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.