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hildanknight 454 ( +1 | -1 )
I now have a rating! Some game analysis... Finally! I have completed 5 games and gotten a rating! After 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw, my rating is 1556. How interesting, since when I joined GameKnot and RedHotPawn a year ago, I won my first 5 games on both sites, but GameKnot only gave me a 1521 rating and RedHotPawn a 1448 rating. I think my good ChessColony rating is due to raising my game against stronger opponents right from the onset.

Here is game analysis for both of my wins (and one of my losses, which I could have won, and was very interesting). I think my tactical ability has improved, despite still losing winning positions due to tactical blunders. Hopefully, you can help me analyze and make a better judgement.

Here is my first game:
hildanknight vs eloplaw
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6??
This is a positional howler. Fortunately, in IM Silman's book The Amatuer's Mind, I learnt how to punish it. All my moves up to move 9 are the memorized punishment line in the book.
3. Nxe5! fxe5 4. Qh5+ Ke7 5. Qxe5+ Kf7 6. Bc4+ Kg6 7. Qf5+ Kh6 8. d4+ g5 9. h4 Kg7
I was now on my own. However, it was not too difficult finding the right moves.
10. hxg5 Nf6? 11. gxf6+ Qxf6
Here I stopped and thought - what next? It took me quite a long time to spot 12 Bh6+, because I did not want to exchange my Rook and Bishop for his Queen. Finally I saw that it was mate in two (I wish I could play like him!) with 12 Bh6+ Qxh6 13 Qf7#. I took some time to check, and did not hesitate:
12. Bh6+! 1-0

My next win was also due to a tactical blunder that I frequently make:
hildanknight vs dragonhead
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nxd4 5. Qxd4 Qf6
I obviously did not wish to exchange Queens, which would aid Black's development.
6. Be3 b6 7. Nc3 c5 8. Qd3 Bb7
Now, who can resist a move that safeguards the King and activates a Rook, threathening mate in one in the proccess?
9. O-O-O Nh6?? 10. Qxd7# 1-0

However, I had a very long, paimful loss at the hands of manhattan. I enjoyewd the game, and had accumalated a massive positional advantage - however, tactics again cost me the game.

hildanknight vs manhattan
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qf6 4. Nc3 Nge7 5. O-O a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Nxb5!
Such positional sacrifices of a minor piece for two pawns to gain a passed pawn and positional advantage crop up frequently in my games, and in most of the games I build up a tremendous advantage only to let it slip away tactically. I wonder whether others have analyzed this sacrifice, and whether it is sound.
7...axb5 8. Bxb5 Ba6 9. Bxa6 Rxa6 10. Qe2!
White takes the oppurtunity to develop a piece with gain of tempo, attacking the Rook on a6 and defending the vital e-pawn
10...Ra8 11. Rd1 h6 12. a4
White's pawn starts marching.
12...Ng6 13. b3 Bd6 14. Bb2 O-O 15. Bc3
This move serves to control a5 so the pawn can take another step forward. However, my King came under fire.
15...Nf4 16. Qe3 Qg6 17. Nh4 Qg4 18. g3?!
Attacks the Knight on f4, defends the one on h4, and gets me into huge trouble when the h-file opens later. Fortunately, the Knight fork did not cost me any material here.
18...Ne2+ 19. Kf1 Nxc3 20. dxc3 g5 21. Nf5!
I am very satisfied with this move, which creates a double blow. On one hand it thrathens a Knight fork with Nxh6+, on the other hand it threathens to win a Pawn with 22 Nxd6 cxd6 23 Rxd6. Cool, eh?
21...Kh7 22. Nxd6 cxd6 23. Rxd6 Rad8 24. a5 Rda8
Black is condemned to passivity. I believe White is already winning due to his material advantage and passed pawns.
25. a6 Rfb8 26. b4 Ne7 27. Qd3
White piles up on the d-pawn and defends d1 and the a6-f1 diagonal.
27...Rbd8 28. b5 Qh3+ 29. Kg1?!
I don't know whether I should have protected the h-pawn with this move, confining the King to this cage. Perhaps if I had sacrificed the h-pawn, I would not have been checkmated.
29...Nc8 30. Rd5 d6 31. c4 h5 32. c5!
This is another great move of mine. White attacks the pinned d-pawn and hence wins it. Black then tries to open the h-file, creating mating threats. I spotted them, but wasn't sure if Black could create sufficient threats. In the end, he could.
32...h4 33. cxd6 Nb6 34. Rxe5
This is possibly the critical position. White is three pawns up and any strong player should have no trouble winning by steamrolling his passed pawns.
34...Kg6 35. Rc5 hxg3
I knew that after 36 hxg3 Rh8, my King would be under heavy fire.
36. fxg3 Rdh8 37. Qd2 f6 38. Rc6 Nd7 39. b6 Ne5!
I was really stunned with this double blow. This attacks the Rook and threathens a Knight fork on f3. Fortunately, I calmed down and found a temporary solution.
40. Rc3 Rac8 41. Re3??
The critical mistake. Perhaps 41 Rb3 would have won. I now ran into a second Knight fork and lost on the spot.
41...Nc4 42. Qd4 Qxh2+ 43. Kf1 Qh1+ 44. Kf2 Rh2#

I hope you can help me analyze these three games, particularly the loss against manhattan, so I can have a better idea of my direction of chess studies. In the meantime, my goal is to win 3 more games so I can join tournaments and mini-tournaments.
alberlie 18 ( +1 | -1 )
No, you prob. should have taken the rook on move 40! Would have temporarily ended the mate threats and would have given you add. time for your pawns!
hildanknight 25 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't think so... After 41 Rxc8?? Nf3+ 42 Kf2 Nxd2 43 Rxh8 Qxh8 Black has a Queen and Knight against my Rook. However, I wonder whether Black can stop 3 pawns on the 6th Rank. He probably could.

BTW it's move 41, not 40. White has no move to capture a Rook on move 40.
alberlie 139 ( +1 | -1 )
oh, and about that piece-for-two-pawns sacrifice: It makes for unbalanced play, that's for sure. However, basically you got one passer out of it and let your bishop get exchanged. I probably would at least have played Qe2 instead of Bxa6 such that after Bxa6 Qxa6 with the threat of Qb7 etc. However, I probably wouldn't play it myself even though I _have_ read Silmans books.
The "problem" with Silmans approach is that you will soon enough (whenever you start practicing tactic) find, that most of the time tactical shots run contrary to Silman's wisdom. E.G. imagine a closed position in which the exchange of your knights against your opponents bishops yields a pawn. Acc. to Silman, in closed positions you should generally try to emphasize your knights as they fare better in this kind of position. However - is a pawn worth getting inferior pieces? Especially if you have a pawn break available for which you have to maneuver 10 moves?
Silman, as everything, should be taken with a grain of salt... Often I found myself in a "positionally won" position which after a few well chosen moves collapsed like a house of cards - and not because of tactics, but rather because I followed advice which to employ ofttimes needed chess skills far beyond mine...
sodiumattack 48 ( +1 | -1 )
Damiano defense "Here is my first game:
hildanknight vs eloplaw
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6??
This is a positional howler. Fortunately, in IM Silman's book The Amatuer's Mind, I learnt how to punish it. All my moves up to move 9 are the memorized punishment line in the book.
3. Nxe5! fxe5"

You would put the "??" after 3. ... fxe5, not after 2. ... f6. You can mark it as a dubious move (?!), but is playable. Black is not obliged to accept the knight's pseudo-sacrifice, continuing with 3. ... Qe7 4. Nf3 Qxe4+ 5. Be2. White will gain a better position, but the match is not lost for black.
hildanknight 89 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks. Sodiumattack, thanks for your pointer. In the 3 games in my chess history in which Black employed Damiano defence, not once did Black decline my sacrifice.
Alberlie, in your situation, you would simply have another imbalance - an inferior minor piece (Bishop for Knight) and an extra pawn. If you were able to successfully employ a pawn break, and the position opened, you would have a definite advantage.
However, I do agree that Silman's approach is not balanced enough. That is why I am trying to learn tactics in a similar way that does not totally cramp the strategies which have helped me improve my game massively. (Note my thread "The Jeremy Silman of chess tactics?")
Please note that the sacrifice of a minor piece for 2 pawns to get a passer is not found in anywhere of Silman's books. It is my own idea, and I have no idea if it has other practitioners.
naamloos 47 ( +1 | -1 )
Hildanknight "Please note that the sacrifice of a minor piece for 2 pawns to get a passer is not found in anywhere of Silman's books. It is my own idea, and I have no idea if it has other practitioners. "

I actually won my first club game (two weeks ago) in that manner. I gave a knight for two pawns (a and b pawn) and about ten moves later he gave up, because of the passed pawn I now had. But when I entered the game into Fritz, it actually evaluated the game as favourable for black at the moment he resigned.
snakeking 10 ( +1 | -1 )
Checkmate hildanknight,
In your first game, (the one against eloplaw) after move 9...Kg7 you had a mate in two. 10. Qf7+ Kh6 11. hxg5++

peppe_l 88 ( +1 | -1 )
IMHO 7.Nxb5? defitenitely wasn't sound. There simply isn't enough compensation. Passed a-pawn was easy enough to stop and as you saw, Black got lots of play against your king - despite of not bringing Nc6/Bd6 to the attack (luckily for you, heh).

I'd say 20...g5 was an important turning point. It gave you f5 square (Nf5, good move) and 3rd pawn for the piece. Not to mention connected passed pawns. The last chance for counterplay was propably 24...f5, but it may not be enough.

From there, instead of defending (maybe he had fair drawing chances?) your opponent went for more or less desperate attack, but you stopped it and continued with your plan. Until missing the fork, of course :-)

Overall I like your play. Very logical, it seems you play according to plan instead of relying on random tactical threats.

Congrats for your first 5 games here at GK, and good luck for the future!
atrifix 309 ( +1 | -1 )
Not much to say about the first two games. I'm sure you can analyze those. The third game is more interesting:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qf6(?!) 4. Nc3 Nge7 5. 0-0 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Nxb5 "!"
From an objective standpoint, 7. Nxb5?? is probably a better description. White has nothing to compensate his material deficit. The a-pawn is still light-years away from reaching a8. Black's material advantage at this point should be sufficient for a win.

7... axb5 8. Bxb5 Ba6 9. Bxa6 Rxa6 10. Qe2
The e-pawn doesn't particularly need to be defended (since it's not attacked and ...d5 can be met with d3), the Queen isn't necessarily better placed on e2 than it was on d1, and attacking the rook on a6 doesn't gain anything, it just harasses the opponent for a move. I would prefer 10. c3, but 10. Qe2 isn't a bad move.

10... Ra8 11. Rd1
This move doesn't make much sense unless it's in conjunction with d4. 11. c3 was better.

11... h6 12. a4 Ng6 13. b3
Here, and on the next move, d3 or g3 should be considered to keep a knight out of f4.

13... Bd6
I don't like this move. Black shouldn't block his d-pawn. 13... Nf4 or 13... Bc5 were better.

14. Bb2 0-0 15. Bc3
At least there is a plan, queening the a-pawn. But it's not clear how this plan is going to be implemented--as the a-pawn moves up the board, it becomes weaker and weaker since it lacks the support of White's pieces. White has no control over a7 or a8 and won't anytime soon. In the meantime, White has serious problems in the center and on the kingside.

15... Nf4 16. Qe3 Qg6 17. Nh4 Qg4 18. g3
I'm not sure else you wanted to play here, as everything else loses.

18... Ne2+?
This, in conjunction with 19... Nxc3, constitutes Black's first major mistake. The resulting pawn structure is much more unfavorable to Black than the previous one.

19. Kf1 Nxc3 20. dxc3 g5??
One of the worst moves on the board. This just terribly weakens Black's position. Most continuations would still have won.

21. Nf5 Kh7 22. Nxd6 cxd6 23. Rxd6 Rad8? 24. a5 Ra8
White's position is very favorable at this point.

25. a6 Rfb8 26. b4 Ne7 27. Qd3 Rd8 28. b5 Qh3+ 29. Kg1
I think it's safe to say White's position is won at this point. I don't know why you want to sacrifice the h-pawn--as Silman would say, you're seeing ghosts. All of Black's pieces are misplaced and the only thing within reasonable vicinity of White's king is the queen. 29. Ke2 would have been much less clear.

29... Nc8 30. Rd5 d6 31. c4
31. Rxe5 was a relatively easy win.

31... h5 32. c5 h4 33. cxd6
Here 33. b6 was strong, with threats like b7, c6, a7, etc. But the text doesn't spoil anything.

33... Nb6 34. Rxe5
White is winning, but the material relation is 5 pawns to a piece, not 3 pawns up.

34... Kg6 35. Rc5
Not sure what the rook is doing here. Perhaps 35. Re7 was better.

35... hxg3 36. fxg3
Better here is 36. Qxg3+ with a relatively easy win. The pawns will be much stronger than the piece in the endgame.

36... Rh8 37. Qd2 f6 38. Rc6 Nd7 39. b6 Ne5 40. Rc3 Rac8 41. Re3??
41. Rb3 would have still been winning. Perhaps calculating the variations after 41. Rxc8 would be a good exercise.

41... Nc4 42. Qd4?!
White is going to lose material, but he'll still have the a- and b- pawns which threaten to queen. Simply giving up the rook (e.g., 42. Qg2) would have been losing, but White could have made some threats, at any rate.

42... Qxh2+ 43. Kf2 Rh2# 0-1

I like your play as well. It's logical, but it could use some more accuracy (both tactical and strategical) and better coordination of the pieces. Good luck.
sahsakkchess 68 ( +1 | -1 )
Strategy. I dont like black strategy after 7.Nxb5??. Black starts some attack on king side, but there was nothing really dangerous for white. I think in this position black need to play just like in Benko on queenside with presure on a and b pawns. Probably 8...Nd4 is better becouse clears the way for queen to queen side(6th rank) and clears c6 square for knight on e7. Ba6 can come later, white cant stop it. And later black can put rooks to a8 and b8 or to double rooks on a or b file and so on. Sooner or later white would loose his extra pawns.
20...g5 was fatal mistake, black was probably nervous becouse he is piece up and he cant mate:).
ionadowman 278 ( +1 | -1 )
hildanknight vs manhattan It looks like old news now, but if one is interested, here are my views on this game, played in enterprising fashion by both sides. No doubt hildanknight was disappointed with the 'Marshall swindle' thet ended the game, but... happens! I think both would have enjoyed the game. For all its errors (not so many really), it made a great story. Fun to play through.
Some comment on moves...
7.Nxb5(?!), considered objectively, is a bad move - but only in the light of 'known' theory. Subjectively, it is enterprising, and initiates a clearly defined plan. Black has to prove its shortcomings. In my view a move like this is always worth considering, if it clears away pawns in front of the enemy king (usually this will happen on the K side), or, it speeds up an attack on a centrally placed K that can't castle in a hurry. That doesn't prevail here, which is why you see White happy to retreat the Bb3 in similar positions. Besides, the B on b3 aims at the f7 pawn (or the h7 if it goes even further back, to c2).
By and large, I thought manhattan went a long way to exploiting White's 7th. He kept the attack localised down the a-file, and immediately exchanged off one of White's 2 active pieces - the Ruy Bishop. Gradually he assumed the initiative with a pretty strong K-side attack. I did think Black might have done better than to exchange N for B on c3. 19...Ncd4 looks reasonable, threatening 20...Qh3+ 21.Ke1 Nxc2+, or 21.Ng2 Qxh2. Of course, White can simply exchange on d4. maybe he ought to play at move 18...g6 to prepare ...f5. At any rate, 20...g5? is horrible, losing the initiative at once. Black did very well, I thought, to recover, because White promptly grabbed the initiative with both hands and was close to winning for quite a while afterwards.
I think 22.Nxd6 must have been a difficult decision, however. The Nf5 is a powerfully posted piece and puts a serious crimp in Black's K-side play. I would have been reluctant to part with it. But after 22.Nxd6, White picked up B+P and broadened his attack, which was now sweeping down the whole Q-side. The downside was that Black gradually rekindled his K-side attack...
At move 33, I think White could have imposed intolerable pressure with 33.b6, threatening a p-fork on b7. 33.cxd6 ought still to win, though... Things begin to unravel at about move 35, when Black's K-side is beginning to twitch again. I like 35.Qe3! It lays a bit of a trap: 35...Nc4? 36.Qxg5+ Kh7 37.Qh5+ Kg7 38.Rg5+ and mate next. Black has 35...f6 available, which seems to indicate an exchange sac: 36.Qxb6 fxe5 37.d7+ Kg7 or f7 38.Qb7 and if ...Qxd7 39.Qxd7 Rxd7 40.b6 Rd6 (say)
41.b7. Quite a nice way for the game to finish... What about 35...Rd6? Then comes
36.Rxg5+ Kh7 (Kh6 and Kf6 both lose the R on d6, one to a discovered attack, the other to a p-fork) 37.Rh5+ Kg7 (say) 38.Rxh4!? with 6 pawns for a knight!
All-in-all, a very entertaining game. Cheers,
atrifix 130 ( +1 | -1 )
The suggestion of 35. Qe3 with the idea of sacrificing the exchange is not good. White is winning in virtually all variations and Black is close to resignation, so why complicate things? Perhaps White will win after 35. Qe3 (and 36. Qxb6), but perhaps not--his job is to make the win as easy as possible. After 35. Re7 (or 35. Rc5, which isn't bad either) Black has no counterplay to speak of, and White can advance the passed pawns at his leisure, so Black can safely resign soon.

Let's look at the rook ending after 35. Qe3 f6 36. Qxb6 fxe5 37. d7+ Kf7 38. Qb7. Black has no hope of winning, but he has very good drawing chances, so first he should exchange a pair of pawns with 38... hxg3. Now if White recaptures with 39. hxg3, it will be difficult to create a passed pawn (meaning a likely draw), whereas if he recaptures with 39. fxg3, the pawns on the 2nd rank will be weak. 39. fxg3 is probably best, though, so: 39. fxg3 Qxd7 40. Qxd7+ Rxd7 41. b6 Ke6. Now Black will sacrifice a rook for the queenside pawns and be happy to draw the 3 vs. 2 rook ending. So, for example: 42. Rb1 Rxa6 43. b7 Rxb7 44. Rxb7 Rc6 45. Rb2 Rc4 with a draw. Perhaps White had better play somewhere along the line, but to go from a position where all one wants for Black is to resign (on the 35th move) to one with very high drawing chances is a major mistake. Our job is to make the win as easy as possible, not as flashy as possible.
ionadowman 156 ( +1 | -1 )
Well...I LIKE flashy... ...but, seriously, atrifix makes a valid point. Even I will choose a boring move that guaranteed (100%) the win over one that gave only a 90% chance. But aside from that, sometimes there is value in exploring intriguing lines of play in a practical context, that is to say, in an actual game. In the critical position: [hildanknight v. manhattan]: r2r4/5p2/Pn1P2k1/4P2p/3Q2Pq/2P2P1P/R5K1/, 35.Qe3 struck me as an intriguing line of play. Quite possibly 35.Rc5 and/or 35.Re7 are objectively better, based on general principles. I will confess, furthermore, that I think I overlooked that the BQ covered d7 from its position at h3. But I don't think I missed much. Atrifix and I gave the following sequence: 35.Qe3(!?) f6, 36.Qxb6 fxe5 37.d7+ Kf7 38.Qb7... Atrifix continued: 38...hxg3 39.fxg3 (I don't really understand his objection to hxg3, but I think I would also take with the f-pawn just to keep the h-file closed)...Qxd7 40.Qxd7+ Rxd7 41.b6...(41.c4 is well worth considering) 41...Ke6 42.Rb1 (say) Rxa6 43.b7 Rxb7 44.Rxb7 Rc6 45.Rb2... which atrifix assessed as a draw. I'm not so sure. If this is the best Black has [not that atrifix asserted any such thing! :-)] then as White with a rook-and-four versus rook-and-two, I'd fancy my chances of winning! I would certainly hate to play Black in this position (I've been there: earlier this year on GK I did save a R+P ending 2 pawns down [R vs R+2]. But that position was a whole lot easier...). But it does leave open the question as to what improvements, if any, are available to both sides. This really is an interesting position...
ionadowman 66 ( +1 | -1 )
Further thoughts... I think, on reflection I probably would have played 35.Re7. It contains many threats! But 35.Rc5 must be fine if Black has nothing better than the game continuation until White plays 41.Rb3. I did look at whether White could play 41.Rxc8 ('s good to exercise the imagination!). Turns out it loses, but it's not quite as simple as it looks! OK: 41.Rxc8 Nf3+ 42.Kh1?? Qxh2+! 43.Qxh2 Rxh2# is a pretty finish for Black! So: 42.Kf2! Nxd2 43.Rxh8 Qxh8 44.b7 Qxh2+ 45.Ke3 Nc4+ 46.Kd4 Ne5!! The N prevents immediate pawn promotion, and seems thus to buy time for the Q to intervene. If the WK tries to advance, he risks falling into a mating net... An interesting line, but one White did right to avoid!
atrifix 137 ( +1 | -1 )
My objection to hxg3 is that in the endgame, it will be difficult for White to create a passed pawn. The h-file is not nearly as important as Black has no way to occupy it. With fxg3, White can play h2-h4 and create a passed h-pawn, whereas with hxg3, he will have to play f2-f4 to create a passed pawn, which will a) trade two pairs of pawns and b) create a passed e-pawn rather than a passed h-pawn. Since White is trying to win, he should want to keep pawns on the board and also value the outside passed pawn more than a central passed pawn.

In the line with 45. Rb2, after 45... Rc4 Black will win the e-pawn, which will leave Black down a pawn but both sides will have a passed pawn. The resulting rook ending is easily drawn. If White could keep his 2-pawn advantage with the passed c-pawn and potential passed h-pawn, then he would have good chances of winning, but it would still take a lot of work. White suffers from having weak, isolated pawns all over the board, as well as an inactive King. If Black can activate his rook along the 4th rank then he will have good chances to draw.

41. c4 (or 42. c4) are certainly worth inspection. Perhaps White can win with accurate play, but it is difficult.
ionadowman 36 ( +1 | -1 )
You are right atrifix... I think I had the position slightly wrong (I think the K) when I last looked (I notice I missed a line in the Forsyte position too; clearly I was functioning below par that evening!). It ain't a gimme draw for Black, White can quickly get his R behind the c-pawn whilst BK goes after the e-pawn, for what that might be worth...But no I won't try and resurrect the position for WT.