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Time control was 15/10
I did not review this game with the engine yet, so variations will be very light, and annotation will be very subjective.
It will mostly be about what I thought during the game.
Many annotations give an impression that the winner was winning the whole game, and mine is probably no exception.
However, rest assure that I did not feel like I was winning the whole time at all.
Having the initiative? Yes, but winning? I did not know that until probably move 34.
I was mainly a 1.e4 player, but recently, I decided to add 1.d4 to my White repertoire as well, even though it's a lot of work. I realized that I get bored if I play the same openings all the time, which is not a good thing, but I do enjoy experiencing different structures and play from different openings.
Flexible move, probably the most popular move. I play this with Black as well.
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Bb4
This opening is called the Nimzo-Indian Defense. It is arguable the best defense against 1.d4. It is absolutely sound and reliable, and yet, it has enough imbalance that Black can find room to outplay his opponent and play for a win without taking excessive risk. I also play this opening with Black, so I was pretty happy to see this.
A rare move. This variation is called the Samisch Variation, Samisch being the name of a player who popularized it. White immediately forces Black to capture the knight, which he wanted to do anyway. Needless to say, this is not the best move that White has in his disposal, but I like the sharp, double-edged position that it can bring about.
White's plan in this variation is quite simple. Play moves like f3, e4, dominate the center, and if allowed, play moves like e5, f4, f5, g4, g5 and just roll Black over. It is very direct plan.
5. bxc3 c5
Black has many plans available at this point, and c7-c5 is but one of them. He opens up the diagonal for the Queen, in case he wants to play Qa5, and challenges my center a bit.
Preparing e4. Sure the knight on g1 isn't going to be so happy for the time being, but dominating the center first is the priority here. Only then, will I think about where to put my pieces.
Black prepares to fianchetto his bishop, or more likely, to bring the bishop to a6 to put pressure on my c4 pawn. Black can usually win the c4 pawn by force, and I was willing to give it up if he tried. My main goal was to get a massive central pawn mass rolling towards his King.
I think White has nothing to complain about here. When Black lets White get this big of a center, he has to be very careful. This kinds of position are not losing for Black, but care is required to play from the Black side.
A mistake, in my opinion. Black should try to put pressure on my c4 pawn with moves like Ba6 and Nc6-> Na5. The biggest problem however is that he left himself vulnerable to Bg5 pin, which I immediately took advantage of.
I felt like I now have some tangible advantage. With e4-e5 looming, Black will be forced to play moves like h6 and g5, terrible weakening his King's residence. And once he plays pawns moves like that, it will be very easy for me to open up his Kingside with moves like h4 and f4.
9. Bh4 g5
There you go. See how this makes his King very vulnerable. The reason this is important is that he castled, and I haven't. If he hadn't castled yet, this would have been fine, maybe slightly risky. Or if I castled on the Kingside too, then again, it wouldn't be as bad. But the fact that I have a rook on h1 is a big problem for him.
I wondered whether to play Bg3 or Bf2. I knew it would eventually have to go to f2, because he will certainly play Nh5 to harass it, but for some reason, I played Bg3, which eyes the sensitive d6 square.
Preventing Bd6, which would have absolutely cramped his position.
Immediately starting operation to break open his King's position. I thought about playing developing moves like Bd3 and Ne2, but I wasn't so sure if delaying this h4 move is good. I wasn't certain about whether the Bishop and Knight would be well-placed on d3 and e2 either. If the position opens up, maybe they have brighter future that they can go to in one swoop.
Attacking my bishop and probably coming to f4 to try to clog up my attack.
12. Bf2 Nf4
As expected. But I was not going to tolerate this for long.
Taking aim at not only the knight, but also on g5 and h6 pawn chain as well. My target is his King, so I want to aim as many pieces towards him as I can.
He really wants to clamp down on my Kingside advance it seems.
Here, I seriously thought about closing the position with d5. With the center closed and his Kingside about to be opened up, I felt like this is a dream attacking scenario for me.
But I decided to keep my options open and stay flexible for the time being.
Kicking away his knight from his annoying position at f4. I really liked how majority of the moves so far has been pawn moves. haha.
Un-doubling my pawns can be counted as strategic concession from him, but I think he was afraid that if I played d5, he really will be hard pressed to find counter-play while I enjoy cooking up a dangerous Kingside attack. So this way, at least he gets a half-open c-file to work with, sort of like in the Sicilian Defense.
The problem is however, opening up the position also benefits White, as White is the one with two bishops. So at this point, Black had to pick his poison.
16. hxg5 hxg5
Nothing subtle here. I attack the g-pawn and threaten to win it, which would totally open up his King. I recognized that really the only way to protect is to play f6, which would open up the light square diagonal to his King.
And then, I started seeing something. If I can put down a Queen or a Bishop on d5 at that moment, I can win his a8-rook.
Hmmm.... it was something to keep in mind.
Expected, since there is no other way to defend it. (playing g5-g4 is crazy)
Opening up the diagonal to his King. This is precisely why I decided to leave the Bishop on f1 for the time being instead of mechanically developing to d3. In times like this, it saves a tempo to go from f1 to c4 in one move.
If he tried to prevent my coming Bc4+ with Be6, then I would have played d5, followed by c6, and I would have tremendously strong protected passed pawn that is cramping his position.
It's not every Nimzo-Indian game that White's light-squared bishop can dominate this diagonal.
And my strategic advantage is bearing fruit in the form of material advantage.
I seriously thought about taking on d4 with my bishop, giving him back the piece, because as you can see, these central pawn mass of Black is quite intimidating. It is ironic how I was the one trying to create a central pawn mass of doom, but it is Black who has it now.
Doesn't matter, I will be up a piece for 2 pawns, and I still have Kingside operation that I can hopefully count on before these pawns become a force.
Obviously it is better to be down a knight than down a rook.
22. Bxc6 Rb8
I was very happy to win a piece (for two pawns), but I also knew that this position was not without risk for me. Those central pawns could be deadly, and my King is still in the Center.
It was at this point, that I decided to throw caution to the wind and really spice it up.
It's time to play some grown up chess!
Usually, when you are up a piece, the modus operandi is trade pieces and go to the endgame.
Not here though.
I started the game with the intention of getting his King, and I decided to stick to that original plan, regardless of what the material situation is.
It was a funny sight to see my King all alone without any defenders to fend for himself against the coming avalanche of pawns.
The pawns are starting to roll.
Obviously, my last move also made his strategy very simple, attack my King.
This is a race to see who can get at his opponent's King faster.
I believed I had the better chances, but then again, I believe that way in all my games, and I don't win all my games lol.
I must break open his King just a little more, and then my pieces can flood in.
Attacking my loose bishop.
Also what this move does is it attacks the f4-square, which is relevant.
25. Bd5 gxf4
I realized what he was up to. He wants to trade Queens on f4 after I play gxf4. That's no fun.
Without the Queen, my Kingside attack will lose significant steam.
But you know what? He voluntarily opened up his own g-file.
How nice of him!
Obviously, even with the piece up, trading Queen after gxf4 Qxf4 would be a strategic mistake.
Now look at his Kingside pawn structure.
It is clear that his King is in dire strait.
Pinning my knight.
Or so he thought.
This is opposite side castled race position.
To get to the opponent's King, everything is sacrifice-able.
He can take my rook if he wants.
But if my knight shows up on e6, things will be too much for Black to even think about.
Again, he can take my rook, but with completely open g-file, he might just get mated.
Notice how my light squared bishop is an absolute boss in this position.
He decides against taking my rook and tries what he can to keep the g-file blocked.
But in chess, every move leaves behind a certain weakness.
Here, I noticed that giving back the piece with Bxd4+ is very interesting.
It is only possible because of his last move, which opened up the diagonal to his King.
It's interesting how both my light squares bishop and dark squared bishop had a chance to take advantage of the open diagonal to his King.
In the end, I called off the sacrifice... for now.
I was calculating and calculating, and everything looked so fun and promising.
But my time was getting low, and it looked like it could lead to some unclear position.
So I decided that there was no need to pull the trigger now.
Let's up the tension for one more move and see what he does.
A very multi-purpose move.
It attempts to trade off a pair of rooks, making my attack that much weaker.
It frees up the f8 square for his King, in case he needs to run.
The only downside is that, now that the rook is no longer on f-file and is on h-file, I decided to commence with the sacrifice.
The powder keg had been prepared.
All that was left to do was light it.
This is an extremely sharp position, as my time is getting very low, and my King is WIDE OPEN.
I mean, talk about getting your opponent's King open, my King is perhaps even more open than him now.
If I now play 1 wrong move, it could be over for me.
But, with my pieces so active, and his King so vulnerable, I was pretty confident that there was a win here.
I wasn't sure if there was mate, but I was certain there was some way to win some serious material.
Kg6 loses the Queen to discovered attack Bf7+.
Actually, this is the move I missed when I decided against playing Bxd4+. I was only looking at e4-e5, followed by e5-e6+.
But after I played Rdg1, I realized that I had Qxa7, which should win by force.
I didn't calculate everything to the end when I decided to sac the bishop, but with his King having so few squares and me having so many ways to check, I knew there had to be a win.
Going to the backrank loses the rook with check, so it doesn't help.
Even a lowly pawn is participating in the King hunt.
He has no choice but to run towards my side of the board.
Obviously, there were multiple ways to win the Queen, but why not go for mate?
If there ever was a time to be a maximalist, it is now.
His King is impossibly deep into my territory, but here, I had to pause.
There was probably many different ways to mate, but I had this fear creeping in on me that if his King continues to travel along the dark squares, I might have trouble mating him.
What I really want is to have my Queen participate in the hunt, but there is no easy way for her to get back.
And then I realized that the only square that my Queen can use to come back is the g4 square.
First, vacating the g4 square.
Re1+ looks tempting, but with the time pressure mounting, I couldn't calculate anything too clearly anymore, and I was certain it doesn't lead to mate.
Remember, my King is wide open too. If I run out of check, the table can be turned in an instant.
This is the problematic square.
I didn't have a good checking square once his King lands here...unless...
The solution to the problem.
This way, by sacrificing a rook, I decoy his King to e2 square, where my Queen can come to g4 with check and join the hunt.
Now, it was just a matter of me finding the mate.
Finally, this rook has a role in the game.
I didn't realize I could also play Qe4, Qg2, Qd2 mate.
In time pressure, the first thing you think of in this situation is to just bring more pieces, use all your pieces.
Only after the game, do you see all the possible mates right there in your face, but during the game, especially with time pressure, it's surprisingly difficult to see even the simplest things.
I was trying to figure out whether Qb4+ leads to mate (which it does), but then I was like "oh wait, let's not be stupid, Re3 is just mate"
I have never played a King hunt quite like this one before.
12 consecutive checks with the last one being mate.
His King, deep in my territory, surrounded by my pieces in a wide open board.
This is exactly the kind of game you play Samisch Nimzo-Indian for.
Not every game ends up like this obviously, so I really need to enjoy this moment.
Jeez, that was exhilarating.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.