Introduction:

As part of my quest to find games online in the chessgames.com opening explorer that use unconventional chess openings, I have noticed that some openings have a very limited amount of games to analyze. That is a shame because any opening you can think of, you can win with it if you try to understand all of the ins and outs surrounding it. I found a game that I found really inspiring using the Barnes Opening. The opening explorer however, classifies the opening as the “Lion Defense: Lions Jaw” which is an offshoot of the Pirc defense which is very commonly played although one that I avoid.

Opening: The Knights Going Blind For No Reason

White gets off to an excellent start due to making it a clear priority for piece development. It is clear that white has a great center cemented by a very supportive dark squared bishop with 4. Be3

For the next few moves, up until move 10, I would like you to leave a comment as to how black should proceed to finish his development given how the knight on d7 now moved twice and accomplished nothing.

Black makes a very bad move with 10. Nh5?

Why wouldn’t he just castle and then take the steps to equalize with c6? This is the first of missteps by black that will make his life very difficult. After white finishes his development with 11. Nge2, black again makes some pointless move with 11. h6? instead of castling

. I like how white pushes for a pawn storm on the kingside with 13. h4 as black cannot break through on the queenside due to white’s tremendous spatial advantage.

Middle Game: Closing the Position By Black Ended Up Opening It!

From the look of it, black seems to have a solid fortress around the light squares near his king. White made a really good move with 17. f4! which removes the obstacle to white opening up the f-file while challenging the dark squared bishop. However, 18. Bd4 proves that black’s kingside is very vulnerable

Black would not take the bishop because white’s queen would be way too strong. After black play’s 20. Rb8, he must have forgotten that white can crack black’s (supposedly) strong pawn chain fortress with 21. Bxh5!

which opens up the g, h in addition to the f-files giving white’s rooks massive firepower!

The next few moves are a classic case of black thinking too short term at the expense of long term fundamentals. Thanks to black’s knight(s) being an endless hopper, white can take full advantage of black’s non existent kingside defenses with 23. Nf6+!

thereby making full use of the h-file in storming black’s king. I consider black’s next several moves to be hail Mary moves but black’s 27. Ne7 comes too late after white play’s 29. Qf6+!

further weakening black’s king. White continues to excel with 33. Nh5! which threatens mate and forces black’s only move to stop that mate with 33. Qh8

White does a discovered check winning black’s queen but why he retreated with 36. Rdd1 

I do not know and would love for you to comment below on why white made that move.

Endgame: Open Files are Food for Rooks!

The rooks prove too deadly for black. I make the case for how chess helps you overcome adversity but sometimes, we just need to learn when to give up and do something else. Black should have just given up after white played 43. Rdf1

as apart from being down material, the king cannot play any role as the rooks cut off the king due to the open files. White further goes up material after 45. axb5 

as black cannot take due to white winning another pawn with Rxc7+!.

Due to black’s knight further entangling itself, black cannot move his knight after 53. Rg8 due to white having Rg7 checkmate!

Isn’t that crazy? So after black makes a mindless rook move, white just gobbles the knight with 54. Rbxe8

leading to black’s resignation.

Lessons Learned:

It was clear from the beginning that black did not view the concept of fluidity as an important part of the game. The perfect example of this was black playing 3. Nbd7 as opposed to say 3. Na6 or 3. Nc6 (d5 is not a threat by white since black can just play Ne5 and the knight is safe). Since black was cramping his own position, white took full opportunity to create a lasting spatial advantage beginning with 6. d5! which continued until the end of the game. Secondly, one should (in general) not move the same piece twice in the opening. Pawns can become fortresses as part of a chain but only when there is support from other pieces. This is because the pawn structure wasn’t really so strong after white played 21. Bxh5.

When you play your games, make sure that your development isn’t inhibited by moves that look good but in fact will cause problems from a support perspective. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer!

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