Posts Tagged ‘draw’

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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

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I am way, way, way behind

June 10, 2009

I have played several games since I last blogged about a game. In an attempt to catch up, I will put up my games with minimal comments.

Lets start with the game played on April 1st. I was black:

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Nf6 5. Qxd4 Qxd5 6. Qxd5 Nxd5 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Bc4 Nb6 9. Bb5 Bd7 10. O-O e6 11. Nbd2 Be7 12. Ne4 O-O 13. Be3 Nd5 14. Bc5 b6 15. Bxe7 Ndxe7 16. Rfd1 Rfd8 17. Rd2 a6 18. Ba4 b5 19. Bb3 Be8 20. Rad1 Nf5 21. Nc5 Rxd2 22. Rxd2 g6 23. Ne4 Kg7 24. h3 Na5 25. Nd6 Nxb3 26. Nxe8+ Rxe8 27. axb3 Rc8 28. Rd7 Nh6 29. g4 Rc5 30. Nd4 Re5 31. Kf1 Ng8 32. Ra7 Nf6 33. Rxa6 Ne4 34. Rb6 h5 35. Rxb5 Nd2+ 36. Kg2 Rxb5 37. Nxb5 hxg4 38. hxg4 Nxb3 39. Kf3 Kf6 40. Ke3 e5 41. Nd6 Ke6 42. Ne4 f5 43. gxf5+ gxf5 44. Nd2 Nc5 45. b4 Nb7 46. c4 Kd6 47. Kd3 Nd8 48. Nb3 Ne6 49. Ke3 f4+ 50. Ke4 Ng5+ 51. Kf5 Nh3 52. f3 Ng1 53. Ke4 Ne2 54. c5+ Ke6 55. Nd2 Ng3+ 56. Kd3 Kd5 57. Nb1 e4+ 58. fxe4+ Nxe4 59. Nc3+ Nxc3 60. Kxc3 Ke4 61. c6 f3 62. c7 1-0

After 62…f2 63. c8=Q f1=Q 64. Qe6+ Kf3 65. Qf5+ Kg2 66. Qxf1+ Kxf1, the b-pawn decides the game.

This was followed up by my next game, played the very next day, again with black:

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. Qc2 dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Bd3 a6 10. a3 Bb7 11. O-O Nbd7 12. Ne5 Rc8 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 h6 16. b4 Bf6 17. Bb2 Rfd8 18. Rfd1 Qc7 19. Bc3 e5 20. dxe5 Bxe5 21. Bxe5 Qxe5 22. Rac1 Re8 23. Bf3 f5 24. Rd7 Ba8 25. h3 f4 26. Re1 fxe3 27. Qa2+ Kh8 28. Rxe3 Qf6 29. Qe2 Rxe3 30. Qxe3 Rf8 31. Ra7 Qd8 32. Rxa6 Bb7 33. Ra7 Bc8 34. Bxc6 Qd1+ 35. Kh2 Qd6+ 36. Qg3 Qd4 37. Rc7 Be6 38. Bxb5 Rxf2 39. Rxg7 Qxg7 40. Qxf2 Qe5+ 1/2-1/2

Here my opponent assumed this would be a draw by repetition/perpetual check and offered me a draw, which I gladly accepted. He didn’t see that after 41. g3 Qxb5 42. Qf8+ Kh7 43. Qe7+ Kh8 44. Qxe6, I cannot easily force a perpetual. Progress might be slow for white, having to constantly worry about allowing a perpetual but there is only one person playing for a win in this position and he had nothing to lose whatsoever. Lucky me!

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…and the winless streak continues

March 31, 2009

As fate would have it, I didn’t get to play the expected game with white. I had to fill in on the last board for another team in the club, so my scheduled game in the internal competition got postponed. And…again…I was black. It certainly was an interesting game where I felt white was better most of the time until I initiated counterplay on the kingside. Interestingly enough, on further analysis, I would have been slightly better if I had resumed play on the queenside after creating play on the kingside. Play on both sides of the board! I remembered it when starting activity on the kingside but not afterwards!

Anyway, here’s the game.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3 Be7 [5… Nbd7 6. Bd3] 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. Qc2  a6 11. Rd1 Nbd7

I often play this line of the Semi-Slav. I am getting ready for the c5 pawn break. At this point my opponent embarks on a rather weird knight maneuver, intending to trade knights. Initially I thought it was to put a knight on c5 and try and clamp down the black queenside. It turns out that wasn’t his intention at all.

12. Ng5 h6 13. Nge4 Qc7 14. Nxf6+ Nxf6 15. Ne4 e5?!

The knight moves seemed like a waste of time to me, unless he wanted to place it on c5. I felt like I needed to challenge the centre, even as a slightly desperate measure.

16. Nxf6+  Bxf6 17. d5 c5

17… Rfd8 18. Bd2 Rxd5 19. Bh7+ Kh8 20. Be4 Rd7 might have been another way to go, freeing up my position. Now my pieces get bogged down with his passed d-pawn, while constantly trying to determine if my queenside majority (and especially my pawn at c5) was a strength or a weakness.

18. e4 Rac8  19. Be3 Qd6 20. Be2 Rc7 21. Rac1 Be7 [21… c4 22. Qd2 Rfc8 23. Bg4 Rb8 24. b3 again looking to free up my position at the cost of my queenside pawn structure] 22. Qd2 g5!?

For a few reasons. Firstly, I was seriously worried about 23. f4 exf4 24. Bxf4, and even if I don’t grab on f4, he could play fxe5 with the same motif. Moving the queen away from d6 could lead to dangerous forks with the pawn on d6, so g5 puts a stop to f4, at least temporarily. Secondly, I didn’t have any fears about moving the pawns in front of my king as I felt it would be quite hard for him to get to my king in this closed position. Thirdly, I grab some space on the kingside and I felt that in the current position all of my pieces could, at the right moment harmoniously swing over to the kingside and create good counterplay against his king. My next few moves are geared towards starting play on the kingside and achieving the third goal.

23. b3 Bc8 24. Rc2 Bd7 25. Rdc1 Rfc8 26. Qd1 f5!? 27. f3 Qg6

Almost getting into a King’s Indian type of position.

28. Rd2 Bd6

The bishop is a much better piece to block his passed pawn than my queen!

29. Bd3 f4 30. Bf2 g4?!

30… c4 31. bxc4 [31. Be2 c3 32. Rdc2 Ba3 33. Rb1] 31… bxc4 32. Bf1 c3 33. Rdc2 Ba3 34. Rb1 Bb2

would have put some serious pressure with the passed c-pawn and left me with the advantage. But, being in slight time pressure, I didn’t even look at the above line. I’d like to think I would have seen it and gone for it if I had time.

31. fxg4 Bxg4 [31… c4 32. Be2 c3 33. Rdc2 Ba3 34. Rb1 Qxe4, similar to the variation above would have still given an advantage]

32. Be2 h5 33. Bf3 Qg5 [33… c4]

I had a heart-stopping moment just before I played Qg5. I was about to play 33… h4, which would have blundered my bishop and led to my third straight loss.

34. Rdc2 Kh7 35. Kf1 Bxf3

Time control made, with seconds left on my clock.

36. Qxf3 1/2-1/2

With time trouble having been negotiated safely, my opponent made the draw offer, which I was glad to take as I didn’t see how I could force my way through in the final position.

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Two draws in quick succession

February 23, 2009

Considering that my past two games (both with black) were played over a month ago and I haven’t had time to annotate them in detail, I figured I would post them up together, with fewer notes than normal. While they both ended as draws, I was clearly winning in both cases, only to throw it away each time. Ok, enough whining. Here’s the first game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. d3 Nc6 5.  Bg2 Nf6 6. f4

Here I decided to trade in the center.

6…dxe4 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 8. Bxe4 Qb6 9. c3 Bd7 10. Qc2 Bd6 11. Be3 Qc7  12. Ne2 Ne7 13. d4

Here, the computer suggests 13…c4 with an advantage for black. I probably should have considered that option more seriously but more tempting was my own choice in the game – sacrificing a pawn for a nice open game with the initiative.

13…Bc6 14. dxc5 Bxc5 15. Bxc5 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 Qxc5 17. Qxb7 O-O

After a pretty forced sequence, Fritz gives a marginal advantage for white, primarily because of the extra pawn.

18. b4 Rab8?!

Provoking my opponent into making a choice. He chooses the trade of his queen for both of my rooks. Materially he is doing much better but I still have chances before his pieces coordinate.

19. Qxb8 Qd5 20. Qxf8+?!

20. Qxa7 Qxh1+ 21. Qg1 maintains the advantage.

20…Kxf8 21. Kf2 Nf5 22. Rhd1 Qe4 23. Rac1?

Too passive. 23. Rd8+ Ke7 24. Rad1, doubling the rooks on the d file and white should be ok.

23…Qe3+  24. Ke1 Qf3 25. c4 Qh1+ 26. Kd2 Qxh2 27. Rc3 Nd4 28. Re1 Qf2 29. Kd1 Nf3 30.  Rxf3 Qxf3 31. Kd2 Qa3 32. b5 Qxa2+ 33. Kd3 Qa3+ 34. Nc3 Qd6+ 35. Kc2 Qd4 36.  Kb3 Qf2 37. Rd1 Qxg3 38. c5 Qxf4 39. c6 Ke8 40. Rd7 Qf2 41. Rb7 Kd8 42. Rd7+  Kc8 43. Re7 h5 44. Rb7 h4 45. b6

Until now, I’ve slowly built up the advantage and am now clearly winning.

45…a6??

“Trying to be safe”. I saw the variation 45…Qxb6 46. Rxb6 axb6 with 4 connected passers against a lonesome knight. I was dreading that this flashy approach might have a blunder somewhere and didn’t go for it – rather than trusting my instincts. Even safer would have been to play 45…axb6 46. Na4 Qf3+ followed by Qxc6. Again, game over.

Instead, we shortly agreed on a draw!

46. Rc7+ Kd8 47. Rd7+ Ke8 48. Rb7 Kd8 49.  Rd7+ 1/2-1/2

And the next game, played a week after the previous one:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6  5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 Nc6 7. Be2 Qb6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Qd3 g6 10. Rb1 Bg7 11. Be3 Qc7  12. O-O O-O 13. f5 Rb8 14. Kh1 Nd7 15. Bg5 Ne5 16. Qe3 Re8 17. f6 exf6 18. Bxf6  Bf8 19. Qg5 Be7 20. Rf4 Bxf6 21. Rxf6 d5 22. exd5 cxd5 23. Rbf1 Be6 24. R1f4??

Nothing spectacular until white’s last move, which is a clear blunder. He’s hoping he has enough on the kingside for a winning attack but I’ve concretely calculated he doesn’t and proceed to collect material and a winning advantage.

24…Rxb2 25. Rh4 Qxc3 26. Qh6 Rb1+ 27. Bf1 Qe1 28. Qxh7+ Kf8 29. Rhf4 Rb4 30. h4  Rxf4 31. Rxf4 Qg3??

And now my turn for the double question-mark! I was intending to play Ng4 first and after calculating several variations in my head, I simply played the wrong move order. Now my opponent wins back the piece and I lose the win.

32. Qh8+ Ke7 33. Qxe5 Qa3 34. Qc7+ Kf8 35. Bd3 Qc1+ 36. Rf1  Qh6 37. g3 g5 38. Kg2 gxh4 39. gxh4 Qxh4 40. Rh1 Qg4+ 41. Kf2 Qd4+ 42. Kg2

Here I knew I had a slight plus and could probably push on for a while, though I’d have to be extremely wary on an open board. But I took a look around at the other boards – three games had already completed with our team up 2-1, and my teammate on board one looked like he was closing in on another win. I felt that my half point made a lot more sense and chose to repeat.

42…Qg4+  1/2-1/2

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No losses in 5 straight games now

April 20, 2008

I managed to hold a much higher-rated opponent to a draw on the white side of a Caro-Kann this past week. As is typical in the Caro-Kann, white enjoyed a space advantage for most of the game, but black was solid and impregnable. Once he was able to make his pawn breaks, we liquidated to a drawn endgame.

After the game, we discussed a couple of variations where black could have played more aggressively and ended up with an extra pawn in a rook-endgame, but being in severe time trouble, he chose to take the safe approach. All in all, quite a boring game indeed.