h1

Throwing away a half-point

October 26, 2010

The following game (with me as white) was an Anti-Marshall with 8. d4 that was fairly equal through most of the game. In fact, both of us contemplated offering draws each move starting with move 29 until a blunder from my end. The only thing preventing me was our match situation where we were already down a game and none of the remaining boards looked very promising for a win.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. d4 d6 9. c3 Bg4 10. d5 Na5 11. Bc2 Nc4
(11… c6)

12. b3 Nb6 13. Nbd2 Qd7 14. h3 Bh5 15. Nf1 c5 16. Ng3 Bg6 17. a4 Qc7 18. a5 Nbd7 19. Nh2
(19. Nh4)

19… h6 20. f4 exf4 21. Bxf4 Ne5 22. Nf3 Nfd7 23. Nh2 Bf6 24. Ra2 Qd8 25. Bb1 Bg5 26. Qd2 Bxf4 27. Qxf4 Qf6 28. Rf1 Qxf4 29. Rxf4 Nf6 30. Nf5 Bxf5 31. Rxf5 Rab8 32. Nf1 Rfe8 33. Raf2 Ned7 34. Nd2 Re5 35. Bd3 Rxf5 36. Rxf5 g6 37. Rf2 Kg7 38. g3 Ne5 39. Bf1 Re8 40. Rf4??
(40. Bg2) (40. Be2)

40… Nh5
Obviously, I had missed this simple fork! At this point, I tried to take a practical decision. I felt that it would be easy for white to break through if I gave up the pawn on g3 – instead, I thought I might be able to hold out if I managed to keep the position closed, so I sacrificed the exchange here.

41. Kf2
(41. Rf2 Nxg3 42. Kg2 Nxf1 43. Rxf1)

41… Nxf4 42. gxf4 Nd7 43. Bd3 g5 44. fxg5?
Going against my own strategy of keeping the position closed! (44. Kf3 gxf4 45. Kxf4 Ne5)

44… hxg5 45. Nf3 Ne5 46. Nxe5 Rxe5 47. Kf3 Kf6 48. Be2 Re8 49. Bd3
49. Ke3 Rh8 50. Bg4 Ke5 51. Bf5 Rh4 52. Bg4 Rxg4 53. hxg4 b4 54. cxb4 cxb4 55. Kd3 Kf4 56. Kc4 Kxe4 57. Kxb4 Kxd5 58. Kc3 Kc5 59. b4+ Kb5 60. Kb3 d5 61. Kc3 Ka4 62. Kd4 Kxb4 63. Kxd5 Kxa5 is one way of winning the endgame.

49… Rh8 50. Bf1 Rh4 51. Ke3 Ke5 52. Bg2 g4 53. hxg4 Rxg4 54. Kf2 Rxg2+ 0-1

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