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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Terrible play... some advice ? (Read 19509 times)
Stigma
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #25 - 09/01/18 at 19:59:26
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ErictheRed wrote on 09/01/18 at 14:57:43:
Thanks Bibs. 

For those interested, all of the Samisch games in this thread made it into my book Opening Repertoire: The Modern Samisch, and I spend a lot of time discussing these (and other) positional pitfalls and nuances. 

Good thing too that they're in the book! I for one would never have thought of checking the Torre subforum, of all places, for material on the Sämisch King's Indian. Can't recall noticing this thread earlier.
  

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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #24 - 09/01/18 at 14:57:43
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Thanks Bibs. 

For those interested, all of the Samisch games in this thread made it into my book Opening Repertoire: The Modern Samisch, and I spend a lot of time discussing these (and other) positional pitfalls and nuances.
  
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Bibs
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #23 - 09/01/18 at 09:47:31
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Thanks for posting that game.
Completely agree EricTR. See the plans in action, in glorious Technicolor. It is deliciously Irving Chernev.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #22 - 02/11/14 at 15:54:46
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kylemeister wrote on 02/11/14 at 15:38:10:
That looks pretty thematic, right there.
Comparable to Petrosian-Camara, Nice olympiad 1974, which ECO used as the reference game for the none-too-impressive-looking 6...Nbd7 and 7...e5.  That one took longer.


Yep, very similar.  Here's the game:



Nothing like watching World Champions (and ex-World Champions) beating up on fairly strong mortals to learn how to play a certain position type.
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #21 - 02/11/14 at 15:38:10
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That looks pretty thematic, right there.
Comparable to Petrosian-Camara, Nice olympiad 1974, which ECO used as the reference game for the none-too-impressive-looking 6...Nbd7 and 7...e5.  That one took longer.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #20 - 02/11/14 at 15:14:37
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Looking through some Samisch games I stumbled across one:



It's closer to what might have happened in Hicetnunc's game, especially regarding Black's queenside pawn structure and light squared weaknesses.  White just exchanges everything off but the dark-squared bishop and wins due to his enormous space advantage.  Also note that the knight on c5 did absolutely nothing; without ...f5 there is no pressure on e4.  I may be overestimating White's advantage here, but around move 16 I'd say that he's just strategically winning.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #19 - 02/06/14 at 18:57:04
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kylemeister wrote on 02/06/14 at 18:41:36:
Indeed it's quite different from hicetnunc's note.  For the record, the Informant version had 17...Qxd2+ 18. Nxd2 b5 as equal, and called 24...Rxf5 an error, giving 24...Be8 25. Nxg5 (only move) hg 26. Rxg5 Kh8 27. Nxe4 Bxb2 with the idea ...Rxd5 =.


I think that Black's already nearly lost or lost at that point, and I disagree that 24...Rxf5 is a substantial error.  24...Be8 25.Bxg5! improves I think, when Black shouldn't win the d5-pawn unless I've missed something.  White's winning.

Also, it's hard for me to say that 17...Qxd2 is equal.  Black's passive and doesn't have any counterplay, though I agree that White's advantage is small because Black gets the dark-squared bishop into the game in time.  Something like 18.Nxd2 b5 19.Nf2 Rfc8 20.0-0 Bf8 21.Rfc1 Be7 22.b4 must be a little better for White, but certainly well within the "Kasparov isn't going to lose this" margin.  Black is the one that needs to be careful though, not White, for instance 22.b4 axb3 23.axb3 Kf8 24.Kf1 Bd8? 25.Rxa8 Rxa8 26.Bxc5 dxc5 27.Nd3.
  
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kylemeister
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #18 - 02/06/14 at 18:41:36
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Indeed it's quite different from hicetnunc's note.  For the record, the Informant version had 17...Qxd2+ 18. Nxd2 b5 as equal, and called 24...Rxf5 an error, giving 24...Be8 25. Nxg5 (only move) hg 26. Rxg5 Kh8 27. Nxe4 Bxb2 with the idea ...Rxd5 =.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #17 - 02/06/14 at 17:50:03
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kylemeister wrote on 02/06/14 at 16:26:26:
ErictheRed wrote on 02/06/14 at 10:43:49:
The one game with these totally blocked kingsides (as could happen after 15.h5 g5 in your game) that I always think of is: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1070619. 

Bareev annotated it in Dvoretsky's Positional Play.  Black's position was so desperate that he had to give up a piece for complications, and even then White was for choice, then just winning.  It took an incredible amount of "Kasparovness" for Black not to lose that game.  In my head, I imagine that if Black wasn't the reigning World Champ with all of his intimidating body language, etc, that Bareev would have scored the full point.


This is interesting -- did Bareev write something like, "I've really changed my mind since my Informant notes, when I thought it should be equal with or without the piece sac"?


I don't know the Informant notes to which you're referring, and I may be exaggerating a bit about how desperate Black's position was, as Bareev does indicate that Black was probably OK (though White still for choice) without the piece sac.  Some hyperbole on my part perhaps, but I meant later in the game.

Reading between the lines a bit, Bareev seems to indicate that 26...Bb5? should have been the losing mistake.  His annotations were more conversational than anything else, however, and I don't have the book with me.  The feeling I got from his annotations were more that "Black would be okay after 17...Qxd2 because he's Kasparov" more than Black is objectively fully equal.  But I do think that Black can hold without too many problems in that ending because he has time to route his bad bishop outside of the pawn chain, i.e. ...Bg7-f8-e7-d8, etc. 

I didn't mean to suggest that White was winning or anything after 17...Qxd2, but I think the game does demonstrate how desperate Black's position can be in these structures.  If he weren't able to get his king's bishop outside of the pawn chain and advance his pawns to a4 and b5, for instance, I think he's strategically lost.  I meant that this game was instructive because it shows how Black should defend actively if he ends up in this kind of kingside bind.  It's unlikely that Hicetnunc's opponent could have managed getting his pawns off of a5, b6, and c7, which would have meant complete disaster as he could never activate his king's bishop, as Kasparov could. 

I can say that I recently spent many hours analyzing this game (with the aid of an engine), and that I personally think that Bareev underestimated his advantage at times.  FWIW, I think that Black was lost after 23...f5? (my annotation), which Bareev makes no comment on.  My analysis indicates that Kasparov could have held/had full counterplay/unclearness/whatever after 23...Be8!, the point being that 24.Nf2 f5! 25.gxf5 Bxh5+ gets the White h-pawn off of the board and gives Black connected passed pawns and a lot of counterplay.  One very fun line (not at all forced) goes 26.Kd2 Rxf5 27.Nfxe4 Rfxd5!? 28.Nxd5 Rxd5+ 29.Ke1! Re5! 30.Ng3 Rxe3+ 31.Kd2 Rxg3! 32.Rxg3 Be5! and I don't know how to evaluate that position.

In the game, Bareev's 26.Rh1! should have won, depriving Black of connected passed pawns.  Bareev says that his 29.Rd1? was the mistake that let victory slip. 

I don't want to post more of my analysis at this time, sorry.
« Last Edit: 02/06/14 at 18:50:56 by ErictheRed »  
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kylemeister
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #16 - 02/06/14 at 16:26:26
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ErictheRed wrote on 02/06/14 at 10:43:49:
The one game with these totally blocked kingsides (as could happen after 15.h5 g5 in your game) that I always think of is: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1070619. 

Bareev annotated it in Dvoretsky's Positional Play.  Black's position was so desperate that he had to give up a piece for complications, and even then White was for choice, then just winning.  It took an incredible amount of "Kasparovness" for Black not to lose that game.  In my head, I imagine that if Black wasn't the reigning World Champ with all of his intimidating body language, etc, that Bareev would have scored the full point.


This is interesting -- did Bareev write something like, "I've really changed my mind since my Informant notes, when I thought it should be equal with or without the piece sac"?
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #15 - 02/06/14 at 14:54:23
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Interesting idea for a thread although for many of us the normal answer to 'what didn't I understand about this game' is nearly everything Wink

I hadn't fully realised the centre was still flexible when black went a5. I don't want to believe that black was planning a queenside pawn storm that undeveloped but you never know Smiley

Perhaps rather kinder to credit him with the plausible enough idea of Ba6 to swap those bishops. White's d5/Bb5+ combination then rather forestalled that plan, at the cost of shutting the center etc.
  
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hicetnunc
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #14 - 02/06/14 at 14:49:14
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dfan wrote on 02/06/14 at 13:49:58:
Many thanks not just to everyone who has chimed in on this game but also to hicetnunc for posting it for comment. I've learned a lot. I'd love to see a weekly "What didn't I understand about this game?" thread. Maybe I'll start the next one...


Yes, we could create a special section in the forum. Why not call it : 'We're good chess players... in theory'  Grin
  

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dfan
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #13 - 02/06/14 at 13:49:58
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Many thanks not just to everyone who has chimed in on this game but also to hicetnunc for posting it for comment. I've learned a lot. I'd love to see a weekly "What didn't I understand about this game?" thread. Maybe I'll start the next one...
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #12 - 02/06/14 at 11:27:40
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P.s. I also want to say that 9...a5 is NOT about securing the c5-square for the knight, or that it shouldn't be.  Before White has played d4-d5, that square isn't available yet, anyway.  It looks more like the start of a general pawn-storm against White's king, with intended follow-ups of 10...c7-c6, 11...b6-b5, etc.  I'd rather have just played 9...a6 if I were Black though, with ideas of ...b5 and ...c5.

After the structure in the center solidifies into the "d5 pawn chain," though, the move 9...a5 just became a glaring weakness as White dominates all of the queenside light squares and can immediately use b5.  Somewhat paradoxically, it's often not appropriate for Black to play this way (plopping a knight on c5).  The key, to me, seems to be whether Black can generate pressure against e4 or not.  If he can't, then he shouldn't do it.  Better to play ...a6, ...c6, ...b5, possibly ...Nd7-b6 and on to c4 or a4, etc.

I'm reminded of this thread where I tried to make that point, and quoted Chris Ward: http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1371733367

It's just another extremely common amateur positional error.
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #11 - 02/06/14 at 11:19:19
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IMJohnCox wrote on 02/06/14 at 01:04:50:
In reply to the OP; you've received some good advice but I'd also say that gxf6 was, as you point out yourself, a truly terrible move. This structure is not good for White unless he can dominate f4 and g5 and basically win in the attack; in any kind of endgame it's terrible. And you're never going to manage that when your opponent has an unopposed dark-squared bishop, which you've just freed at a stroke.

This is for some reason not obvious at first sight; I remember once making the same kind of mistake myself.

Also (others have said this I know), when you say that ...g6 is good because it prepares to lock up the position, this suggests to me that you really don't understand these positions at all. If the kingside is locked up by h5 g5 then Black can essentially resign; White just prepares and pushes forward on the queenside, and Black is crushed. ...g6 may or may not be a good move, but it certainly isn't a good move because it prepares to close the kingside.

In fact, you're quite right to agonise about this game, I would say, because it's precisely the sort of game which offers excellent opportunities to understand things you presently don't and hence improve. I wouldn't say giving up the opening was the right response, though.


Thanks for taking the time to share your views : this is really appreciated !

I've gone over this game two more times with friends, and things start to become clearer. As you say, this game is a great learning experience. I won't drop the opening, just wondering about the choice of Nc3 vs. a Nd2/c3 set-up as it opens the door to a wide range of different positions.

I now fully appreciate the big advantage for white after 15.h5 g5, but in our analysis,  15...Bg5+ proved quite resilient, so I now wonder about the value of the h4/g4 approach as a whole. Still ploughing...  Smiley
  

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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #10 - 02/06/14 at 10:43:49
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I like John's point about the unopposed dark-squared bishop.  After move 10, Black's DSB became quite bad, but since it is his unopposed bishop you should be extra careful to keep it passive.  In a long-term sense you should be thinking about exchanging light-squared bishops and angling for a good knight vs. terrible bishop positions (with a ton of extra space to boot). 

The one game with these totally blocked kingsides (as could happen after 15.h5 g5 in your game) that I always think of is: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1070619. 

Bareev annotated it in Dvoretsky's Positional Play.  Black's position was so desperate that he had to give up a piece for complications, and even then White was for choice, then just winning.  It took an incredible amount of "Kasparovness" for Black not to lose that game.  In my head, I imagine that if Black wasn't the reigning World Champ with all of his intimidating body language, etc, that Bareev would have scored the full point.
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #9 - 02/06/14 at 01:04:50
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In reply to the OP; you've received some good advice but I'd also say that gxf6 was, as you point out yourself, a truly terrible move. This structure is not good for White unless he can dominate f4 and g5 and basically win in the attack; in any kind of endgame it's terrible. And you're never going to manage that when your opponent has an unopposed dark-squared bishop, which you've just freed at a stroke.

This is for some reason not obvious at first sight; I remember once making the same kind of mistake myself.

Also (others have said this I know), when you say that ...g6 is good because it prepares to lock up the position, this suggests to me that you really don't understand these positions at all. If the kingside is locked up by h5 g5 then Black can essentially resign; White just prepares and pushes forward on the queenside, and Black is crushed. ...g6 may or may not be a good move, but it certainly isn't a good move because it prepares to close the kingside.

In fact, you're quite right to agonise about this game, I would say, because it's precisely the sort of game which offers excellent opportunities to understand things you presently don't and hence improve. I wouldn't say giving up the opening was the right response, though.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #8 - 02/04/14 at 18:09:30
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barnaby wrote on 02/04/14 at 17:51:33:
like colonel dax trying to take the ant hill, that king deserves a medal for bravey

nice game


More like he deserves a court martial for desertion!
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #7 - 02/04/14 at 17:51:33
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like colonel dax trying to take the ant hill, that king deserves a medal for bravey

nice game
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #6 - 02/04/14 at 17:42:39
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Not exactly a high-quality game, but you get the idea:

  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #5 - 02/04/14 at 17:18:21
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I too was reminded of Spassky-Kavalek, but regarding the d5-e4-g4-h5 clamp I thought of Larsen-Hort, San Antonio 1972   Smiley
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #4 - 02/04/14 at 17:00:35
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It's OK, we all lose games like this from time to time because our positional understanding is never perfect. At least these losses show us clearly where our deficiencies are.
Petrosian - Schweber, Stockholm 1962 is the classic reference game for the d5-e4-g4-h5 clamp Eric is talking about. Spassky - Kavalek, Montreal 1979 is the textbook example of how to play the g5/...h5 pawn structure. Both games are required study for playing 1.d4 Smiley
One gets the impression from looking at moves 10-15 that you were a bit anxious to force the play. Exploiting a long-term advantage like space in a closed position often requires patience. Spassky's game is a particularly good example of that.
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #3 - 02/04/14 at 13:58:10
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Plenty I'm not sure about, partially no doubt because its hard Smiley

Most importantly I think you have to sort your expectations of this sort of thing - black often plays slowly like this in Tromp/Torre positions and you can't really take him apart in response. Sometimes with d4/e4/f4 pawn centers I guess.

Black didn't go a5 to attack, he's just securing the knight on c5 so Bb5+ really just helped it on its way and stuck your bishop on a slightly odd square.

If you do feel the need to win quickly then fixing the structure with moves like 10 d5 isn't going to help. You do that sort of thing for long term goals. Like the queenside white squares.

As for 12.. o-o - yes really? Where's whites attack?

Not an awful lot supporting it really. 13 g4 makes plenty of positional sense to clamp down on f5 ideas from black.

Mating him fast isn't on the agenda until you get more pieces involved. A knight on f5 maybe etc. Tie him down first then kill.

13.. g6 actually looks a lot like panic to me. As Eric says, 14 h5 to fix that bit of the structure too and torture black would be nigh on winning in practical terms. Horrible to play as black.

Is an immediate white attack really doing anything if black just goes 13.. Nc5 maybe dreaming of Ba6 etc instead? Black may well be roughly OK there.
(or maybe Re8 to allow Nf8 etc, although that's rather passive.).
  
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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #2 - 02/04/14 at 11:47:34
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Thanks Eric for taking the time to reply to my rant... It's much appreciated, especially since I hold your posts here in high regard.

I don't blame the opening of course, but I realize my pawn play was disastrous in that game. Your advice makes sense, and I think I'm going to focus on middlegame pawn play in the coming months.

Will have a look at the books you recommend. Thank you again (and you're right I freaked out, but I think I haven't played that bad for a long time...)  Smiley
  

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Re: Terrible play... some advice ?
Reply #1 - 02/04/14 at 11:39:05
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Read Pawn Structure Chess.

Just kidding! (Kind of).  I think that you're freaking out a little bit, but blaming the opening for the result of this game is entirely misguided.  You should probably study "positional play" and "dynamic play," judging only from this one game. 

You got an excellent position out of the opening, with a very large lead in development.  I might have played 10.g4, 10.h4, or just 10.Kb1!?; in essence you want to open lines when ahead in development, right?   Sometimes chess is an easy game...except that there's no easy way to open lines just yet.  So you gain space, play flexibly, and see how Black proceeds.  The last thing I'd think about is closing lines with 10.d5 e5--though admittedly this isn't so bad right now, as Black has weakened his queenside squares tremendously.

You still had a very large positional advantage after that move (now is the time to turn to Pawn Structure Chess); it's similar to a King's Indian or Old Indian Defense.  On move 15 there was no reason to close lines, though--why did you play 15.g5?  The move makes sense if you have some kind of piece-for-two-pawns followup sac on h5 to attack the king, but you don't.  You can continue maneuvering slowly with 15.Kb1, 16.Ne2 (intending to go to g3 and preparing to gain more space with c2-c4 at some point).  You're clearly better.

In fact, one move I'd seriously consider, since you've already closed the center, is 15.h5!?.  Now if 15...g5 Black has about the worst dark-squared bishop possible and his f5-square is weak (in fact, ALL of his light squares are weak).  You can then proceed with the Ne2-g3 maneuver, Kc1-b1 and possibly a1, c2-c4, Put your rooks on the b and c-files, and eventually break through on the queenside.  It's just a King's Indian gone irrevocably wrong, and I think that White's strategically winning after 15.h5 g5. 

By the way, I'm surprised that on move 14 you say "I'm surprised that I couldn't find a way to a clear advantage."  You have a clear advantage, and it's quite large; that comment is very telling to me.  Study some King's Indian-type structures and you'll see that Black has absolutely zero counterplay in your game, while you can build up, gain space, and break through at your leisure.  Honestly, to me it looks like you're pretty much "strategically winning."  Those kinds of positions are the reason I play 1.d4.

So...maybe read Pawn Structure Chess and Dynamic Chess Strategy?  Me recommending Soltis' book has become almost a running joke on this forum, but games like this are exactly the reason I recommend it.
  
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Terrible play... some advice ?
02/04/14 at 10:10:49
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Hi, I've been playing the Torre attack for 1,5 years with satisfactory results, but this week-end, I played a terrible game which made me think about my approach to the opening :



The Torre is not really about variations (okay there are some), but about being able to play a 'normal position'. In this game, it looked like I made all the wrong positional decisions (10.d5?!; 15.g5?!; 18.Bxd7?; 21.gxf6?).

So I wonder what would the best way to tackle these weaknesses in my play ? Of course, I could just go back in the hole and avoid those positions (I could play c3/Nbd2 instead of Nc3).

OTOH, I find a bit vexing to be unable to play these normal positions decently, so I wonder if I shouldn't just go over some good games focusing on pawn breaks ?!

Anybody met a similar problem in his chess life ?  Smiley
  

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