As my time in Ohio draws to a close, my friend Walter and I decided to play a friendly game of chess at work on a small travel board I keep in my office. The game is very casual and there are no standing rules other than the obvious: no cheating! As the game has progressed, I have been contemplating the difficulty with playing traditional opening lines in an amateur vs. amateur game, so I decided to live blog the game as we play it. Here we go:

1.♙g3 ♙d5

To me, the biggest challenge of playing an amateur vs. amateur game like this is the uncertainty that comes with the moves. It is almost impossible to play a traditional opening line when your opponent opens with the incredibly unorthodox moves like 1.♙g3. My response was ♙d5 in an attempt to maintain some sense of a main line opening despite White’s first move.

2.♗g2 ♘f6 3.♘f3 ♗f5 4.♙b3 ♙c5 5.♗b2 ♘c6 6.♗xf6??

I marked 6.♗xf6 as a ?? because it was surprising, reckless, and gave me a significant insight into Walter’s strategic and tactical thinking: he’s a piece collector.

6…♗exf6 7.♗d4

At this point, I began to see a slight shift in tactics. In my opinion, 7.♗d4 is a very reasonable move as it is protected in two places: by the Knight on f3 and the Queen on d3. I pondered this position for a night before deciding to press on by reinforcing my d5 pawn with 7…♗e4.

7…♗e4 8.♘f3

8.♘f3 was a surprise since it launches an assault on my Bishop at e4 and shows additional signs of tactical thinking in his play.


[to be continued…]