Archive for March, 2010

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A big, big win

March 20, 2010

It is wonderful being part of a big upset win. Playing against the best team in our division and being heavily out-rated on every board, we pulled off the upset of the season with a 3-2 victory. The first game to finish was on board 5, a loss for us, followed by draws on boards 4 and 2, in that order. The next game to finish, on board 3, was a shock – up a pawn with a strong position, the opposition player hung a rook on his last move of the time control, allowing us to even the match, with my game left to decide the match.

Here’s the game:

1. c4 c5!
Not happy with many of the Slav positions I’ve been ending up with, I decided to work on my black repertoire the previous weekend and put some work into learning the Hedgehog, if I faced 1. c4.
2. Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. b3 O-O 8. Bb2 d6 9. d4 cxd4 10. Qxd4 a6 11. Rfd1 Nbd7 12. Rac1 Qb8 13. Ng5 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 Rd8 15. f3 Ne8
15… b5 16. cxb5 axb5 was an option but I was worried about the battery of the queen and bishop on the long diagonal. Ne8 achieves multiple objectives  – it covers g2, provides more cover to d6 if the knight drops back to e4 and clears f6 for the bishop to break up the battery.
16. Qd2
(16. Qf4 Ne5)
16…h6 17. Nh3
I had seen 17. Nge4 b5 18. cxb5 d5 19. Nf2 axb5 and black’s position is very comfortable and easy to play.
17… b5 18. cxb5 axb5 19.Nf4 d5 20. Qe1
(20. e4 b4 21. Na4 dxe4 22. fxe4 Qb7)
20… b4
(20… Nd6 21.Rd2 Bf6 22. Nh5 Bg5 23. e3) (20… Bc5 21. Qd2 Qb6)
21. Na4 Nb6 22. Nxb6 Qxb6 23. Bd4 Qb5
(23… Qb8 24. Nd3 Rxa2)
24. Rc2 Nd6 25. Ba1
(25. g4)
25… Nf5 26.e3
(26. e4 dxe4 27. Rxd8+ Rxd8 28. fxe4 Rd1 29. Rc8+ Kh7 30. Qe2 Qb7)
26… Bc5
26… d4! 27. exd4 e5! 28. g4 Nh4+ 29. Kh1 Qb7 30. Ng2 Nxf3 is a fantastic line that Fritz spits out
27. Bd4 Bxd4 28.exd4 Rdc8 29. Rxc8+ Rxc8 30. g4 Rc2+ 31. Kh3 Nd6
31… Qb8! 32. Qe5 Qxe5 33.dxe5 Ne3 was much more direct and leads to an endgame advantage for black.
32. Nd3 Rxa2 33. Qe5
33. Qxb4 Qxb4 34. Nxb4 Rb2 35. Rd3 was probably a better option.
33… Qb6 34. g5
(34. Rc1 Ra3)
34… hxg5 35. Rg1 Nf5 36. Rxg5 Qxd4 37. Rxf5
37. Rxg7+ Kf8 38. Qxd4 Nxd4 was stronger but black’s still better.
37… Qxd3 38. Qb8+ Kh7 39. Rxf7 Qf1+?!
39… Qg6! 40. Qf4 (40. Rf4 Qg2+ 41. Kh4 Qxh2+ 42. Kg5 Rg2+ 43. Rg4 Qh6#) 40… Qh5+ and black wins immediately. But in such situations, it is hard to see a “backward” move, especially when it doesn’t give check.
40. Kh4 Qf2+41. Qg3 Qxh2+ 42. Qxh2 Rxh2+ 43. Kg3 Rb2 44. Re7 Rxb3 45. Rxe6 d4 46. Rd6 d347. Rd4 Kg6 48. Kf4 Kf7 49. Rd5 Rc3 50. Rd4 b3 51. Ke3 d2+ 52. Kxd2 Rxf3 53.Rd7+ Kf6 54. Ke2 Rh3 55. Kf2 b2 56. Rb7 Rh2+?
56… Rh1! wins on the spot
57. Kg3 Rc2 58. Rb5Ke6 59. Kg4 Kd6 60. Kf4 Kc6 61. Rb8 Kd5 62. Ke3 Kc4 63. Rc8+ Kb3 64. Rb8+ Ka265. Ra8+ Kb1 66. Rh8 g5
The position wins even without the g-pawn. 66… Rc7 67. Kd3 Ra7 68. Rb8 Ka1 69. Kc2 Rc7+ 70. Kd2 is the winning line but why not use the extra pawn when you have it? 🙂
67. Rg8 Kc1 0-1
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U140 Swiss victory

March 2, 2010
The winner of this game would tie for the championship, while we would both tie for 2nd place (with others) if we drew. I had played him twice before (here and here) though this was my first time as black. Replay.
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. Nbd2 Nf6 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3 Re8 9. Ne5 Bxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. f4 Nf8
My plan in the opening was to try and get my opponent to overextend with his attack on the kingside, while I initiate counterplay in the center and on the queen side. To this end, the knight on f8 is my best defensive resource. However, I (and my opponent) missed a simple tactic that nets me an extra pawn without sufficient compensation for white. 11… c4! 12. Bc2 Qb6 13. Rb1 Qxe3+ 14. Qe2 Qxe2+ 15. Kxe2
12. O-O d4?
I rush into opening up the center. This now gives my opponent several good squares (especially for the knight) and he takes full advantage. 12… c4 13. Bc2 Qb6 14. Qf3 Qxb2 15. Rfc1 again nets me a pawn but this time, white probably has sufficient compensation.
13. exd4 cxd4 14. Ne4 Qb6 15. c4 Nb4 16. Qg4
(16. c5 Qc6 17. Nd6 Nxd3 18. Nxe8 Nxb2 19. Qxd4 Na4 20. Nd6 Nxc5 21. Rac1)
16… Ng6 17. Nd6!
White’s crowning glory in the position. This piece doesn’t move for the rest of the game (and doesn’t need to either!)
17… Re7 18. Bh4?
The tactics just don’t work out for white in this line. After this, black is clearly better in the position! (18. c5 Qa5 19. Be4)
18… Nxd3! 19. Bxe7 Nxe7 20. Rf3 Nxb2??
Allowing a fork and blundering away my advantage. 20… Nc5 and I have a very pleasant position.
21. Rb3 Qc5 22. Rxb2 d3+?
I’ll attribute it to being flustered at blundering my knight. What I ought to have done was trade my knight for his monster on d6 and try to consolidate my position. (22… Nf5 23. Nxf5 exf5 24. Qf3 Be6)
23. Kh1 b6 24. Qf3 Qc6 25. Qxd3 Ng6 26. Qd4 Ba6 27. Rc2 Qa4 28. Qe4 Rf8 29. g3 Ne7 30. Rac1 Qa3 31. Qd4 Qf3+ 32. Kg1 Nc6 33. Qf2 Qg4 34. c5?
In time trouble and needing to make 2 more safe moves to get 15 additional minutes on his clock, my opponent allows my second knight to retrace the path of its predecessor (Nc6-b4-d3). 34. Rd2 avoids the little tactic.
34… Nb4 35. Rc3?
A second time-trouble error, on his last move before making the time-control. 35. c6! Nxc2 26. Qxc2 is what I was expecting, and it was almost time to resign.
35… Nd3 36. Rxd3 Bxd3 37. cxb6?
The wrong plan. He wins a pawn with this trade but c6 would have given him a monstrous passed pawn.
37… axb6 38. Qxb6 h5 39. Qe3 Be2 40. h3?!
Again, the wrong idea. When you can push a passed pawn, push it! 40. a4 h4 41. Kf2 Ba6 and white is still a lot better.
40… Qxh3!?
When I calculated the line with 40. h3 before I played my bishop to e2, I thought that I would continue 40… Qf3 41. Qxf3 Bxf3. But after 42. a4, I would have to sacrifice my bishop for the a-pawn at some point and we would be only playing for two results – I couldn’t allow him the luxury of playing on without fear. This way, at least with white’s king completely losing its pawn cover, I had hopes of getting some sort of perpetual.
41. Qxe2 Qxg3+ 42. Kh1 Qxf4 43. Rf1 Qg5 44. Rf2 Rb8?!
Played after a reasonably long think. My other option was to sit tight and try and hold the position. But with my opponent down to 2 minutes for the rest of the game (I still had more than 20) and no obvious win in sight after either capture on f7, I made the practical decision to activate my rook so my opponent would have to calculate long lines involving his own king on every move. As it turned out, my decision paid immediate dividends…
45. Rg2?? Rb1+ 0-1. Mate follows.