1

This game was my first correspondence game on chess.com.

I played as black. I felt my position was quite good. Then I grabbed a pawn and the game ended in a draw by threefold repetition.

My questions are:

  1. How could black improve their game instead of playing 25...Rxe3?
  2. Can you provide any other feedback to my game?

[FEN ""]
[White "mario401"]
[Black "Bad_Bishop"]
[StartPly "50"]

1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. Nf3 a6 7. e3 Bg4 8. Be2 e6 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Bd6 11. Bxd6 Qxd6 12. O-O O-O 13. a3 Rac8 14. Be2 Na5 15. b4 Nc4? (15...Rxc3 {I played an 'auto-pilot' move and saw this tactic immediately afterwards,} 16. bxa5 Rxa3) 16. Bxc4 Rxc4 17. Na4 b6 18. Nb2 Rc3 19. Qd2 Ne4 20. Qe1 Rfc8 21. f3 Ng3 22. Rf2 h5 23. f4 h4 24. Na4 Rb3 {this was a crude attempt to trap the knight. Maybe I should have considered 24...R3c6 to maintain control of the c-file} 25. Qd1 Rxe3? {Only now do I realise that the rook can't go to e4 if attacked with 26. Qd2} 26. Qd2 Rb3 (26...Re4? 27. Nc3 f5 28. Nxe4 fxe4 {Black might look OK, having a protected passed pawn, but it is easily blockaded}) 27. Qd1 Re3 28. Qd2 Rb3 29. Qd1 Re3  1/2-1/2
  • Was this a correspondence game? To me it seems like you're not yet used to taking your time to hash out the critical variations. In correspondence chess you have the advantage of being able to move the pieces around, and you have plenty of time at your disposal to look at alternatives at every turn. That would be my biggest criticism of your (and your opponent's) play: neither of you seemed to be treating this as a correspondence game, and more like a rapid game. – Scounged Mar 21 '17 at 16:19
  • @Scounged: definitely true. I played too fast most of the time. The time limit was 3 days per turn, and the whole game was wrapped up in 7. – user1108 Mar 21 '17 at 16:24
5

Your play was good, and you managed to slowly gain the upper hand from the more or less dead equal opening. At the end Rxe3 is forced, but after Qd2 I would have definitely considered Re4. You actually don't lose the exchange:

25... Rxe3 26. Qd2 Re4 27. Nc3 Rc4!

Now at this point you're threatening to take on d4, so 28. Nxe4. But then you take back on e4 with your g3 Knight and you have White's Queen and Rook in a fork. You are winning back the exchange and are a pawn ahead.

Overall you played a good game.

  • +1 Thanks for your feedback and welcome to the site! Yes, I think in the final position I definitely had tunnel vision. – user1108 Mar 22 '17 at 8:57
  • Thanks! I joined a few days ago and I'm hoping to help answer questions wherever I can. I have a chess.com account as well, so if you like we could play a few games once in a while. – Inertial Ignorance Mar 24 '17 at 1:19
2

25...Rxe3 appears to be forced. However, it's not a bad move, and you have several ways to keep an advantage afterwards. The simplest is 26...Nf5, just defending the rook and remaining up a pawn with a good position. After 26...Re4 27. Nc3 you could go for the forcing line 27...Rxc3 28. Qxc3 Ne2+ 29. Rxe2 Rxe2 30. Qc8+ Kh7 31. Qxa6 Rd2 when material is back to equal but black is doing well because of white's weak pawns and exposed king. Even this isn't necessary though, because 27. Nc3 isn't actually threatening anything: black's recapture ...Nxe4 will win back the exchange immediately, so you could also try to improve your position slowly, say with ...g6 and ...Kg7. I don't see much white can do about this. Overall, you thoroughly outplayed your opponent, but seemed to panic when something unexpected happened. You still had a great position!

As for other parts of the game, 24...Rc2 looks natural and good. Rooks on the 7th/2nd are usually great and this is no exception.

  • +1 good point about defending with 26...Nf5. I remember during the game saying to myself "the g3-knight is so well placed that it cannot move under any circumstances", unless of course, to defend against a simple threat :-) – user1108 Mar 21 '17 at 14:49

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