[Event "Jake Darmanin - David Cilia Vincenti: Jake Darmanin - David Cilia Vincenti 1-0"] [Site "https://lichess.org/study/RgJZMgoP/ls3LSAha"] [Result "*"] [Variant "Standard"] [ECO "B12"] [Opening "Caro-Kann Defense: Maróczy Variation"] [Annotator "https://lichess.org/@/Szicko2023"] [UTCDate "2023.04.23"] [UTCTime "14:17:05"] [Source "https://lichess.org/study/RgJZMgoP/ls3LSAha"] [Orientation "white"] 1. e4 { Just like Robert, Jake also plays 1.d4 so I had to be ready for that as well. } 1... c6 { Up to now, I had played the Sicilian succesfully but now I decided to vary. I wasn't in the mood to face Jake's favourite Alapin and was looking for a more unbalanced fight to hopefully win and move ahead of Colin, who was tied with me on 4 out of 5 points at this stage. } 2. d4 d5 3. f3 { Just as I predicted, Jake trots out the Fantasy, which is consistent with his style. } 3... Qb6 { This is a tricky and rarely played alternative to 3...e6. Objectively it is quite a good move and I had specifically prepared it, but watch what happens... } 4. Nc3 dxe4 5. Nxe4 (5. fxe4 e5 6. dxe5 Be6 7. Nf3 Nd7 { This is what I had prepared and leads to a pleasant position for Black. }) 5... Nf6 6. c3 Nxe4? { This move was already a big problem for me. The source I was studying from only mentioned 5.fxe4 and 5.Bc4. So on move five I was on my own in a very double-edged line. I was already sweating and not only from the Maltese heat. One of the lessons here is that when preparing a new variation you don't rely only on your book or dvd/digital product but always check a database. The move played by Jake is not as common but also venomous. } 7. fxe4 e5?! { My last two moves were over-ambitious and frankly quite poor. I was trying to get a structure similar to the previously given variation that I had prepared for. However, chess is a concrete game and here it doesn't quite work. Punishment will be swift. } 8. Qh5! exd4?! { It was better to try and develop a bit with 8...Nd7 or 8...Be6, although the game was already creeping beyond salvation. } 9. Bc4! Qc7 10. Ne2 g6 11. Qf3 Bg7 12. Bf4 Qd7 13. Nxd4 O-O 14. O-O-O Qg4 15. Qf2! { Very calm and accurate, Jake retreats his queen ever so slightly, avoiding the exchange and leaving my own queen looking rather stupid. Indeed it is almost trapped. Plus, I am hopelessly behind in development. } 15... Bxd4? { Please don't ask why I played this move. Probably because everything is bad and I lashed out in desperation. } 16. Rxd4 b5 17. Bh6! { 1-0 Now if 17...bxc4 18. Qf6 mates whilst 17.. .Nd7 18.Rxd7 leads to a similar fate. There was nothing left to do but resign and congratulate my opponent, who to his credit played faultlessly. Indeed I didn't even give Jake the chance to get into his customary time trouble. This was my worst game and only defeat in the tournament, and it was a crushing one. So why am I showing it? Two reasons, it shows how quickly things can fall part as Black when you are poorly prepared, especially in a tricky variation like the Fantasy Caro-Kann. Secondly, dealing with defeat in a satisfactory psychological way is very important in tournaments. Very few of us will go unbeaten in strong tournaments and coming back from a defeat well makes the difference. In this Finals I scored 3.5 out of 4 points after this trashing and went on to win. I believe in the past I would not have been able to recover so successfully. } *