Acting on glee’s suggestion, this thread will annotate ivan astikov’s recent chess game. I’ll cover a few moves per post, and anyone is welcome to chime in with questions, suggestions, or improvements on my notes, as we go.
Here we go - ivan was Black in the following game.
- e4 a5
White’s first move stakes a claim to the centre of the board - important because this is where Knights have the most scope, and a major highway for Bishops. It may lead to an opening of lines against the enemy King too. Also, it lets out the Queen and the King’s Bishop along the diagonal, and while it slightly weakens the White King’s position, with sensible play the King won’t be staying there for long.
Black’s response is culpable, as it accomplishes none of the above - the only piece it “develops” is the Queen’s Rook, which can’t presently move to a6 in any case as the white Bishop could take it (and would). There are at least ten better responses to 1. e4: the c, d or e-pawns can move one or two squares, the b or g pawns one square, and either Knight can move, preferably to f6 or c6. 1. … e5 is probably the best for the novice and very good for the experienced player too.
- d4 Nf6
White continues on sensible lines. Establishing the “classic centre” is good if it can be done without interference, and now White has all the key squares and both his Bishops are free to move.
In reply, Black plays a move that would have been better (though not necessarily recommended to beginners) on move 1. Now it is not so good as White would be free to chase the Knight if he liked.
- Nc3 c6
White chooses instead to defend his e-pawn, which is simple, straightforward and good, bringing the Queen’s Knight to its usually-best square.
Black’s response at least leaves the Queen free to move and might support a later move to d5.
- e5 Nd5
White would have been better advised either to chase the Knight on his previous move, while he could still follow up with a move of his c-pawn, or simply to bring another piece into action.
Black can hardly be criticised for his Knight move; the piece had to go somewhere, and at least it is centrally located and has the support of a pawn. Moreover it can’t immediately be chased by White’s c-pawn.
- Nf3 d6
Nothing wrong with White’s move, developing another piece to a good square.
Black’s d-pawn now challenges White’s advanced e-pawn. Still, White’s position is still comfortably the stronger and with further simple moves - say, 6. Bc4 and 7. 0-0 if no emergency arises - he would stand well.