Chess Game of the Day: French Defense


One of my online chess games. Black builds a probably winning advantage but is running short on time (in a 3+2 blitz game). I offered a draw, which Black declined. This was followed by some not-so-good moves on both sides, including a losing blunder by Black on the last move. Some annotations below . . .

1. …e6 French Defense

39. Qa5? Black has probably a winning advantage and it’s hard to find a strong move.

39. …Ba6+? Black could start to capitalize on the pawn advantage with 39. …c4.

41. Qa1? I didn’t see it coming but 41. Kh2 would have avoided the upcoming knight sacrifice on g3, which opens up the diagonal to the White king. Black is winning but has only 21 seconds left (I have 43) so I offered a draw, which Black declined.

42. Qa4? 42. Qc3 would have guarded g3. It’s too late for 42. Kh2 because of 42. …c4.

42. …Nxg3!

45. b4! Believe it or not, I think this is better than saving the knight with 45. Nf3 because after 45. …c2, I can’t see a line that isn’t a disaster for White. This at least removes the immediate threat of Black queening the c-pawn.

46. …g6?? Black could safely tuck the king away at g8 instead of offering a target at g6.

47. Qxd2? I should have hit g6 right away with 47. h5.

47. …Bc4?? This seems like a real nothing move compared to 47. …d4, opening the diagonal to the White king.

48. h5?? It’s too late for this. With the White queen off the white diagonal, Black can defuse the attack with 48. …g5. 48. Nh3 has more possibilities for White.

48. …Kg7??

50. …d4?? Giving away pieces is not the best strategy in this situation. Black has completely squandered the advantage but it’s still an even game after 50. …Kf8. Black loses the g-pawn, so material is even, and both kings are completely vulnerable. Unfortunately, he has only 4 seconds left on his clock (I have 28) and lets it run out.

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