Return of the Blunder Gland, Part Two
checkmateibeatu (1200) vs. jetfighter13 (1130), friendly game, chess.com 2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4
jetfighter13 said – “White has an impressive center built up, my goal is the same as the Alekhine Defense, undermine it!”
The Four Pawns Attack vs. the King’s Indian was first played way, way back in 1851 by the Indian player Mahescandra. In fact, Cochrane and Mahescandra (after 5.f4) faced off in 27 games (in Calcutta) between 1851 and 1855, with Mahescandra winning 14, Cochrane winning 12, and 1 game drawn.
5.f4 is a move with violent intentions – White intends to swamp Black under the weight of this huge center, and in many cases start a quick attack with e4-e5. To avoid falling to white’s center, Black usually castles (wisely getting his King out of the center – suddenly, if White plays too aggressively and starts central action with e4-e5, white’s King would be the one in the middle, while black’s would be vacationing in kingside safety) or immediately seeks central counterplay by 5…c5. The main lines goes 5…0-0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 (7.dxc5 Qa5 8.Bd3 Qxc5) 7…e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 (9.exd5 is a whole different story, but black’s fine after 9…Bf5) 9…Bg4 (avoiding the insane complications of 9…Re8 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Ng4 12.Bg5) when the following line has done well for Black: 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Re1 Re8 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Qa5 14.Be3 b5 15.a3 Nb6 16.e5 Nfd7 17.e6 Nc4 18.Bd2 Ndb6 with a sharp game that offers Black good chances, C. Jepson (2394) – S. Ganguly (2655), Copenhagen 2010 [E77].
Quite a few players have decided to avoid the complications that arise from 6…c5 and instead play 6…Na6 7.Be2 (Critical is 7.e5 Nd7 8.Be2 c5 with an all out central war) 7…e5! 8.fxe5 dxe5 9.d5 (9.Nxe5 c5! is okay for Black) 9…Nc5 10.Qc2 (10.Bg5 is a better try, though black’s okay here too) 10…Nfxe4! 11.Nxe4 Bf5 12.Bd3 Bxe4 13.Bxe4 f5 14.Bxf5 Rxf5 15.Be3 e4 16.Bxc5 exf3 17.0-0-0 Qg5+ 18.Kb1 Qxg2 19.Qxg2 fxg2 20.Rhg1 b6 21.Bd4 Bxd4 22.Rxd4 Rf1+ 23.Rd1 Rxd1+ 24.Rxd1 Rf8, 0-1, V. Loupos (2041) – R. Markus (2572), Aegean Open 2008 [E76].
jetfighter13 said – “This is a good move, I will be forced to move the Knight.”
Just because a move threatens a piece doesn’t make it good. In this case, it’s premature. Instead, 6.d5 and 6.dxc5 are white’s best moves.
I would prefer 6…Nfd7 when white’s center is already on the verge of collapse, not to mention that white is already behind in development AND the black King can castle far faster than its counterpart on e1!
jetfighter13 said – “This move loses the initiative.”
It loses a lot more than that! In fact, it loses the game. When a player intends to give check, he needs to ponder how his opponent will respond. Don’t see the check, play the check, and have no idea what will occur afterwards! (The old chess aphorism, “Patzer sees check, patzer gives check.” is particularly relevant here. Whenever I lost a game due to a bad check, I would mumble this to myself in self-disgust!). Besides, why check when the center is on fire? Instead of dealing with that blaze, White lashes out elsewhere – however, the check has nothing to do with the position’s needs.
Since 7.fxe5 Ng4 leads to the total destruction of white’s center (8.h3 cxd4!), White had to play 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 with approximate equality, though it’s probably not the kind of position White dreamed of when he played 5.f4.
Getting out of check, attacking the Queen, and also threatening to capture white’s pawn on d4. White’s position is already hopeless!
jetfighter13 said – “Now I have a nice pin on his Knight.”
Now white’s game is even more hopeless! Note how White is all over the place. He wants to play aggressively, but he doesn’t understand that aggression usually only succeeds if it comes from a position of strength. That’s why attacking geniuses like Tal and Kasparov would first develop their forces, seek positional plusses (space, nice squares for their pieces, weak squares in the enemy camp, etc.), and only attack if and when the opportunity presented itself.
Instead of following these age-old techniques, White lashes out in the center on move six, checks for no good reason on move seven on the queenside, and then self-pins his Knight on move eight. No plan, no point, no logic, just horrific self-immolation.
Note that 8.Qb3 exd4 9.Qxb7?? Bc6 wouldn’t have gone well for White either.
jetfighter13 said – “And I have a passed pawn before move ten.”
jetfighter13 said – “This actually traps his queen in.”
White should have cut his losses by 9.Qb3 a6 10.Na3. Instead, he makes another incomprehensible move and, as is so typical of such things, turns bad to worse to nightmarish.
jetfighter13 said – “This move I need to effectively trap his Queen.”
jetfighter13 said – “He opens up the route to castle, but I have all my minors developed, so I can use my tempo to prevent that.”
jetfighter13 said – “This move prevents castling.”
Note how black’s moves serve a logical purpose (trying to actually stop the opponent from castling is a fairly advanced concept), while white’s appear to be a manifestation of some kind of “chess Tourette’s Syndrome” … loud, disjointed moves that make little to no sense.
As much as I applaud black’s idea/move, preferable was simple greed via 10…a6, winning a piece since 11.Na3 Nb4 is gin.
At least White decided to develop a new piece! However, he should have tried 11.Bd3 when he’s “only” hopelessly lost.
jetfighter13 said – “I prepare a fork on c2.”
Jetfighter gave this move an exclamation point, but an obvious move like this that wins a piece should be par for the course. Another aphorism: “Pin it and win it.” Black already had it pinned, and now 12…a6 wins it.
A spite check, which gives White a momentary feeling of power. Let’s do another summation: White started by pushing his center pawns, but after 6.e5 dxe5 he apparently lost interest in that road and tossed in a check with his Queen. When that was easily rebuffed (Before playing 7.Qa4+, White clearly didn’t ask himself how Black would get out of check. In a way, White is playing a one-man game where his ideas are the only reality, and he fully expects both sides to dance to the same illusions.) by the amazingly obvious 7…Bd7, White continued to show “attitude” by expensive posturing (8.Nb5 and 13.Nd6+). But, unavoidably, since Black was playing with real purpose and was able to see ideas from both sides of the board, poor White was reduced to reacting to everything his opponent did as black’s pieces kept creeping ever closer to the enemy King.
All beginners start in this place – they see obvious threats and random checks as sneaky things that will flummox the opponent, not realizing that such things are quick roads to doom. However, it’s a phase that has to be experienced and, once the beginner gets drubbed over and over, he begins to get a feel for what does and does not work. And, if he’s playing a stronger player (as is the case here), he starts to make use of the very tools that caused him so much pain in the first place. And that’s how one gets better: you lose, lose, and lose some more. And each time you pick up new insights into what’s going on.
Make no mistake about it: those that play superior players and accept that defeat is the path to true understanding will end up ruling the rating roost. On the other hand, those that fear defeat and only play their inferiors (constantly celebrating their victories over those that can’t defend themselves) will learn nothing.
And there goes that sense of power as another white unit bites the dust.
jetfighter13 said – “Notice how I still have all 8 pawns.”
This sentence tells us that jetfighter is almost chortling with delight as he picks his overmatched opponent to bits. Jetfighter – you have some really good ideas and you’re stronger than your rating. It’s time to play people that can do to you what you are doing to White in this game (perhaps you should challenge some of those experienced 1400 and 1500 players). Instead of cheering as you savage inferior opponents, you need to man up and take your lumps. If you ever send another game, I expect it to be a brutal loss where you weren’t quite sure how it all went wrong.
jetfighter13 said – “This prepares to do some bad things if he takes the free bishop.”
What bad things? A check? What 14…d3 does is hang a Bishop for no reason at all. Yes, you’re still winning by a landslide, but such a one-sided game can only hurt you – it will teach you bad habits, and make you lazy. And one bad habit that you don’t want to acquire is to give stuff back for no reason!
jetfighter13 said – “He counters, but I see the necessity to not play …Nf2 check, because he still gets my bishop. If 15.Bxg7 Nc2+ 16.Rxc2 dxc2 17.Qc1 Rg8 18.Qxc2 Nf6.”
White continues to flail about, but he’s a beginner – he’s supposed to flail about!
Mr. Jetfighter, when you do after-game analysis, you need to find the best moves for both sides. This is important since if you get lazy after the game (expecting compliant replies from the other side), you’ll do the same during a game (often with disastrous results!) – more bad habits. Let’s look at your analysis: 15.Bxg7! (Yes, White should take everything that’s not nailed down. He’s so far behind that if he can’t recoup quite a bit of material then his defeat is a foregone conclusion. That’s why 14…d3 was so bad – you’re giving a “dead man” a heartbeat, albeit one that’s barely discernable.)
15…Nc2+ (there are actually better moves for Black, but we’ll concentrate on this obvious check since it was the move Black intended to play) 16.Rxc2 dxc2 17.Qc1 (What in the world is this? White’s defending against nothing. As I said earlier, White needs to eat everything but the table, and so 17.Bxh8 was the way to go. Suddenly that huge material advantage you had is gone, and YOU are the one that’s down a piece! Why would you allow this to happen? Nevertheless, Black is still winning: 17…Qa5+! 18.Qxa5 c1=Q+ 19.Ke2 Qc2+ 20.Ke3 [20.Nd2 b6! forces the White Queen away from the defense of d2] 20…Kf8! Getting the King to safety and making room on e8 for black’s Rook – when you attack, as Black is doing here – you want as many of your pieces as possible to join in the party. After the upcoming 21…Re8, Black has a crushing attack.) 17…Rg8 (Better is to torment his King first with 17…Qa5+ 18.Ke2 [18.Nd2 Nxd2 19.Qxd2 c1=Q+ or 19.Bxh8 Nxb3+] 18…Rg8 19.Bb2 0-0-0 when White, down the Exchange and getting minced due to his horrible King position, won’t last long) 18.Qxc2 (if White didn’t want to resign [which was probably the best option!], then 18.Bd3 is better, bringing a new piece into the game.) After 18.Qxc2 your 18…Nf6, though winning, can be improved upon in a number of ways. Most likely best is 18…Qe7 19.Bb2 Ng3+, picking up white’s other Rook.
15...O-O 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Qb2+ Qf6 18.Qxf6+ Kxf6 19.Ne1?? d2 20.Ra1 Bg4+
You’re not gobbling the free horse on e1 (20…dxe1=Q+)? Really? You get a horse (3 points) and he gets a pawn (1 point). But wait! I just realized that the pawn has turned into a Queen, so in reality you’re getting a horse (3 points) and he’s getting a Queen (9 points). Just brilliant! I learned something today.
jetfighter13 said – “Here I set a trap – g3 is a mistake.”
You’re a piece and a pawn ahead, and you can win his h1-Rook by the not-so-subtle 21…Nf2+. Why do you need to set “traps”? Moreover, hoping that he meets your 21…Kf5 with 22.g3 is not a trap, it’s dreaming that your opponent has a stroke at the board and his twitching hand pushes the g2-pawn up one square.
In chess, when you’re brutalizing an opponent who really should give up, “hoping” shouldn’t be a word in your vocabulary. You can do anything you want to him, so please toss “hope” out the window for the “certainty” of good moves.
22.h3 Bxf3+ 23.gxf3
jetfighter13 said – “Here I can win material, but I see a trap.”
On no … not another “trap”?
This is the trap? Just play 23…Nf2+ and win his Rook! No trap, just take the Rook (there’s that “certainty of good moves” again) and end the game.
jetfighter13 said – “He plays accurately, and I take a pawn.”
Uhhh … you could have won a Rook (5 points) but instead “trapped” him into giving you a pawn (1 point). In despair, I just chewed my Knight’s head off (it was an expensive set!), so I’ll stop the notes (before I do something even more extreme) and just give the remaining moves: 25.a3 Rfe8 26.Bg2 Ne2 27.Rf1 Re3 28.axb4 Rae8 29.Kxd2 cxb4 30.Rab1 Nc3 31.Rb2 Re2+ 32.Kc1 Rxb2 33.Kxb2 Re2+ 34.Kc1, 0-1.
It’s hard to be proud of a game like this. It makes me think of a man that sees a corpse on the road and kicks it over and over screaming, “Who’s the man? I’m the man!” Yes, you beat up that corpse, but anyone viewing your act would not be particularly impressed with your “accomplishment.”
On the other hand, this game allowed me to make a lot of important points. So thanks very much for sharing it with us!
Lessons From This Game
* Mr. jetfighter, you have some real skills, but you need to test yourself against superior players who will thrash you – getting wiped out by a stronger player will teach you far more than wiping out some poor guy who just learned the game.
* Those that play superior players and accept that defeat is the path to true understanding will end up ruling the rating roost. On the other hand, those that fear defeat and only play their inferiors (constantly celebrating their victories over those that can’t defend themselves) will learn nothing.
* When a player intends to give check, he needs to ponder how his opponent will respond. Don’t see the check, play the check, and have no idea what will occur afterwards!
* Too many one-sided games will hurt you – they teach bad habits and make you lazy.
* When you analyze a game, you need to try as hard as you can to find the best moves for both sides. This is important since if you get lazy in your after-game analysis (expecting compliant replies from the other side), you’ll do the same during a game (often with disastrous results!) – more bad habits.
* In chess, when you’re brutalizing an opponent who really should give up, “hoping” shouldn’t be a word in your vocabulary. You can do anything you want to him, so please toss “hope” out the window for the “certainty” of good moves.
* Just because a move threatens a piece doesn’t make it good.
* One bad habit that you don’t want to acquire is to give stuff back for no reason!
* Aggression usually only succeeds if it comes from a position of strength. That’s why attacking geniuses like Tal and Kasparov would first develop their forces, seek positional plusses (space, nice squares for their pieces, weak squares in the enemy camp, etc.), and only attack if and when the opportunity presented itself.
Once again (and this plea is to everyone), please send me games where you make typical mistakes so I can help you fix them. Sending me wipeouts where you dominate might make your ego feel good, but you’re just ripping yourself off (wins ARE okay if they demonstrate your flaws).
Even worse, I’ve had people send me games played by their computer so I would think they were calculating geniuses (sorry, doesn't work - I know a computer when I see one), and one guy actually sent me a grandmaster game that he pretended was his own (pity that I had seen that game before and instantly knew what was going on)! Some people's egos are so fragile (and desperate) that they will do literally anything to glorify themselves to the public.