Simply Does It

Here’s a recent online rapid game I played against a lower rated opponent. I decided to play a simple opening, make simple moves, create a pawn weakness and win the ending. Exactly how I often lose when playing higher rated opponents.

I made one mistake in the game, though, which you might find instructive. It’s a fairly common idea which you need to be aware of, and see it coming some way ahead.

1. e4 d5
2. exd5 Qxd5
3. Nc3 Qa5
4. d4 Nf6
5. Nf3 Bf5
6. Bd2 c6
7. Bc4 e6
8. O-O Qc7
9. Ne5 Nbd7
10. Nd3 Bd6
11. h3 O-O
12. Ne2 c5
13. dxc5 Nxc5
14. Nxc5 Bxc5
15. Bb3 Rfd8
16. Qc1 Ne4
17. Bf4 Qb6
18. Be3 Bxe3
19. Qxe3 Qxe3
20. fxe3 Nd2
21. Rfd1 Nxb3
22. cxb3 e5
23. Ng3 Bc2
24. Rxd8+ Rxd8
25. Rc1

This is the key position. I have a bishop against a knight in an open position with pawns on both sides of the board. White’s pawn majority on the queen side is crippled and his e-pawn is isolated. I’d assumed that trading rooks would lead to an easy win.

Which it did, but it shouldn’t have. I should have played Bg6 instead.

25.. Rd1+?
26. Rxd1 Bxd1

Now White can win a pawn with 27. Ne4, for example 27.. b6 Nd6 followed by Nc8.

This idea of the knight attacking two pawns from the rear is something that comes up quite often in minor piece endings and is well worth knowing.

But my opponent moved his king in first, and now I was able to prevent Ne4, after which I had no trouble winning the game.

27. Kf2? Bc2
28. Kf3 f6
29. Ke2 Kf7
30. Kd2 Bb1
31. a3 Ke6
32. Kc3 g6
33. Kc4 f5
34. Kc5 f4
35. exf4 exf4
36. Ne2 Ke5
37. b4 Be4
38. Nc1 Bxg2
39. Nd3+ Ke4
40. Nf2+ Ke3
41. Ng4+ Ke2
42. h4 f3
43. Kd6 Bh3
44. Nh2 f2
45. Kc7 Bg2
46. Kb8 a6
47. Ka7 f1=Q
48. Nxf1 Kxf1
49. Kb6 Ke2
50. a4 Kd3
51. a5 Kc4
52. b5 axb5
White resigns

Here’s the game. You’ll note that the engine disapproves of the Scandinavian (amongst other popular openings). I’ll discuss this further another time.

Richard James

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Richard James

Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy ( or and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon. Richard is currently promoting minichess (games and puzzles using subsets of chess) for younger children through his website, and writing coaching materials for children (and adults) who want to start playing serious competitive chess, through View all posts by Richard James

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