Thursday, October 8, 2009

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.

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