Friday, December 18, 2009

December Before Christmas

During this month and the last two Saturdays, it was different, not completely but unusual, for the good of it. In the first week of the month, kids were a bit late and made us think that we would have just about 5 kids so we considered closing early. It was at about 12:30 when all of a sudden, about 15 came simultaneously and 4 new kids came. We had a pack of volunteers again, at least 5 so we were able to somehow keep everyone in and play and learn chess. It was as if it was a deja vu of the second week in Maria A. Schuka even though we didn't have as many as we thought we had because of the euthusiasm and competitive spirit the kids had. The next week, we had half the number of kids but still had the same interest. Everyone was playing from the beginning till the end. After some time, I decided to introduce double chess just to bring something new and encourage them to play more aggressive. As I thought, they enjoyed although some were getting bored and wanted to play a tournament. Since some didn't want to and it was near Christmas, we had instead our first match play, Job vs. Tacuma. It lasted about 30 mins. but in the end, Job was victorious with 4 quick wins. Tacuma, however, when the match ended, was lectured and played a bit by a chess instructor. I forgot his name but he did teach a few things especially the technique Job used, the Scholar's mate (Bc4, Qh5/f3, Qxf7#). So, for tomorrow, we will have our first short lecture about openings and the chess fundamentals. This will a trial to see how the kids would like the idea of teaching. That's it for now. Hope to see you all tomorrow and may you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Different dates...both the same

In the third week, we had an attendance of 20, 19 kids and 1 adult. Yuanling, Kostya, Michael, and I were there. During that day, we had our first use of the demo board. We had lessons led by Yuanling and Michael. Everyone who came learned or relearned the basics of the game and had some problems. We all had fun and enjoyed the lessons.

The fourth was a decline. The number of kids decreased by 3 and no registered adults were present. It was a bit of chaos since I was late and the length of games were uneven, some ended quickly like 5 mins. and some after at least 15 mins. It seems that it has become an actual tournament in the sense of quick victories or extremely long games that lead to blitz play. The only difference is that we had to end it early which is a bad thing for them. Hopefully, we'll be able to finish it all through out from 12 to 2 smoothly.

That's it for now. There will another one tomorrow. I'll be there tomorrow instead of the going to the 2009 Winter Super Challenge because I have the "binder." Check up for more updates about the Chess-in-Library program in Maria A. Schuka.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 1 x 2 = Week 2 ?

The title says it all about the members of the new program in the Maria A. Schuka library yesterday. The first week was blogged by Yuanling and as said, it was a great success. Thanks to the library, staff, volunteers, and of course, the kids and their parents, it has happened.

I'm happy to have Lucas Sterling, David Sterling and Kostya Golovan, our volunteers for this program. All should not forget Yuanling and Michael who have helped made this program possible. They, along with me, volunteered this week.

During the second week, we had more than doubled our members, including the 2 adults who joined. The tables were filled with people playing chess in the first 10 minutes and by the near the end of the hour, parents with their children(about 5) were learning how to play chess. The place seemed to be filled and all were waiting for the mini-tournaments to begin. Before we did so, certificates were given to the winners of the previous tournaments which was received happily by the kids and everyone in the room. Soon, the mini-tournament began. Kids played non-stop and somewhat fast. Some even led to quick wins! Sign of talent and motivation. Interestingly, we had tiebreaks and used hand count since we didn't have clocks. Pressure was everywhere during those games and because of this, they shook hands and drew. Some won the section outright and some drew but no one lost! Everyone had a good experience and wanted to come back. Seems to me the numbers of members will be increasing, possibly even triple the number of members last week.

I thank all those who supported this program and hope this would continue in Maria A. Schuka library. Thank you all very much! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

A First Scandinavian Game, Quiet yet Deadly

Sorry for not posting this for a very long time. I was...well, i don't know how to say. Deep study I guess. Anyway, after some time, I finally found some motivation in myself after reading some books about world championship games. It made me ask myself what I can contribute to the chess world and so I publish this game here in my blog.

Losing all my games from the first round till the fifth round excluding the third and fourth because I took a bye, I was disappointed and sad despite the fact I’m playing in the open section. Still, I had some hope of winning. I was black against Kevin Wu in the last round. I saw him play e4 before which means I’ll be mostly likely able to play my favourite Center Counter. At last, after four months of waiting, I’m able to finally play my opening again in Toronto. My chess buddies who also know Kevin said that I’ll easily beat him and I shouldn’t worry about him. I did play him before just once and concluded he’s okay but not yet strong enough to play as master. Those did encourage me did put my spirits up but still...those three loses still affected me especially the second one where I had to defend the entire middlegame. There was one thing I remembered saying myself before: “An advantage unused is useless.” If this should favour me, then I should make the most out of it and so I did. I played the same moves, moved the same pieces, thought the same way I thought. For the reader’s sake, I will not hide from you the game and so here it is:

2009 Toronto Thanksgiving Open CFC/FIDE rated 2 hrs/40 + 1 hr
White: Kevin Wu
Black: Jan Edmund D. Lazo
Opening: Center Counter Defense

1. e4 d5 2. exd5
It’s interesting to see that the last two boards at the last round played the same opening only to deviate at move 2. In the end, both had the same result! The difference is that the supposedly sharper move played by my friend later became dead drawn and the supposedly drawish, safe, quiet reply was the one winning!

2. ... Qxd5
I chose the quiet reply. 2. ... Nf6 involves more risk and should be played if one knows how to play the Alekhine (1. ... Nf6) since it usually involves a kingside fianchetto. It’s much more complicated than in the Qxd5 lines which opt for solidity. Besides, I’ve been playing this ever since I learned it.

3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Bd2
Threatening 6. Ne4 Qb6 7. Nxf6+ gxf6 doubling black’s pawns. The pawn structure would then resemble the Bronstein variation of the Caro-Kann (4. ... Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6). Black gets active play in form of the g-file and a stronger hold of the center. The disadvantage is the fact that it has doubled pawns, a loss of flexibility in the kingside. If one doesn’t like this possible, then c6 should be played by Black instead of Nf6 so that Black can play Qc7 (!) removing White’s threat. The white bishop has to move later anyway so the tempo used in the opening would return later. This plan of an early c6 would also plan on Bf5, Nbd7, e6, and only then Ngf6. This is quite solid. Whatever White does, he won’t be able to do a miniature!

5. ... Bf5
I’ve experienced 5. ... c6 (?!) before against Elliot Raymer in CYCC last summer. Instead of 6. Ne4, he first played 6. Bd3!? I played 6. ... Bg4?! and got a bad middlegame after 7. Ne4! Qh5?! (Bxd1) 8. Nxf6+ exf6 9. Be2 (f3!? is probably more testing exploiting Black’s bishop and queen.) Bxe2 10. Qxe2+ Qxe2 11. Nxe2. White has the pawn majority and I have the wrong set of doubled pawns. I managed to equalize after setting up a blockade and post a good knight on e5. He got caught in a discovered attack and had to defend an ending a pawn down after chopping his isolated d pawn. In the opening, 5. ... Qc7! is better and only then Bg4! forcing Nge2/Nf3 or a concession with f3.

The difference with the text move is that 6. Ne4 now allows 6. ... Qb6 7. Nxf6+ Qxf6! Black’s pawns remain flexible and the queen is safe and if needed, can reach to almost every square in the 6th rank.

6. Nf3 c6
Only now since it can no longer be prevented. Unless one is comfortable with 6. ... e6 7. Ne4 Qb6
8. Nxf6+ gxf6 9. Bc3 when Qd2 and 0-0-0 threatens Ba5 trapping the queen. Of course there are ways to avoid this but if it means moving the queen again, then it shows the inferiority of e6 over c6.

7. Bc4
And now it transposes back to the main line.

7. ... e6 8. 0-0
8. Nd5 Qd8 9. Nxf6+ Qxf6 if basing on the number of games somewhat new even till today. It retains pawn flexibility and therefore is much more solid and safe. The drawback is that the queen might find itself misplaced and should later think about relocating itself to c7 where it should be since Black usually castles queenside for king safety and is much more vulnerable. Black has fared fairly well though.
9. ... gxf6 instead opts for a structure similar to the gxf6 variation of the 4. ... Nf6 Caro-Kann. Black might find itself lagging in development but the solidity of the pawn structure and central control make up for it. Black would also castle queenside and aim for some active play in the center and kingside with the half-open g file.
8. Qe2 is still the main line with the idea of d4 d5. If White ever achieves this successfully, most likely Black within a few moves. The fullness of it is shown after 8. ... Bxc2? 9. d5! cxd5 (forced)
10. Nxd5 (discovered attack) Qd8 11. Nxf6+ gxf6 12. Bb5+! Nc6 13. Rc1 Bg6 14. Rxc6! bxc6 15. Bxc6+
or 12. ... Nd7 13. Bc3 Bg6 14. Rd1 +- After Black players realized that, they played 8. ... Bb4 with the idea of Bxc3, removing a piece controlling d5.

8. ... Qc7 9. Re1 Be7
The move for flexibility and protection against any d4-d5 breakthrough because it removes the indirect pin on the e-file. 9. ... Bd6 entails more risky but nonetheless is playable since 10. d5? cxd5 leaves the bishop hanging. Qe2 should be first played first before d4-d5 but one should not forget c2 is hanging.
Black can opt for queenside castling or kingside castling depending on the white player and play Bd6 or Bf6 if the f6 knight leaves.

10. a4?!
Too committing. In order prevent b5, White weakens b2, b3, and b4. It puts White’s rook the job of protecting the a4 pawn. Black doesn’t necessarily play b5 and chose to play in the center instead. Even 10. Bb3 is better allowing Qe2, Rad1, c3, etc. aiming center and kingside play or h3 preventing Bg4, giving h2 for the king, and giving possibilities for a kingside pawn storm with f4, g4, h4, etc as shown in my game against Nicka Kalaydina. See Calgary Junior Chess Club Yahoo Newsgroup. If White can pawn storm in the queenside, this can be justified but unfortunately for White, this is not possible.

10. ... 0-0 11. h3 Nbd7 12. Nh4
White sets on removing Black’s key defender of the light squares. Black has no escape from the imminent capture but can content itself for the kingside pawn structure which controls f5, g6, and h5 and gives the king an escape square on h7.

12. ... Bg6 13. Nxg6 hxg6 14. Qf3?!
An inaccuracy. Better is 14. Qe2 simply doubling on the e-file and protecting the light-squared bishop. White can then think of playing of f4 and g4 later if allowed to break through the enemy pawn fortress. It transposes if an exchange of knights occur. The idea is breakthrough with d5 but this is misguided. One plays d5 not because of the extra defenders defending the d5 pawn but the e-file pin!

14. ... Nb6
Black sets on an exchange of pieces to change the pawn structure to his favour or reduce of his slightly cramped position.

15. Bb3 Nbd5
Now c5 is a possibility since d5 is occupied. Any exchange gives Black a fair share of the center and so equalizes.

16. Ne4
White removes the knight blocking him from playing c2-c3 or c2-c4 but Black happily obliges to give way for the dark-squared bishop to f6, attacking White’s main weakness, d4. 16. Nxd5 cxd5 just gives Black a fair hold of the center.

16. ... Nxe4 17. Qxe4 Bf6
The position is obviously equal now. Now, Black aims to put pressure on d4 and hold d5 as well. Now, it seems the d pawn will not see light of the day. It lacks c3, a very important pawn move maintaining d4. Also, the rooks and bishop are wrongly placed to defend d4 since there are no tactics to support d5 thanks to Nd5.

18. g4?
Premature kingside pawn storm. White forgot that his d pawn is weak and lacks protection. Petrosian would have played something like 18. Be3 or 18. c3 holding d4 when Qb6 Qc2 protects b2 and the bishop protecting his pieces before even thinking of an attack. Black’s pressure on d4 now doubles.

18. ... Qb6!
Now c3 is impossible without protection on b2 and b3. White’s next move is forced.

19. Be3 Rad8!
The right rook. The rooks here are meant for d8 and e8 so that d5 exd5 attacks the queen. Ironically, the break is meant for c5! The difference between Rad8 and Rfd8 will show itself later.

20. Rad1 Rfe8
Black is ready for pawn breaks.

21. g5?
This is truly losing now. White loses a pawn and is in an unfavourable opposite-coloured bishop position where the dark-squared bishop hails supreme thanks to d4, e3, f2, g3, h4. Much more tenacious was 21. Qf3 or 21. Qg2 or 21. Qd3 for king/queen safety. If Black wants to win, he needs to keep the queens and his knight on for now. With g5, the evaluation changes drastically.

21. ... Nxe3! 22. fxe3 Bxg5
Without the g4 pawn, the White can’t expect to breakthrough on the kingside and is more open to heavy piece attacks such as Qb6-a5-g5. This is should be more than enough in this ending.

23. h4?
Even more weaknesses. To prevent any Black piece going to g5, it puts itself on a dark square. Moreover, it weakens h3 and so is another square of the queen to go to. Miraculously, this saved him. How though it is the question. The reply would be at least defending e3 by Rd3 then, the doubling in the d-file with Re1-d1-d2, and then c4. This would allow Bd1-f3 relocating the bishop and supporting the d4-d5 break while giving protection to the white king. The queenside pawns would be able to defend itself with b2-b3. It would be needed in the near future since e3 would be always under attack after a c5/e5 break.

23. ... Bf6 24. Kf2
The king is running away but is only making itself vulnerable along the 2nd rank. 24. Rd3 is still possible with ideas shown in 23. h4?!

24. ... c5!
Exploiting White’s previous move opening up the position for the heavy pieces. Things are not looking rosy for White.

25. dxc5 Qxc5 26. c3 Qb6 27. Rxd8? (!)
White goes for a swindle, a risky one. White gives up the d-file to the opponent but why?

27. ... Rxd8 28. Qc4!
White sets a trap letting h4 hang since Bxh4 Qxh4 Qxb3 hangs a pawn. There’s one weakness in Black’s camp: the open h-file.

27. ... Bxh4+??
Black throws away his advantage and half a point. Stronger is 27. ... Qd6! when White has no good reply.
a.) 28. Qf4 Qxf4 29. exf4 Bxh4+ loses the exchange and the game
b.) 28. Kf3 Qh2! 29. Qg4 Rd2
c.) 28. Rd1 Qh2+ 29. Kf3 Qh3+ 30. Bxh4+ Ke2 31. Qg2#
d.) 28. Rh1 Qe5 29. Qe2 Qf5+ 30. Kg2 Qe4+ 31. Kh2 Be5+ 32. Kh3 Rd3 with the threat of Rxe3+
As one would see, Black advantage is decisive and should lead to a mate or huge material loss for White. The text move however was just too greedy. A tip for Scandinavian players: don’t be too greedy. When in advantage, be calm and simplify if material advantage and maintain if positional. Simplify in the sense of exchanging everything up until to the endgame where the extra material outweighs any compensation the opponent might have. Maintain in the sense of keeping your advantage. Keep on pressuring until the opponent cracks.

28. Qxh4 Rd2+ 29. Re2 Rxe2+ 30. Kxe2 Qxb3 31. Qd8+ 1/2-1/2
Despite the result, I think both sides have learned a lot from the game what and what not to do. My opponent to think ahead of a good plan that makes sense in the given position and for me to maintain the initiative and not simplify allowing counterplay which is perpetual.

I don't know if there are other tournaments I'll be able to join to this month but there's are other things that will make this month busy for me besides school. I'm gonna be starting volunteering in Maria A. Schuka for the Chess in the Library program. I'll be posting all the progress of it right here or use another blog for it...nah, I'll do it on both. Also, I'll be annotating live games of the Alberta Junior Chess Championship. If I can, I'll kibitz but I don't know how to make it public. If anyone has ideas, please tell me. So for that, I conclude this post.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Open

Sorry all! I wasn't able to blog probably because of my disappointing result in the tournament. To save your time, I'll just briefly say it. I got 0.5/4 with two byes cause my parents made me celebrate thanksgiving the whole day during Sunday. I played against two masters, calugar and moffat, two class A players, Aaron and Kevin Wu. I lost against the masters and Aaron but gave a draw against kevin in a winning opposite colored bishop position with major pieces. How? Perpetual. All three except my game against Aaron are worth annotating. If I have time, then I'll annotate my game against Aaron. I'd probably annotate my only really good game against Kevin this week and post it this week as well. School is okay for me so I should have enough time to do it. I'll try looking for tournaments I can join after I do my volunteer work in the library. I'm starting my volunteer work promoting chess in the Maria A. Schucka library every Sat. That's all I have for now so check it often for updates.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Round 6 with notes

After losing my fifth game against a fellow Filipino, I was saddened by the fact I have no chance anymore to get any place. Also, I feel a pressure in me to win disappeared. It reminded me of my tournament before this. It was about two years ago. I had three opponents left during the last day. I lost the first game against a finalist in a major tournament. It was a better position for me with an extra pawn in a solid position. I lost the exchange but had a super strong passed pawn but in the end, I blew up and lost it even if my blunder should give at the very least a draw. In the second game, I lost it too in a winning positon. It was very tactical but I had an open file against the king, domination of dark squares, mating threats, and a two extra pawns with White having no counterplay. Unfortunately, I was down in time with my opponent having an hour against my ten minutes. I played quickly hoping to exchange pieces but gave him too much play and lost my pieces and let my flag go down. In the third game, I changed strategy and played casually for the sake of having fun whether it was having fun with my opponent or torturing my opponent so he can resign. I did win but perhaps had too much fun. I got a medal but what’s a medal compared to a trophy? Nothing. If I relate it to this, what I did I think was that I just played bughouse and blitz. It’s said to be bad if I still have a game but why care? I have no chance anyway to place. It went well. I eventually put my two horrible loses aside and concentrated on my last game. I was black against Tyler Longo in the last round. Seeing his rating as somewhat equal to mine, I was more than relaxed but of course during the game is another story. It was actually the other way around! Well, until I played an interesting move which confused and then as game continued on from that interesting move, the game slowly crept to me since White was clueless. I’ll explain why.

Round 6 CFC rated Classical 2 hrs./40 + 1 hr.
White: Tyler Longo 1991
Black: Jan Edmund D. Lazo 1994
Opening: Queen’s Indian with b3, (A47)

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. e3 b6 4. b3
When faced with this move, only thing that comes to my mind is that he’s going to copy my moves to get a draw. I had this before in the 2009 Canadian Chess Challenge. My opponent gave me a tempo for some weird reason with 4. ... Bb7 5. Bb2 c5 6. c3?! and got crushed with a central break and a kingside attack.

4. ... Bb7 5. Bb2 c5 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. Bd3 d5
Another possibility is 7. ... cxd4 8. exd4 Nd5 with plans of f5, Be7, 0-0, Qc7, Bf6, etc. or 8. ... Be7, 0-0, Qc7, d6, Rc8 etc., treating it like a hedgehog.

8. 0-0 Be7 9. Ne5
Typical move. The purpose of this move is to allow f4, Ndf3 strengthening his hold on e5. Black sets on neutralizing the knight with his next move but is it just that?

9. ... 0-0 10. f4 Rc8
Threatening cxd4 exd4 Nb4 getting the bishop pair.

11. a3 Nd7
Is 10. Qh5 a problem?

12. Qh5 f5!
Rather than kicking the knight with f6 if possible, Black instead focuses on controlling e4 instead. This also further closes the center. 10 ... g6 weakens the dark squares around the king and with dxc5 as a possibility, it seems suicidal. It also makes an f5 break stronger and sacrifices on the kingside, particularly on g6 possible. Based on that analysis, I went for 10 ... f5.

13. Qe2
11. Ndf3 Nf6 12. Qh3 Ne4 equalizes. The text move goes for another plan, exchanging bishops. In queen’s pawn games, there is a saying that Black needs his light-squared bishop to take care of his pawns. This is in fact true in openings like the Queen’s Indian, Dutch, Semi-Slav. Since White’s bishop is attacking granite, might as well trade it for something with a purpose. How does Black respond?

13 ... Ndxe5 14. fxe5 Bg5!
In the Queen’s Indian, this bishop is usually the piece asking itself were it should go to have purpose. Now, the bishop has answered its question. The bishop on g5 attacks the e3 pawn and so prevents Ba6 and any queen movement. Now, all of Black’s pieces have a purpose and a plan has shown itself, put pressure on the center. It involves Rc7-f7, Qe7, and f4 attacking White’s base pawn chain. With the attack on d4 and e3, White would be forced to give up his d4 pawn and so and exchange will take place where Black’s pawn would dominate the center and there is possibility for d4, opening up the h1-a8 diagonal for the bishop. White slowly falls apart with no plan.

15. Rae1?!
15. Nf3 Bh6 16. does nothing to Black. f4 is a better square for the knight and f3 is a better square for the rook piling up on the f-file first then lift them to the third rank towards the kingside. A better try would be to immediately pile up with 15. Rf3. Then 15. ... Rc7 16. Raf1 Rcf7 keeps the tension on the kingside and gives White the opportunity to move first unlike in the game.

15. ... Rc7 16. Rf3 Rcf7 17. Ref1 Qe7
Black has done everything to prepare f4 and so protects his bishop and two rooks before advancing. It also indirectly attacks the a3 pawn. Is there any other reason for this move? Well, besides what has been said, what else?

18. Rg3
Setting up a swindle. If 18. ... f4?, then just simply 19. Qh5! threatening Qxh7# and Rxg5 winning a piece.

18. ... g6
Now, f4 is possible.

19. c4?
With no other moves to play, White breaks on the center but one should ask why. I guess he had no other plans and decides on attacking the d pawn which make the e6 pawn more vulnerable and gives much more meaning for White’s e5 pawn if ever cxd5 exd5. The consequence of course is that the h1-a8 diagonal opens up if dxc4 which means that White’s rooks are much more vulnerable and a pawn push all the way to f3 might become possible. In other words, it’s a positional blunder. A better try would have been 19. c3 solidifying the White’s pawn structure but at the cost of weakening b3. 19. ... f4 fails to 20. e4 which removes the weak pawn with no cost so Black should consider 19. ... Na5 attacking the b3 pawn. Then 20. Bc2 put White on the defensive. With cxd4 and Rc8 to come with a battery or a
“gun” (tripling)on the c-file, Black has the initiative. Probably, he had to wait with 19. Kh1.

19. ... f4!
Breaking in with tempo. White has to take it to avoid immediate death.

20. exf4 Bxf4
Before I move on, I would just like to say a few words about the game. During the opening and the first part of the middlegame, White was always ahead on time. White played impatiently as if he had this before. When Black played Bg5, he started to slow down thinking of what to play. Gradually, his position deteriorated until to the point he had a lost position which is now the current position. If one knows that he’ll be grinded the same way Karpov would, would one continue on hoping his opponent would slip and lose half a point or go for weird, complicated sac that has high chances for Black to go wrong. Guess what he chose?

21. Rxf4? (!)
Who wants to get tortured? Obviously, no one would want that. Anyone who has watched any of the SAW films know what suffering is like. If what was happening in the game happened in real life, it would be him failing to solve the trap and die like the rest. I will go any further to how people died in those films as it might scare the life out of any faint-hearted person who hasn’t seen these films before. To translate what my opponent did in this game, he gave up and picked up a gun. I’ll leave that to the reader what would happen next.

21. ... Rxf4 22. Bxg6!
Same in poker, ALL IN!

22. ... hxg6 23. Qh5!
This complicates things a bit. The obvious 22. Rxg6+? Kf7 23. Qh5 fails to 23. ... Qh4!! silencing any double checks since any double check loses material. The next move by Black decides his fate. Relating to Saw, will he let his opponent get what he wants, an escape to this misery?

23. ... R4d7!
The answer is No to the question. One should get what one deserves whether it is because one succeeds or one fails. Take note that 23. ... R8f7 24. Rxg6+ Rg7 25. Rh6!! gives the game to White since 25. ... Rh7 26. Rxh7+ Qxh7 27. Qg5 hangs a rook. See the importance of the queen. Without the queen on e7, Black would be quite lost right now but that’s life. It’s unfair. One just has to deal with it.

24. Rxg6+ Rg7 25. Nf3 Nd8
Opening up the light-squared bishop. Now, any dxc4 threatens an attack based on g2. White resigned since
26. Ng5 Rxg6 27. Qxg6+ Qg7 forces an exchange of queens since an attack on g2 would happen with dxc4 and Nf7. White would also have to endure a rook vs. three pawns endgame with both sides having pieces which should favor Black.

Round 3 with annotation

I had a good sleep after round 2. I knew that I have equal chances with winning just like anyone else since there are still four games. I did nothing but sleep, wake up, take a bath, dress up, and eat. I was a bit late but 2 hours in 40 moves is not that much of a problem if I just lose about 10 minutes. I was able to make it there. I saw the pairings and saw myself black against an expert, Sheldon Pimentel. Finally having black, I walked calmly since I’m more comfortable playing black than white. I didn’t lose much time and played my favorite Nimzo-Indian. Easy as it was throughout the game, I felt nervous about drawing because a draw might kill my chances for placing. What’s ironic is that he played as if I was going for a draw too! Here’s the game.

Round 3 CFC rated Classical 2 hrs./40 moves + 1 hr.
White: Sheldon Pimentel 2059
Black: Jan Edmund D. Lazo 1994
Opening: Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical, Noa Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5
The line I’ve recently studied and been using. This move fights for control in the center, giving a stronger control over e4, and allows an Ne4 with a possible idea of Bf5. The main lines go 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. Nf3 Qf5! 7. Qxf5 exf5 8. a3 Be7 with solid, equal position and 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 Ne4 7. Qc2 Nc6 8. e3 e5! 9. cxd5 Qxd5 10. Bc4 Qa5+ 11. b4 Nxb4 12. Qxe4 Nc2+ 13. Ke2 Qe1+ 14. Kf3 Nxa1 with a very complicated game.

5. Bg5
A move I’ve never had before. I’ve read a book about the Nimzo-Indian and it said that a combination of Bg5 and Qc2 can’t be good but that was with 0-0, not d5. It is the move after cxd5 exd5 which gives White a theoretical plus but probably not now because of the move more testing than the text move. I guess he wants to avoid the main lines of this variation.

5. … h6
A more testing reply would be 5. … dxc4 because now Black can keep pawn with b5, c6, and a6. It also attacks the d4 pawn and gives the d5 square for a piece, probably the knight or queen. The game went 5 … dxc4 6. Nf3 b5 7. a4 c6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. g3 a6 10. Bg2 Ra7 11. 0-0 Rd7
12. Qc1 0-0 13. Qh6 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Kh8 15. Nd2 f5 16. Rfb1 e5 17. Nf3 Rd6 18. Qe3 e4 19. Nd2 Nd7 20. g4 Nf6 21. gxf5 Bxf5 22. Qf4 Qd7 23. Bxe4 Nxe4 24. Nxe4 Rg6+ 25. Ng3 Bxb1 26. Rxb1 f5 27. f3 Qg7 28. Kf2 Qf6 29. axb5 cxb5 30. Rd1 Kg8 31. d5 Qxc3 32. d6 Qf6 33. d7 c3 34. Nxf5 c2 35. Rd6 Qd8 36. Qe5 Rxf5 37. Rxg6+ hxg6 38. Qe8+ Rf8 39. Qxg6+ ½-½. I would say that in this game, White struggled to get the half point. The text move simplifies the game.

6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3
Before I continue on, I would like to say few things about this position. The position shows that the dark-squared bishop and a knight have been removed from both sides with queens on opposite squares (c3 & f6). There is still equal number of pawns, bishops, knights, rooks, and queens. Therefore, the position is dead equal with Black achieving his goal, equality. Black also gets the chance to move first! The next few moves prove my point that this position is dead equal.

8. … c6
I decided to play this position like the Semi-Slav with dxc4, b5, and c5 later on if White chooses to play 9 e3 or 10 e3 since I didn’t like the position that would arise from Nc6, Bd7, and 0-0-0, and 0-0 Qxc7 Nc6 with gambit play.

9. Nf3 Nd7 10. g3?!
Better is to play 10. e3, Bd3 but allowing a Semi-Slav position to arise with dxc4, b5, and Bb7. As game continued, White does play e3 anyway since his bishop is hitting granite.

10 … 0-0 11. Bg2 b6 12. 0-0 Ba6 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Qd2 Rac8?!
An inaccuracy. The text move requires Black’s queen three moves to go to b8 to be able to exchange all major pieces. White can then improve his position while the black queen moves. Better is 14. … Rfc8! 15. Rfc1 Qd8 with the idea of 16. … Rxc1, 17. … Rc8 18. Rxc8+ Qxc8 or 18. Rc3 Rxc3 19. Qxc3 Qc8! exchange major pieces and heading into a bishop & knight vs. bishop & knight ending with equality.

15. Rfc1!
Moving the right rook in the c-file and giving the f1 square for the bishop.

15. … Qe7
Black can’t do anything right now so…he begins the Black’s queen’s trip to b8!

16. e3 Qd6 17. Rxc8 Rxc8 18. Rc1 Qb8
Finally, the queen made it! Now, the game head to an endgame.

19. Rc3 Rxc3!
If 20. … bxc3, then Black can work on with White’s light -square weaknesses with Bc4, b5, Nb6, etc. So, 20. Qxc3 is practically forced.

20. Qxc3 Qc8!
Since White has control of the c-file, Black neutralizes it. The exchange of major pieces is complete. The game heads on to the endgame of bishop and knight vs bishop vs knight.

21. Qxc8+ Bxc8 22. Bf1
Taking control diagonal Black left for the exchange of queens. What does Black do now to neutralize it since he can’t play Ba6 yet?

22. … Nb8!
Yes, this is the move even though this completes the undevelopment of Black’s pieces. Why?
Simple, neutralize the bishop with Ba6, place the knight on c6. In other words, redevelopment.

23. Ne5 f6 24. Ng6 Kf7 25. Nf4 Bd7
Better and much more obvious is the simple 25. … Ke7 walking the king to the other side.

26. Bh3 Ke7 27. Kf1 g5 (!)
I would have to play it anyway to develop my bishop and protect my pawns from harm. It also allows me to play my type of ending: bishop vs. knight ending with me having the knight! I don’t need to but I want to.

28. Nd3 Bb5 29. Ke2 Nc6 30. Kd2 Bxd3 31. Kxd3 Kd6 32. b4 e5 33. f3 Ne7
Black has no other move and waits for his opponent to react in this position. He waits for f4 when he can respond with e4+, f5, g4, h5, closing the kingside for the moment until h5-h4-hxg3 is possible with Ng8-f6-h5 attacking g3.

34. e4?
I guess White wants to win, but perhaps his desire to win overwhelmed him. It is a saying to break open the center when one has the bishop, as I would say, this is not the case because of…

34. … Nc6!
Yes, as obvious as it could ever be, this is the move. White can’t protect his d4 pawn anymore and has to trade it one way or the other. The open center ironically killed White.

35. exd5 Nxd4?!
A more accurate move is just 35. …Kxd5 36. dxe5 Nxe5+ 37. Ke2 Kd4 with a won endgame for Black since White will lose his queenside pawns sooner or later. The text move however, give a more interesting game.

36. Kd5 a5!
Avoiding b5 when this and Bf1 hold off Black’s queenside pawns. This also forces the exchange of queensides pawns which makes Black’s plan on making a queenside passer stronger.

37. bxa5 bxa5 38. Bc8?
The obvious 38. Bf1 or 38. a4 were the only moves possible trying to save his remaining queenside pawn from the knight and having the time to post bishop on diagonals to stop the passer. Black now chops it for good.

38. … Nc2 39. Ba6
He finally corrects the bishop at the ideal diagonal. This is his only chance which would require trapping the knight temporarily on d3.

39. … Nxa3 40. Kf5
He doesn’t want to trap it first and try to get some pawns but still not enough. 40. … Bd3 is obviously forced if he wants to save the game. Now watch how the knight dances around

40. … Kxd5 41. Kxf6 a4 42. Bc8 Nc4 43. Bf5 a3 44. Bb1 Nd2 45. Ba2+ Kd4
Black will chop the f3 pawn and create another passer so White resigns.

Lesson: Play it because it’s the best move, whether theoretically, strategical, and/or practically. Don’t follow a saying without thought cause every position is more likely different than not.

I'll post games 4-6 but only have round 6 annotated. I wasn't able to annotate round 4 and 5 completely.