Hi everyone! For everyone living in the Midwest region and East Coast of the United States, it’s recently been a winter wonderland. I hope everyone is enjoying the snow as much as I am! If not, well, you’ll probably have to get used to it, because the latter part of this winter seems to show promise for lots of additional snow!
However, this is isn’t a meteorology report, so let’s get to the chess! Admittedly, I haven’t been very active in the chess-playing world over the last six or so months due to all of the college applications, but with that process finally winding down, I recently had the chance to get back to the board. This past Friday, I played in a DC Chess League match against someone I had never played before. I was somewhat relieved about that part because it meant the game would just come down to who the better player was and didn’t rest on opening preparation.
I’ve attached the game with comments and analysis below in the game viewer for your convenience:
Vogler – Kobla, DCCL, 2019
What a ride! There were times when I was a bit rusty and missed some better moves, but overall, I’m more than satisfied with the game I played. Any time you can win as Black against a player of similar strength, I’d call it a success. From the start, I was satisfied with how I was able to plant my knight on e5, which could simultaneously control a lot of key squares and blockade White’s isolated pawn. Once I could get in d5, I was confident in my ability to at least hold a draw, but my opponent’s blunder was certainly a game changer. At that point, it was just a matter of closing out the game. White still had pressure while my king was out in the open, but after I could tuck my king away in the corner, my pieces could be more mobile. The last chance for my opponent slipped away when he took the a6 pawn with his queen, after which I could bring down the hammer with Qg5 and unleashing an attack on his king. With his queen unable to defend, my major pieces and extra knight overpowered whatever defense he could muster.
Overall, I’m happy with how I played. Next week, I’m playing in the Chesapeake Open, so I’m hoping that I can continue the success I found in this game. However, I’m also hoping to prepare more for this tournament, as I’ll be playing in the Open section.
In other news, the Tata Steel Masters tournament started recently, with most of the top players in the world participating. It’s worth noting that Caruana is not participating, likely resting after all the work put in near the end of last year for the World Championship match.
Good luck in your future games, and always, thanks for reading!