Many amateur chess games are decided in the middle game or sometimes as early as the opening phase. The story is usually the same: your opponent hangs a pawn (or a piece!) and the game transitions to you overpowering them with a decisive material advantage. This is not always the case though.
In this game, the chess struggle continues into the late middle game. Only after a series of seemingly innocuous trades does my opponent miss a tactical shot.
Work to cramp your opponents pieces
Moves like 12…b5 and 14…d4 locked in and harassed White’s light-squared bishop. It never got in the game. Additionally, White’s queenside pieces didn’t see the light of day until well after move 20.
Always probe for weaknesses
Playing 17…c4 looked like a good move but it was premature. Bf5 was better as it hit a weak pawn on d3 and would have forced the bishop back to c2 to defend.
The move d4 seems like an obvious one now but at the time I was debating Rc8 and a5. Both alternatives are too slow and give white some initiative. Chess analysis can be tricky sometimes. Limiting the scope of your opponents pieces makes calculating moves easier.