Sunday, January 6, 2008

Angry At Myself

I am so angry with myself. I had seen the tactic but I played it incorrectly.

I should have lost but I won because my opponent blundered. The tactic I used was correct but the process was wrong.

Without further ado, let's examine the following (see 1st picture on right):

White just played


I ran this through Fritz and Fritz pretty much preferred the following continuation:

26... Ne7 27.Kf1 Bd5 28.Nh4 Qe4 29.Qxe4 Bxe4 30.Ke2 Kf8 31.Ra7 Nd5

Where Black has a slight plus. Instead I threw a huge monkey wrench into the works. I played....

26... Ne3!

I had calculated carefully that I will win back my temporarily sacrificed piece should my Knight be taken. And indeed it was. But Fritz thought nothing of and reckons I'll still be alright after the correct defense:

27. Nh4 Qe4 28.Nxc5 bxc5 29.fxe3 Qxh4 30.Qf2 Qe4 31.exd4 cxd4 32.Qg3 Qe2

Instead White took the bait and played

27. fxe3 Bxf3
28.Qxf3 (see 2nd diagram on right)

This is the point I strayed and should have lost.

I played 28... dxe3

This was highly incorrect because White has the tactical shot which he played during the game.

29. Ra8! Rxa8
30. Qxa8+ Bf8
At this point, my opponent miscalculated. He should have played
31. Bb4 which is the killer blow and White pretty much wins in all variations.

The correct move I should have played was

28... Qxd3

Now the Bb4 trick does not work because after

29. Ra8 Rxa8
30.Qxa8+ Bf8 (see 3rd diagram on right)
31. Bb4 Qxe3+ and Black will go on to win the Bishop through a series of checks.

Back to the drawing board.


At the request of Greg, I've attached my full game below.


  1. What's the old saying..."in chess, the winner is the player who makes the next-to-last blunder?"

    I wonder how many players would've spotted the knight sacrifice in the first place? Your error was a problem with calculation, right?

    I'm curious about how the game went to arrive at the first diagrammed position. :)

  2. Thanks greg.

    Yes, my problem was one of calculation and that's why I am so angry with myself. I had calculated all the way until move 30 (as happened in the game) but I didn't see White's Bishop can move to Bb4. I took a bit of time over this as it was 7 moves deep and that's where my brain started to fry. I also didn't calculate the winning move 28...Qxd3 all the way till its entirety as Fritz showed me - which I really should have done. For some reason, I just could not see the winning combination and dismissed it. Faulting brain programming on my part. :(

    I'm currently not at home at the moment.

    I'll try to put up the entire game once I reach home at the end of this article.

    I had a few candidate moves at that point and one was 26... Ne3, the others were 26...Qg4. I had thought about 26... Ne7 but I didn't like the idea of making a temporary retreat of the position as White is threatening to swap the Knight for Bishop with 27. Nxc5 bxc5 and White will then have a passed b-pawn.

    Thanks once again.

  3. Wow! What a fun game (setting aside the inaccuracies)! I had a hunch that the critical position was from a French Defense - I have interest in learning more about this opening to play as Black.

    No doubt you learned a lot form analysing this game. Thanks for the complete game!

  4. Hello Greg,

    No worries. The French Defence isn't that hard to learn. If you have a chance, I highly recommend:

    a. Ari Ziegler's Chessbase French DVD
    b. John Watson's Play The French

    I have doubts about the viability of the Winawer and MacCutcheon Var. But Morozevich plays them with some success but then I am not Morozevich. I prefer stronger, stable lines as Black with active piece play (the Burn Var. is fun to play btw).

    I'm returning to review some of the questionable French lines I've played in the last 3 months and have reverted to more sharper lines these days.

    If you're looking to take up the French, it's good to study games from Bareev, Korchnoi and M Gurevich. These are the French experts.

  5. Thanks! I guess I am on the right track, then, since I've acquired and begun to view Ziegler's DVD, and have Watson's "Play the French, 3rd Edition." I had been put off by the amount of theory, but no other defense to 1. e4 strikes my fancy.

    Funny, you and I seem to be of the same opinion when it comes to parting with the dark-squared bishop in the French - I don't trust the Winawer and MacCutcheon, either!

  6. Hello greg,

    When I first started out playing the French, I got murdered by my brother-in-law because in every game, he swapped my dark-square bishop for his. And I was left with what Korchnoi termed "his problem child" (Black's light-squared bishop). The experience was painful. Having a piece locked in for half the game is not fun at all and essentially I was playing the games a piece down. And without the dark-squared bishop, getting stomped on was no fun. :)

    In the French, because all your important pawns are on light squares, the dark-squared bishop becomes a highly prized piece.

    It's great to hear you plan on taking up the French. It's a very versatile defence. I wish you success with it.

    As for me, I'm flying off tomorrow to visit my folks for 3 weeks. In that time, I plan to take on one of the Sicilian Defences into my repertoire.