Sunday, December 26, 2004

Four Games

ALD - RMD, 12/5/2004 [C42]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4 4. Qe2 d5 [4. ... Qe7 or 4. ... d6] 5. d3 Qf6? [5. ... Qe7] 6. Nxf7? [Way to throw an opportunity away. After the natural 6. Nf3, I would have won the Knight. Now the position is even.] Qxf7? [With 6. ... Qxf2+!, Black would even have recovered the pawn.] 7. dxe4 d4 8. Qb5+ Nc6 9. Bc4 Qd7 [9. ... Qg6] 10. Bg5 [10. O-O] Qg4 [10. ... Bd6] 11. Qd5 Qd7 [Qf7+ isn't really a worrisome threat; 11. ... Ne7.] 12. Qxd7+ Bxd7 13. O-O Be7 [13. ... h6] 14. Bf4 [14. Bxe7 Kxe7 15. f4] O-O-O 15. c3 [15. Nd2] Bc5 [15. ... Bf6 16. cxd4 Bxd4 is more accurate.] 16. Rd1 [Because of Black's slight inaccuracy on the last move, White now has 16. b4 Bb6 17. b5 Na5 18. Be2. Otherwise, 16. cxd4 Bxd4 is also an OK way to proceed. The move I selected is a non sequitor.] Bg4 17. Rd2 Rhf8 [Black's pressure provides sufficient compensation for the pawn deficit, so the position is basically even.] 18. Bg3 a6 [18. ... Rfe8] 19. Rd3 [I was trying to set up f3, but this move doesn't actually help make that possible; 19. Bd5.] Be2 20. Be6+ Kb8 21. Rd2 Bb5? [21. ... d3!] 22. c4 Rfe8 [22. ... Ba4 23. b3 d3 gave Black more counterplay than this.] 23. Bd5? [Duh! Of course 23. cxb5 since if 23. ... Rxe6, 24. bxc6. Now Black has a chance to escape.] Bxc4? [23. ... Nb4! 24. Na3 (24. cxb5? Nxd5!) Ba4 25. b3 Bd7 =] 24. Bxc4 Rxe4 25. Re2 [25. Rd1] Rxe2 26. Bxe2 d3 27. Bd1 Nb4 [27. ... d2] 28. Nc3 Bd4 29. Rc1 [29. Bb3!] Bxc3 [29. ... d2! 30. Ra1 Bxc3! (removing a defender of d1) 31. bxc3 Re8! (threatening mate) with strong winning chances.] 30. Rxc3 Nxa2? [30. ... Rd7] 31. Bxc7+ Kc8 [31. ... Ka7 is better, but Black is lost in any event.] 32. Bxd8+? [32. Bg4+! Rd7 33. Rxd3! with an immediate win.] Nxc3 33. bxc3 Kxd8 34. Kf1 b5 35. Ke1 Kc7 36. Kd2 a5 37. c4 [37. Kxd3] Kb6 [37. ... bxc4] 38. cxb5 Kxb5 39. Kxd3 Kb4 40. Ke4 a4 41. Bxa4 Kxa4 42. f4 [It's all over now. Even I couldn't screw this position up.] Kb4 43. g4 Kc5 44. Ke5 g6 45. h4 Kc6 46. Ke6 Kc7 47. f5 gxf5 48. gxf5 Kd8 49. Kf7 h5 50. Kg7 1-0

ALD - RMD, 12/23/2004 [D07]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 [My wife loves this defense, yet I've never learned to play against it properly.] 3. Qa4 [While this move does make an occasional appearance in master play (3. Nf3 Bg4 4. Qa4 = appears as D07/1), I don't really like it. I regretted playing it the second I hit my clock. 3. Nf3, 3. Nc3, 3. cxd5 and 3. e3 are all more common, as well as more suited to my style.] Bd7? [This loses a pawn, although I overlooked it. Correct is 3. ... e6.] 4. Qb3? [I didn't play 4. cxd5 because I mistakenly thought Black could respond 4. ... Nxd4.] Nxd4 [4. ... dxc4] 5. Qd3 [On this square, the White Queen interferes with White's development. Better to abandon the bad strategy commenced on the third move by playing 5. Qd1.] e5 6. cxd5 Nf6 7. e4?! [7. Nc3] Bb4+ [Missing 7. ... Nxd5!? 8. exd5 Bf5 9. Qd2 Bb4 10. Nc3 Nc2+ 11. Kd1 Nxa1.] 8. Bd2 a5 [Chessmaster says 8. ... Nxd5!? is still playable, but I don't see it myself.] 9. a3 [It was time to continue developing with 9. Nc3; I don't know what kind of hypnosis I was under in this game.] Bc5 [Missing 9. ... Ba4! when White can't play 10. axb4 because of 10. ... Nc2+.] 10. Nc3 Nb3 11. Rd1 Ng4! 12. Be3 [12. Nh3] Bxe3 13. fxe3 a4 14. h3??? Nf6? [Missing the mate in three with 14. ... Qh4+!] 15. Nf3 [After all the back-and-forth swings, this position is esentially even.] Nc5 16. Qc2 Qe7 17. Bd3 O-O 18. Nb1 [I was planning Nb1-d2-c4 to put pressure on the e5 pawn, but this plan is absurdly slow. Much better was 18. O-O.] c6 19. dxc6 Bxc6 20. Nbd2 Rfd8 21. Nc4 [21. Be2 is better, although White is already worse off.] Nfxe4 [Or 21. ... Rxd3 22. Rxd3 Bxe4 23. Nfxe5 Nxd3+ 24. Nxd3 Rd8 with the edge for Black.] 22. Nfxe5? [22. O-O was way overdue! Now it's all over for White!] Qh4+! 23. Kf1 Ng3+ 24. Kg1 Nxd3 25. Rxd3 Be4 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. Qf2?? [27. Nf3] Rd1+! 28. Kh2 Rxh1#

As a side note, this game reinforced the fact that my wife's opening repertoire is about 100 years out of style (although perfectly solid and playable nonetheless). Against 1. d4, she plays either the Queen's Gambit Accepted or the QGD Chigorin Defense as in this game. She never even thinks about any of the Indian Defenses. Against 1. e4, she responds 1. ... e5 - never the French or the Sicilian. With White it's 1. e4 almost 100% of the time, and if I respond 1. ... e5, she plays Giuoco Piano or the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation. I am always torn between spending some time studying these openings or spending time studying variations I am more likely to see from other players in a tournament.

ALD - RMD, 12/26/2004 [D07]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 [At the time, I saw this move as unnecessarily giving up the center, but after the game a quick review of ECO demonstrated that this is quite playable.] 6. bxc3 g6 [6. ... e5 immediately.] 7. Bc4 [7. Nf3] e5 [As long as 6. ... g6 was played, this should be followed up with 7. ... Bg7.] 8. d5 Ne7 [The counter-intuitive 8. ... Nb8 is also worth considering, as happened in Ratner-Terpugov, USSR 1950 (without the intervening Bc4 g6).] 9. Bb3 [9. Nf3] b5 [Huh?] 10. Ne2 Bg4 11. f3 Bd7 12. O-O f5!? 13. a3 [13. a4!] Bg7 14. Bb2 Qb8 15. Qd2 Qb6+ 16. Kh1 f4 [Prematurely releases the pressure on White's center.] 17. c4 O-O-O? [The straightforward 17. ... bxc4 18. Bxc4 Rb8 is necessary.] 18. Nxf4 exf4 [18. ... Rhe8] 19. Bxg7 bxc4? [Trying to be too slick. The plain 19. ... Rhg8 is correct.] 20. Bxh8 [White had better with 20. Bxc4 Rhg8 21. Bd4 c5 22. Bxc5 Qxc5 23. Ba6+ Kb8 24. Rab1+ and a clear win.] cxb3 21. Bd4 c5? [In this line this is not playable; 21. ... Qb7.] 22. dxc6e.p.? [22. Bxc5! when Black has lost a pawn for nothing since 22. ... Qxc5? is not possible because of 23. Rac1!] Bxc6 [22. ... Be8] 23. Bxb6 [23. Rfd1] Rxd2 24. Ba5? [I didn't think so at the time, but there is time for White to play 24. Bxa7!] Re2 25. Rab1 Re3 [25. ... Ba4 is a better way to defend the pawn.] 26. Rfc1 Kb7 27. Rc3 [27. Bd8 Nc8 28. Rc4] Ba4 28. Rc7+ Ka6 29. Bd2 Black resigns

Neither my wife nor I are prone to premature resignation, but in this game I thought my wife could have fought on for at least a while longer. After 29. ... Nc8 30. Bxe3 fxe3, Black is down both exchanges but has two passed pawns as compensation. Of course, with best play I should win, but she should know better than to expect best play from me.

RMD - ALD, 12/26/2004 [C68]

1. Nf3 Nc6 2. e4 e5 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Nxe5 Qd4 6. Nxf7? [My wife and I had reached this position once before on 11/27, and she played this move then too. I still don't understand the need for this desperation.] Qxe4+ 7. Qe2 Qxe2+ 8. Kxe2 Kxf7 9. d4 Nf6 10. f3 [The first deviation from our previous game, where my wife played 10. Bf4, which is better than the move in this game.] Bf5 11. c3 Bxb1 [11. ... Re8+] 12. Rxb1 Bd6 13. Kd3 Rhe8 14. b4 [14. Bg5] Nd5 [14. ... b5!? is a move I didn't even consider, but it's definitely worth looking at.] 15. a3 [15. a4] Nf4+ [15. ... Bf4] 16. Bxf4 Bxf4 17. g3 Bg5 [17. ... Re3+ was worth considering, but if not that then I should have played 17. ... Bd6. What I chose just allows White to play 18. f4 with gain of tempo.] 18. f4 Bf6 19. Rhf1 [19. g4] Rad8 20. g4 Kg8 [I considered this move as well as 20. ... Kg6. However, it turns out that 20. ... Be7 was best.] 21. g5 Be7 22. c4 [22. h4! At this point, I was thinking that White has the initiative but Black is definitely winning. I knew that as long as I didn't blunder it was in the bag.] b6 [The first inaccuracy. Better was 22. ... c5 23. d5 c6 stemming Black's initiative.] 23. Kc3 [23. Rbe1] c5 [A second inaccuracy. Now 24. dxc5 bxc5 25. b5 axb5 26. Rxb5 would give White an outside passed pawn.] 24. d5 [Not bad, but not fully capitalizing on Black's error.] cxb4+ [A third inaccuracy; 24. ... Bd6] 25. axb4 c6? [And now finally a downright error. I analyzed all sorts of replies to this but somehow missed the obvious 26. dxc6. I can't believe I was playing so badly that I made four consecutive bad moves. My wife's initiative was making me lose my cool.] 26. dxc6 Rc8 27. b5 axb5 [27. ... a5 - RMD] 28. cxb5 Bd6 [28. ... Rf8] 29. Rbd1 Re3+ [29. ... Rcd8] 30. Rd3 [30. Kc4] Rxd3+ 31. Kxd3 Kf7 [31. ... Ra8 to get some counterplay.] 32. h4 Kg6 [32. ... h5] 33. f5+ Kh5!? 34. Rh1 [34. f6] Bg3 [Despite Black's extra piece, the position is now actually dead even. With 34. ... Bc7 Black keeps some sort of edge.] 35. f6 gxf6 36. gxf6 Rf8 37. Rf1 [It's insanely difficult for the non-grandmasters among us to know if 37. Rf1 or 37. Rc1 is the correct move in this position. That is, which passed pawn should the rook get behind? Chessmaster suggests 37. Rc1, but since that passed pawn is supported and the King is closer to it, I like 37. Rf1 better myself. But what do I know?] Bxh4 38. c7 [38. Kd4! Kg6 39. Kd5 Kf7 40. c7 gave better chances, but I think this position was just too subtle for either one of us to really understand what was going on.] Bg3 [38. ... Rc8 39. Rc1 Kg6 and Black maintained a small advantage.] 39. Rh1+ Kg4 [I did not play 39. ... Kg6 because I was afraid of the pin 40. Rg1, but it turns out that Black's best practical winning chances lay here after 40. ... Rc8 41. Rxg3+ Kxf6 42. Rf3+ Kg7 43. Rg3+ Kh8 44. Re3 Rxc7, where Black now has an extra passed pawn. Now the position is drawn - if I don't screw it up.] 40. Rxh7 Bxc7 [Too soon. The Black King is too far away. Better is 40. ... Kf5 41. Rd7 Bxc7 42. Rxc7 Rxf6.] 41. Kc4?? Rxf6?? [I have no idea what hallucination affected both me and my wife here.] 42. Rxc7 [White's pieces are more active and the Black King is far away from the pawns, so all the winning chances are now with White.] Rf4+ [42. ... Rf5! - RMD] 43. Kd5 Rf5+ ["Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check." I don't know what I was thinking; 43. ... Rf6!] 44. Kc6 Rf6+ 45. Kb7 Kf4 46. Rc6 Rf7+ 47. Kxb6 Ke5 48. Rc5+ Kd6 49. Rc6+ Kd5 [Chessmaster claims that the correct 49th move for White was 49. Rc2 and that 49. Rc6+ allowed Black to reach a theoretically drawn position with 49. ... Ke5. Some time spent with Comprehensive Chess Endings: Rook Endings confirmed that this is in fact not the case. White's endgame play was flawless. Once upon a time, I could count upon getting excellent chances of winning an even position or drawing an inferior position by going into the endgame. But no longer; now my wife is at least as good as I in the endgame. Ah, well...] 50. Ka5 Rb7 51. Rc8 [51. Ka6] Kd6 [51. ... Ra7+ - RMD] 52. b6 Kd7? [The losing move; 52. ... Rf7 held out some hope.] 53. Rc1 [The correct idea.] Kd6 54. Ka6 Rb8 55. Ka7 Re8 56. b7 Re7 57. Ka8 1-0

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