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B5Q chess challenge: recapping 2-0 victory over And the Valley Shook

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B5Q cruised to a 1-0 start to the season; The Daily Gopher is next

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Lambeau Field College Classic - LSU at Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

B5Q defeated ATVS! 2-0 last Friday in the first week of the B5Q chess challenge in front of a raucous crowd on YouTube live.

The victory raised B5Q’s record to 1-0 overall ahead of Thursday’s conference opener vs. The Daily Gopher.

Now, let’s take a look at an overview of the match and a few key moments / learning points so you can improve your chess game.

If you want to review the games, here is game 1 and game 2.

Match overview

According to the chess.com engine, I had a decisive edge by move eight in each game, so the games were not particularly close. Chess is a funny game, and even the smallest difference early in the game can case a huge difference later in the game. Sometimes a few mistakes on moves 4 and 5 can mean the games gets out of hand by move 8 or 9.

Another way describe it is this: imagine a basketball game where the losing winning at halftime has to raise the basket 1 foot for every point its losing by. This is why the differences in “accuracy” are so pronounced. When I play strong players, my accuracy is similarly low.

As a former coach told me, “It’s easy to make good moves in good positions.” In other words, Junda made a few inaccurate moves early in each game which made it harder for him to find correct moves later.

In contrast, the position made it easier for me to find quality moves.

You can get a sense of this in both of the summary of each game chess.com produced:

Game 1 chess.com report (Junda on left, Wiedenhoeft on right)
Game 2 chess.com report (Wiedenhoeft on left, Junda on right)

Key moment: Game 1

Junda (white) vs. Wiedenhoeft (black) after 5...Nf6

In the position above, white is down a pawn but has some extra space as compensation. If White can develop its pieces quickly, it might be able to make use of its extra space.

First, white must solve the problem of the undefended pawn on e4. In the game, white decided to defend the pawn by immobilizing the threat via a pin. Play continued 6.Bg5 which temporarily saved the e4 pawn (note that black cannot play Nxe4 without losing its queen).

6.Bg5 (the move played) is a unitask move; while it defends the e4 pawn, it does not help white accomplish other goals in the opening: castling, controlling the center, or developing pieces further.

Instead, the simple 6.Bd3 accomplishes four purposes in one move:

  • defends the e4 pawn,
  • develops a piece,
  • controls the center more, and
  • gets white one move closer to castling.

The red flag with this move is that white already invested one move by moving the bishop from c1 to e3 just a few moves earlier.

What we learned from game 1: don’t move a piece twice in the opening.

Key moment: Game 2

Wiedenhoeft (white) vs. Junda (black) after 5.dxe5

After taking the e5 pawn, black is temporarily down a pawn and white is threatening to take the knight on f6.

In the position, white played a move that makes a lot of sense, 5...Bg4. This move accomplishes everything we want to accomplish in the opening that we described in the previous game’s key moment.

However, it overlooks white’s threat, and after white took the knight on f6, black’s position unraveled.

One way to avoid this is to “sit on your hands” after deciding on a move. Think, “if I play this, will I lose any of my pieces?” As you develop this skill, go piece by piece to make sure you don’t lose any of them. This is called a blunder check, and is useful early when developing

My first coach says, “it’s honestly hard to beat anyone who blunder checks.”

Additionally, the board is quite big, and it can be easy to miss these threats. Therefore, “blunder checks” need to be combined with improved board awareness. This can be developed by trying to recall the color of squares, solving puzzles blindfolded, or even playing blindfolded.

What we learned from game 2: incorporate blunder checks and practice board awareness

Up next

B5Q vs. The Daily Gopher on Thursday, April 16 at 8:00 p.m. CT


Major thanks to Zachary Junda of And the Valley Shook! for participating in this friendly match-up. He’s an awesome sport, and you should check out and weigh in on his Joe Burrow touchdown bracket. That is, after you’ve read everything here on B5Q.