[FEN ""] [Date "6/16/2018"] [Round "7"] [White "Me"] [Black "Opponent"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "1874"] [BlackElo "2286"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. Be2 f6 10. O-O fxe5 11. Nxe5 cxd4 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bxd4 c5 14. Bf2 Rb8 15. Rab1 Qa5 16. a3 d4 17. Ne4 Qxd2 18. Nxd2 Rxf4 19. Rfe1 Rf6 20. Bg3 Rb6 21. Nc4 Ra6 22. Ne5 Rb6 23. Nc4 Rc6 24. Na5 Rb6 25. Bc7 e5 26. Bc4+ Kf8 27. Bxb6 axb6 28. Nb3 Bb7 29. Bb5 Rg6 30. Bxd7 Rxg2+ 31. Kf1 Rxh2 32. Nc1 Bh4 33. Nd3 Bf3 34. Nf2 Rxf2+ 35. Kg1 Rg2+ 36. Kh1 Bg3 0-1
My rating: 1874
Opponent's rating: 2286
I felt that I was much better in this game and let some big tactics slip in the end. I have a few questions and few annotations here. Feel free to address the following points or anything else that jumps out as important throughout the game:
- I know that 9.Be2 is a common move, but at some point I felt that 9.dxc5 or 10.dxc5 should have been played to sidestep this pressure that black exerts with 9...f6 and 10...fxe5. I also found a repertoire book for white recommending 9.dxc5.
- 11.fxe5 looked like it was dropping a pawn with the threats of ...d4 forking or ...Bc5 pinning the white queen.
- 12.Nxc6 seems like the only way out, but seems to gradually strengthen black's center. So, this points to 10.O-O as possibly dubious.
- I couldn't find anything better than 16.a3 (can you?). In many scenarios after ...d4 I could either drop the a2 pawn or the f4 pawn after an exchange of queens, and I figured I'd have counterplay on the h2-b8 diagonal if the f4 pawn falls.
- 19.Bg3 seemed not as strong to me due to black's ability to exchange rooks, and I also wanted to exert some pressure on the e-file.
- After 20...Rb6, black's rook seems like it's starting to run out of squares. Perhaps black should consider giving back the pawn with 20...e5 21.Bc4+ Kh8 22.Bxe5 Nxe5 23.Rxe5, simultaneously eliminating white's powerful bishop.
- With 23.Nc4, I couldn't find much better than a repetition, and was wondering if my higher rated opponent would risk the game in order to avoid it.
- I felt that 24.Na5 through 28.Nb3 were more or less forced moves.
- I felt 29.Bb5 was strong to encourage an exchange of bishops with ...Bc6, but my opponent went for 29...Rg6!?.
- I think 30.Bxd7 was a blunder. I think I saw a defense that wasn't there. This is a common thing for me to do in the past, seeing a defense that wasn't there (whether I'm on the attacking or defending side). I'm pretty sure I have the ability to calculate/use intuition to see how dangerous taking this knight is, but I felt in this situation it may have been more of a psychological mistake as well as I had an advantageous position against someone 400 points higher than me. Afterwards, he said he thought I was winning before this.
- With 32.Nc1 I wanted to somehow hold everything together with Nd3 and also purposely block in the b1 rook to avoid some eventual skewer tactics. Everything else I was calculating ran into some other problem. Maybe 32.Kg1 instead?
- And after 32...Bh4 I sadly realized that 33.Rxe5 runs into 33...Rh1+ 34.Ke2 Re1+ winning the rook.
- And after 33...Bf3 I felt completely lost.
Also, please no computer analysis unless it's absolutely necessary to explaining something. Thanks!