‘Gegen diesen Idioten muss ich verlieren!’ (‘That I should lose to this idiot!’) – Aron Nimzovich

My opponent this week may or may not have read of this famous lament, but he certainly felt it. Having played several tournament games against me over the past couple of years and losing every one has frustrated him. He was better in one of our previous games, but seems to feel that he was better in all of them and has merely fallen repeatedly for swindles. If there’s any justification to his opinion, it is certainly found in today’s game.

The truth is somewhat more nuanced, and I wish it would bring his tormented chess soul some comfort to understand what the problem really is.

In our game, Black’s fingerfehler dropped a knight in the opening to a tactic he has himself played many times (6… Nf6xe4 7. Qd1-a4+ **oops**). White’s excellent 14. Ne6! made the game a clear White win.

White certainly should have won the game, but Black made him work for it. In the end, despite some clever tactics, White succumbed not so much to combinatorial inaccuracy (though that certainly played a part when White’s 51. Be3-c5 allowed 51… Ra8xa5+!) as to not understanding where White’s advantage lay, which allowed the Black queen to fly desperately here and there creating threats.

White had a win in this dynamic position featuring an uncastled king precisely because his extra piece gave him the opportunity to marginalize Black’s queen. If White had kept this in mind, he would surely would have found 45. Rd2-d1! when Black could have resigned.

My opponent does his chess development a disservice by continuing to believe he is simply falling for swindles. He needs to deepen his assessment of what his advantage really consists of.

Jacques Delaguerre