Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

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My first ever Gruenfeld

March 5, 2011

I first looked at playing the Gruenfeld about a year ago. Shockingly, since then I hadn’t had anybody playing me as white, play 1. d4 and follow up with 2. c4! Anyway, it was a double-edged sword to play a new opening on the back of two (almost 3) losses. Replay here.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd55. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 O-O
(7… c5 is the main line)

8. Qb3
(8. Be2)

8… c5 9. Bb2 Qa510. Nd2 Nc6
(10… cxd4 11. cxd4 Nc6 12. d5 Nd4 13. Qd3 Nf3+ 14. Qxf3 Bxb2)

11. Nc4 Qc7 12. d5 Ne5 13. Ne3 Ng4
(13… b5 14. Be2 (14. Bxb5 Rb8) 14…c4 15. Qc2)

14. Nxg4 Bxg4 15. h3 Bd7 16. Bb5 Bxb5 17. Qxb5 c4 18. O-O a6 19. Qa4 b5
(19… f5)

20. Qc2 Rfe8 21. Rad1
(21. a4)

21… Rad8 22. Qd2 Rd7 23. f4 Red8 24. Ba3 a5
(24… f5 25. d6 exd6 26. exf5 gxf5 27. Qd5+ Kh8)

25. e5 Rxd5
(25… b4 26. cxb4 c3) (25… Bf8)

26. Qxd5 Rxd5 27. Rxd5 b4
(27…Qb7 28. Rfd1 b4 29. Bb2 b3 30. axb3 cxb3 31. R1d4 Bh6 32. Kf2)

28. cxb4 Qb6+ 29. Kh2
(29. Kh1)

29… axb4 30. Rb1 Qe3
(30… Bh6 31. Bxb4 Bxf4+ 32. Kh1 Kg7)

31. Bxb4
(31. Rd8+ Bf8 32. Bxb4 Qxf4+ 33. Kh1 Kg7)

31… Qxf4+ 32.Kg1 Bxe5 33. Bxe7
(33. Re1)

33… h5
(33… Qh2+ 34. Kf2 Bg3+ 35. Kf3 Bc7)

34. Bc5 c3 35. Re1 Qh2+ 36. Kf1 Qh1+
(36… c2)

37. Bg1 Bc7 38. Rb5 c2 39. Rc1
(39. Kf2 h4)

39… Bf4
(39… Bh2 40. Kf2 Qxg1+ 41. Rxg1 Bxg1+ 42.Kxg1 c1=Q+)

40. Rxc2 Bh2
(40… Be3+?? 41. Rf2 Bxf2 42. Kxf2 and the queen is completely trapped!)

41. a4 Qxg1+ 42. Ke2 Qxg2+ 43. Kd1 Qf1+ 44. Kd2 Bf4+45. Kc3 Qxh3+ 46. Kb4 Bd6+ 47. Kc4 Qe6+ 48. Rd5 Qe4+ 0-1

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Much better, but still losing…

February 27, 2011

Playing white against a higher rated player who is on quite a hot streak, I played well for a long time and the game was quite drawish. Then I missed a chance to get a slight advantage and then misplayed the ending further, allowing my opponent to win quite easily in the end. Replay here.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf65. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. Nf3
(6. c3)

6… Bg4 7. Be2 e6 8. h3
(8. O-O)

8… Bh5 9. Be3 Bd6 10. Qd2 Nd7 11. O-O-O Qc7 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bd3 O-O-O 14. Qe2
(14. c4)

14…Kb8 15. Kb1 Nb6 16. Bxg6 hxg6 17. Nd2
(17. c4)

17… f5 18. Nc4 f4 19. Bc1
(19.Nxd6 Qxd6 20. Bd2) (19. Nxb6 Qxb6 20. Bd2)

19… g5 20. Nxb6 Qxb6 21. Qe4! Qb5 22. h4 Qd5
(22… Rxh4 23. Rxh4 gxh4 24. Bxf4 Qd5 25. Qxd5 cxd5 26. Bxd6+ Rxd6 27. Rh1 e5 28. dxe5 Rh6)

23. Qxd5 cxd5 24. h5?!
(24. hxg5 Rhg8 25. Rh5 Rg6 26.Rdh1) The idea here was to get a passed pawn of my own to counter my opponent’s passer on f4. I briefly considered 24. hxg5 but was worried that my doubled g-pawns were too weak and could be rounded up, perhaps remembering the fiasco from my previous game where I blundered with my 24th(!) move with 24… bxa4. This time around it was in fact the better move. Black could still round it up but f4 is now weaker and I could pick up black’s king-side pawns in the process. Whereas hxg5 would have given me a slight advantage, the move played still leaves the game balanced evenly.

24… f5 25. f3
(25. Rdg1 fxg4 26. Rxg4 Be7 27. f3)

25… fxg4 26. fxg4 e5 27. dxe5 Bxe5 28. b3
(28. Rhe1 Bf6 29. Re6 Rhf8 30. c4 d4 31. Kc2)

28… Kc7 29. Ba3 Rd7 30. Bb2
(30. Rhe1)

30… Bxb2 31. Kxb2 Rf8 32. Rd2 f3 33. Rf2 Rf4 34. h6
(34. Rh3 Rxg4 35. Rfxf3 Rh7 36. Rf5 Kd6 37. Rf6+ Ke5 38. Rg6)

34… Rh7 35. Rh5 Kd6 36. Rxg5?
(36. Kc3). I have perhaps played a couple of inaccuracies until this point but the game was still even. My next couple of moves however are enough to give black a winning advantage.

36… Rxh6 37. Rf5?
(37. Kc3)

37… Rf6?!
37…Rxf5! 38. gxf5 Rh3 39. f6 Ke6 40. Kc3 Kxf6 41. Kd4 Kf5 is an easier win.

38. Rxf6+ Rxf6 39. g5 Rf4 40. Kc3 Ke5 41. Kd2 Kf5 42. g6 Ke4 43. Ke1
(43. Rf1 Rg4 44. Re1+ Kf4 (44…Kf5 45. Ke3) 45. Re6)

43… Rg4 44. Rh2 Rxg6 45. Kf2
(45. Rh7)

45… Rg2+ 46.Rxg2 fxg2 47. Kxg2 Kd4 48. Kf2 Kc3 49. Ke3 b5 50. b4 a6 51. Kf4 Kxb4 52. Ke5Kc4 53. a3 a5 54. Kd6 b4 55. a4 d4 56. Kc6 b3 57. cxb3+ Kxb3 58. Kb5 d3 59.Kxa5 d2 60. Kb5 d1=Q 61. a5 Qd8 62. a6 Qb8+ 0-1

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A very average showing

February 23, 2011

After the near-debacle in my previous game, I played a lot better this time around, though I still ended up losing! If it wasn’t one tactical oversight, I should have been able to hold out to a draw. Replay here (I was black).

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 d5 4. Qxd4 e6
(4… dxe4 5. Qxe4 (5. Qxd8+ Kxd8))

5. exd5 Qxd5 6. Qxd5 exd5 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Nd2 Nc6 9. h3Be7 10. Ngf3 O-O 11. Be2 Bf5 12. O-O Rfe8 13. Nb3 Bf8 14. Rad1 a5 15. Bb5 Rec8
(15… a4 16. Nbd4 Bd7)

16. Nbd4 Bg6 17. Nh4 Ne5 18. Nxg6 hxg6 19. Nf3 Nc4
(19… Nxf3+ 20. gxf3 a4 21. Bd4 Ra5 22. Bd3)

20. Bxc4 dxc4 21. a4 Bc5 22. Bxc5 Rxc5 23. Rd4 b5 24. Nd2
(24. axb5 Rxb5 25. Rxc4 (25. Rb1 Rc8 26. Nd2 Nd5) 25…Rxb2)

24… bxa4??
24… b4 25. Nxc4 bxc3 26. bxc3 Nd5 27. Rc1 Rb8 28. Kf1 Rb3 should have been good enough for a draw

25. Nxc4 Rac8 26. Nb6 Rb8 27. Nxa4 Re5 28. Rfd1 Re2 29. Kf1 Rbe8 30. Rd8 R2e431. Rxe8+ Rxe8 32. f3 Re5 33. Rd8+ Kh7
(33… Ne8 34. Ra8 Kf8 35. Nb6 Ke7 36.Nc4) (33… Re8 34. Rxe8+ Nxe8 35. Nb6 Nd6)

34. c4 g5 35. c5 Nd5
(35… Rd5 36.Ra8)

36. c6 Ne7 37. c7 Rb5 38. Re8 1-0

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My first game of the year

January 30, 2011

A near-disaster! Playing over the board for the first time in 6 weeks, I played in utterly despicable fashion and it was a wonder that I didn’t lose horribly! Here’s the game (I was black)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. c3?! Nf6?
(4… dxc3 5. Nxc3 Nc6)

5. Qc2 Qc7 6. Nxd4 a6 7. Bd3 g6 8. Bg5 Bg7 9. Nd2 O-O10. O-O Nbd7 11. f4 b5
(11… e5 12. fxe5 dxe5)

12. Rae1 Bb7
(12… e5 13. fxe5 dxe5)

13. e5 dxe5 14. fxe5 Nxe5 15. Bf4 Nfd7 16. Ne4 Rac8 17. Re3 Qb6 18. Kh1 Nc6?
I could and should have won a piece with a simple fork (18… Nxd3 19. Qxd3 e5!). Instead, I never even spotted the opportunity!

19. Nxc6 Bxc6 20. Rh3 Nf6 21. Be3 Qb7 22. Ng5 h523. Bd4 Rcd8 24. Bxg6 fxg6 25. Ne6 Qd7
(25… Be4)

26. Re3 Bd5
(26… Ng4 27.Rxf8+ Rxf8 28. Nxf8 Kxf8)

27. Nxd8 Qxd8 28. Qxg6 Bf7 29. Qg5 Qd5
(29… Bxa2)

30. Rf5 Qxa2 31. h3 Kh8??
I have gradually let my advantage slip and with this move, I go from slightly better to dead-lost! In the next couple of moves, I have to give up my queen to avoid being mated and it was only my opponent’s slight time pressure that prevented me from resigning here with a clear conscience. 31… Be6 32. Rf4 Rf7 and the game goes on.

32. Rxe7 Qb1+ 33. Kh2 Qxf5 34.Qxf5 Bg8 35. Bxf6 Rxf6 36. Qg5?
Now it is my opponent’s turn to start playing sub-par and let me still hope for a miracle. (36. Qxh5+)

36… Bf7 37. Qc5 Kh7 38. Re2 Bg6 39. Rf2 Re6 40. Qd5 Re1 41. Qb7 Kh6 42. Qxa6 Be5+ 43. g3 h4! 44. Rf6?
(44. Kg2 hxg3 45. Rf5) (44. Rf5 Bxg3+ 45. Kg2)

44… hxg3+ 45. Kg2 Re2+! 46. Kf3??
46. Kf1 g2+ 47. Kg1 Bxf6 48. Qxf6 Rxb2 49. h4 (49. c4 Rb1+ 50. Kxg2 bxc4) 49… Kh7 50.Qe7+ Kh6 51. Qg5+ Kh7 52. h5 Rb1+ 53. Kxg2 Bc2 54. Qd2 Be4+ 55. Kf2 and white is still pushing for a win though I have some hopes of maintaining a fortress. Instead, the text move is an outright blunder and white resigned after my next move.

46… Rf2+0-1

 

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My last game of last year

January 21, 2011

During my current break from chess (I am not scheduled to play for 2 more weeks), I realised that I hadn’t posted my last game from last year. It was a weird game, from beginning to end – I was out of theory on move 2(!) but felt that my higher-rated opponent didn’t necessarily play as well as his rating would imply! Ours was the last game to finish in the league match and the victory allowed us to draw the match at 2.5-2.5. Anyway, here’s the game (I am black).

1. f4 e5 2. d3 d6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Nf6 5.f5 d5! 6. Nc3 dxe4 7. dxe4
(7. Nxe4 Bxf5)

7… Qxd1+ 8. Kxd1 Bb4 9. Bd3 O-O 10.Bd2 Bd6 11. a3 a6 12. h3 Nd4 13. Nxd4 exd4 14. Ne2 Re8 15. Rf1 Nxe4
(15… c516. c3 Nxe4 17. cxd4 cxd4)

16. Bf4 Bxf4
(16… Bd7 17. g4 Rad8 18. Bxe4 Rxe419. Bxd6 cxd6)

17. Rxf4 Nd6 18. Nxd4 b5
(18… c5 19. Nb3 b6)

19. Nb3
(19. a4 c5 20. axb5 cxd4 21. bxa6)

19… Bb7 20. Rf2
(20. g4 Rad8 21. Nc5)

20… Rad8
(20… Nc4 21. Bxc4 bxc4 22. Nd2 Rad8)

21. Nc5 Bc8
(21… Ne4 22. Nxe4 Rxe4 23.b4 Re3 24. Kc1)

22. Kd2
(22. Re2 Nxf5 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Bxf5 Bxf5 25. Nxa6)

22… Bxf5 23. Raf1 Bxd3 24. cxd3 Re5 25. b4 Rxc5
(25… a5 26. Kc3 a4)

26.bxc5 Ne4+ 27. Ke3 Nxf2 28. Rxf2 f6 29. d4 Kf7 30. Rd2 c6 31. Ke4 Re8+ 32. Kf4
(32. Kd3)

32… Re1
(32… Ke6 33. Re2+ Kd7 34. Ra2 (34. Rxe8 Kxe8 35. Ke4 Kd736. d5 f5+ 37. Kd4 cxd5 38. Kxd5 g5 39. c6+ Kc7 40. Ke5 Kxc6 41. Kxf5 Kd5 42.Kxg5 a5))

33. d5 cxd5 34. Rxd5 Rc1 35. Rd7+ Kg6 36. Ra7
(36. Rc7)

36… Rc4+
(36… Rxc5)

37. Ke3 Rxc5 38. Rxa6 Rc2 39. Kf3 Ra2 40. Ra5 h5 41. Kg3 Rb2 42.Ra7
(42. a4 b4 43. Rb5 b3 44. a5 Ra2 45. Rxb3 Rxa5)

42… Kh6 43. Kh2 h4 44.Ra8 g5 45. Rb8 Rb3 46. Rb6 Kg6 47. Kg1 Kf5 48. Kf2 Ke5 49. Rb8 Kf4 50. Rd8 Rxa351. Rd4+ Ke5 52. Rb4 Ra5 53. Kf3 Kd5 54. Rb2 Kc4 55. Rc2+ Kb3 56. Rc6 b4 57.Rxf6 Rb5?
(57… Ka2 58. Rb6 b3)

58. Ke3 Kc2 59. Rf2+ Kc3 60. Ke4 b3 61. Rf3+Kc4 62. Rf1 b2 0-1

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A nice attacking finish

December 11, 2010

Every once in a year or two, you play a game where you “see everything”. This game was quite dull coming out of the opening – if my opponent had chosen to trade all the minor pieces, it would have probably ended up as a long grind against his positional weaknesses, like his backwards c-pawn. As it turned out, he underestimated my play on the king-side and focussed on his counter-play on the queen-side. It was nice to note afterwards that I had seen all the relevant lines that the computer spit out and taken the right decisions at the appropriate times.

Anyway, enough gloating 🙂 – Replay here (I was white).

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf65. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Bc5 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. Qe2 Nxd2 12. Bxd2 Qd7 13. Rfe1 Na5 14. Bc2 Nc4 15. Bc1! Bf5 16. b3 Nb6 17. Nd4 Bxc2 18.Qxc2 a5 19. Nf5 a4 20. Bg5 axb3
(20… Rfe8 21. b4 Bf8)

21. axb3 b4
(21… Rfe8)

22. Rad1! bxc3?
(22… h6 23. Bf6 gxf6 24. Qd3 Kh8 25. Qh3) (22… Qe6 23. cxb4Bxb4 24. Re3 Nd7 25. Nd4 Qg6 26. Qxg6 hxg6 27. Nc6 (27. e6))

23. Nxg7! Kxg7
(23… d4 24. b4 Bxb4 (24… d3 25. Rxd3 Ra2 26. Qxa2 Qxd3 27. bxc5 Ra8 28. Qb3Nd7 29. Nh5 Nxc5 30. Nf6+ Kg7) (24… Be7 25. Bxe7 Qxe7 26. Nf5) 25. Nf5 Bc5 (25… Nd5 26. Rxd4))

24. Bf6+ Kg8 25. Rd3 Rfb8
(25… Qf5 26. Rg3+ Qg6 27.Rxg6+ fxg6 (27… hxg6 28. Qc1) 28. Qxc3 Nd7 29. b4 Bb6 30. Qc6 Nxf6 31. exf6Rad8)

26. Rg3+ Kf8 27. Qxh7 Ke8
(27… Bxf2+ 28. Kh1!)

28. Rg8+ Bf8 29. Rxf8+ 1-0

 

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An entertaining draw

December 10, 2010

Playing black against a slightly higher rated opponent, we went straight into a very sharp line of the main line Najdorf. I mixed up the move order on my 10th and 11th moves (I should have first played Qc7) and could have been punished right away but my opponent couldn’t spot the right follow-up either! Replay here.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Nbd7 8. Qf3 Be7 9. O-O-O h6 10. Bh4 g5?
(10… Qc7 11. Bd3 g5)

11. fxg5 Ne5??
(11… hxg5 12. Bxg5)

12. Qe2?
(12. gxf6 Nxf3 13. fxe7 Qb6 14. gxf3)

12… Nfg4 13. h3 hxg5 14. Bg3 Bd7 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. Kb1 O-O-O 17. Qd2 Nxf3 18. gxf3 Ne5 19. Be2 Bc6 20. f4 gxf4 21. Qxf4 Rdg8 22. h4 b5 23. a3 Qb7
(23… f5 24. Rhg1 fxe4 25. Nxe4)

24. Rhg1 Kb8 25. h5 a5 26. Qf1 b4 27. axb4 axb4 28. Nb5
Now the tactical options start to get a bit out of control. We started to take a lot of time for each move, trying to figure out the right way out of the mess.
(28. Bxe5 dxe5 (28… Rxg1 29. Qxg1 (29. Bxd6+ Bxd6 30. Qxg1 bxc3 31. b3 Bxe4) 29… dxe5 30. Qg7 Rd8 31. Rxd8+ Bxd8 32. Nd1 Bxe4 33. Qxe5+) 29. Rxg8+ Rxg8 30. Qxf7 Rc8 31. Qxe6 (31. Na2 Bxe4) 31… bxc3 32. Qxe5+ Rc7 33. Qxc3 Bxe4 34. Qh8+ Rc8 35. Qe5+ Rc7)

28… Bxe4
(28… b3 29. cxb3 (29. Nc3 bxc2+ 30. Kxc2 Bxe4+ 31. Nxe4 Qxe4+ 32. Bd3 Nxd3 33. Qxd3 Qxd3+ 34. Rxd3 Rc8+ 35. Kb1 Rxh5 36. Bxd6+ Bxd6 37. Rxd6) 29… Bxe4+ 30. Ka2 Nc6)

29. Bxe5
(29. Nxd6 Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Qc7 31. Bd3 (31. Ra6 Qxc2+ 32. Ka1 Qc5) (31. Rd2 b3 32. Bd1) 31… Rxg3 32. Rxg3 Qxd6 33. Bxe4 Qd4) (29. Rxd6 Bxc2+ 30. Kxc2 Bxd6 31. Nxd6 Qc7+ 32. Nc4 Rxg3 33. Rxg3 Nxc4)

29… dxe5 30. Rxg8+
(30. Qxf7 Rc8 31. Qxe6 Bxc2+ 32. Ka1 Bxd1 33. Qxe5+ Ka8 34. Rxd1 Rhd8 35. Rxd8 Bxd8 36. Qf4 Qh1+ 37. Ka2)

30… Rxg8 31. Bd3 b3 32. c4
(32. cxb3 Qxb5 33. Bxe4 Qxf1 34. Rxf1 f5)

32… Rd8
(32… Bf3 33. Rd2 (33. h6 Bxd1 34. Qxd1 Rh8 35. Qxb3 Rxh6) 33… Bxh5 34. Qe1 e4 35. Bf1 Qa6 36. Nc3 Rg5)

33. Nc3 Rxd3 34. Rxd3 Bf5 35. Kc1 Bxd3?
Most likely winning was 35… Bg5+! 36. Kd1 Bxd3 37. Qxd3 Qh1+ 38. Ke2 Qxh5+ 39. Qf3 Qh2+ 40. Qf2 Qxf2+ 41. Kxf2 f5 42. Na4 Be7

36. Qxd3 Bg5+ 37. Kb1 Qh1+ 38. Nd1 Qxh5 39. Qxb3+ Kc7 40. Nc3 Qh1+ 41. Ka2 Qa8+ 1/2-1/2

I had turned down a draw offer from my opponent after his 40th move. But here, just 2 moves later, I offered him a draw in turn, because I couldn’t work out whose pawns would be queening first and I didn’t want to risk it!