The first thing I remind myself when I make an error in a chess game is that I am not playing Bobby Fischer or Deep Blue - the Super Chess Computer.
Remember, you are playing a human being who is quite capable of making the same mistake – or a worse one – that you just made. So unless it is truly hopeless, fight on. Americo does just that!
1. d4 d5
2. c4 dxc4
3. g3 Nf6
4. Bg2 g6
5. Qa4+ Bd7
The usual move for White here is E4 with the bishop regaining his pawn at c4. But the g3 move should have tipped off Americo that White’s white squared bishop was heading to Bg2. That is not “book”, so Americo needed to adjust his game to White’s new plan.
6. Qxc4 Bg7?
Americo follows his book opening a little too tightly and fails to notice this little tactic White has. Opening memorization is important, but cannot replace your responsibility to see what your opponents threats are when they vary their play. 6. ….. c6 was required.
7. Bxb7 Nc6
8. Bxg8?! ……..
White was locked in to winning the rook for a bishop, but Bxc6 wins a knight free and clear.
9. Nf3 O-O
Can’t blame Americo for thinking safety, but he is still playing his opening blindly. The move ….e5 uses the pin on the knight on f3 by Black's Queen on a8 because White's rook is unprotected on h1. See it now?
10. Bf4 Ne4 ?! Be6 or Rb1 is better for Black.
11. e3 Qb7
12. b3 Bh3?!
Americo misses Bg4! And White is actually losing according to Fritz.
For instance, after 12. ....Bh4!, 13. Nbd2 Nxd2 14. Nxd2 Nxd4 (rook is under attack!) 15. e4 Be2! (White can't castle, Queen can't get to f1 to protect the rook, and the Queen is now also under attack!) 16. Qxc7 Qa6! 17. Rc1 Bf3 18. Qc4 Qxc4 19. Rxc4 Bxh1.
Even with the game move, Fritz considers White to only be up a pawn at this point.
13. Rg1 a5
14. a3? Be6
|Position after Black's 14. ......Be6|
But this is why sacrifices work. If you can spring your attack before your opponent can mobilize his stronger forces, you win. Americo didn’t intentionally sacrifice, but with his extra piece activity and space, it’s like he did.
15. d5? Bxa1
16. dxc Bxc4 It is an intense positon!
17. cxb e5?
Americo fought back to a near even position and then slips up. The simple Ba6 holds.
18. Nxe5 Ba6? Too late. … Bxe5 is required.
19. Nd7 Bxb7
20. Nxf8 Kxf8
21. Bxc7 Nc3
22. Nd2?! a4
Exchanging pieces is better for White here. When ahead in material, trade pieces to limit your opponent’s chances at counter play.
23. f4 Bd5
24. bxa Nxa4
25. e4 Bd4
26. Rg2 Bc6
27. Ke2 Nc3+?
This move allows 28. Kd3, Nb4 29. Ba5, Ba7 30. Bb4+ and now with tempos, the king and bishop protect the passed pawn and make space for the sleeping rook to join the game.
28. Kf3? f5! White walked into a game leveling pin.
29. a4?? ……
This loses. Be5 or Re2 was needed.
29. ….. fxe
30. Nxe4 Bxe4
31. Kg4 Bxg2
32. a5 Nd5
33. Be5 Ne3+
34. Kg5 Bc5
35. Kh6? Kg8
36. a6 Be7
37. a7 Nf5++