Archive for the ‘AC’ Category


Do I need some tactical practice?

August 28, 2009

Though I won this game, it was a lot harder than it looked. I played the same opponent I played 2 weeks ago (in which I had no trouble at all) – but while that game was totally one-sided, this was a much more open affair. We both missed several chances and I am getting a bit nervous about my perceived strength – the tactics. I have always preferred playing sharp lines with lots of tactics and generally avoided quiet positions – after my past few games where I’ve missed several tactics that I would normally back myself to find, maybe I need to work on my tactics again? Anyway, here’s the game (and I was black):

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 Nc6 7. h3 Qb6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Bd3 g6 10. a5 Qc7 11. Bd2 Bg7 12. O-O Rb8 13. Na4 Nd7
Playing the Najdorf is still new for me and I’m not used to the various ways white can tackle it on. Even though I had never played against 6. a4 before and I wasn’t sure how to play it, I came up with a reasonable plan and played quite well in the opening. Here, I looked at both O-O and d5 and finally settled on the text move, to try and discourage the white knight from settling into b6. I was also hesitant about playing d5 without first castling, though Fritz seems happy enough about it!

14. Rb1 O-O 15. Qe2 Qa7 16. b4 Bb7
16… Ne5 17. Nb6 Nxd3 18. Qxd3 Be6 and the position is equal.

17. c4!?
After our previous game, I was somewhat surprised by this very active plan. The computer also suggests 17. Be3 c5 18. bxc5 dxc5 19. Nb6

17… c5
I thought long and hard here. I was worried that I was opening the door for 18. b5 and white has a strong passed pawn. Then I realized that as long as I don’t trade on b5 (giving him connected passers), I can still hold the position and he’s not queening just yet.
(17… Bd4)

18. f4?
You could see from his expression that he realized his mistake as soon as he picked up the f-pawn. By then of course, it was too late and he was committed to the move.
(18. b5 Qa8)

18… cxb4+ 19. Kh2
(19. Be3)

19… Bc6 20. Nb6 Nxb6 21. Be3 Qa8?
(21… Qc7 22. Bxb6 (22. axb6 Rxb6 23. Bxb6 Qxb6 just transposes) 22… Rxb6 23. axb6 Qxb6)
The computer suggests the line above where I give up the rook for his bishop to gain connected passers on the a and b files. I did have a long think about the line in the game but wasn’t able to evaluate if it was the right choice. Apparently, it was!

22. Bxb6 Bc3 23. c5 dxc5 24. Bxc5 Bb5?!
(24… Rfd8 25. Rf3 Rd7)

25. Bxe7 Rfe8 26. Bc5
(26. Bd6 Rbd8 27. Bxb5 Rxe4 28. Qf3 Rxd6 29. Bd3 Re8 30. Qxa8 Rxa8)

26… Bxd3 27. Qxd3 Rxe4 28. f5 Qc6 29. Bb6 Rbe8 30. fxg6 hxg6 31. Rf2 Qc4 32. Qf3
(32. Qxc4 Rxc4)

32… Rf4
(32… Re1 33. Rxe1 Bxe1 34. Rf1 Bc3)

33. Qg3 Be5
(33… Rxf2 34. Qxf2 b3)

34. Kg1 Re4 35. Qg5
(35. Qf3 b3)

35… Bd4?
Time control made with less than a minute to go. 35… Bf4! 36. Rxf4 Rxf4 was very strong! 35… b3 was also much better.

36. Bxd4 Qxd4 37. Rbf1?
Here my opponent missed that his rook on f2 is pinned! This wasn’t necessarily the losing move – the next one was – but this is already quite bad. (37. Qf6 Qc4 38. Rbf1 R8e7)

37… Re1 38. Qf4??
Now this is definitely a huge blunder!
(38. Kh2 Rxf1 39. Rxf1 b3 40. Qf4 Qxf4+ 41. Rxf4 Rb8 42. Rf1 b2 43. Rb1 Kg7)

38… Rxf1+ 0-1

Despite my far from perfect play, I have now seemingly turned the tide from my long winless streak at the beginning of the year. I have only lost 2 games in my last 14 (with 3 draws), and both my losses were against higher rated players (along with one of the draws). At least I have been beating the players I am expected to beat!


My most recent games

August 16, 2009

Here, here, and here.

As black against a higher rated opponent, I did just fine throughout the entire game until my very last move. Though one is never happy with a loss, I felt I was in good form and wasn’t too discouraged by the game.

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Na3 Nc6 7. Be3 cxd4 8. Nb5 Qd8 9. Nbxd4 Bd7 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O O-O 12. c4 a6 13. a3 Qc7 14. Rc1 Rac8 15. h3 Rfd8 16. b4 Ne5 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. Qb3 Bc6 19. f4 Qb8 20. Nxc6 bxc6 21. c5 a5 22. f5 e5 23. Bc4 Nd5 24. Rfe1 axb4 25. axb4 Qxb4?? 26. Bxd5 1-0

Again, as black. Playing someone who has given me trouble in the past (I have now played him thrice, each time with black), I felt that his endgame play was the weakest and where he was very indecisive. So my plan was to play …c5 as early as possible – a lesson learnt from my previous game (the second game on that post) with him – and to try and get into an early endgame with him. Once there, I was able to outplay and outmaneuver him to win the game. In fact the position was quite drawish (he offered me a draw after his 32nd move) and there would’ve been nothing wrong in accepting the offer. On the other hand, I felt I couldn’t lose the position and decided to play on to see if I could break through. Eventually, he made a couple of inaccuracies and allowed me to win! There was only one move in the game where I missed a pretty tactic to gain a small advantage in the endgame.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bb7 10. Ne5 a6 11. Bf3 Qc7 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 c5 14. Bxb7 Qxb7 15. Qf3 Qxf3 16. Nxf3 Nc6 17. dxc5 Bxc5 18. Bd2 Rac8 19. a3 Rfd8 20. Rac1 Bb6 21. Rc2 Ne7?

21…Nd4 22. Rxc8 Nxf3+ 23. gxf3 Rxc8

22. Rfc1 Rxc2 23. Rxc2 f5 24. g3 Rc8 25. Rxc8+ Nxc8 26. Bc3 Nd6 27. Ng5 Ne4 28. Nxe4 fxe4 29. Kf1 Kf7 30. Ke2 g6 31. Kd2 Ke7 32. Bd4 Bc7 33. Kc3 Kd6 34. Kb4 Kd5 35. Bc3 Bd8 36. Bd4 h5 37. h3 Kc6 38. Kb3 Be7 39. a4 Bd6 40. Bc3 Kd5 41. Bd4 Bc7 42. Bc3 bxa4+ 43. Kxa4 Kc4 44. Bd4 Kd3 45. Kb4 Ke2 46. Kc5 Kxf2 47. g4 e5 48. gxh5 exd4 49. hxg6 Be5 50. exd4 Bf6 51. d5 e3 52. d6 e2 53. d7 e1=Q 54. g7 Qe7+ 0-1

Very rare for me to have a game which is totally one-sided. Playing the white side of a Pirc with opposite side castling, I was able to attack on the kingside without any defensive worries. My opponent made no efforts to complicate play by initiating counter-play on the queenside or in the center. I could therefore just focus on my attack and despite one move which nearly threw away all my advantage, I was able to wrap up the game in short order.

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 Nf6 5. f3 O-O 6. Qd2 e5 7. O-O-O exd4 8. Bxd4 Re8 9. g4 a6 10. g5 Nh5 11. Bxg7 Nxg7 12. Nge2 Nc6 13. Ng3 Be6 14. h4 Ne7 15. h5 Rf8 16. Qh2 f5 17. gxf6 Rxf6 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. e5 Rf8 20. Nce4 Nef5 21. f4 Kf7 22. Qh7?

At the time it seemed like a strong move. But after 22…Rh8, most of my advantage disappears. 22. Nxf5! was much stronger and the way to maintain the winning attack. But my opponent failed to take advantage of my error and it was smooth sailing from there.

22… Ne7? 23. Ng5+ Ke8 24. Qxg7 Bg4 25. Nh7 Rxf4 26. Nf6+ Rxf6 27. exf6 Kd7 28. fxe7 Qxe7 29. Qxe7+ 1-0