A disaster in the Stonewall

Alsop,A - Blundell,J [D00] East Devon Minor (Exeter) (4), 05.03.2000

1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 Nc6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.0-0 Re8 8.Ne5 Bd7 9.g4 Nb4 10.Be2 b6 11.c3 Nc6 12.g5 Ne4 13.Rf3 Nxd2 14.Bxd2 a5 15.Rh3 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Be7 17.Bd3 g6 18.Qg4 f5 19.exf6 e5 20.f5 gxf5 21.Bxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Qc8 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Qg7# 1-0

What went wrong here? Play over this game twice, once fairly quickly to see how it went, and then again slowly to see what went on in more detail, and think of other ideas.

 

Lessons from this game:

  1. Play with a plan . If you understand the ideas behind your chosen openings you have a big advantage over your opponent and can often win games very quickly. In this game White played with one idea - to lock up the centre then attack the King's-side - and carried it out. Black went from move to move without making any huge mistakes, but this is not enough.
  2. If you think your opponent will stop your plan, play it straight away! Black did have one chance to play ...c5, but in trying to make it better, lost the chance.
  3. Open a file for your Rooks . Rooks are worth half a Queen each, and if you don't get them working, it's like being a Queen behind! When you plan where to put your pieces in the opening, you must also think about your Rooks. In this game Black suffered from not getting the c-file open for his Rooks. This started to go wrong at move 3!
  4. Don't castle into an attack . In this game White was 'pointing' towards the King's-side. If Black had blocked this attack - or not castled King's-side - White's pieces might have been on silly squares.
  5. Swap off your opponent's good pieces, keep your own . Black swapped his good Ne4 for a duff White piece on d2, but he did have the good idea of exchanging the Nc6 for the Bd3. Without the Bd3 White would be pretty planless.

 

None of these criticisms are made because Black is a poor player, it's just very hard to play positions where you don't know what to do. It takes a lot of experience before you can plan what to do in positions you haven't seen before, but it is possible to pinch ideas from other people. So, try to play positions you understand, try to understand the positions you play.

Detailed notes:


Alsop,A - Blundell,J [D00] East Devon Minor (Exeter) (4), 05.03.2000

1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 Nc6


|r+b1kg.4|
|0p0.0p0p|
|.+n+.h.+|
|+.+p+.+.|
|.+.).+.+|
|+.+B).+.|
|P)P+.)P)|
|$NGQI.HR|
+-----------------+

Already I worry about how your Rooks are going to get out! You need to get in ...c7-c5 or ...e7-e5, and after this move I can't see you getting either of these in. This move is actually part of a reasonable plan (Tchigorin's), but I don't think you played it as part of a plan, I think you just played it!

4.f4

Else Black will play 4...e5!


|r+b1kg.4|
|0p0.0p0p|
|.+n+.h.+|
|+.+p+.+.|
|.+.).).+|
|+.+B).+.|
|P)P+.+P)|
|$NGQI.HR|
+-----------------+

4...e6

Blocking in the poor Bc8.

[4...Nb4! 5.Be2 Bf5! 6.Na3 c5! 7.c3 Nc6 8.dxc5 e5]

5.Nf3 Bd6 6.Nbd2 0-0

Into White's clockwork attack, I'm afraid.

7.0-0 Re8


|r+b1r+k+|
|0p0.+p0p|
|.+ngph.+|
|+.+p+.+.|
|.+.).).+|
|+.+B)N+.|
|P)PH.+P)|
|$.GQ+RI.|
+-----------------+

The Rook has no future here.

8.Ne5 Bd7 9.g4 Nb4 10.Be2


|r+.1r+k+|
|0p0b+p0p|
|.+.gph.+|
|+.+pH.+.|
|.h.).)P+|
|+.+.).+.|
|P)PHB+.)|
|$.GQ+RI.|
+-----------------+

10...b6

[10...c5 immediately!]

11.c3 Nc6 12.g5 Ne4 13.Rf3


|r+.1r+k+|
|0.0b+p0p|
|.0ngp+.+|
|+.+pH.).|
|.+.)n).+|
|+.).)R+.|
|P).HB+.)|
|$.GQ+.I.|
+-----------------+

13...Nxd2

That was your best piece!

14.Bxd2 a5 15.Rh3


|r+.1r+k+|
|+.0b+p0p|
|.0ngp+.+|
|0.+pH.).|
|.+.).).+|
|+.).).+R|
|P).GB+.)|
|$.+Q+.I.|
+-----------------+

Ready or not, here we come.

15...Nxe5

[15...f6 planning ...e6-e5 might have been worth a try]

16.dxe5 Be7 17.Bd3 g6 18.Qg4 f5 19.exf6 e5 20.f5 gxf5


|r+.1r+k+|
|+.0bg.+p|
|.0.+.)p+|
|0.+p0P).|
|.+.+.+Q+|
|+.)B).+R|
|P).G.+.)|
|$.+.+.I.|
+-----------------+

[20...e4; 20...Qc8]

21.Bxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Qc8 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Qg7# 1-0

Chess Quotes

GM Barcza was helping GM Szabo prepare for a candidates' tournament. They were working on a particular line but couldn't figure it all out. Barcza finally said, "It must be tried out! And let the better player win!" Szabo cried out, "That is exactly what I do not want to happen!"