.d5?

Pursuing short term nonsense without due consideration of the weakening of the c5 square. I spent far too much time in this game seeking to avoid an exchange of light-squared bishops. Hence, I pursued a convoluted strategy.


11...e5 12.a3 Bc5 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Nxe3 a4

White to move

15.Qd3 Another bad decision.

15.Qc2 Black has a better position, but the move played increases his advantage.

15...Na6 16.Qc2 Nac5 17.Rf1 Kh8? 

White to move


I missed 18.Nxf5! Qxf5 19.Nh4 Qh5 20.Bxe4

18...d6 19.Nd2 

19.Nxf5 Nxf2 20.Kxf2 Qxf5 21.Qxf5 Rxf5=

19...Nxd2 20.Rxd2–+

Black to move

20...Bc8 21.Nd1

I had planned, but then did not play  21.f4 exf4 22.Rxf4 g5 23.Rf2+/-

21...f4 22.Nc3 Bf5 23.Be4 

The last bad decision. I reasoned that I could protect the pinned piece, but missed the danger to my rook on f1.


23...Nxe4 24.Nxe4 Qg6 25.f3

Black to move

25...fxg3 26.e3


26...gxh2+ 27.Kxh2 Bxe4 0–1

I hate losing. But, if one will compete at chess, there will be setbacks. This may have been my first rated loss to an underrated high school player. I had been lucky in the past, giving up some draws, but no losses.

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