28 October 2011

Annotated Game #16: Comeback (round 2)

This game followed Annotated Game #14 in my "comeback" tournament and was played against Expert-level opposition.  The game is rather simple in structure and easy to understand, which makes for some clear analytic lessons as a result.

Black quickly equalizes out of the opening, a Colle System with 3..c5.  Although I'm not an expert in facing the Colle setup (d4-Nf3-e3) I've never had any problems with it from the Black side as long as the light-square bishop isn't locked in prematurely with 3..e6.  I realize the Colle is popular with a number of players, but unless Black plays an early e6, which seems to lead to a sustained slight advantage for White, I'm not sure what White can expect to get out of it.

Key points from the game:
  • A consistent weakness shown by my older tournament games is the failure to understand the positional consequences of piece exchanges, as occurs on move 10 here.  My positional knowledge has improved so that such exchanges are no longer automatic, as seemed to be the case here.
  • Black picks the correct strategy (queenside play down the c-file along with pressure against d4), but gets too cutesy with a queen exchange on b3, which would have allowed White to trap Black's Na5.  The simple, clear follow-up of exchanging on c4 would have given Black a fine game.
  • White goes astray on move 18, missing a key intermediate capture which saves Black's knight and allows Black to perfectly execute his strategy and gain major pressure with his rooks.
  • After a defensive inaccuracy by White, Black could have put away the game on move 25, but instead failed to calculate that doubling rooks on the second rank would not in fact lead to a decisive advantage.
  • Black manages to find a needlessly complicated way to achieve a losing position, then fails to put up as much resistance as possible by deciding to exchange down to a more obviously lost endgame.
Despite the loss, the game at the time reinforced the idea that there was no need to fear higher-rated opposition and served as a useful psychological stepping-stone to the last game in that tournament, which will be annotated in the future.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Expert"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D04"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "1992.??.??"] {D04: Colle System} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. b3 Bg4 {most common here is ..Nc6} 5. Nbd2 {a rare reply by White, as breaking the pin with Be2 is played most.} Nc6 6. Be2 e6 {with simple play, Black has quickly equalized.} 7. O-O Bd6 {first move out of the database, but a logical developing one.} 8. Bb2 O-O 9. h3 Bf5 10. Nh4 Bg6 {this allows White to exchange the poorly placed Nh4 for the bishop, while Be4 would have forced White to exchange the Nd2, make the weakening alternative f3, or leave in place a strong centralized bishop.} 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Nf3 cxd4 13. exd4 Rc8 {the logical follow-up to the exchange of the c-pawn. Black prepares to pursue a queenside strategy of pressure down the c-file and against the d4 pawn.} 14. a3 {removing b4 as an option for the Nc6} Qb6 15. Rb1 {a good prophylactic move, given the unprotected Bb2, also lining up the rook for offensive purposes against the Black queen, should the file eventually be cleared.} Na5 16. c4 {this plays into the Na5's control of c4} Qxb3 {this is a bad idea by Black, as} (16... dxc4 17. bxc4 Nxc4 18. Bxc4 Rxc4 $11 {is straightforward and good.}) 17. Qxb3 $14 Nxb3 18. Bc3 $2 {as Fritz says, this hands over the advantage to the opponent. The move comes a tempo too soon for White.} (18. c5 {traps the Black knight after} Be7 (18... Bxc5 19. dxc5 Nxc5 20. Rfd1 $14 {is best, but with a definite plus for White, who has the two bishops and effective rook placement.}) 19. Bc3) 18... dxc4 $19 {White must have overlooked this.} 19. Bxc4 Rxc4 20. Rxb3 Rfc8 21. Bb2 b6 22. Nd2 Rc2 {takes advantage of the placement of the Nd2} 23. Rd1 Bf4 24. Nf1 Ne4 25. g3 $2 (25. f3 {is the correct defense.}) 25... Rxf2 (25... Nxf2 $142 { and as Fritz says the rest is a matter of technique.} 26. Re1 Nxh3+ 27. Kh1 Bd6 $19) 26. gxf4 $11 Rcc2 {I recall thinking that the doubled rooks on the second rank should simply dominate, however this is not the case. An example of lazy thinking and failure to calculate.} 27. Re1 {here Houdini gives almost any reasonable move as being completely equal. However, I play...} Nd2 28. Kxf2 $18 Nxb3+ 29. Re2 {I did not see this rather obvious move and now Black fails to regain the piece.} Rxe2+ (29... Rc8 {would be more tenacious, keeping the rooks on and complicating White's task.}) 30. Kxe2 Na5 31. Kd3 {the win for White is now obvious. Compare how this position would look with a Black rook on c8, when it would combine effectively with the knight.} f6 32. Ne3 Kf7 33. Nc4 Nc6 34. Bc3 Ke7 35. Bb4+ Kd7 36. Bf8 Ne7 37. Bxe7 Kxe7 38. Ke4 Kd8 39. d5 Kd7 40. a4 Ke7 41. h4 Kd7 42. Kd4 Ke7 43. Ne3 Kd6 44. Kc4 a6 45. Kd4 exd5 46. Nxd5 b5 47. a5 g5 48. hxg5 fxg5 49. fxg5 Kc6 50. Nb4+ Kd6 51. Nxa6 Kc6 52. Nb4+ (52. Nb4+ Kb7 53. Kc5 Kb8 54. a6 Kc8 55. Kc6 Kb8 56. Kb6 Kc8 57. a7 Kd8 58. a8=Q+ Ke7 59. Qb7+ Ke6 60. Qd5+ Ke7 61. Nc6+ Kf8 62. g6 b4 63. Qf7#) 1-0

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