I played a game yesterday on chess.com with the Pirc Defence. I am kind of weak in the endgame but I was concerned about the middlegame plan. Was my approach the wrong one? Why, and where, did I lose?

[FEN ""]
[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2017.05.22"]
[Round "-"]
[White "ISeth"]
[Black "qwcnm"]
[Result "0-1"]
[BlackElo "1954"]
[ECO "B07"]
[TimeControl "900+10"]
[WhiteElo "1869"]
[EndTime "6:21:19 PDT"]
[Termination "qwcnm won by resignation"]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d6 3.g3 h6 4.Bg2 g5 5.c4 Bg7 6.Ne2 Nd7 7.Nbc3 Nf8 8.Be3 Nf6
9.h3 Ne6 10.d5 cxd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd5 12.exd5 Nc5 13.Bd4 Qa5+ 14.Nc3 O-O 15.Bxg7
Kxg7 16.O-O Bf5 17.Qd4+ f6 18.Rfe1 Rfe8 19.g4 Bg6 20.Ne4 Nd7 21.Ng3 Ne5
22.Be4 Rac8 23.b3 Qc5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5 25.Bxg6 Kxg6 26.Kg2 a6 27.Ne4 Rc7 28.Rec1
Rec8 29.a4 b5 30.axb5 axb5 31.c5 Nd3 32.Rc3 Nxc5 33.Nxc5 Rxc5 34.Rxc5 Rxc5
35.Rd1 Rc3 36.Re1 Kf7 37.Re3 Rxe3 38.fxe3 e6 39.e4 exd5 40.exd5 f5 41.Kf3
f4 42.h4 Kf6 43.hxg5+ hxg5 44.Ke4 b4 45.Kd4 f3 46.Ke3 Ke5 47.Kxf3 Kxd5
48.Ke3 Ke5 49.Kd3 d5 50.Ke3 d4+ 51.Kd3 Kd5 52.Kd2 Ke4 53.Ke2 d3+ 54.Kd2
Kd4 55.Kd1 Kc3 56.Kc1 Kxb3 57.Kd2 Kc4 58.Ke3 Kc3   0-1

You can see that black wasted some tempos with his Knight in the opening, so I decided to strike in the centre with d5 or e5. I played d5 and was expecting some fireworks and tactical superiority, but could not achieve anything.

Can anyone suggest something better?

  • Can you please annotate your game? We're not going to do that for you. It also helps us see your thought processes, so we can tell you where you're going wrong. – Jossie Calderon May 23 '17 at 7:43
  • @JossieCalderon I am not expecting any annotations ...Looking at the game I see after the exchange of Queens White looses the initiative . I think at move 18th instead of Rfe1 Rae1 should have been played with f4 opening a file towards Black King . White should have concentrated his forces on K-side while Queen is offside . I am looking for this kind of strategic plans else according to the Computer it is quite even . – Seth Projnabrata May 23 '17 at 8:06
  • 2
    Also whoever is giving me a negative mark kindly let me know with a comment as to why . This game is not an easy explanation for everybody in this forum . It should be an aspiring one for anybody who is an advanced level player . – Seth Projnabrata May 23 '17 at 8:10
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    @JossieCalderon There is no requirement for the OP to annotate his game. – Herb May 23 '17 at 12:30
  • @HerbWolfe It would certainly help him improve. – Jossie Calderon May 25 '17 at 19:50

If you look at the position round about move 20 you see that you are already strategically worse. Black has a very good bishop and you have a very bad one thanks to your pawns on c4 and d5. Your pawn on c4 is much weaker in the endgame than black's on e7. You have set up the conditions for black to launch a winning minority attack on the queenside which he eventually did.

Your best chance at that stage in the game was to launch your own kingside attack. To that end you needed to keep pieces on the board and not swap them off as you did. On move 19, instead of g4, double rooks on the e file starting with Re3, then push your f pawn to break open his kingside. His pawns on d6 and e7 form a block making it difficult for him to bring his queen and a8 rook over to the defense. That should give you good chances of winning on the kingside before he wins on the queenside.

As it was you swapped off into a losing endgame.

Going back further in the game you can see that your pawn push to d5 set up the conditions for his win. In that kind of position you should be looking for the e5 push instead. If you can make that work then you will be much better.

  • 19.Re3? Nb3 and Black wins the exchange. – bof May 25 '17 at 22:53

Black played the opening against principles: did not develop pieces and did not occupy the center. In order to gain an advantage out of this, you need to act quickly. However you played just normal moves giving black enough time to complete his slow development.

    1. ... g5?! is rather dubious and you could ask black with h4 or f4 (played immediately or a few moves later) what he wants to do with the pawn there. If after h4 he plays gxh4 you gain the open h-file and play against black's h pawn. If he replies with g4 the pawn on g4 will become weak. Similarly f4, gxf4 will give you the open f-file with attacking chances.
  • 10 d5?! this gives black the long diagonal for the bishop on g7 and a decent square on c5 for the misplaced knight on e6. Going for the e4-e5 push (not now but soon, perhaps after f4) seems much more natural to me as it would limit the bishop on g7 and not give any good squares for the knights.

  • 19 g4?! You have reached a rather good position. Black has a weak pawn on e7, weak light squares on the kingside and white has no apparent weaknesses. After 19 g4 however you weaken the dark squares on the kingside and allow black to place his knight on its ideal square at e5 where it attacks c4, is centrally placed and cannot be easily removed (only through exchange for the knight or an exchange sacrifice. Before playing g4 you had the option of playing f4 gxf4, gxf4 where black does not have the square e5. An alternative plan here could be to play Kh2 with the idea to follow-up with f4, or perhaps try to take advantage of the weakened light squares by exchanging the light squared bishops and transfer your knight to e6, f5 or h5 and the queen on some light squares as well.

  • 20 Ne4 This seems potentially risky as you could end up with the light squared bishop against a very strong knight on e5. Need to evaluate if you get enough play on the b1-h7 diagonal.

  • 29 ... b5 Around this point black is taking over and it is probably lost already.


On the basis of a quick glace I put the question mark at 11.Nxd5. You felt the urge to punish Black for eccentric development. I think that you were correct and that 10. d5 was well motivated. But why exchange Knights? That is not a consistent followup. If you play 11. exd5 and he then plays Nc5, you now have 12.b4, leaving you with a big advantage in space and mobility. That was not available with his Bishops diagonal opened up by exchanging Knights. At a guess, your courage was high when you played d5, but then you got a bit nervous and exchanged a piece "to reduce the risk". Even against strong opponents, always ask who will benefit from exchanging. And calculate as far as you can. If you cant see the risk, there is a good chance that it isn't there.

  • Good thinking ...thanks a lot ...I should not have exchanged the knight....I should have made a pawn avalanche in the centre when his Knights would have run here & there to & fro .... – Seth Projnabrata May 24 '17 at 6:50
  • Exchanges should be given long consideration with respect to the remaining piece valuations. Unless an exchange is tactically justified (i.e., you win material as a result of or avoid such a loss), it behooves you to consider the valuations of the pieces being exchanged and if it benefits you or not, especially knights and bishops. In this case, exchanging the Nd5 for Nf6 relieves some of the crampiness of blacks position and, as stated above, gives the Bg7 better scope on the long diagonal. – Priyome May 25 '17 at 16:59

Also interesting is 11.cxd5 with ideas like Nd4, Qe2, 0-0-0 and f4 and press black on the kingside. This seems a bit more solid than 11.exd5, which opens the b1-h7 diagonal for the B on c8, which is blacks problem child. Just some thoughts.


After 3. h6? It's clear as day he's going to play 4...g5. There's no other reason he played this; if you say, it's to prevent some sort of eventual Bg5, that's great. Now you can take advantage of his fearful thinking.

The move 4. f4 should have been played not just to prevent this (a defensive move) but more importantly, to control e5 - an attacking move. Lastly, it gains kingside space and cramps up the enemy; he doesn't have an adequate response. This move improves your position by a considerable amount. Instead you played 4. Bg2? and now he was able to play his beloved move.

P.S. After 4. f4 Nf6, 5. e5? is a mistake. Now you're just weakening the f5, d5 squares...don't push it.


I would say another important "turning point" of the game is 28.Rec1. This self-pin along the c-file is ugly. Much better, in my opinion, is 28.a4 (eventually played a move too late), allowing White to gain an outside passed pawn should black continue with 28...b5 29.cxb5 axb5 30.a5! and might be good enough to hold for the draw. With the rook remaining on the e-file, the pin along the e-file on the black Re8 might come into tactical play with Nxd6 should black attempt a knight sortie by Nd3: Crazy stuff like this is possible, instead of 28.Rec1: 28. a4 b5 29. cxb5 axb5 30. a5 Nd3 31. Nxd6 Nxe1+ 32. Rxe1 Ra8 33. Nxb5 Rb7 34. Nd4 Rxa5 35. Nc6 Rab5 36. Nxe7+ Kf7 37. d6 is unclear but White is certainly not much worse. Chess is great!


Everything leading up to move 20 is fine: you played with a plan, gained piece activity and space. However, with 20. Ne4 you'd started to wander. You should have taken advantage of your advanced post on e6 and the fact that the rook on e file is tied to the defense of e7. 20. Re6! The threat is to double up on e-file, but if exchange sac is accepted, you would get a dominant position after placing the N on d5.

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