Sir Nemo(980 USCF) vs. C. Manual(2122 USCF)
CCC Weekly G/60
CCC Weekly G/60
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 (diagram 1)
This is a line of the Scotch I have never played before. I always used to just play 4.Nxd4 and hope things went my way from there but I've been studying some games from the 19th century and saw so many possibilities with this variation. I'm not normally a gambit player but I figured since my opponent was much stronger than me he would beat me either way. So I put theory aside for a moment and gave myself a scare with this gambit.
5.Nxd4 Nxe4 6.Qe2 Nxd4 7.Qxe4+ Ne6 8.O-O Bd6 9.Nc3 O-O 10.Bd3! (diagram 2)
This move was brilliant in my eyes for the fact that I knew that it would cause Black to push one of his kingside pawns, thus committing to long term weaknesses of the dark squares.
Gaining tempo while developing the dark squared Bishop. Black has real problems on his Kingside due to a majorly cramped position and lack of development.
This move serves many purposes: 1) Develops a Rook to an open file in the center of the board. 2) Pins the black Knight (12... Nc5 13. Qxe8!! Qxe8 14. Rxe8 with mate).
12...c6? 13.h4 Bf8 14.Bxf8 Kxf8 15.h5!
Breaking open the kingside even more. My strategy was to bring my rook to the open h-file and threaten mate on h8 with the queen.
15...Ng5 16.Qb4+ Kg8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 d5 20.Rad1! (diagram 3)
Pins galore! White finishes his development with yet another pseudo-tempo move. To those who don't know why this is a good move, it's pretty obvious that Black can't take the Bishop with the pawn, for he will lose his Queen.
20...Bf5 21.Bxf5 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 gxf5 23.g3!
This is another move which went with my strategy. It keeps the Queen out of h3 (minor threat), gives my King a space on g2, and last but definitely not least is the move allows me to bring my Rook to the open h-file. This is the first step on my to-do list.
23...b5 24.Kg2 a5 25.Qd4!
Second step on my to-do list. Though black has an impressive pawn chain and center, white is keeping an eye on h8 and h1 for his two remaining major pieces. Black decides to disregard White's plans on the Kingside.
25...Qd7? 26.Rh1! f6
Suddenly Black see's White's plan and does what he can to stop it. The game was over at this point; defense would have been extremely difficult.
27.Qxf6 Qg7! 28.Qe6+! Qf7 29.Rh8+!! (diagram 4)
Delivering the decisive blow and crowning white's strategy from the start. Black resigned because he has to give up his Queen or be mated next move:
1) 29...Kxh8 30.Qxf7
2) 29...Kg7?? 30.Qh6#
It was very interesting for me to have such a victory with not just an opening I've never played before, but also with the fact that I defeated a player who is much stronger than myself. I will take with me a few lessons from this game. One of them being that I remembered how FUN chess was when I wasn't so worried about beating my opponent. I really underestimated myself right out of the opening in this game, yet I managed to not only beat him in the opening, but also the middlegame and endgame.
So to answer my own question: I'm going to give 1.e4 a try. If it turns out that it hurts my game, rather than improve it, well it's a lesson well learned. We all have to make mistakes to improve, and we can't make mistakes without taking risks. My next tournament isn't until the very end of March and I look forward to it more than anything right now.
Once again, thanks for all the suggestions from the last post. I'll continue to play 1.d4 when I'm not feeling confident against certain opponents.