KO Semifinal

February 26, 2010

I drew white in our toss for colour. Replay the game here.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be2 e6 8. Be3 Bd6 9. Qd2 Nd7 10. O-O-O Qe7 11. h3 Bh5 12. Kb1 Bb4 13. c3 Ba5 14. Rhe1 b5 15. g4 Bg6+ 16. Bd3 Nb6 17. Qc2 Nd5 18. Nd2 O-O 19. f4 b4
Unlike in our previous game where I was surprised by 4…Nf6, I was better prepared for it. Surprisingly, given my opponent’s much higher rating, I have played very natural moves until this point and that’s been enough to leave me with a sizeable advantage. In the race between our pawn storms, white seems to be quicker!

20. f5! bxc3 21. fxg6!
Even before my twentieth move, I looked at this position and whether I could play 21. Nb3 instead. I saw the continuation 21… Nb4! 22. Qxc3 Nxd3 23. Qxa5 (Nxa5) Nxe1 24. Rxe1 exf5 25. Bh6 Qd7 26. Bxf8 Rxf8 (Kxf8) and the position is equal. After the game, my opponent said he hadn’t seen Nb4 – but I couldn’t take that chance!

21… cxd2 22. gxh7+ Kh8 23. Bxd2 Bb6 24. Qa4
(24. Qc4)

24… Rab8 25. h4 Bc7 26. g5?
Fritz evaluates this position as approximately +2.3, so I am obviously doing quite well. The only thing I need to do is to keep playing sensibly – and the most sensible thing to do is to get my king out of the open b-file as well as the impending fork of the king and queen if the black knight lands on c3.

26… fxg5 27. hxg5 Bf4 28. b3??
White still retains a small advantage after 28. Ka1 Bxg5 29. Bxg5 Qxg5 30. Re5 Qg4

28… Bxd2 29. Rxd2 Nc3+ 0-1


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