Eric Steger (1861) - Mike Splane (2205)
Kolty Chess Club December 4, 2008
This is the first time I’d tried this opening and I didn’t understand fully the middlegame that arose from it. It hurts to lose, but I learned some valuable lessons.
1 e4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Bd3 Bg7 5. c3 c5
I beat Eric Demund with a plan of Nd7, Re8, e5 and d5. I wanted to try something new. The problem with c3 is it wastes a tempo. White will need the pawn on c4.
6. d5 e6 7. 0-0 0-0 8. c4 de 9. de Bg4 10. h3 Bf3 11. Qf3 Nfd7
Routine development doesn’t create any problems for White. I don’t get any credit for this idea, preventing the development of his bishop. - I found it online. I’m still in my pre-game preparation.
This is where the missing tempo comes in. In the game I was following White already had this move in. He was able to play Qd1 and Be2 to preserve the bishop
12.. … Ne5 13. Qd1 f5 14. Qc2
Now I’m on my own. In the game I was following White’s bishop was on e2, so he had the useful move 14. f4 driving the knight back to f7.
14. … f4 ?
I wanted to prevent f2-f4 and force him to weaken his kingside. During the game that I realized that I was giving the e4 square to White’s knight. It wasn’t until after the game that I realized that moving the knight to e4 gives the c3 square to White’s bishop. I made both his minor pieces good with this blunder.
15. f3 Nbd7 16. Ne4 Nd3
I wanted to play 16. … Nf6 but that allows 17. Ng5 and 18 Ne6.
17. Qd3 Bd4+ 18. Kh1 Ne5 19. Qc2 g5
This plan of kingside pawn storm is a good one. I could also play on the queenside with 20. … h6, .21 … Qb6, 22. … Qa6
20. Bd2 Rc8
To prevent Bc3
21. Rad1 h5 22. g4 hg ?
Why did I make this mistake? Sacrificial shock – I didn’t even see 22. g4 as a candidate move. I was simply not thinking clearly from this point forward. I should have stopped and given myself some time to reassess the position. I’ve noticed I lose frequently to this same type of thinking error - my opponent plays a strong move that I had underestimated in previous analysis and I try too hard to retain the initiative with an unsound tactic.
This blunder lets White back in the game He gets rid of his fatal h3 weakness and gets open lines for his rooks. He can’t take on h5 – both h pawns will fall, so I should play 22. … Kg7 23. … Rh8, 24. … Rh6 On h6 the rook prevents queens checks on g6 and h7, Knight checks on f6, guards the d pawn. I have a number of good continuations from here – double rooks on the h file, swing the knight to h4, or even sac the knight on g4 followed by Qd7
23. hg Qe7
Starting with the previous move I play like a moron for about ten moves.
24. Kg2 Rce8 25 Rde1 Ng6
Hoping for 26. Nc5 Qe2+ 27. Re2 Re2+ 28 Kh1 Kf7
26. Rh1 Nh4+ 27. Rf4 gh
I ended my analysis here, the second time in a week I’ve overestimated the value of winning an exchange.
I couldn’t see any defense against 29. … Ne6, winning the exchange back with a huge positional advantage for White – all my pawns are weak. My next move – trading queens, can’t be right. It leaves me with zero counterplay.
So why did I play it? It was the first move I considered and I correctly rejected it as losing. I spent some time looking at other moves and they didn’t look good either. By then I had forgotten what was wrong with … Qh7 – 30. Ne6 will fork f8 and d4.
I should try 28. … h3+. He has to take it. Then I need to avoid the queen trade so I have some counterplay down the h file. I’m not in a great position but I’m still alive. I rejected the pawn sacrifice with the idea of using the h pawn as a decoy in the ending, trading it for his f pawn.
28. … Qh7 29. Qh7+ Kh7 30. Ne6 Be5 31. Nf8+ Rf8 32. b3! Kg6?
Losing a second pawn due to the check on e6.
33. Bb4 Rc8.
33. … Rd8 delays things, but there is no hope after 34. c5 Kf7 35. cd Bd6 36. Bd6 Rd6 37 Re4
34. Bd6 Bd6 35. Re6+
I dragged the game out but I should have resigned here.
1-0 in 55.