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... Be7, a simple move that was one of 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:
- I don't really like my position, it feels cramped. Where did I go wrong?
- 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?).
- 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.
- 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.
- I guess I should plan on O-O'ing. But how? If I make way with ...Be7, it will be similar to when I try to maneuver the rooks as in point 1.
- But ...g6 followed by ...Bg7 feels like I weaken the Pawn structure behind which I want to O-O.
- I have spent enough time on this, 12... Be7, YOLO!
So, what do you guys think about my thought process? What should 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?)