Quiet Moves Run Deep

Quiet moves often make a stronger impression than a wild combination with heavy sacrifices. – Mikhail Tal

My game tonight was a satisfying positional crush.

The Symmetrical English (A36) after 1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 is straightforward for both players.  Black fianchettos, and thereafter, if White goes left, Black goes right, so to speak.  If White aims to restrain Black with pawns on c2-d3-e4 and Nge2, Black goes for e6 and Nge7.  If White shoots for e3, Nge2 and d4, Black can do the same, possibly leading to the most symmetrical of symmetrical Englishes where both sides push the queen pawn two squares, or possibly leading to a topical line wherein White plays Ne2-f4 before castling to restrain Black’s d7-d5. Alternatively, Black can restrain White’s  d2-d4 by pawns on c5-d6-e5 with Nge7.

This last was my opponent’s choice. It’s perfectly good if one doesn’t dither, but Black dithered on moves 8 and 9, which is all it takes in such positions to give White an easy-to-play game versus a difficult defensive task for Black, who is likely to have to abandon a queenside pawn for nebulous kingside chances.

Black blundered on move 24 and found himself possibly able to reach an appalling  pawn down queen-and-bishop ending. Having no taste for such, my opponent instead tried to keep the pieces on and the game was over in a few moves.