Sunday, 28 March 2010

David L vs Bailamooos (English Opening A21)

I found this game in my archive - genuinely, an archive of printouts of games I've played from some years ago. This game was played on Yahoo Games, so probably had fairly tight time controls, and was between me and Bailamooos. I often play lesser-known openings on Yahoo Games, to avoid falling into my opponent's planned openings (more on this in a future post). In this game, I played the English Opening (and as I'm English, it only seems appropriate). This game was played on Saturday 13 September 2008.

1.c4 e5

This second move is the English Opening (as I understand it!) although there are a number of options for White's second move. I expect 2. e4 or 2. Nf3 are both playable for White - I'm no expert on the English (I'm no expert on any opening!) but I can't see any major or immediate problems with either!

2. ... a6?
3. Nf3 h6?

Black's moves are typical for online games I've played in. For some reason, there's a general fear of White's knights coming to b5 or g5 (respectively) and attacking c7 or f7. Yes, f7 is a weak spot for Black, but this early in the game, I'd be more concerned about the centre than the wings. Still, playing ... a6 and ... h6 gives Black's position a certain symmetry. While Black is playing these moves, however, he's left his e-pawn undefended, and I decide to capture it.
4. Nxe5 Qg5
5. d4

Black plays Qg5 to threaten my knight. Moving your queen early in the game is generally not recommended, as it can be chased around by your opponent, who will develop his other pieces at the same time.

My response is 5. d4, which is the diagram position below. This move has a number of useful consequences. It protects the knight on e4; it occupies more space in the centre (and prevents Black from moving his bishop to c5), but it also attacks Black's queen. My bishop on c1 is now pointing directly at Black's queen - a discovered attack. However, Black doesn't seem to realise this...

5. ... d6
6. Bxg5 dxe5

Instead, Black plays d6, developing his pieces and attacking my knight again. I capture his queen, and he captures my knight. I decide to start attacking with my queen, leaving my bishop on g5 en prise - where it can be captured. This is a mistake by me - with correct play, Black would be able to capture my bishop.

7. Qa4+ Bd7
8. Qb3

Although I've made a mistake in leaving my bishop where it can be captured (I should have moved it immediately), I have managed to get away with it. I'm now attacking b7 with my queen, and then I'll be among Black's pieces. A good move for Black now would be b6, moving the pawn so that it's defended by the c-pawn. Instead, black makes a series of questionable moves that allow me to finish the game quickly. I can't remember what the time controls were, but they could have been quite tight (or perhaps my opponent was having a bad day).

8. ... Nc6
9. Qxb7 Nxd4

While I'm working my way through Black's queenside, he seems happy to grab a pawn in the centre. The end comes quickly - and throughout it all, my bishop remains on g5, and has a part to play in the final checkmate.
10.Qxa8+ Bc8
11.Qxc8# 1-0

The final position is shown below.

If you have any suggestions, observations or ideas on this game, please leave a comment below.

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