I apologize to say that this post will be on the brief side. I would also like to announce the trajectory of my future Chess Summit posts. My plan is that I will write every two weeks, highlighting my most instructive tournament game from that two-week period. I hope it will be instructive both for me to learn from, and the reader to pick up a few ideas.
This game was played on Thursday night. I was Black against Logan Shafer (1420). This was a game I won. The main lesson I wanted the reader to take is that little opening details can make a big difference. If you are playing an experienced opponent (especially if you don’t know much theory within the opening you are playing), you may be caught off guard if you don’t think critically about the position.
Let me show you what I mean. We got the following position after 1. c4, e5 2. Nc3, Nf6 3. e4, Bc5 4. Nf3.
My assumption is that White assumed that any developing move is fine. Playing 4. Nf3 is certainly natural. He will develop his light-squared Bishop, and castle. My opponent missed an important detail.
As Black, I advocate 1. e4, e5 2. Nf3, Nc6 3. Bc4. However, I stress to my students not to play 3… Nf6(?!), as this allows unnessecary complications with the Fried Liver Attack, 4. Ng5(!). Black can survive with correct play, though 3… Bc5 is much safer.
The position above is no different. Black gets to play 4… Ng4(!), and White has an uncomfortable game. My opponent correctly deflects the attack with 5. d4, exd4, though after the mistake 6. Nxd4(?), he allows a typical tactical shot in the Fried Liver.
Remember this kids? I got the opportunity to slam down 6… Nxf2(!!), and after 7. Kxf2, Qf3+ 8. Ke3, Nc6, though Black is down a piece, the centralized King and the deadly pin with the Bishop on c5 proves more than enough compensation. To my opponent’s credit, he defended well, and squirmed out of this dark position, though he got an inferior endgame as a result, and eventually lost the game.
Brief post, though I hope you take this away: just because an opening move seems natural, doesn’t mean it’s best. Don’t leave behind the little details!
That’s all for today. See you in a fortnight! 🙂