Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Round 2 game w/ annotation

After I finished my game through a zugzwang at about 4 pm, one of the Filipinos had a laptop. It has Fritz 11, books, videos, everything a chess player would need. I was amazed by how many books he had in PDF, about 340, but not as much when he told me how he got them all. Anyway, I, along with him, looked at my first game against Olden-cooligan. I was sad to see that many of what I thought were best moves I did not play because I was “not in the mood.” Sadden but somewhat happy to know that my analysis was correct, I ate lunch and looked up on some of the lines I will be playing as Black for the second round. Happy to be finally be Black and be in my comfort zone, I was calm just waiting for the first round games to end and play my second game. More than an hour later, the pairings were up. Shocked to see what was posted, I saw myself playing David Southam as White! The pressure is in me to win this. I already used up a lot of my energy to make a middlegame zugzwang (technically because of the amount of material left in the board). Even worse, he won’t let me play my Bb5 Sicilian! I can’t really play the Open Sicilian and prefer something closed like the Closed Siclian or the Grand Prix. That means I have to go to my non-comfort zone. As I sat down, I saw a guy, probably in his 50s, with his glasses and a look I can’t seem to describe. When the some of them started, we soon shook hands and started the clock. This is the game.

2009 Toronto Labour Day Open Round 2 Board 3 CFC-rated 2 hrs./40 + 1 hr
White: Jan Edmund Lazo (1994)
Black: David Southam (2146)
Opening: Sicilian Defense, Alapin Variation with d5

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3
If I could ever go back in time, I would have played 2. Nc3 instead going for a Grand Prix or a Closed Sicilian. The type of position that arose in the game didn’t suit me and was shown by my mediocre play even though I was tired and not used to the time control.

2. ... e6
I always hate it when my 3. Bb5 isn’t it allowed. I’m more or less playing this game on my own. I remembered ideas relating the Bb5 Sicilian with the Alapin, c3 Siclian, even though I forgot what I studied about the c3 Sicilian. Nevertheless, it has served me well so I went for it.

3. c3 d5 4. exd5
4. e5?! attempts to transpose to the French Advance but it fails to 4. ... d4! since 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd7
7. Bxc6 Qxd4 8. Bxf3! Qxd8+ 9. gxf3 gives Black fantastic compensation in the form of White’s weak pawn structure, an isolated pawn (h3), backward pawns(d4, f4, f3), doubled pawns (f4, f3), and White’s lagging development.

4. ... Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Be2
The book move is 6. Na3 threatening Nb5-c7+. This can also lead to a position similar in the 3. ... e6 variation of the Bb5 Siclian (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. 0-0 Nge7 5. c3 d5 8. exd5 Qxd5 9. Na3). It might then lead to a transposition with Bc4, 0-0, Nb5, etc. From here, one can notice I don`t know theory anymore and played on my own. Tired after the first game and with a different time control, I felt I should just get a draw to have a long rest for the rest of the games ahead. Convincing my opponent I deserve at least a draw was not easy.

6. ... Nc6 7. 0-0
7. Na3 is still appropriate and is definitely better theoretically and practically because I don’t have the strength to calculate long variations and strategic planning. If 7. ... cxd4 8. Nb5! Qd8 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Nxd4 Bd7, then the endgame resulting from this should be fine for me even though the position is drawish. At least, I have a clue what’s going to happen unlike in the game.

7. ... cxd4 8. cxd4 Be7 9. Nc3 Qd6
Safer and still better is 9. ... Qd8. This position can’t be treated like the Center Counter Defense with Qa5 because of possible b4, Nb5, Nc4, Bf4, and other moves typically played in the Qa5 Scandinavian Defense because Black lacks an important pawn, c6. When the queen’s safety is threated, it usually goes back to c7 or d8 so it’s better to just play it.

10. Be3 0-0 11. Qd2
I kept thinking how to make Ne5 and Bf3 work but can’t find any answer. So, if I ever want that to happen, I have to hit the queen and keep my d4 pawn protected. I decided to just develop everything toward the center. 11. Qd2 does the job giving the d1 square for the f1 rook and supporting Bf4 to gain time on the queen and support Ne5. Black had enough time to develop though.

11. ... Nd5
Preventing d5 and allowing an exchange on d5 which decreases the strength of my isolated d pawn in the open position. It sounds good but Black must not forget his own development. 11. ... Bd7 and 11. ... b6 are booked.

12. Rac1 Nxc3 13. bxc3
It seems disadvantageous for me to play 13. Rxc3 since it leaves me with an isolated pawn with a lead in development but that’s what the c3 Siclian was all about, iniative. White`s ideas would be doubling on the d file with Rfd1, posting a piece on e5 (Ne5), a rook transfer to the kingside (Rh3), attack h7 with Bd3, Qe2-e4-h5, going for an all-out assault on the kingside or just a central breakthrough with d5. A possible variation is 13. Rxc3 Qd5 14. Bc4 Qh5 15. a3 (preventing Bb4 and Nb4-d5) 16. Qe2 Bd7 17. Rfc1 Rac8 18. Ne5 Qxe2 19. Bxe2 Nxe5 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. dxe5 with White having the better placed pieces

13. ... b6 14. Rfd1 Bb7 15. Bf4 Qd8
Black offered a draw. Assuming from the way he played, how much time he spent, he was also tired and wanted to get an early rest from chess to be able to play tomorrow. His strategy of drawing did work but only because I was also tired. Talk about coincidence. It`s just what I needed but as I usually did, I declined on the basis of my piece development. I misplayed it in the end though.

16. c4?!
It’s not best to play this yet since not all of my pieces are not well-placed to make a passer in the center by playing d5. A stronger idea lies in Bd3 since Black is out of defenders in the kingside with Qe2-e4 and Ng5. If 16. ... Bd6, then White can follow his idea of meeting Black halfway with 17. Qe3. White now threatens Bxd6 Qxd6 c5! and he has his kingside ideas of Qe4 and Ng5. So, if 17. ... Bxf4 18. Qxf4 Ne7 19. Ne5, White has the initiative and an attack.

16. ... Bd6
Blockading d6, the square meant for the d4 pawn after a d5 break. His idea is to reduce the amount of pieces on the board and thus reducing the value of the hanging pawns since Bf6 does no harm to White’s pawns. Black has no time for something like Qd7 since d5! hits hard as cxd5 cxd5 Na5/b8 d6 with Rc7, Bb5, Rfc1, grinding Black.

17. Qe3
White meets Black halfway asking if he really wants to exchange bishops or not. If not, then White will exchange bishops and play c5 since there are no exchange of queens if bxc5 dxc5.

17. ... Ne7
Black opens the bishop and clears the c-file for the rook. This also allow Nf5 hitting the queen and Ng6 if there is a need to defend. I saw that this could be an opportunity to get my draw even at the cost of an inferior position so I went for it despite my desire to win. I realized here that I’m psychologically not in the position to force a win since there is nothing concrete and I lack time.

18. Bg5?!
This had to be the time to play 18. Bxd6! Qxd6 19. c5 Qd8 20. Ne5 with Bd3/b5, Qb3/d3/g3/h3, and c6 if allowed. This should be enough to compensate for the outpost on d5.

18. ... Nf5
Black accepts the exchange of queens since he lacked development and he gets one of the bishops.

19. Bxd8 Nxe3 20. fxe3 Raxd8?!
Wrong rook but at least he developed his rook. Black is at least equal now.

21. Nd2
Supporting c4, White’s main weakness, and allowing a possible Bf3, challenging the Indian bishop. It also supports e4.

21. ... Rc8 22. Bf3?
This give Black a tempo. Better is 22. Rc2 since this will be played anyway to overprotect the c4 pawn. White will then play Rb1 (preventing Bb4), Kf2 (Bxh2?? g3!, Nf1+-), Bd3, and Ne4 trying to force c5.

22. ... Bxf3?
22. ... Ba6 23. Be2 Bb4 increases the pressure on the c pawn and should win the c4 pawn.

23. Nxf3?
Another mistake. White intended to play 23. gxf3 forming a bigger center but probably denied it because of the unstable committing pawn structure. It actually is better as it doesn’t misplace the knight, and sets a blockade on e5 after Kg2 and f4. White can then move his king to d3, move his knight to f3. White can’t progress but can hold off Black.

23. ... Rc7 24. Rc2 Rfc8 25. Rb1!
White prevents 25. ... Bb4! which forces the exchange of minor pieces and then wins the c pawn in the double rook ending. White has some drawing chances but a pawn is a pawn. It would be slim. I offered a draw and he accepted. Maybe, he realized that I threatened to not play on until 11 pm. He seemed tired as we had about the same time left on the clocks. He accepted and we shake hands. A quick draw but playing up to 11 pm since 10 am seemed tiring if it risks placing in the tournament.

I happily meant back home drawing a worse position and having more time to sleep. I still had chances of placing for the tournament. That’s game 2 and must be lesson for me how not to play the Alapin.

Well, that's game 2. I'll try to post as much as I can this week since Thanksgiving Open is coming close. I've decided to play in the open section seeking to improve my game and rating since I felt I wasn't put in the edge and rather lost cause of myself. Whatever happens, it should be a learning experience for me.