Queen’s Gambit for Black

This was my first game in the Delaware Grand Prix Tournament Event #4 Round #1. The event was G29, which means 29 minutes per game for each player. Take a look at the game and I hope it will help you to avoid mistakes I have made. How to get the most from this game? First, go over the game moves by yourself and only after that read my comments going over the game 2nd time. Enjoy and learn!

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 (D15 Queen’s Gambit/Semi Slav Main Line. In this position Black has a strong pawn structure with c6-d5-e6 pawn, but because of that, a bad light squares bishop which is blocked by e6 pawn. Black is not going to exchange d to c4 pawns immediately; instead Black would wait until White f-bishop moves and only then take on c4. White can try to attack d5 with e2-e4 by first playing Qc2 and castle king side.)

6.cxd5 (exchange variation, the Semi-Slav would continue with 6. e3)
6…exd5 (It is better to take with e-pawn in two reasons: c-bishop gets released and it’s probably better to open up semi-open e-file)

7.e3 Bd6 (Probably the best spot for a bishop, Be7 is also possible but white can play …Bf4 taking control over h2-b8 diagonal. However, there is a small problem with Bd6 which I will discuss later).

8.Bd3 O-O 9.Qc2 h6 (There is a debate in the opening theory if h7-h6 move is good or not? In this case it is, since the only other way to protect h7 9…Be7 which wastes time).

10. Bh4 Re8 11.O-O Nf8 (A good move since the knight is no good on d7 and from f8 it can go to e6. Now about the problem with 7.Bd6 I mentioned before. If Black played 7.Be7 instead, “h7-h6” move would not be necessary. With a pawn still on h7 Black can place its knight on g6 and attack h4. Keep that in mind when you’re playing similar positions.)

12. Bf5 (Not a very good move since black’s light square bishop is still bad: it got no good place to go. White bishop is stronger; exchanging light bishops makes it a lot easier for black to develop. Keep that in mind to.)

12… Bxf5 13.Qxf5 Re6 (N8d7 or Qd7 is a little bit better. But Re6 perfectly protects f6 too. )
14. Rab1 (White preparing b2-b4 and a2-a4 trying to create a weak c6 pawn)
14… Ng6 (Now, White feels the absence of light bishop: dark bishop is forced to be exchanged with doubling pawns)

15. Bg3 Bxg3 16.hxg3 (fxg3 is not possible due to hanging e3 pawn) Ne4

17. Nxe4 Rxe4 18.Nd2 Re8 (18…Re6 is a bit better since it would be easier to double heavy pieces if necessary, which isn’t yet.)

19. b4 Qc8 20.Qxc8 Raxc8 (The position is still fairly equal.)

21.b5 (Actually it is not very good move, if Black responded with 21…b6 after 22.bxc6 Rxc6, Black would have 2 to 1 pawn advantage on queenside.) But I played a lot weaker move:

21… Re6 22. Rfc1 Re7? (Another bad move on my side. Better is 22…b6!)

23.Nb3 Nf8 24.Rc2 Rec7 25.Rbc1 Ne6 (White should have doubled rooks on b-file!)

26.bxc6 Rxc6 27.Rxc6 Rxc6 28.Rxc6 bxc6 (Positions are equal with a tiny-tiny advantage for Black.)

29.Kf1 Kf8 30.Ke1 Ke7 31.Kd2 Kd6 32.Kc3 c5 33.dxc5+ Nxc5 34.Nxc5 Kxc5 (White had to exchange knights because otherwise …Ne4 costs White a pawn. Positions are equal.)

35.f3 f5 36.a3 h5 37.Kd3 a5 38.Kc3 g6 39.Kd3 Here I had very hard decision to make: either I had to play for a win or for a draw. Looks like white are okay with a draw here. The safe way for Black was to continue: 39… g5 40. f4 g4 41. Kc3 Kd6 42. Kd4 Kc6 with a draw. But I choose the risky and maybe even wrong way:

39… Kb5!? 40. Kd4 Ka4 41.Kxd5 Kxa3 42.Kc4? (The strongest for White is: 42.e4 fxe4 43.fxe4 a4 44.e5 Kb3 45.e6 a3 46.e7 a2 47.e8=Q a1=Q 48.Qxg6 Qa8+ It should be a draw. It seems like my computer don’t really understand the position: after 39…Kb5 it shows that Black is loosing when it isn’t true.)

42… Kb2 43.Kb5?? (Mistake! White should be still able to draw with 43. e4! But, after 43. Kb5 Black has winning advantage) 43…Kc3 44.Kxa5 Kd3 45.Kb5 Kxe3 46.Kc4 46…Kf2 47.Kd3 Kxg3 48.Ke3 White Resign.

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Updated 04.08.2023


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