Inflection points

Slater (2012) – Hornbeck (1898)

Mass Championship, May 2004

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.cxd5 Ne7 9.c3 f5 10.f4  Ng6 11.Qh5 a6 12.fxe5

Now what the devil is white thinking here? – you might wonder. I’ll tell you: White is rusty and thinking, “The way I win is always though complications.”

Professionally, personally, in our hobbies or pursuits or whatever, we hit the occasional inflection point. If we are reluctant to embrace change, sometimes change forces itself upon us. This is probably the precise game which forced me to alter my approach to chess – all that striving for complications is no longer backed up by the imagination or tactical insight that carried me to many points in previous years. In hindsight, this whole sequence just looks completely dorky, like wildly optimistic blitz chess.

12…dxe5 13.Bg5 Qb6 14.Bd3 axb5 15.g4 Be7 16.gxf5 Bxg5 17.fxg6 Qe6+ 18.Qe2 Qxe2+ 19.Bxe2 hxg6 20.Bxb5+ Bd7 21.Bd3 Bf5 22.Bb5+ Ke7 0-1

In the months following my goose egg (0-3) in this tournament, it dawned on me that I’d have to find a different way to play if I wanted to start winning again.


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