Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chess Game Full of Surprises

I played a chess game which was full of surprises. Many of my opponent's moves were not the ones I expected, but I still managed a quick mate. The following game was played at letsplaychess.com. My opponent was Mhill of the USA. In this game I was white. I will now provide commentary of this short game.

1. c4 Nf6

My opening move is known as the English Opening. This is an unusual opening for me. I usually play e4, d4 or occasionally Nf3 as my opening move, but this time, I wanted to experiment with a new opening move. I expected my opponent to play e5, d6 or c5. His reply is more common when white starts with d4, but nevertheless prevents me from playing e4 on my next move.

2. Nc3 e5

We both fight for control of the centre.

3. d3 Nc6

My move opens a diagonal for my dark-squared bishop but blocks my light-squared one. Black now has the option of putting his knight on d4.

4. Be3 e6

My dark-squared bishop can now capture on d4. Black opens a diagonal for his light-squared bishop.

5. h3 Be6

My move prevents black from putting his knight on g4 and threatening my bishop. Black's move aims to exert more control over d5.

6. g3 Qe7

My move allows me to put my bishop on g2. Black is now prepared to castle.

7. Nf3 0-0

I develop my king knight. Black castles.

8. Bg2 e4

I fianchetto my bishop. Black strikes in the centre with his pawn. Though he only has a knight against my knight and pawn, if I capture with my d-pawn, he can capture my undefended c-pawn with his bishop. Also, he has a rook on the same file as my queen and my king is in the centre of the board, so I have to be careful.

9. Nd4 exd

I expect black to capture my knight with his knight, but to my surprise, he takes my d-pawn.

10. Nxc6 dxe

Now I expect black to capture my knight with his g-pawn which leaves him with doubled pawns. In another surprise, he captures my e-pawn and now threatens my queen.

11. Nxe7+ Bxe7

Black fails to see that I do not need to move my queen because my move puts him in check. This forces him to capture my knight.

12. Qxe2 d5

Now I capture black's pawn and he strikes in the centre.

13. cxd Bf5

I capture black's pawn and to my surprise, he does not recapture. Instead, he places his bishop on the b1-g6 diagonal. Maybe he aims to control e4 but this move seems to be a mistake. I think it is better to capture my d-pawn.

14. 0-0 g6

I finally castle. Black's move is a surprise. Maybe he fears g4, a move attacking his bishop but I think this move is too passive. Be6, aiming the bishop at my kingside, is more effective.

15. Bxa7 b6

I play this move to weaken black's kingside. His move aims to trap my bishop but is a blunder. It weakens his pawn shield and prompts my next move.

16. Qa6+ Kd7

I check black's king. Kd7 is his only legal move.

17. Qb5+ c6

I check black's king again because I do not want his king to escape via e8-f8. He blocks my check but this is not his best move. He can last longer with Kc8.

18. Qxc6#

My queen and pawn combine to give mate. All of black's pieces are on his half of the board.

In this game my opponent makes a number of moves that take me by surprise. Undoubtedly, he hopes to gain an advantage, but I exploit his mistakes to produce a quick mate. I manage to destroy the pawn shield around his king and prevent his king from escaping to safety.

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