26 November 2011

Annotated Game #20: Training Game (Symmetrical English)

This training game isn't a miniature in fact, but essentially is one in spirit.  White makes a big strategic error on move 13, prematurely moving ahead with b4 and prompting exchanges which leave all of the chances with Black.  This is in large part due to my unfamiliarity with the Symmetrical English structures, so the game was at least valuable from the perspective of opening preparation and learning.  Moves 10-13 are particularly instructive in this regard, with some very different paths to follow.

As a little bit of background, I had just hung a piece in a "normal" training game and decided that this behavior should be punished somehow, the mechanism to deliver said punishment being a training game against the full-strength Chessmaster.  Its opening book is both good and varied, taking me out of normal practice around move 5.  With my limited experience, I am however finding that the Symmetrical English is not particularly dangerous for White as long as he doesn't try to get too much out of it.  Reasonable moves were sufficient through move 10 and even the sub-par continuation I chose after that wasn't bad, until move 13.  After that, a classic bind and squeeze is conducted by Black.

[Event "Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition Rated G"] [Site "?"] [Date "2011.11.20"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Chessmaster"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A37"] [Annotator "Fritz/Houdini/ChessAdmin"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] {A37: Symmetrical English vs ...g6:4 Bg2 Bg7 Nf3} 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nc3 e5 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. Rb1 d5 9. cxd5 Nxd5 10. Bd2 { Houdini's second choice.} ({The majority of database games actually have the following sequence.} 10. Nxe5 {with a discovered attack on d5} Nxc3 11. Nxc6 Qb6 12. Ne7+ Kh8 13. Nd5 Nxd1 14. Nxb6 axb6 15. Rxd1 Rxa2 {out of three database games, one draw and two wins for White from here (with Bf3 and Bd5 played).}) (10. Nd2 {is Houdini's first choice, also taking advantage of the discovered attack on d5.} Nde7 11. a3 a5 12. Nc4 {followed by Bg5 then Be3 or Bd2, depending on how Black reacts.}) 10... Nde7 11. Be3 $146 ({One of the standard plans in this position, exchanging off the Bg7, seems to work reasonably well.} 11. Qc1 b6 12. Bh6 Be6 13. h4 f6 14. a3 Rc8 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. Nd2 h6 17. Nc4 Qd7 18. Rd1 g5 19. hxg5 hxg5 20. b4 {1/2-1/2 (20) Khotenashvili, B (2301)-Kashashvili,A (2306) Tbilisi 2007}) (11. a3 a5 12. Nb5 b6 13. Bg5) 11... b6 $11 {Consolidates c5} 12. a3 {Prevents intrusion on b4} Bb7 13. b4 { the key strategic misstep.} ({Activating the queen leads to a reasonable position.} 13. Qa4 Qb8 $11 14. Bg5) 13... cxb4 $15 14. axb4 Nd4 15. Bxd4 (15. Nxd4 $5 {should not be overlooked} exd4 (15... Bxg2 16. Ne6 Qc8 17. Kxg2 Qxe6) 16. Bxb7 $15) 15... exd4 $17 16. Ne4 Nd5 17. Qc2 (17. Qb3 Rc8 $17) 17... Re8 18. Rfe1 (18. Nh4 Qe7 $19) 18... f5 19. Ned2 Nc3 {by this point it's pretty clear that Black has White in a bind with no counterplay and too many threats to contend with.} 20. Ra1 Rc8 (20... Rxe2 21. Nh4 Bd5 22. Bxd5+ Qxd5 23. Nhf3 $19) 21. Kf1 (21. Qb2 $5 Bd5 22. Rxa7 Rxe2 23. Rxe2 Nxe2+ 24. Kf1 $17) 21... Bd5 $19 22. Qb2 a5 23. bxa5 bxa5 24. Qa3 (24. Nb1 a4 $19) 24... a4 25. Nb1 Bb3 (25... Qd7 $142 $19 {might be the shorter path}) 26. Nxc3 $2 (26. Nbd2 Bf7 27. Nb1 $19) 26... dxc3 (26... Rxc3 $6 27. Qb4 $17) 27. Rab1 (27. d4 {doesn't improve anything} Bf8 28. Qc1 c2 $19) 27... Bf8 28. Qc1 (28. Qa1 {doesn't change the outcome of the game} c2 29. Rbc1 Bb4 $19) 28... c2 29. Rxb3 (29. Ra1 {hardly improves anything} Bb4 $19) 29... axb3 30. Qb2 (30. Nd2 {does not solve anything} Rxe2 $1 {the logical end} 31. Kxe2 Rc3 $19) 30... Qa5 31. Qxb3+ Kg7 32. Qb2+ Qc3 33. Qxc3+ Rxc3 34. Rc1 0-1

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