05 November 2011

Annotated Game #17: Training Game (English-KID)

The following game was played against the Chessmaster (CM) personality "Charles", a high Class C on my system.  Sometimes CM's handicapping function results in silly material giveaways in the opening, but this time it followed a reasonable, if sub-par, course in a King's Indian Defense (KID) setup versus the English opening.

I used to not appreciate this kind of play for training purposes and would grumble to myself that the computer should stay in book, otherwise it wasn't a real test of the opening.  However, I now better appreciate these kinds of moves, since they do replicate what can occur with unprepared opponents, while the moves themselves are not immediately refutable.  Sometimes they can even be rather tricky to deal with, introducing unfamiliar tactical possibilities at an early stage.  Because an important part of a player's opening preparation consists in being able to take advantage of opponents' missteps, I find this type of experience valuable, especially because of its out-of-book nature.

Black's time-wasting play allows White to build up an advantage, although White's alternatives to the actual game, found in analysis, are instructive in how to better exploit Black's weaknesses.  Essentially, White should have accelerated the queenside play or more directly challenged Black's moves.  Black eventually drops the b7-pawn, but White's follow-up play was not optimal and on move 24 Black starts generating some threats of his own.  White had some fantastical thoughts of penetrating on the kingside with queen and knight, but Black easily disposed of this possibility.  My thinking process deteriorated and in the next sequence of moves the advantage disappeared and Black could have achieved a winning game, but instead gifted White a won N+P endgame.

Some specific points to take away from this game, both related to the KID setup against the English and in more general terms:
  • Do not dismiss the possibility of playing d4 if it leads to an advantage (move 8)
  • It is better to get in Rb1 and the b4 push early (move 9)
  • Look to activate the queen on the queenside to generate additional threats (move 18)
  • Do not underestimate the strength of a centralized black knight; in this game, it tied me to the defense of e2, while in Annotated Game #15 a similar situation occurred with an attack on e3. Exchange the knight off soonest or consider a prophylactic move to take away its central outpost.
  • Concrete calculation rather than limited intuition is necessary to the planning process.  I began seriously drifting as of move 26 (just after the missed threat from Black to e2, which however was easily dealt with) and did not calculate properly.  
  • I must reduce the psychological impact of unexpected moves; proactively I need to better examine my opponent's possible candidate moves for threats

8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
ChessAdmin - Charles (CM Class C)
1-0, 10/23/2011.
[#] 1.c4 g6 +0.22 2.Nf3 +0.15 Bg7 3.g3 Nc6 +0.18 4.Bg2 +0.15 Nd4 +0.37 typical handicapped CM move in the opening, one that loses time but is not directly refutable. 5.O-O c5 +0.41 6.Nc3 +0.29 Ne6 +0.52 7.d3 either e3 to prepare d4, or the immediate Rb1 and b4 push, are perhaps stronger. 7...Nf6 8.Bd2 +0.22
[8.d4 would take advantage of the blocking of Black's Bg7 8...cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 and Black has no useful discovered attack moves with the Nf6, while White has a lead in development.]
8...Ng4 +0.52 another time-wasting move. 9.Qc1 +0.37 this does not seem to be the most effective plan (idea is to exchange off the Bg7).
[9.h3 Nf6 10.Ng5 would take direct advantage of being able to kick the Ng4; a subsequent ..h6 would give White a target on the c1-h6 diagonal.;
Simply getting on with queenside expansion by 9.Rb1 O-O 10.b4 also looks superior.]
9...h6 +0.72 Black seems to be deliberately not castling.
[9...O-O 10.Rb1 a5 11.h3 Nf6 and Black doesn't appear to be badly off, since it will take time for White to get in a3-b4.]
10.Rb1 d6 +0.80 11.b4 cxb4 12.Rxb4 Nc5 13.Nd5 with the idea of Bc3 and trading off the Bg7 again. Simply withdrawing the awkwardly-placed rook to b1 may have made more sense. 13...e6 14.Ne3 +0.68 Nf6 15.Bc3 a5 +0.80 16.Rb1 Bd7?! +1.02
[16...O-O also loses a pawn after 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.Ng4 Qd8 19.Nxh6+ ]
17.Nd2 e5 18.Bxb7 +0.85 this obvious capture is in fact not optimal.
[18.Qa3!? activates the queen and threatens the e5 pawn with a tactical deflection theme. 18...O-O 19.Bxe5 Bc6 20.Bc3 ]
18...Ra7?! +1.45 another handicapping move by CM.
[18...Nxb7 19.Rxb7 Bc6 ]
19.Bg2 O-O finally! 20.Nd5 Here I began playing largely by rote, simply looking to exchange down pieces, rather than looking to exploit the queenside advantages, although this should still work out fine for White.
[20.Nb3 threatens to exchange off the Nc5, a strong blockading piece for Black. 20...Na4 21.Bd2 Qc7 22.Qe1 and the a5 pawn falls.]
20...Nxd5 21.Bxd5 Qc7 22.Ne4 Be6 23.Bxe6 Nxe6 24.Bd2 Nd4 I missed this threat to e2, which reflects a similar-looking threat by a centralized knight that also appared in another recent game, so this is definitely a tactical theme to watch. 25.Re1 h5 26.Bh6
[26.Be3 is preferred by Rybka, with the idea of exchanging off the Nd4. Black's Bg7 is not an effective piece, so getting rid of the dominating knight is worth White's dark-square bishop.]
26...f5 this counterblow puts an end to any White fantasies about a kingside attack. 27.Bxg7 Kxg7 28.Nc3 Qc6 29.Nd5
[29.Nb5 is more effective and forces the exchange of the Nd4. 29...Nxb5 30.cxb5 Qb6 ]
29...Rb7 At this point my thinking process started deteriorating. The clock wasn't running too low, so it was largely self-inflicted. 30.Rxb7+ Qxb7 31.Qb1?! +0.72 this starts a downward slide where White throws away most of his advantage. Kf1 to protect e2 looked dubious due to the Qb7-h1 threat, effectively pinning my Nd5. I did not see that
[31.Qd1!? Qb2 32.e3 Nc6 33.Re2 would have saved White's advantage.]
31...Rf7?! +1.12
[31...Qxb1!? 32.Rxb1 Nxe2+ 33.Kf1 Nd4 34.Rb6 Rd8 +0.72]
32.Qxb7? +0.15 when in doubt, simplify...is wrong.
[32.Qd1! Qb2 33.e3 Nc6 34.Re2 again works.]
32...Rxb7 33.Nc3 Rb2 34.Rb1?? -1.75 the key error that should lose the game.
[34.Kf1! Rc2 35.Nb5 Rxa2 36.Nxd4 exd4 37.Rb1 +0.00]
34...Rxb1+ 35.Nxb1 a4?? +2.38 but CM's handicap function saves me.
[35...Nxe2+! 36.Kf1 Nc1 37.Nc3 Kf7 38.Nb5 Ke6 -1.75]
36.Kf1 and with e2 now guarded, the rest is a matter of technique. 36...g5 37.Nc3 Nc2 +2.88 38.Nxa4 Nb4 39.Nc3 g4 40.h4 gxh3 41.Kg1 Na6 42.Kh2 Nc5 43.Kxh3 Kf8 44.Kh4 Kg7 45.Kxh5 Kg8 46.Kg6 Ne6 47.e3 f4 48.a4 Kf8 49.Nb5 fxg3 50.fxg3 Nc5 51.Nxd6 Ke7 52.Nc8+ Kd8 53.Nb6 Kc7 54.d4 Ne6 55.Nd5+ Kb8 56.dxe5 Nc5 57.Kf7 Ne4 58.e6 Nd6+ 59.Ke7 Nxc4 60.Kd8 Ne5 61.e7 Nc6+ 62.Kd7 Nxe7 63.Nxe7 Ka7 64.g4 Kb6 65.g5 Ka5 66.e4 Kxa4 67.e5 Kb5 68.Nc6 Kc4 69.e6 Kd5 70.e7 Kc4 71.g6 Kd3 72.e8=Q Kd2 73.g7 Kc2 74.g8=Q Kc3 75.Qe4 Kd2 76.Qg3 Kc1 77.Qe2 Kb1 78.Qg1# [1-0]

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