h1

Tied for the lead with a round to go

September 28, 2008

The last few games I have played is in an internal Swiss competition lasting five rounds. Since the rounds are played at times convenient to the players, not all games for the 4th round have finished – but the two top boards have played and I am now tied for the lead with 3.5 points. The one thing I do know is that I won’t be playing my co-leader because we split the point back in round 2 already.

This latest game (with me as white) turned out to be a miniature and reminded me of a famous quote by Tartakower“The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake”.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 d6 5. c4 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 Ng4 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bg5 f6 13. Bh4 Qa5 14. Rad1 Be6

Until this point, I felt that both of us were playing reasonably well. I felt I had the initiative and felt it was time to push my kingside pawns.

15. f4 Qb6+ 16. Kh1? [Bf2] Rab8??

Returning the favour. 16…Ne3 17. Na5 Nxf1 18. Nxb6 Nxd2 19. Nxa8 Rxa8 20. Rxd2 keeps the material even and is probably heading for a draw.

17. b3??

I follow up his error with one of my own. 17 f5! Bxf5 exf5 Ne3 and I win two pieces for a rook and pawn. Even though he has an open file on the queen-side, I felt this would have been to my advantage. Luckily for me, I saw all of this while he was thinking whereas he didn’t.

17…Qe3??

The comedy of errors continues (and ends). 17…Ne3 was even stronger than the option on the previous move as the rook is no longer on a8 and he goes up an exchange!

18. Bxg4 Qxd2 19. Bxe6+ 1-0.

Down two pieces, black resigned.

This interesting position arose in a blitz game I played earlier today. In a board full of pieces, my opponent’s king achieved the ignominy of being the most advanced piece of his entire army (all the way to his sixth rank!)

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