This column very frequently contains current
events, history, or other such related information about chess.
Scarcely does it provide its dedicated reader with an in-depth
analysis of a game, one of the main purposes for the creation
of the column.
The purpose of this column is for Princeton
area readers to develop their chess strength. Analyzing games
is an effective way of reaching that goal. Therefore, this week's
column contains a game I observed on USChessLive as well as a
full length article of comments and annotations about the game.
first comment is derived from the second move of the game: 2.a3?!
This move is dubious because it shows no effort for central control.
In fact, it is a prophylactic move aimed at preventing a Nimzo-Indian
structure in which black prefers to play ...Bb4(+).
it seems as though Ofticosu has even lead himself astray by 4.b4.
This move seems like a logical follow up to 2.a3, but in fact
wastes more time. A better move would be developing 4.Nf3, bringing
out the knight, and also guarding the e5-square against black
annexation. Black correctly utilizes his lead in development by
opening the center with 4...e5! Although white's attempt to strike
back at the center from the wings is noble, it behooved him to
continue with 5.dxe5 Nxe5 6.Bb2 (developing with time) Bd6 7.Nf3
Bg4 8.Be2 when white has an inferior position but still has chances.
12.Nbd5, black correctly dominates the square in front of the
isolated d-pawn, generally a great strategy in such pawn structures.
From here, the goals for both sides are clear. The expansion of
the d-pawn is white's only hope of creating attacking chances.
As long as black can continue to control the d5-square and exchange
pieces along the way, his endgame advantage should bring him the
Black makes a terrible positional blunder with
15...b5? This pawn thrust does nothing to assist the black pieces
and simply creates a weakened c-pawn. When white's only plan was
to seek the expansion of the d-pawn, there is no reason to provide
him with another possible scheme. Don't provide your opponents
with obviously good plans.
Unfortunately, white didn't get
the message and instead returned the favor with a positional error
of his own with 16.g3? This move shows a total lack of planning.
Instead, he might have tried a line like 16.Nc3 Nxc3 17.Bxc3 Nd5
18.Rac1 f6 19.Bd2 Re8 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 in which he accepts the impossibility
of d-pawn expansion and instead focuses on black's backward c-pawn.
Black makes another mistake on move 17 with ...Bxe5. This knight
may seem threatening on e5, but it actually does nothing. It attacks
no weak points and controls no vital maneuvering squares. Capturing
on e5 is a devastating positional error. It frees the d-pawn for
advancement and suddenly releases the power of the dark-squared
Unfortunately for Ofticosu, he ran into some serious
time trouble down the stretch and was unable to convert his positional
advantage into a material one. The time finally sealed the deal
after he dropped a piece with 27.Kf2?? This truly was a game of
to mate in two moves.
Ofticosu (1778) - Trovatore (1972)