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Examining a Devastating Queen Assault

AmishHacker (1111) – Internet Opponent (1141) [C41]

Live Chess Chess.com, 08.12.2015

This game tied my stomach up in knots. Even though I won, the blunder that allowed that victory was harsh. 1.e4 Inspired by my hero Bobby Fischer, this move makes up 99.9% of my first moves. 1…e5 Black moves in to block the e4 pawn from advancing. The battle in the center takes shape early. 2.Nf3 The Knight advances to engage the e5 pawn. 2…d6 Black advances his d-pawn to protect the e5 pawn and prevent the Knight from advancing. 3.Bc4 Lately I have been hesitant to play Bb5 as to avoid provoking a retaliatory pawn move. 3…Bg4 Black engages the Knight and pins it to defense of the Queen.

C41: Philidor Defense

4.0-0 Castling to safety as soon as possible so fewer active resources are devoted to King defense. 4…a6 Black advances on the a-file to prevent me from reinforcing on the Queenside. 5.d3 Reinforcing my position on e4 and providing backend support for the c4 Bishop. 5…h6!! An excellent move! My Knight is further trapped by defense of the g5 square and the pin to the Queen. Black is playing semi-passively to cut off my maneuverability and slowly choke my position to death. 6.Nc3 Trying to balance out the attack by prepping the Knight to engage on the Queenside. 6…b5 Black advances to stop my Queenside engagement and forces the Bishop to retreat or advance to d5. After some thought, Bd5 continues the attack on f7 and the a8 Rook. 7.Bd5 The Bishop is a fragile outpost! It threatens the a8 Rook and continues to attack the a2-g8 diagonal, but Black has good counter play if he wants to force a retreat.

Position after 7.Bd5

7…c6 Black engages the Bishop to force it into retreat. Taking the pawn is perilous and I want to maintain my control of the diagonal. 8.Bb3?! The best option which maintains an attack across the a2-g8 diagonal. Notice that I am trying hard to maintain control of the f7 square. My hope is to bring in a surprise attack at a later time, but the g4 Bishop will need to be cleared first. 8…a5 Black’s advances on the a-file threaten the position of the Knight and Bishop. Its cause for concern, but not for retreat at the moment. In any case, the Bishop is under the most duress as an attack by the a-pawn will claim it. 9.d4 This move was purely to break through the suffocating pawn structure. If Black takes the pawn a Queen re-capture would help to open my position. 9…Bxf3?? The f3 Knight is history but Black has committed a serious mistake by forcing an exchange on f3. Based on my planned response, Black has only 1-2 moves that can save him from #/1.

Position after 9…Bxf3??

10.Qxf3 Completing the exchange with my Queen now focuses a dual attack of the Bishop on b3 and the Queen on f3. With the obvious nature of the attack, I expected black to play a variation. 10…exd4?? Black misses his chance to defend against the surprise attack. 11.Qxf7# This is a devastating blow. I have been on the receiving end of this attack before and it took me days to stop kicking myself for making the blunder. 1-0