Finally, a win this year

February 6, 2010

It was a weird experience. Playing in a league match, the opposing team’s top board (who I was playing) was ranked lower than our board 5. Despite that, our game should have really been a draw but I squeaked by with a win in time trouble and we won the match 4-1. The game can be replayed here (I was black).

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. g3 Nc6 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bg2 d5 11. exd5 cxd5 12. Qf3 Qd8 13. a3 Be7 14. O-O O-O 15. Rfd1 Qc7
The opening has been quite dry and I was trying my best to keep as many pieces on the board and try and outplay my opponent. Here, I initially thought that he might be able to play 16. Rxd5?!. I run into trouble after 16… exd5 17. Nxd5 Bb7 but then realized that 16… Bb7 17. Rd7 Qxd7 18. Qxb7 and black is better.
16. h4 Rb8 17. Rab1 Bb7 18. Qe2 Bc5
I debated between the text move and 18… Bf6, unsure as to which diagonal the bishop should sit on.
19. Qd3 Rfc8 20. Ne2 Qb6 21. Rf1 a5 22. Qd2 Ba6 23. c3 Qc7
23… a4! never crossed my mind, but it fixes white’s pawns and gives me concrete targets to aim at. From this point on, my opponent loses the thread a bit, letting his pieces stay passive and allowing me to improve my position.
24. b4? Ba7 25. Kh1 Bxe2 26. Qxe2 Qxc3 27. Qb2 axb4 28. axb4 g6 29. Rfc1 Qxb2 30. Rxc8+ Rxc8 31. Rxb2 Kg7 32. b5 Bd4 33. Rd2 Rc4 34. Bf1 Rb4 35. Kg2 Kf6 36. Rd1 e5 37. Be2 h5 38. f3 Rb2 39. Kf1 Ke6 40. f4 Be3 41. fxe5 Kxe5 42. Ke1 Ke4 43. Kf1 f5 44. Rd3 f4?
44… d4 was probably better, not yet allowing the bishop check on d3, as happens later in the game.
45. gxf4 Bxf4 46. Rd1 d4?
And this is definitely an error, and now the position is a dead draw! 46… Rb3, not allowing Bd3+ was needed.
47. Bd3+! Kf3 48. Bxg6 Rxb5 49. Bxh5+??
My opponent now commits a fatal blunder, in deep time trouble – he was down to less than a minute by this point. 49. Rxd4 maintains the equilibrium.
49… Rxh5 50. Rxd4 Rxh4 51. Rd3+ Be3 0-1
Mate follows.

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