Jamie’s analysis of Wolchock vs Campbell

  1. 2 .. Bg7 -> the thinking here is that if white just nomnoms with Bxg5, black will play c5 and ratchet up pressure on the a1/h8 diagonal. Theo clearly recognized this and did Nc3 to reinforce the diagonal, at which point black DOES need to worry about the g5 pawn, and has to do h6 to hold it. This is also one of the reasons that this approach has a fairly bad reputation. If all black gets out of this is having launched his kingside pawns forward prematurely, then one would think that white would happily pay him to do this.
  2. 5 b3 I was happy to see this as I get to continue putting pressure on d4 and the diagonal generally despite e3 being thrown in
  3. 9 b4 when I originally calculated the main line, I had the misconception that I could mess up white’s pawns with Nxc3 bxa5 Nxd1 but then I realized he can just do Bxc3 leaving me with probably just a worse position. I had to regroup my thoughts and see if I had to allow that variation to happen or if I had something else. I saw that Qf5 was a possibility since Bd3 would bet met with Qxf2#. But what if Qc2 pinning the knight and covering f2? Thankfully I have Ng3/Nxf5.
  4. 12 Nb5 -> this covers d4 and also threatens Nc7+/Nxa8 , however, during the game I thought that Nd5 might be better. It doesn’t bother to defend d4 but has the advantage of Na6/b5 which seems to force me to do some sort of e6 counterattack which seems to really mess me up
  5. 16 Be4 -> at first glance this is a killer move. My bishop is tied to holding the f5 knight, my a8 rook is tied to the a7 pawn, and if I have to do Rfb8 it seems to be very yuck (those would not be happy and active rooks). I was happy to find d5!? .. if Bxd5 then my bishop is no longer tied down and I can Bxb5, and either Bxb7 Rb8 or cxb5 Nc7. He can’t cxd5 because Bxb5 attacks his rook losing the exchange after Bxf5
  6. 18 Rfe1 -> A really sneaky beak kind of move, the “first glance” move of e6 allows Nd6 threatening to either snag b7 or else kick me in the teeth with Nxf5. I think that Rfe8 is forced here, to allow the pawn to maintain control of d6. Note that if instead 18 cxd5 I’d do my own cheapo via Bd3 forking rook and knight.
  7. 21 .. Bc4 -> I felt that if Nxc4 dxc4 I can gang up on d4, even though I may not retain my pawn on c4.
  8. 22 .. Bxe5 -> he has a choice here, the rook move (as played) allows me a pawnstorm aided by attack on his rook. If instead he takes with pawn then I get a protected passed pawn. It may have been better to allow the passed pawn as it seems harder to work with than the pawnstorm.
  9. 25 .. d4 -> Theo said “oops” during the game and at first I thought I misheard him, or that I’d missed something. I was confused and stared at the board and quickly rechecked my analysis, but still saw that Ne4 seemed to work due to Nxf6+ . I figured that either he was messing with me or that he didn’t see it, either way, d4 was still the correct move.
  10. 28 .. Nb5 -> this is a slight nuance. It pushes the bishop back to b2 to defend a3, and only then do I capture on e5, to snag a pawn out of the deal
  11. 31 .. Kf7 -> I could also just exchange rooks, but I’m going to need to activate my king for post-exchange follow through so I might as well do it immediately.
  12. 36 Bd2 he’s clearly gunning for my kingside pawns. I decided that I was willing to give a pawn back in exchange for further simplification and bringing on the endgame, when my light bishop had boatloads of tempo to spare for preventing his pawns from promoting.
  13. The rest of the game is fairly simple technique. After I block his defense of his b4 pawn with my knight, exchange, and grab the b pawn, my a pawn just rolls to promotion.

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