04 September 2011

Annotated Game #8: Training game (English with early ..d6)

This training game was played against the "Max" Chessmaster personality (a high Class C on my system).  "Max" varied from the main lines immediately with 1..d6, which is however a good and flexible move.  I chose to head for a standard position featuring a fianchettoed light-squared bishop and queenside expansion plans.  The benefit of the move-order chosen by Black, however, was that it allowed him to exchange off the bishop early.  This was not particularly upsetting to White, although my openings database showed an improved line starting with 6. Rb1 that keeps the bishop on the board.

White had several major decision points in this game which had critical effects on the game.   The first was on move 10, where I chose to go for a somewhat more unbalanced central position with the idea of being able to then undermine Black on the e-file.  Black's decision to castle queenside on move 11 greatly simplified things strategically for me, as my planned pawn pushes would now threaten his king position and not just a gain in space.  Black struck back in the center, however, demonstrating that was the correct reaction to a flank attack.  Better defending on move 14 would then have given Black an equal game.

I again decided to pursue the more active, attacking path on move 15, passing up winning a pawn in favor of deploying the queen and increasing the pressure on Black's king position.  Black passed up shutting out White's dark-squared bishop with ..d4 and paid the price, as this time I calculated the correct follow-up on move 18 and attacked down the half-open b-file.  Despite some missed mating ideas for White, Black was nevertheless on the ropes and then allowed a nice tactical finish to any hopes of resistance.

The principal learning points of this game for me are:
  • Understanding the ..Be6 and ..Qd7 ideas stemming from an early ..d6 and ..e5 opening sequence in the English
  • The exchange of the fianchettoed Bishop can either be avoided or improved, per the game notes
  • The center should be watched more carefully when planning an early queenside expansion
  • I should perform additional calculation when the position is relatively unclear, for example moves 12-15
  • Calculating a forced variation to a winning position is fine, even if better moves are missed along the way
The analysis process itself was also rather interesting.  I again had both Rybka and Fritz perform a complete game analysis and then compared the results while I stepped through it myself.  There was general agreement on the key points, although some interesting differences in the move recommendations and timing of things such as Black's potential counterplay with an ..h5 push.  Some other observations on the strengths and weaknesses of the computer tools will be made in a later post.

8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
ChessAdmin - Max (CM Class C)
1-0, 9/4/2011.
[#] 1.c4 d6 +0.22 2.Nc3 e5 3.g3 +0.11 Nc6 +0.18 4.Bg2 +0.15 Be6 the point behind an early ..d6 5.d3 Qd7 6.Nf3
[Main line is 6.Rb1 g6 7.b4 Bg7 8.b5 Nd8 at which point a4 and Nd5 are both popular and rated equally by Rybka; Nd5 has fewer games but scores much higher in practice]
6...Bh3 +0.48 7.O-O +0.26
[Another possibility is 7.Bxh3 Qxh3 8.Nd5 Qd7 9.O-O ]
7...Bxg2 8.Kxg2 Nge7 9.Rb1 +0.15 First move out of the database. Interestingly, Aquarium's hard-coded openings reference gives this move a +0.44 evaluation, but the Rybka engine gave a lesser result and preferred Nd5. 9...Nd4?! +0.56 This loses time for Black.
[9...g6!? 10.Qb3 Rb8 11.Qa4 Bg7 12.b4 +0.15]
10.Re1 +0.33 first major decision point. I had also considered the alternative e3, which Rybka prefers slightly and in hindsight is probably preferable.
[10.e3 Nxf3 11.Qxf3 c5 12.Bd2 ]
10...Nxf3 11.exf3 With the idea of undermining the e-pawn, the reason Re1 was played. 11...O-O-O +0.41 Strategically makes White's game much simpler, as queenside expansion now also leads to an attack on the king position. 12.Be3 +0.29 Kb8 13.b4 +0.15
[13.d4 is preferred by both Rybka and Fritz, although they disagree on Black's reaction. This would among other things rule out the threatened pawn fork on d4, which I did not see at this point.]
13...d5 +0.29
[13...h5 is suggested by Fritz, starting counterplay on the kingside. Rybka and Fritz both prefer this idea, either now or later in the game (for example move 16) as more active for Black.]
14.Nb5 -0.15 exchanging on d5 would simply bring Black's pieces to life, so the pawn fork needs to be avoided.
[Rybka's preferred method is 14.Bc5 d4 15.Qa4 Qxa4 16.Nxa4 Ng6 17.h4 +0.29]
14...Nc6?! +0.72
[14...d4!? 15.Bd2 f6 16.f4 a6 17.Na3 Ng6 -0.15]
15.Qa4 -0.07 The second major decision point for White. I chose this in order to maintain pressure, instead of the alternative, which wins a pawn.
[15.cxd5!? Nd4 16.Nxd4 exd4 17.Bxd4 ]
15...a6?! +0.56
[15...d4!? is again a superior defensive move.]
16.Na3 Be7? +2.38 17.b5 axb5 +3.75 18.Rxb5 Third major decision for White and the one requiring the most calculation. I saw the bishop sacrifice idea on b6 and considered the Rxb7 idea as well, although did not see that it would lead to mate. 18...Bxa3?
[White still has the attack after 18...d4 19.Reb1 b6 20.c5 Bxc5 21.Rxc5 ]
19.Qxa3 This misses a mating opportunity:
[19.Rxb7+ Kxb7 20.Qb5+ Kc8 21.Qa6+ Kb8 22.Rb1+ Bb4 23.Rxb4+ Nxb4 24.Qa7+ Kc8 25.Qa8# ]
19...dxc4 20.Reb1 the mate idea with Rxb7 was still present 20...b6 21.Bxb6 cxb6 22.Rxb6+ Kc8 23.Qa8+
[The engines find a remarkable mating sequence starting with 23.Qc5 Qc7 24.Rxc6 Rd7 25.Qa7 ]
23...Kc7 24.Rb7+ Kd6 25.Qa3+ Ke6 26.Rxd7 Rxd7 27.dxc4 I had calculated the attacking sequence (in multiple stages) as far as this and considered it winning, based on both the material balance and the two passed pawns. 27...Rhd8 28.c5 f5 29.Qa6 Rc7 30.Rb6 Kd5
[After 30...Rdc8 I had planned to simply run the a-pawn up the board, with some Queen activity thrown in, which would have led to further material losses for Black. The move played allows a nice tactical solution.]
31.Rxc6 Rxc6 32.Qd3+ Ke6 33.Qxd8 Resistance is now futile. 33...Rxc5 34.a4 h6 35.a5 Rd5 36.Qb6+ Rd6 37.Qb7 Rd7 38.Qc8 g5 39.a6 Ke7 40.Qxd7+ Kxd7 41.a7 Kd6 42.a8=Q Ke7 43.Qc6 h5 44.Qg6 g4 45.fxg4 fxg4 46.Qxh5 Kd6 47.Qxg4 Kc5 48.Qe4 Kd6 49.h4 Ke6 50.h5 Kd6 51.h6 Ke6 52.h7 Kd6 53.h8=Q Kc7 54.Qhxe5+ Kb6 55.Qg6+ Kb7 56.Qe7+ Kc8 57.Qg8# [1-0]

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