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Best OTB club game win

Posted on February 26th, 2016 by Richard

I have played a little this season at the local chess club and was having a good run of success until my last game several weeks ago. The trouble was, I was not used to winning games at the club! My rating had increased to 105 ECF and strangely when I played my last game and lost I had felt inhibited during the game, because I had felt under pressure to keep winning! I lost that game badly! I was playing White and it was a Scandinavian opening and I blundered in the opening and lost a knight to a simple Queen check and fork that I had been vaguely aware was possible after I made my blunder to allow it! I played my blunder move anyway without properly considering it,because I thought I was going to sac the piece anyway. Mmmmm! That was a huge brain freeze by me. It shows me how you need your brain clear and properly focused on the game in front of you. Without out a doubt, when you start to play a chess game, you need to be in the right frame of mind for the game ahead. To be worried about other matters (such as keeping a winning run going and day to day problems in your head) just leads to poor performance. My advice to myself is to put such things out of your mind and only focus on playing good chess. Hopefully I have learnt my lesson and the game I played last night was my best win at the chess club.

I played on board 3 (of 4) and had the Black pieces. My opponent was graded 141. He started with 1.d4 and I played 1…e6. This is a flexible move by me, giving the opponent the chance to play 2.d4 and so transpose to the French defence. Most other moves from the opponent eg 2.c4 or 2.Nf3 I treat the game as a Queen pawn opening and I continue with 2…b6 and play the English defence. In this game he played
2.Nf3 and I went on with 2…b6 and the English defence.

Of course I have some experience with the English defence and with it, I have learnt, there are several ways to play this opening. 2 main ones are either to play for a f4 pawn chain that can allow for a good kingside attack (if the opponent has castled kingside!) or with a d6 pawn chain which is a much quieter and flexible yet very solid way to play.

In the game last night, I chose to play for the quiet d6 pawn formation and my opponent took the chance to occupy the centre with his pawns. His pawns looked threatening, but as my set up was so solid, when I made my e5 pawn break I was perfectly sound. Later he made a pawn break which again I handled well and gave him no advantage. Later still, I played both my knights to the rim on the kingside! The point being, that was only temporary, as I brought a knight to f5 and both knights were attacking his kingside castle. This did allow my e5 pawn to be taken, but I got compensation by attacking with my Queen.

I played the opening slowly but carefully and had a solid position and my plan was then simple, to attack on the kingside. My opponent had started a Queenside pawn advance but I felt it was too slow
and I concentrated on my kingside attack. This caused my opponent to slow down and he slowly started to get low on time.

I played the middle game much quicker than the opening, as I had a simple clear plan to bring as many attackers to the kingside as possible. He did defend my kingside attack well but he had to think carefully about this and his play slowed right down. I decided to be patient and persistent
with my attack and after a few exchanges I felt I had a better position even though I had not exposed his king directly. As such, I wanted to continue to trade pieces, as I felt I could get a reasonable end game position, but he refused to trade and he then started to bring his kingside pawn majority down the board.

However he missed a rook check from me winning his knight (a blunder) and he resigned! He only had 4 minutes left on his clock and I had 15 minutes left and I was now a piece ahead. A good win for me and my patient approach to the game!

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