Archive for the ‘RH’ Category


The topsy-turvy season continues…with a loss

November 5, 2010

In my 3rd straight game against the same opponent (this time as black), we played out yet another Sicilian. I avoided any blunders in the opening and was in fact quite satisfied with my position by the time I played d5 on move 17.

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. b3 Nf6 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. Bb2 Bb4 9. a3 Ba5 10. Qf3 e5
(10… d5)

11. b4 Bb6 12. Na4 Bc7 13. Nc5 O-O 14. Rd1 Qe7 15. Be2 d6 16. Nb3 Bb7
(16… a5)

17. Nd2 d5 18. O-O Rad8
(18… Rfd8) (18… a5)

19. Bd3 a5 20. c3 axb4 21. cxb4 d4 22. Rc1 Bd6
(22… Rd6 23. Nc4 Re6)

23. Nb3 Rc8
(23… Ra8)

24. Nc5
(24. Na5)

24… Bxc5 25. Rxc5 Nd7 26. Rcc1
(26. Ra5)

26… c5 27. b5 Nb6 28. Bc4? Kh8?
I am much better in this position. Kh8 isn’t a mistake at all, with the idea of playing f5 and unleashing the bishop on b7. The big mistake in my thinking was that my knight on b6 was a very powerful piece and would aid in the c4 push, after which my connected passers would determine the result of the game. What I should have done is to trade the c4 bishop and play f5 immediately! 28… Nxc4! 29. Rxc4 f5! 30. Qb3 Qe6 31. exf5 Rxf5

29. Qd3 Qg5 30. f3 f5
(30… Nxc4! 31. Qxc4 f5)

31. exf5 Rxf5??
I would still be better after trading knight for bishop! 31… Nxc4! 32. Rxc4 Bd5 33. Ra4 c4 34. Qc2 Rxf5

32. Be6 Rff8
32… e4 33. fxe4 Rxf1+ 34. Rxf1 Re8 35. Bf5 only gives up a pawn but the position offers no counterplay, but is probably what I should have tried.

33. Bxc8 Rxc8 34. Rce1 Nd5
(34… Bd5)

35. Bc1 Qf6 36. Qe4 Re8 37. f4 Qb6 38. Qf5 Qd8
(38… e4 39. Rxe4 Qxb5 40. Qf7 Rg8) (38… Qxb5 39. fxe5 Ne7 (39… Rg8) 40. Qf7)

39. Rxe5 Nc3
(39… Nf6) (39…Rf8)

40. Rfe1
(40. Qf7)

40… Rxe5
(40… Rf8)

41. Qxe5 h6 42. Qxc5 Qf6 43. Qe5 Qxe5 44. Rxe5 d3 45. Kf2 Ne2 46. Bd2 Kh7 47. b6 Kg6 48. Re7 1-0

After a big rating gain last year, I’m taking a big step backward this year 😦


Tactics galore

October 29, 2010

I was white in the second game of a stretch of 4 games out of 5 against the same opponent (twice in team play and twice in individual competitions). I didn’t know what opening to expect as he tends to switch his openings quite a lot.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nb5 a6?!
(5… d6 6. c4 (6. Bf4 e5 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Bg5) 6… Nf6 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3)

6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qe7 8. Qd1
(8. Qxe7+)

8… Nf6 9. Nc3 Qb4
9… d5! 10. Bd3 dxe4 11. Bxe4 Nxe4 12. Nxe4 Qb4+ and black has equalised.

10. Bd3 Ne5 11. O-O b5 12. a3 Qc5 13. Be3 Qc7 14. h3 Bb7 15. Bg5 d5 16. Bxf6 dxe4??
Missing an elementary tactic. (16… gxf6 17. exd5 O-O-O)

17. Bxe5!
Even stronger is 17. Bxb5+!! axb5 18. Nxb5 Qd7 19. Nd6+ Qxd6 (19… Kf8 20. Bxe5) 20. Qxd6 gxf6

17… Qxe5 18. Re1 f5 19. Qh5+ g6 20. Qh6 Qc7 21. Bf1 Rg8 22. Rad1 Qe7 23. Nxb5! Rg7 24. Nd6+ Kf8 25. Nxb7
(25. c4) (25. Bc4)

25… Qxb7 26. Rd6 Re8 27. Red1 Kg8 28. Bxa6 Qxb2 29. Bc4 Qxc2 30. Bxe6+ Rxe6 31. Rd8+ Kf7 32. R8d7+ Kf6 33. Qxg7+
Until this point, I haven’t missed any major tricks. That starts to change now. 33. Qh4+ g5 (33… Ke5 34. R7d5#) 34. Qh6+ Ke5 35. R7d5+ Kf4 36. Qxe6)

33… Kg5 34. Qxh7 e3 35. h4+
(35. f4+ Kxf4 36. Qh4+ Ke5 37. Qd4# (37. R7d5#) is mate in 8.

35… Kg4 36. R7d4+
(36. R1d4+ f4 37. Rxf4+ Kxf4 38. Qh6+ Ke5 39. Qxe3+ Qe4 (39… Kf5 40. Qg5+) 40. Qc3+ Kf5 41. Rf7+ Kg4 42. Qh3+ Kh5 43. Rh7#)

36… f4 37. fxe3??
A major oversight. I am still winning easily after 37. Rxf4+ Kxf4 38. Qh6+ (38. Qf7+)

37… Kg3! 38. R4d2 Qc5??
My opponent misses his opportunity to win back the rook and head for an endgame with chances to draw! 38… Rd6!! 39. Kf1 Rxd2 40. Rxd2 Qxd2 41. Qxg6+ Kh2 42. exf4 Qxf4+ 43. Ke2 Qxh4. Now, the white win is trivial.

39. Qf7 Qxe3+ 40. Kf1
(40. Kh1 Qe1+ 41. Rxe1 Rxe1#)

40… Qe4 41. Qa7 Kxh4 42. Qf2+ Kg5 43. Rd4 Qf5
(43… Qe3 44. Qxe3 fxe3 45. Ke2)

44. Rd5 Re5 45. Qc5 1-0


Almost 3 in a row

October 26, 2010

Coming off back-back losses, I wanted to redeem myself in this game. So, what do I do – as black, I avoided any kind of blunder until the 3rd move!
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d5?
(3… Nc6)

4. d4 Nc6 5. exd5 exd5 6. dxc5 d4 7. Ne4 Bxc5 8. Nxc5 Qa5+ 9. c3 Qxc5
I calculated the lines with 9… dxc3 10. b4 Qxb4 11. Be3 c2+ 12. Qd2 Qb1+ 13. Qc1 Qb4+ 14. Nd2 and thought that white was better. Furthermore, most of white’s moves in this variation are forced, so we were more than likely to reach this very position on the board.

10. Nxd4 Nf6 11. Bb5 O-O 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. O-O Rb8 14. Qf3 Nd5 15. Qg3 Rb7 16. Re1 f5 17. Re5 Rbf7 18. f4 Qb6 19. c4?
My opponent, trying to consolidate his advantage and neutralise my advantage, blunders a piece himself! The rest isn’t very hard, though the game carried on for quite a while.

19… Qxd4+ 20. Kh1 Qxc4 21. Bd2 Nf6 22. Qf3 Ne4 23. Be3 Qc2 24. Bd4 c5 25. Bc3 Bb7 26. Qf1 Rd8 27. Rc1 Qf2 28. a4 h6 29. Qxf2 Nxf2+ 30. Kg1 Ne4 31. Kf1 Rd5 32. g3 Rfd7 33. Ke1 Kf7 34. a5 Nxc3 35. Rxc3 Rxe5+ 36. fxe5 Rd5 37. b3 Rxe5+ 38. Kd2 Ke6 39. h3 Kd6 40. Rc4 Ba6 41. Rf4 Re2+ 42. Kc1 Ke5 43. Rf3 Bb7 44. Rc3 Kd4 45. Rc4+ Kd5 46. Rc3 Ba6 47. Rf3 g6 48. Kd1 Rh2 49. Re3 Rxh3 50. Re7 Rxg3 51. Rxa7 Bf1 52. Kc2 Kc6 53. Ra8 Kb7 54. Rf8 Bg2 55. Rf6 h5 56. Rb6+ Ka7 57. Rb5 h4 58. Rxc5 h3 59. b4 h2 60. b5 h1=Q 61. Rc7+ Kb8 62. b6 Be4+ 0-1


A frustrating draw

December 1, 2009

I had played against the same opponent twice before (once as white, once as black) and beaten him twice, so I went in with hopes of a third win – which would have left me in sole possession of first place in the U140 Swiss with a round to go. Instead, we played out a draw and my opponent has held on to his half-point lead, with 3 of us on his heels. Replay game here.

1. e4 e5!
Certainly a good way to catch me by surprise. I was expecting a pitched battle in an open Sicilian!

2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nc6 4. dxe5??
Its not that this is necessarily a bad move – it is just that after this move, the position became very static and it was really hard to break through with an attack!

4… Nxe5 5. Nxe5 dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8 7. Bc4 f6 8. Be3 Bg4 9. Nd2 Bb4 10. f3 Bh5 11. O-O-O Ke8 12. Nb3 b6 13. g4?
Not the type of game I wanted to get into. I looked at 13. Bb5+! Kf8 14. a3 Bd6 and didn’t see what else I could achieve. But the computer shows 15. c4! Be8 16. Bxe8 Kxe8 17. c5 bxc5 18. Nxc5 and the position is better for white. I didn’t even consider the idea of c2-c4-c5, assuming that the opening of lines on the queenside would favor black. Instead, with the better developed pieces, white is doing fine here.

13… Bg6 14. h4
Again missing an opportunity to hold on to an advantage with 14. Bb5+ Kf8 15. c4 Be8 16. Ba6.

14… Ne7 15. c3?
Here again I looked at Bb5+ and thought it even worse because after 15. Bb5+ c6 16. Bc4, all I seem to have done is lose a tempo! Instead, it actually works in my favor because Black can no longer retreat his bishop to d6, blocking the d-file!. 15. Bb5+ Kf8 16. Kb1 Be8 17. Ba6 is also fine for white.

15… Bd6 16. Kb1
See a pattern? Bb5+ is required in all lines where I hope to maintain an advantage! 16. Bb5+ Kf8 17. Kc2 Be8 18. Be2. I thought about 16. Kc2 as well, where the king is one tempo closer to the center of the board but wasn’t sure if it might get into trouble if lines opened up for black’s rooks. Turned out to be another miscalculation on my part. Nothing worthwhile happened in the rest of the game. I tried to push on in the endgame but my opponent defended easily to reach a drawn ending.

16… Rd8 17. Nc1 Bf7 18. Bxf7+ Kxf7 19. Ne2 Rd7 20. Ng3 Rhd8 21. g5 Nc8 22. gxf6 gxf6 23. Nf5 Bf8 24. Rxd7+ Rxd7 25. Rg1 Ne7 26. Nxe7 Kxe7 27. Kc2 Ke6 28. a4 Rg7 29. Rxg7 Bxg7 30. h5 f5 31. a5 f4 32. Bf2 Bf6 33. axb6 axb6 34. Kb3 Bd8 35. Kc4 c6 36. b4 Kd6 37. b5 c5 1/2-1/2


More catching up…

July 7, 2009

My next two games then. The first, with white, played on April 30th, was against the same person I had this unfinished game with, and it was a repeat of the Pirc we saw in that one:

1. e4 d6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 Nf6 5. f3 O-O 6. Qd2 c6 7. O-O-O Nbd7 8. g4 e5 9. h4 h5 10. gxh5 Nxh5 11. Nce2 Qc7 12. Bh6 b5 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. Nh3 Ndf6 15. Rg1 Be6 16. Kb1 Rh8 17. Bg2 Rad8 18. f4 Bxh3 19. Bxh3 exf4 20. Nxf4 Nxe4 21. Rxg6+?! fxg6 22. Ne6+ Kh7 23. Qe3 Qe7 24. Qxe4 Rde8 25. Rg1 Rhg8 26. b3 Qf6 27. Rf1 Ng3 28. Rxf6 Nxe4 29. Rf7+ Kh6 30. Kb2 Rh8 31. Rxa7 Nf2 32. Ng5 Nxh3 33. Nxh3 Kh5 34. Nf4+ Kh6 35. Rc7 Rc8 36. Rd7 d5 37. Rd6 Rhg8 38. h5 Kg5 39. Nxg6 Kxh5 40. Ne7 Rcd8 41. Rxc6 Rge8 42. Ng6 Re4 43. Kc3 Ra8 44. Kd3 Rg8 45. Rd6 Re1 46. Nf4+ Kh4 47. Nxd5 Rd1+ 48. Kc3 Rg3+ 49. Kb4 Rxd4+ 50. Kxb5 Rg5 51. Kc6 Rg2 52. Ne3 Rxd6+ 53. Kxd6 Re2 54. Nf5+ Kg5 55. Nd4 Rd2 56. Kc5 Kf4 57. a4 Ke4 58. c3 1/2-1/2

I was very very low on time by this point and stopped recording moves. The time trouble was mainly caused while taking the decision to play my 21st move – it isn’t easy for me to play such sacrifices without concrete compensation. The computer says I have a 3.5 pawn advantage here. Of course in trying to deliver mate before time ran out, I allowed my opponent to first win my c-pawn, then give up his rook for my other two pawns and thus force a draw!

So, on to the next game, played on May 7th, with black:

1. e4 c5 2. Bc4 e6 3. a3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Ba2 Nf6 6. d3 Be7 7. Ne2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. c3 Bf5 10. Nf4 d4 11. h3 Qd7 12. c4 Bd6 13. Bb3 Rfe8 14. Ba4 Re5 15. Qf3 Qc7 16. Ne2 Bg6 17. Bf4 Rf5 18. Bxc6??

I was already much better coming out of the opening but this blunder puts me firmly ahead.

Bxf4 19. Nxf4 Rxf4 20. Qg3 bxc6 21. Nd2 Nh5 22. Qh2 Qe5 23. Rfe1 Qg5 24. g3 Bxd3 25. Qg2 Rf6 26. Nf3 Qf5 27. Ne5 Rg6?!

After a few very average moves, I have to give up the exchange to retain the advantage.

28. Nxg6 Qxg6 29. Re5 Bxc4 30. Rae1 h6 31. Rxc5 Bd5 32. Qf1 Nf6?

Missed the brilliant shot 32…Nxg3!!

33. Rd1 Ne4 34. Qd3? Nxc5 35. Qxd4 Qh5 0-1


Back to an even score

March 15, 2008

Playing white on board 3, I recorded my second win on Thursday night. After starting out my British chess career with two straight losses, its good to win two straight now. Interestingly enough, my opponent played a not-so-common variation of the Sicilian which I used to play for a while as black in online chess. Atleast this made me familiar with black’s ideas in the opening and I didn’t have to figure them out over the board – a big plus as I had arrived 10 minutes late and was already behind on the clock.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6
I used to play 4…Nf6 5.Nc3 Qb6.
White’s primary options here are Nb5 and Nb3. Nb3 is the more solid variation and leads to a slight plus for white. Nb5 is a bit more aggressive and is probably the more principled line.

5.Nb5 a6 6.Be3 Qa5+
The problem with facing a line you’ve played often is that while you are familiar with the move order you prefer, you never really bother to analyze alternate responses. Here, I always preferred playing my queen back to d8 – so I was in unfamiliar territory here – though having said that, it isn’t really hard finding moves here for white.

7.N5c3 Nf6 8.Bd3 d5 9.exd5
9.Nd2 might have been better, developing another piece. If 9…d4, then 10.Nb3 holds things together.

9…Nxd5 10.Bd2 Ndb4 11.Be4 Qe5 12.O-O
Here I had a long think about 12.a3, trapping the black knight. 12…Bf5 was not really a threat, as after 13.f3, I am just up a piece. But I was really worried about 12…f5, when after 13.axb4 fxe4, black’s position looks bad with doubled e-pawns, the lack of a f-pawn and being behind in development, but there seemed to be no clear way for me to take advantage of it.

12…Nd4 13.a3 Nbc6 14.Be3 Bf5 15.Bxf5 Nxf5 16.Bb6 e6 17.Re1 Qd6 18.Nd5! Rc8 19.Nbc3 Be7
Here again I had a long think, especially about 20.Qg4 but I couldn’t find a suitable continuation after 20…Ne5. But looking it up on the computer shows 21.Qa5+ Nd7 and I maintain my advantage. Sometimes, it really is hard to see lateral queen moves when trying to press the attack!

20.Nxe7 Ncxe7 21.Ba5 Nc6 22.Bb6 Ncd4 23.Bxd4 Qxd4 24.Qf3 =
After 24…O-O 25.Qxb7 Rb8 Qxa6 Rxb2, the game is petering out to a draw.

The game just became a winning position for white.

25.Qxf5 Qxb2 26.Rxe6+! fxe6 27.Qxe6+ Kf8 28.Qxc8+ Kf7 29.Qc7+ Kg6 30.Re1 Rf8 31.Qg3+ Kh6 32.h4 g6 33.Re7 Qc1+ 34.Kh2 Qd2 35.Ne4 Qc1 36.Ng5 Qb2 37.Rxh7#