Thursday, October 13, 2016

Scotch Game by Nepomniachtchi

When I was 12 years old, my father and some friends took me to Baxter State Park in Maine. We climbed Mount Katahdin which rises one mile above sea level. At one point we stopped by a stream. I took my shoes off and waded a couple inches into the water as it gently flowed down the mountain over the rocks.

Suddenly I started slipping and sliding deeper into the water up to my neck. I could not stop myself. The water current pushed me along. The footing was slick. The guys formed a human chain that reached me and pulled me out. Whew. I experienced the slippery slope concept first hand.

How can a strong grandmaster slip into a lost opening position?
White won this short Scotch Game in only 23 moves without a sudden blunder by Black. He just slipped into a worse position.

Ian Nepomniachtchi is a Russian grandmaster born in 1990. His 2740 rating is near the top in the world. GM Nepomniachtchi is a universal openings player, but mostly as White he chooses 1.e4. It is no surprise to me that he might win a short game.

Evgeny Tomashevsky born in 1987 is a Russian grandmaster as well. He had played the Scotch Game 4…Bc5 and lost two years earlier. Evgeny chose 4…Nf6. Without these two Scotch losses he would have a winning record against Nepomniachtchi. Black’s 12…d6 steps onto the slippery slope, and White found 13.Nc3. Black did not fall off the cliff. He just went slip sliding away.

My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers the Scotch Game. Sign up if you want to receive my weekly training repertoire by email.

Nepomniachtchi (2740) - Tomashevsky (2731), 10th Tal Mem 2016 Moscow RUS (1.4), 26.09.2016 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 g6 10.f4 [10.g3 Bg7 11.Bb2 0-0 12.Bg2=] 10...Bg7 [10...d6 11.Qd2 Nb6 12.Ba3 f6 13.c5=; 10...f6 11.Ba3 Nb4 12.Bb2 Bh6 13.a3=] 11.Qf2 Nf6 [11...Nb6 12.Ba3 d6 13.Nc3] 12.Ba3 [12.Be2 Ne4 13.Qe3 f5 14.Ba3 d6 15.Nc3 Nxc3 16.Qxc3 Bb7 17.Bf3 0-0-0 18.0-0 Rhe8=] 12...d6 [12...Ng4 13.Qe2 Qe6 14.Nd2 d6 15.h3 Nh6 16.0-0-0 0-0-0 17.exd6 Qf6 18.Qe5 Qxe5 19.fxe5 Bxe5 20.c5 Bb5 21.Bxb5 cxb5 22.Nf3=] 13.Nc3 0-0 [13...Qe6 14.Be2 dxe5 15.0-0 Nd7 16.f5+/=] 14.0-0-0 Ne8 15.g3 Bb7 16.Bg2 f6 17.exd6 Nxd6 18.c5 Nf5 19.Rhe1 Qf7 20.Bf1 Rfd8 21.Rxd8+ Rxd8 22.Bc4 Rd5 23.Qe2 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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