20 August 2011

Annotated Game #6: World Record simul

This game was played at the October 2000 Guinness World Record simultaneous exhibition in the Zocalo (central square) of Mexico City.  The event, part of that year's chess festival, broke the world record for number of games in a single-day simul,with 448 Mexican masters facing slightly over 10,000 players.  The later 2006 Zocalo simul is more famous and continues to hold the record for a single-day event, with 13,446 participants.

The opening is a Slav Defense with 3. Nc3, which although not the main line, has occurred in the majority of games I have played with it.  I believe this occurs largely because Class players are unfamiliar with the Slav and think that it can be treated similarly to a Queen's Gambit.  Although some top-level players use 3. Nc3, it seems that it is mostly against opponents who end up playing the Semi-Slav (featuring e6) against them.  When Black then plays 3..dxc4, this tends to throw most of my opponents.  The main point of it is that Black still has the undermining move e5 that can come, along with b5 in certain cases.

My opponent varies from theory early on with 4. Bf4, which while not bad, does nothing to challenge Black, who ends up with a very comfortable game early on.  I would say that by move 8, Black has achieved all of the standard ideas in the Slav and has no problems whatsoever.  As I was not playing for a win, I was content to exchange down pieces into a very drawish position on move 14.  However, the counterattacking features of the opening - one of the main reasons I employ it - were soon on display, as White becomes overly aggressive and optimistic, allowing Black to penetrate on the kingside, undermine White's advanced pawns, and bring his rooks into the game.  On move 24 I "cash in" the attack prematurely and with best play it should have simplified down to a draw.  However, once again my opponent is over-optimistic and overlooks Black's remaining possibilities, leading to a win for me.

One of the things the analysis process has reinforced for me is the need to always be critical about chess engine evaluations.  Fritz 6 performed the original game analysis and considered White to be equal or better in the sequence starting after move 22, while Black's attack is being pressed; however, Houdini gave a significant (if not winning) plus for Black.  I believe Fritz at that point over-valued the material advantage that White had, a common failing of many engines.

While going over this game, I was encouraged by the fact that I was able to see the attacking ideas in the position, especially with 21..g5, which is not a stereotypical safe, solid move.  The position in fact looks more like a Dutch Defense after that is played.  The ability to play according to the needs of the position, also highlighted in Annotated Game #5, is something that I need to continue to cultivate.

[Event "Zocalo Simul"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "1"] [White "Master"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D10"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2000.??.??"] {D10: Slav Defence: cxd5 (without early Nf3) and 3 Nc3} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. Bf4 {Out of theory quickly!} Nf6 5. e3 Bf5 6. Bxc4 e6 7. Rc1 $146 { A number of White possibilities here, the first move not appearing in my games database.} Bd6 8. Bg3 {Loses a tempo; Houdini suggests Nge2, continuing piece development.} O-O 9. Nf3 Ne4 {Here I wanted to start operations in the center while White's king had not yet castled. A more patient approach to development would have been exchanging bishops on g3 and then playing Nbd7.} 10. Bxd6 Nxd6 11. Bd3 Nd7 12. Bxf5 Nxf5 13. O-O Nh4 14. Nxh4 Qxh4 {A very drawish position has been achieved, thanks to the exchanges.} 15. Qb3 Rab8 16. f4 {While Houdini considers the position equal, this seems to me to needlessly weaken White's kingside.} Nf6 17. Qc2 {After the previous move, Rf3 would seem to have more point to it.} Ng4 18. g3 Qh3 {The drawbacks of White's f4 are now apparent, big holes on the light squares.} 19. Qe2 f5 20. e4 {Overly optimistic about White's prospects in the center.} Rbe8 21. Rfd1 g5 {Houdini agrees this agressive move is best; both Fritz and Houdini recommend White defend with Rf1.} 22. fxg5 f4 23. Qg2 $2 ({Necessary was} 23. gxf4 Rxf4 24. Rd3 Qh4 25. Qg2 Ref8 {which still leaves Black with a lot of pressure, however.}) 23... Qh5 ({This "waiting move" in the attack is preferable to} 23... Qxg2+ 24. Kxg2 f3+ 25. Kh1 e5) 24. gxf4 Ne3 $2 {This prematurely "cashes in" the attack.} (24... Rxf4 {keeps the pressure on} 25. Rd3 Ref8) 25. Qg3 ({Fritz and Houdini prefer} 25. Qe2 Qxe2 26. Nxe2 Nxd1 27. Rxd1 {as this sequence forces the queens off and nullifies any further Black attack.}) 25... Nxd1 26. Rxd1 Re7 27. e5 Rg7 {Houdini evaluates this position as dead even after Rf1.} 28. Ne4 $4 {My opponent's board sight fails him. The rest is simply mopping up.} Qxd1+ 29. Kg2 Qc2+ 30. Nf2 Rf5 31. h4 Rgf7 32. Kh3 Rxf4 33. Ng4 Qf5 0-1

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