Errors in opening can ruin your game plans

Errors in opening can ruin your game plans

Chess Checks

Errors in opening can ruin your game plans

The opening part of a chess game is well researched with players doing plenty of homework in studying variations and it is not often that a master or a Grandmaster is caught on the wrong foot. Sometimes it can happen due to a novelty or a new move and once in a while a player may just have missed studying the variation thoroughly.

In the game which follows, black errs in the opening stages itself after opting for what appears a losing line and is never able to get back into the game.
White does not have to do much to win the game.

White: Vasilos Kotronias (2539) – Black: Ashot Anastasian (2606)

Yerevan, 2000
French Defence
1.e4 e6
The French Defence
2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4
Immediately opting for exchanges at the centre
4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6
Black can also play 5. ..Nc6
White can develop 6.Bd3
6. ..Be7
If 6...Nd7 7.Nxf7 Kxf7 8.Ng5+ Ke8 9.Bc4 Bxg2 10.Rg1 Bd5 11.Nxe6
7.Bd3 Nd7
If 7...h6 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Ne5+ Kf8 10.Ng6+ Ke8 11.Nxh8 And if  7...Nf6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Nxe6 Bxf3 10.Nxg7+ Kf8 11.gxf3 Kxg7
8.Qe2 Ngf6
This was a rather shocking move by black as this tried and tested variation gives an overwhelming edge to white right from the opening stages of the game. In fact it is almost a winning position for white. Black should have played 8. ..Bxg5  9.Nxg5 Bxg2  10.Rg1

Diagram 1

A strong knight sacrifice. If 9.Bd2 h6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Bg6+ Kf8 12.0–0 Nb6 13.Rad1 Be8 14.Ne5 Nbd7 15.Rfe1 Kg8 was played previously.
If 9...Kxf7 10.Ng5+ Ke8 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf8 13.Ne6+ and white is in the driver’s seat.
If 9...Bxf3 10.Qxe6 Bxg2 11.Rg1 Bd5 12.Nxd8 Kxd8 13.Qh3 Re8 14.Be3 g6 15.0–0–0
10.c3 Bxf3 11.Qxe6+Qe7 12.Qxe7+ Bxe7
If 12...Kxe7 13.Nxh8 Bxg2 14.Rg1
White has gained material advantage and is a rook and two pawns up even before the players reach the middle-game
Black can retreat 13. ..Bc6. If 13. ..Bxg2  14.Rg1 Bd5
14.0–0 Bg8
Black does not get any respite by castling on the queen-side. If 14...0–0–0 15.Re1 Bf8 16.c4 Bg8 17.Bg5 g6 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Nxg6
15.Re1 Kf8 16.h3 Bd6 17.Bg5 Nb6
If 17...c5 18.dxc5 Nxc5 19.Bc2 Rd8 20.Rad1 Bxa2 21.Bxh7
18.b3 Nbd5 19.c4 Nb4 20.Bf5 Rd8 21.d5
White is in total command of the board while black’s pieces are virtual spectators on the board
21. ..a5 22.Re3
A good move and an interesting position. White’s pawn form a strong chain and have totally tied down all of black’s pieces.  
22...b6 23.g4 Na6
Black could have given a thought to either 23. ..Ra8 or 23. ..Rb8
For white, his pieces have total freedom of movement to launch an attack
24. ..Nc5 25.Bd2
Anything works for white now as black cannot escape defeat.
25.Re1 also wins for white and at this point black resigned

Diagram 2

White to play and checkmate
1.Rf8+ Qxf8 2.Qh7 checkmate