Archive for December, 2009


My last slow game of the year, the London Chess Classic and 18 blitz games

December 19, 2009

Even though its still quite busy at work, I am in the holiday mood when it comes to the blog, so I will keep it short. Here is my last game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 Nc6 7. f4
(7. Be2)

7… Qb6 8. Nf3 e6 9. Bd3 Be7 10. Qe2 Bd7 11. Rb1 Nb4
(11… O-O 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Nd5 14. Ne4 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Qxd4)

12. Be3 Nxd3+ 13. cxd3 Qa5 14. Nd2 Bc6 15. b4 Qc7 16. O-O b5 17. a5 O-O 18. d4?
(18. Rfc1) (18. Nf3)

18… Qb7! 19. e5 Nd5 20. Nxd5
(20. Nce4 dxe5)

20… Bxd5 21. Qg4 f5 22. exf6 Rxf6 23. Rf2 Rg6 24. Qh3 Rc8 25. Nf3 Rc3?
(25… Be4! 26. Re1 (26. Ng5 Bxg5 27. Rc1 Rh6 28. Rxc8+ Qxc8 29. Qg4 Bh4 30. Re2 Qc4) 26… Bf5 27. Qh5 Bg4 28. Qxg6 hxg6)

26. Bd2??
(26. Re1 Qc8 27. Bd2 Rh6 28. Qg4 Rc2 29. Qg3)

26… Rxf3 27. Rxf3 Bxf3 28. g3 Qe4 29. Re1 Qxd4+ 0-1

The London Chess Classic took place in London from the 8th-15th of December, with Carlsen winning with an unbeaten +3 performance in the 7 round event. I attended on 2 days, including on the 1st round when Carlsen scored a brilliant win over Kramnik! It was awesome to see a few hundred spectators come in every day; the GM commentary was also quite good. I even managed to get Carlsen’s and Nakamura’s autographs. I played in the evening foyer blitz tournament both days I attended, scored 3 out of 6 the first time and a much more impressive 4 out of 6 the second time around, where 5 out of my 6 games were against people rated much higher than me!

I also played in my club’s Christmas blitz tournament and scored an average 3 out of 6 – I beat three players rated below me and lost to three above me – nothing exciting there at all! No more chess (except the on-line variety) until the New Year when my first game is on the 7th.

Happy Holidays!


A frustrating draw

December 1, 2009

I had played against the same opponent twice before (once as white, once as black) and beaten him twice, so I went in with hopes of a third win – which would have left me in sole possession of first place in the U140 Swiss with a round to go. Instead, we played out a draw and my opponent has held on to his half-point lead, with 3 of us on his heels. Replay game here.

1. e4 e5!
Certainly a good way to catch me by surprise. I was expecting a pitched battle in an open Sicilian!

2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nc6 4. dxe5??
Its not that this is necessarily a bad move – it is just that after this move, the position became very static and it was really hard to break through with an attack!

4… Nxe5 5. Nxe5 dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8 7. Bc4 f6 8. Be3 Bg4 9. Nd2 Bb4 10. f3 Bh5 11. O-O-O Ke8 12. Nb3 b6 13. g4?
Not the type of game I wanted to get into. I looked at 13. Bb5+! Kf8 14. a3 Bd6 and didn’t see what else I could achieve. But the computer shows 15. c4! Be8 16. Bxe8 Kxe8 17. c5 bxc5 18. Nxc5 and the position is better for white. I didn’t even consider the idea of c2-c4-c5, assuming that the opening of lines on the queenside would favor black. Instead, with the better developed pieces, white is doing fine here.

13… Bg6 14. h4
Again missing an opportunity to hold on to an advantage with 14. Bb5+ Kf8 15. c4 Be8 16. Ba6.

14… Ne7 15. c3?
Here again I looked at Bb5+ and thought it even worse because after 15. Bb5+ c6 16. Bc4, all I seem to have done is lose a tempo! Instead, it actually works in my favor because Black can no longer retreat his bishop to d6, blocking the d-file!. 15. Bb5+ Kf8 16. Kb1 Be8 17. Ba6 is also fine for white.

15… Bd6 16. Kb1
See a pattern? Bb5+ is required in all lines where I hope to maintain an advantage! 16. Bb5+ Kf8 17. Kc2 Be8 18. Be2. I thought about 16. Kc2 as well, where the king is one tempo closer to the center of the board but wasn’t sure if it might get into trouble if lines opened up for black’s rooks. Turned out to be another miscalculation on my part. Nothing worthwhile happened in the rest of the game. I tried to push on in the endgame but my opponent defended easily to reach a drawn ending.

16… Rd8 17. Nc1 Bf7 18. Bxf7+ Kxf7 19. Ne2 Rd7 20. Ng3 Rhd8 21. g5 Nc8 22. gxf6 gxf6 23. Nf5 Bf8 24. Rxd7+ Rxd7 25. Rg1 Ne7 26. Nxe7 Kxe7 27. Kc2 Ke6 28. a4 Rg7 29. Rxg7 Bxg7 30. h5 f5 31. a5 f4 32. Bf2 Bf6 33. axb6 axb6 34. Kb3 Bd8 35. Kc4 c6 36. b4 Kd6 37. b5 c5 1/2-1/2