This is a game I played recently. After 12. Be2 ..., I really didn't know how to proceed. Eventually, after thinking for a very long time (>30 minutes, it's a correspondence game by the way), I moved 12. Be2 Be7, a simple move that was one the first moves I considered.
[fen ""] [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Him"] [Black "Me"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteELO "?"] [BlackELO "?"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 b6 5. Nc3 Bb7 6. Qa4+ Nc6 7. Ne5 Qd6 8. Bd2 a6 9. a3 Nd7 10. f4 f6 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. Be2 Be7 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Bf3 Na5 15. Qxd7+ Kxd7 16. O-O Nc4 17. Bc1 c6 18. b3 Nd6 19. Bb2 h5 20. Rae1 Rag8 21. e4 dxe4 22. Nxe4 g5 23. d5 gxf4 24. Bxf6 Rh6 25. Bxe7 Kxe7 26. Nc5+ Kd8 27. Nxb7+ Nxb7 28. dxc6 Nc5 29. Rd1+ Kc8 30. b4 Ne6 31. Rd7 Rd8 32. Rfd1 Rhh8 33. Ra7 Rxd1+ 34. Bxd1 Nd4?? 35. Ra8+ 1-0
These are my considerations:
0. I don't really like my position, it feels cramped. Where did I go wrong..?
1. My plan: Break open with ... e5. Prepare for this by positioning a rook on e8, and the other one on d8, e7, or f8 (but which of the three?).
2. But I don't really want to move the rook on a8, because after c4 ..., my pawn on a7 hangs and the White Queen will be near my King if I O-O-O'ed.
3. ... c4 feels very annoying to me anyway, but especially if I plan to O-O-O, because my Pawn structure that is supposed to protect my King will be weak.
4. I guess I should plan on O-O'ing. But how? If I make way with ... Be7, it will be in the when I try to maneuver the rooks as in point 1.
5. But ... g6 followed by ... Bg7 feels like I weaken the Pawn structure behind which I want to O-O.
6. I have spent enough time on this, 12 ... Be7, YOLO!
So, what do you guys think about my thought process? What should be my plan be in this situation? Where did I go wrong before this that led to this position that feels not so good to me? Is this position actually not so good? Et cetera. :)
(By the way, I feel that this is in general my weakness. Usually I tend to make solid moves while sniffing for a weakness. However, if a weakness doesn't 'spontaneously emerge from the noise', I don't really know how to make one, and I end up drawing or winning/losing due to a random emerging tactic. How can I learn this?)
Thanks a lot in advance for taking the time to think about this and help me get a better understanding. :)
EDIT: Thanks Dag Oskar Madsen, for fixing the diagram for me so fast.