We left each other on Monday - and thanks for all the contributions to the comments box by the way - with me about to play the more than somewhat rank ... Qxd5.
As Will pointed out, exchanging queens just gives White a big pawn on d5 and forces the knight to a horrible square. It's not too hard to see that is it? So how did I come up with something so self-evidently bad?
Well I'd wanted to get my e-pawn going and since the immediate ...e5-e4 drops the bishop on f5 I thought
1. ... Qxd5, 2. cxd5 Na5, 3. Nd2 - to stop the knight bouncing of the rim to c4 - ... e4
would be just the ticket.
Naturally, when the game arrived here I saw at once that I still couldn't push my pawn because White would respond 4. Bb4 defending my target on c3 and hitting the wayward knight.
Even if White didn't have this resource my intended
4. Nxe4 (?) Bxe4, 5. Bxe4 Bxc3
would be very bad anyway.
When pondering the queen exchange I stopped analysing at this point thinking I'd be gaining a tempo on the rook. I was quite oblivious to the fact that White can hit the bishop straight back with 21. Re3 which leaves me in trouble since, aside from the fact that I've given up the bishop pair on an open board, my knight is still hanging around on the edge doing nothing but be vulnerable to attack.
Of course if White didn't have 4. Bb4 or this he could always play 4. Bxe4 which is much better than taking with the knight since after 4. ... Bxe4, 5. Nxe4 c3 would be defended and I'm just a pawn down.
My friend and fellow blogger Morgan Daniels
looks on as I play queen takes queen
So ... Qxd5 was based on a calculated sequence that could be improved by not one but two alternatives for my opponent on the third move and wouldn't even have worked if I'd got what I thought I wanted.
Exchanging queens was a horrendous tactical error then? Well perhaps but in a broader sense I think there's something much more fundamental to consider - the question of what I was doing analysing ... Qxd5 in the first place. I'll be coming back to that next week.
I recognise Morgan but who's wearing the T-shirt?
"Exchanging queens was a horrendous tactical error then?"
In my somewhat simplistic view of chess, Qxd5 is a positional error (i.e. giving White a strong passed pawn and forcing the knight to the rim) and the faulty sequence is a tactical error since pushing e4 is no necessarily the best move in the position after Qxd5.
I was wondering whether Nb8->Nd7 after Qxd5 is better (blockading the pawn) than Na5 but \I can't make that work either.
As a matter of interest what would the stronger players play in the position and with what plan?
Oh good, it's been far too long since the S&B blog has been graced with a picture of me on drugs.
Just say no kids
Couldn't agree more, Jonathan. 'No kids' = less responsibility = more drugs.
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