h1

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.
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