Some guy spouting opinions on the Internet (reflaxion) wrote in chess_forum,
Some guy spouting opinions on the Internet

Baby's First Smothered Mate

It's been quiet here lately, so although I usually don't post links straight to my games, here's one I wanted to share. I always loved to see the smothered mate in action, but I'd never actually pulled one off in a real game... until now.

matthewthegreat vs. reflaxion - Colle-Zukertort Tournament, Round 4

For those who prefer sifting through PGN:

[Event "Colle-Zukertort - Round 4"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2009.12.04"]
[White "matthewthegreat"]
[Black "reflaxion"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1835"]
[BlackElo "2031"]
[TimeControl "1 in 3 days"]
[Termination "reflaxion won by checkmate"]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Nbd2 c5 5.b3 {Thematic Game - This is the starting position.}
cxd4 6.exd4 Bd6 7.Bb2 Nc6 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.O-O O-O
11.Re1 c5 12.c4 cxd4 13.Nxd4 e5 14.N4f3 e4 15.Nh4 Ng4 16.Nf1 Qxh4 17.h3 Qxf2+ 18.Kh1 Bc5 19.Nh2 Qg1+ 20.Rxg1 Nf2#

My thoughts:

5... cxd4 (the opening move in this thematic tournament) was new to me. Throughout this tournament, I'd opened with Nbd2 as Black, while everyone who played me opened with cxd4. I decided to see if they knew something I didn't.

I thought 8. Bxc6 was a small gift. I took the opportunity to centralize my pawns, and later tried to capitalize on it.

12. cxd4 was where my weakness with pawn play started to show itself. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to do.

13... e5? was a mistake. I knew it, forgot it, then played it and regretted it. After 14. N4f3, my pawn was under double attack, and 14... e4 was forced, else I'd have lost a pawn on the spot.

15. Nh4? was a shock. I'd given my opponent an outpost on d4 and he didn't seize it. Still, my impatience had gotten me in trouble.

15... Ng4!? was a desperate move on my part, but I felt it was strong. I had expected my opponent to move 16. g3, after which I'd have resumed my play in the center to try to patch up my pawn mess.

16. Nf1?? was the turning point of the game. Yes, it defended h2 from my bishop, but it left the knight to hang. Far better would have been 16. g3. I wasted no time in playing 16... Qxh4.

17. h3? and it was clear my opponent was shaken. 17. g3 would've been better, since he still had a knight on f1. I would've retreated to h5 and planned my next attack.

18... Bc5! was a moev I was particularly proud of. I had calculated and re-calculated lines after 17... Qxf2+ to find the best continuation, and I found this to be winning, forcing my opponent to drop more pieces. Most of my other plans ended in even exchange.

19. Nh2+?? was the final mistake. Ne3 should've been considered, after which Nxe3 Rf2 would at least keep the game going. Of all the potential knight moves, this was the one I had hoped for the most, and I was pleased when I got it. 19... Qg1+ and I rounded out the game in textbook style.
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