[fen ""]    
[Date "6/8/2018"]
[White "Anonymous"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2146"]
[BlackElo "1874"]
[Opening "Semi-Slav Defense"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Qc2 h6 8. Bf4 O-O 9. e3 Nbd7 10. Bd3 Re8 11. O-O Nf8 12. a3 Ne6 13. Bg3 Bd7 14. Ne5 Bf8 15. Bh4 Be7 16. Bg3 Nf8 17. b4 a6 18. Na4 Nh5 19. Rab1 Nxg3 20. hxg3 Bf6 21. Nf3 Ne6 22. Nc5 Qc7 23. Rfc1 Ng5 24. a4 Nxf3+ 25. gxf3 g6 26. b5 axb5 27. axb5 Rab8 28. Nxd7 Qxd7 29. bxc6 bxc6 30. Rxb8 Rxb8 31. Qxc6 Qxc6 32. Rxc6 Be7 33. Rc7 Kf8 34. Ba6 Rb1+ 35. Kg2 Bd6 36. Rb7 Ra1 37. Bb5 Rc1 38. Rd7 Rb1 39. Bc6 Be7 40. Bxd5 Rb6 41. Ra7 h5 42. Ba2 f5 43. Bc4 Rc6 44. Bd5 Rd6 45. Ba2 h4 46. gxh4 Bxh4 47. Bc4 Rc6 48. Rf7+ Ke8 49. Rh7 Rxc4 50. Rxh4 Ke7 51. Rh7+ Ke6 52. Rb7 Rc6 53. Rb5 Rd6 54. Kg3 g5 55. Rb1 Kf6 56. Rb5 Ke6 57. f4 g4 58. Re5+ Kf6 59. f3 gxf3 60. Kxf3 Ra6 61. Ke2 Ra2+ 62. Kd3 Ra4 63. d5 Ra6 64. Kc4 Rd6 65. Kc5 Ra6 66. Re6+ Rxe6 67. dxe6 Kxe6 68. Kc6 1-0

My rating: 1874

My opponent's rating: 2149

Feel free to address these points or any other important bits of analysis throughout the game:

  • I've saw some recommendations after the game of 6...h6 7.Bh4 Bf5.
  • Perhaps I should play 7...O-O and Nbd7 straight away without 7...h6?
  • 12...Ne6?! seems like it gave me some problems. Nxf7 followed by Bg6 can now be considered. What else should I be doing? Perhaps 12...a5 was better? How about 12...Bd6?
  • Is 14...Bf8 a waste? I wanted to open the e-file and was struggling to find a productive move.
  • 16...Nf8: I felt that my knight was misplaced due to the concerns with white taking on f7.
  • Perhaps instead of 17...a6, I should be advancing on the kingside as quick as possible. Is this good thinking?
  • Maybe 21...h5 instead of putting the knight back on e6?
  • Was 27...Bc8 more stubborn? I think white could still seize control of the a-file.
  • After move 32, I felt that I was lost. The d5-pawn can't be held onto forever. Maybe an opposite colored bishops ending with 2 extra pawns would've been a bit more unclear than the rook ending? But I felt it was still quite winning for white.


  • Because it seems like you thought exchanging pieces reduces the pressure, it does not. Instead you should have used your pieces actively to create some play on the king side, and center, or keep the right minor pieces on board to defend the queenside, esp. c6 pawn. Notice how your dark bishop is helpless in defending c6 and later d5.
    – user13438
    Jun 9, 2018 at 23:23

4 Answers 4


I'll go through the game and address your points.

  • In the opening, you should have played 6...Bf5 (or 6...h6 then 7...Bf5, like you said). The reason for this is that in the Exchange QGD, your light-squared bishop is bad, while White's light-squared bishop is good. If White loses his light-squared bishop, playing the thematic b5 push of the minority attack becomes difficult. Back to the point: by developing your bishop to f5, White cannot bring his bishop to d3, or else you do the favorable exchange.

  • 7...h6 is a very subtle mistake, for a few reasons. First, in the exchange QGD White would prefer to have his bishop on f4, not g5. The reason he doesn't play 6.Bf4 immediately is that you can answer with 6...Bd6! in one go. By playing 7...h6, you give White a "second chance" to play Bf4, and now you have to waste another move to counter with ...Bd6. The second reason 7...h6 is a mistake is that you can't play ...Ng6 in the middlegame, since the knight is not supported enough on g6 and White can just played Bxg6. In the Exchange QGD, playing ...Ng6 is very important. It's far better than ...Ne6, since it blocks White's Qc2+Bd3 battery, and also attacks White's dark-squared bishop on h4 or f4.

  • 12...Ne6 is actually fine, given your options. After 13.Bd3, you should have played 13...g6, 14...Ng7, 15...Bf5. This is an important idea that lets you exchange light-squared bishops. Remember it, if you are only able to develop your f8-knight to e6 (normally, prefer the g6-square for the knight).

  • 14...Bf8 is normally a good idea, but because White has 15.Bh4 it's not so good here. A better plan would be playing 14...Rc8 and 15...c5. This undermines the e5-knight's support from the d4-pawn, and exploits the White queen's position on c2.

  • I don't think 16...Nf8 is that bad a move, given that you wanted to play ...Nh5. Playing ...Nh5 immediately would have dropped the knight due to Nxf7 Kxf7 Bg6+.

  • 17...a6 was absolutely fine. By playing ...a6, you force White to waste at least a tempo playing a4 (since without this move he can't play b5 now, due to ...a6). Also, if White wants to play a4 then he must protect the b4-pawn, or else you'll play ...Bxb4. So ...a6 really ends up forcing White to waste about two tempi countering it.

  • I like 21...h5! After playing ...h4 and exchanging everything, you end up with a queen on h4. Then, you can do a Rook lift with ...Re6 + ...Rh6, building a battery on the h-file. Another idea is even playing 21...g5!? followed by ...g4, forcing White's knight to move away, and then ...h5 and ...h4. The problem is that White can play 22.Bf5, but you can still play 22...g4 with an interesting game.

  • I don't like 27...Bc8 because it breaks the coordination of your Rooks. After 28.bxc6 bxc6 29.Ra1, you're facing a difficult defence. Backing up two moves, I think 25...Re7 is strong, simply protecting the d7-bishop. After 26.b5 cxb5! 27.axb5 Bxb5 28.Bxb5 axb5 29.Rxb5, your e7-rook and queen protect the b7-pawn (which is passed, to boot). Note that on 27.Nxd7 Qxd7 28.axb5, you can play 28...a5! with a dangerous passed a-pawn. This trick of side-stepping White's b5-push with ...a5 is how Karpov once tricked Korchnoi in a game.

  • You're right, the endgame was lost. The d5-pawn was too weak to be held on to, and then White's just up two pawns. An opposite-coloured bishop ending without rooks wouldn't have helped much. Opposite-coloured bishops are only good against two extra pawns if you can set up a blockade on the colour complex of your bishops. With all White's pawns so close together, they form a veritable armada that can keep control over the dark squares.


I completely agrees with most of Inertial Ignorance, however with the last three points I have to disagree.

Opening the h-file should only help white. If you allow a gxh4 Bxh4, white wouldn't trade the minor pieces, but chase the bishop away with g3, and continue with Kg2, Rh1, Rh2, and RBh1. With all this power on the h-file, your king will fee lots of pressure. There is no escape to the queen side, as those files will be opened easily.

Bc8 does disorganize you pieces, but it allows the your opponent's knight to shield your weakness. This isn't a long-term solution. However, instead of 25...Re7, I would suggest Rec8. This gives more support to your weak c6-square and allows for Be8 allowing the bishop to support two weaknesses.

Even with a two pawn advantage, the ending can still be drawn. Connected pawns on the 5th rank can be stopped. Pawns one file apart can also be stopped. The further seperated, the further advanced, and the more pawns there are the harder it is to draw the game. However, you have the chance to create an outside passed pawn, and this restricts white's options and white has doubled pawns, so you had a good chance to draw.

Edit: Allowing an engine to analyse 37...Rb1, which I was going to suggest, the computer gives e4 as the best repy. This comfirms that the double pawns do hinder white and that the extra pawn gained by Bc6 and (eventually) Bxd5 doesn't give white any more winning chances. The move e4 was given the evaluation of +0.75 while Bc6 was the fifth choice with an evaluation of +0.66. However, computers are bad at endgames--or they were.

  • I originally recommended 25...Rec8 but I edited my answer because of 26.Nxd7 Qxd7 27.Bf5, winning the exchange. I somewhat agree with your point on opening the h-file, but after White plays Rh1 Black can always play g6. At the moment it looks like White's kingside attack has been neutralized, and now Black has some much needed counterplay in the form of moves like Bg4, Re6-Rf6, etc. It seems better than the game where Black just got squeezed on the queenside. I agree with your points on the opposite-coloured bishop ending, though White should still win with accurate play. Jun 9, 2018 at 20:13
  • I agree about ...h5-h4 not being much counterplay, but not about your endgame assessment. The 5 vs 3 opposite-colors bishops looks winning for White, and the plan pretty straight forward : e4-e5,f4,d5-d6,Kd5. Black has to put his pawns on light squares (f7-g6-h5) otherwise White will make a pair of central passers without exchanging all the K-side. But then the bK get overloaded, it cannot both prevent penetration by the wK and protect f7.
    – Evargalo
    Jun 11, 2018 at 12:48

You can look up the opening mistakes with a database and some players have already made comments here regarding them. Although I will comment if you play a quick Bf5 you always need to be prepared for Qb3 as the most complex response, if you can play qb6 then you are usually okay, but you should still calculate that out.

In my opinion 16.. Nf8 was a significant mistake, and before that you were doing fine. If you look at the board after 16.. Nf8, it's the same position as what you had on move 12 except it's his move and his knight has moved forward to e5 and his bishop to relative safety on g3, whereas you moved your bishop to d7 which is not a significant improvement. After this move he is 2 tempi up, which is a huge strategic deficit for you. This whole bg3-h4 nonsense is him playing "chicken" with you. He is just seeing if he can get you to make a weakening move to avoid the draw. As the lower rated player you need to call him on his bluff and have him deviate away from the 3 move repetition, not you. As a rule only shy away from these kind of repetitions if you have an advantage or your opponent is much lower rated than you. Certainly don't move your knights forward and backwards without accomplishing anything. Bf8, g6, Ng7 Bf5 seemed like a decent game plan, it would have been a much better try. In that vein, not playing Bd7 seems like a better try as well since that just gets your bishop to f5 a move slower.

Luckily your opponent took big pressure off you playing Na4 instead of aiming for faster a4-b5 minority attack stuff, letting you back into the game.

Something like 23... Rad8 was better as that rook should be centralized and your bishop can retreat to c8 if needed without separating your rooks. Rac8 is also a conceivable alternative, trying to anticipate situations involving cxb5. His knight on f3 wasn't doing much, so there wasn't a reason to hunt it down and force a trade. Instead your knight was better on e6 to potentially take c5 if he ever started pushing his queenside pawns and the opportunity presented itself after say cxb5. Since the knight wasn't there he just steamrolled you with the queenside pawn attack.

The position is very bad after you lost c6, borderline lost, and you really were lost after losing d5. Kudos for trying to fight for an opposite color bishop draw though.

Main lessons: 1) protect your precious tempi, don't waste them frivolously. They are game changing. 2) Gain greater awareness of middle game strategies in the qgd. The a4-b5 push is very common and you should learn the common ways black counteracts it ( allowing bxc6 and making sure it's possible to play Bxc6 in response, counter play on the kingside, or even c5 in a few cases I think, and maybe 1 more that I'm not remembering since qgd is not something I normally play). 3) learn more piece maneuvers in the Qgd like Nd7-re8-nf8-ne6-g6-ng7-bf5 among many others. That way you'll see some things you can do without wasting tempos. 4) Trading is good when your position is cramped but make sure you trade with your opponents useful pieces. Ng4-xf3 traded a piece that was doing work against his qside plans with a knight of his that wasn't involved in the main fight.

Hope this didn't come across as harsh, gl in your future chess endeavors.


First, if you understand the ideas of this variation you will struggle less with your first 6 bullet points. This line of the QGD has been played countless times and there are a ton of GMs games you can look over to get a sense of things. White is playing a "minority attack" on the queen-side. The idea is to trade pawns there and leave you with a weak pawn that he can pile up on and win.
There are various ways Black tries to counter that. You can suffer patiently and try to hold the position. For example on move 23 you could have played 23...Nxc5 with the idea of Rad8 and Bc8. But the fun way is for black to seek counterplay on the kingside, sometimes even sacrificing a Rook in e3! I urge you to look over GM's games.

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