My First Game of 2017!

This game is an unorthodox opening from both sides, culminating in a mating attack before move 10!  Wow!  2017 is off to a great start!

In all honesty, I had no intention of playing chess for the first few months.  Much like 2015, I wanted time to study first and then put it into action.  However, I advanced to the fourth round of a tournament and got automatically paired with several opponents.  Somehow all are much lower rated than I am, but oh well, let’s do it.

I present my first game of 2017.

[Event “2- Chess is for fun – Round 4”]
[Site “”]
[Date “2017.01.05”]
[Round “4”]
[White “LuisFloresA”]
[Black “SmithyQ”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A20”]
[WhiteElo “1625”]
[BlackElo “2144”]
[PlyCount “18”]
[EventDate “2017.??.??”]
[TimeControl “1”]

{My first game of 2017 features an epic Queen sacrifice and mating attack …
all before move 10!} 1. b3 {Believe it or not, I have a complete pet system
against the flank openings, both 1.b3 and 1.b4. Most White players use these
openings to throw you into unknown territory, so I turn the table and throw it
right back at them.} e5 2. c4 {This threw me off guard, though. Most people go
2.Bb2 automatically, where I can use my favourite setup.} (2. Bb2 Bd6 $5 3. e3
c6 4. Nf3 Qe7 5. Be2 Bc7 6. O-O d5 {This is the basic setup. Black
overprotects the centre squares. White has no targets to attack. Black now
just calmly completes development, castles and then attacks wherever. I’ve
used this with great success over the years … in the four or five games I’ve
had the chance to play it.}) 2… c6 3. Bb2 Bd6 {I keep going for my setup,
but in this pseudo-English position, I’m not sure it’s the best anymore. I’ll
be honest, I wasn’t thinking too much, because I greatly outrated my opponent.
Maybe not a good strategy.} 4. c5 {Four moves in and we have a crazy position
already!} Bc7 ({The computer prefers taking the pawn. I considered it, but I
wasn’t sure about this position:} 4… Bxc5 5. Bxe5 Nf6 6. d4 {White has a
good Bishop and nice central control. I stopped calculating here, but the
computer thinks the forcing line} Bb4+ 7. Nd2 Ne4 8. Ngf3 f6 9. Bf4 g5 10. Be3
d5 {is nearly a pawn better for Black. This is not a position I’m especially
comfortable with, though.}) 5. f4 {[%cal Gb2g7] White plays for tactics along
the long diagonal, and I’m not sure if it’s madness or genius.} exf4 6. Bxg7
Qh4+ {The counter-attack, the whole point of course.} 7. g3 fxg3 8. Nf3 $4 {
This natural move loses. White did have an interesting alternative, one I saw
of course but dismissed.} (8. Bg2 {This is White’s only chance, which leads to
yet another bizarre position.} gxh2+ 9. Kf1 hxg1=Q+ 10. Kxg1 Qg5 11. Bxh8 {
Black has a pawn for the exchange, and when I saw this position I figured
White’s undeveloped army and naked King meant he’s done, especially if I can
trap the Bishop in the corner. However, my King is in the center, my pieces
are also undeveloped and I have no obvious follow-up. This would have been a
very interesting game … but instead I get mate in two. Guess I can’t complain.}) 8… gxh2+ $1 9.
Nxh4 Bg3# {In the end, I sac’d my Queen for a mating combination. I don’t
think I sacrificed my Queen once all of 2016. That bodes well, methinks.} 0-1

As a final thought, I could have gotten in trouble in this game.  I blindly followed my preferred setup, ignoring White’s moves, and a stronger opponent would have taken advantage.  The first five moves aren’t automatic.  They matter.  I’ll need to remember that, regardless of the strength of my opponent.

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