My first game after last week’s post on the French Rubinstein was a French Rubinstein. I think that looking at Georg Meier’s games helped me think about being more active with Black particularly with the major pieces. So moves like 8…Qa5+ and 16…Rxd6 and later activity with the rooks and queen.
I’ve found that most players at my level don’t play 6.Nxf6, which is the most common master move, however White did so here. I was unsure about playing Black’s key lever 7…c5 straightaway and the most common move after 7.Bg5 is 7… h6 which is what Nigel recommends. It’s so hard to remember!
In the Rubinstein White’s knight does sometimes come to e5 and can be very dangerous but it doesn’t seem right here and then coming to d3 felt a little awkward for White. I was aware of the idea of pushing the e pawn as a way of activating Black’s light squared bishop and was pleased to have played it. I think seeing the potential of exploiting the pinned knight with 18…Bf5 was a result of my Chessity tactic training. Although I hadn’t looked at 19.g4 in reply which came as a surprise. I thought it was just a wild swing but it is what my engine suggests and I really should have considered it. I lost a lot of my advantage by not taking the g pawn with my knight but I didn’t analyse it very well and missed that after the exchanges on g4 I’d have Rg6 pinning White’s queen.
I like the look of the final position with his rooks and queen lined up on the e file and my rooks and queen lined up on the 2nd rank.