“Mike asked me to annotate two of his games from the 2012 Michigan Open. Here is the first. In general, I will stress the important themes and concepts in favor of showing multiple variations. I think this is more useful to players in the 1000 to 1600 range. But when appropriate, I will give some lines.
White: Villain #3
Black: Mike N.
Opening: Slav Defense: 4.Nc3
1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6
3. Nf3 Nf6
4. Nc3 Bf5
5. e3 e6
6. c5?! …
Here Mike is critical of his last move, apparently because of his opponent’s reply. However, he has done nothing wrong, and his position is a typical Queen’s Gambit Declined – Slav.
This is a well-known position inaccuracy, since Black has an excellent reply in 6. …b6!, attacking the head of the pawn chain. Note that 6. …h6 intending to save the Bf5 bishop runs into 7. Bd3 Qxd3, which means Black loses two tempos (moves).
If 6. ... b6!, 7. b4 a5! And White cannot play a3 because his Ra1 rook is pinned after axb4. If 8. bxa5 then Black destroys the center with bxc5. Black is threatening both c4, gaining a protected passed pawn and Qxa5.
Another line is 6. …b6! 7. b4 a5, 8. b5 but Black is OK after 8. …bxc5, 9. bxc6 Bd6, 10. Bb5 O-O, 11. dxc5 Bxc5 or if 11. O-O then Black is better after 11. …c4.
Strategically, White should have kept the pawn tension (the mutual attack between White’s c-pawn and Black’s d-pawn) as long as possible and just continue his development, since this slows Black’s counter-play in the center (with c5 or e5).
Black should have struck immediately at c5 with b6. But instead, they played on.
Continued next article.