03 October 2016

Disaster Against the French

Regular readers know me as a devotee of the French Defense. I took it up in 2003 because I was tired of losing to it. I do better with the White pieces now, but still prefer the Black side and often struggle when playing White. This morning, seeking solace in blitz after another poor performance in a weekend tournament, I won a miniature in the French Defense.* I was laying in bed. playing on the iPad, fully aware that my wife's alarm would sound in a few minutes, maybe before the game ends. It was just before 5:00 am, but my opponent seems to have been the one sleeping.

There is a lesson in this game concerning the importance of castling.

Internet Opponent (1648) -- Stripes,J (1818) [C11]
Live Chess Chess.com, 03.10.2016

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nf3

5.f4 is the main line, but Nf3 is quite playable.

5...c5 6.Bb5 Nc6 7.dxc5 Bxc5

I'm happy when White helps me develop my pieces.


8.0–0 seems best for White.


White to move


The position is not quite as closed as it appears. This bishop for knight exchange, giving Black the bishop pair also gives Black a clear advantage with a more secure king and at least one free pawn.

9.0–0 is necessary, as was played against me in a game on Chess.com once in 2009. I won a long ending in that game.

9...Bxf2+! 10.Kf1 bxc6 11.Na4??

11.g3 holds on longer Ba6+ 12.Kg2 Qxb2 13.Na4 Qa3 14.c4 Be3 with a clear edge for Black.

Black to move

11...Ba6+ 12.c4

12.Qe2 Bxe2+ 13.Kxe2 Qb5+ 14.Kxf2 Qxa4–+

12...Bxc4+ 0–1

*After a terrible fourth round game, I played well enough in round five to reach a winning position and even my score for the event. Alas, I threw away a simple win in the ending. Even then, according to some postgame analysis that I will look at more closely later today, I still had a win on the board. I went for the draw that took me quite a bit of time to work out. My OTB rating is racing towards its floor after three poor tournaments in 2016, my worse year ever in USCF play.

No comments:

Post a Comment