27 January 2013

Double My Egg Nog (single serving) results

I now present the results from the first (and only) round of the chess blogger Double My Egg Nog tourney, as Annotated Games 80 and 81.  The tournament unfortunately was cut short due to real-life issues faced by some of the players.  The first game against Rocky Rook you can also check out from his perspective.  Early on, I could have obtained a better opening by switching to a Stonewall structure, but essentially I was doing OK against Rocky's Colle System until the miscalculation with 19...Ne4 which forcibly loses a pawn.  (An eerily similar mistake was documented in Annotated Game #78).  A much more tactical game then results, as I try to gain compensation for the pawn; in fact, I miss a winning tactic with a deflection/back-rank theme on move 24.  After some ups and downs, I could have in the end held the draw a pawn down, but was over-optimistic about trapping White's rook, which threatens to wreak devastation on Black's pawns instead and I resign.

In the second game, Robert Pearson tries to avoid my known openings with 1. Nc3!? but nonetheless ends up in a structure very similar to a Caro-Kann, which I felt comfortable enough playing.  Some of the opening problems posed were different, however, and I was able to identify some key improvements for my play during analysis.  After both sides castle queenside, the fireworks start when Robert speculatively offers a pawn sacrifice on move 13, which I eventually end up taking on move 15.  White then had a possible sequence to get to an equal but unbalanced material situation (queen vs. two rooks) but opted to play more conventionally.  However, White's next moves essentially help Black shift his pieces into better positions and then launch his own attack on White's more exposed king.  The threatened rook sacrifice by White on the a-file would have led to mate, but he never had the chance to carry out the threat, as Black crashed through and chased the king into a mating net.  A fun and dynamic game.

Annotated Game #80
[Event "rated standard match"] [Site "Free Internet Chess Server"] [Date "2013.01.05"] [Round "?"] [White "RockyRook"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D04"] [WhiteElo "1662"] [BlackElo "1666"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {D04: Colle System} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 Bf5 4. Bd3 Bxd3 5. Qxd3 c6 { avoiding the issues with Qb5+} 6. b3 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. c4 Be7 (8... Bd6 { is the most popular move.} 9. c5 Bc7) (8... Ne4 {is the "hottest" move according to the database and goes for a Stonewall setup, something I considered over the next couple of moves. Here's a high-level example:} 9. Nfd2 f5 10. f3 Nxd2 11. Nxd2 Bd6 12. e4 Qh4 13. g3 Bxg3 14. hxg3 Qxg3+ 15. Kh1 Qh3+ 16. Kg1 Qg3+ {1/2-1/2 (16) Aleksandrov,A (2601)-Caruana,F (2680) Rijeka 2010}) 9. c5 {This push gains space, notes Houdini via the Fritz interface, but I don't think it does White any favors. No games in the database have it.} (9. Nbd2 O-O $11) 9... O-O 10. Nc3 {puts an end to thoughts of ...Ne4.} a5 { played in order to restrain b4. The immediate ...b6 is perhaps better.} 11. a4 (11. Na4 {is a possibility here, but White instead wants to use his knight on the kingside.}) 11... b6 {Black decides to attack the head of the pawn chain and focus on queenside play.} 12. cxb6 Qxb6 13. Ba3 {evidently the idea behind the a4 push.} Bxa3 14. Rxa3 Qb4 {Black's idea is to take advantage of the holes on the queenside.} 15. Rfa1 {I was pleased to see both of White's rooks occupied doing nothing useful on the a-file.} (15. Raa1 {is Houdini's recommendation.} Qxb3 16. Rfb1 Qc4 17. Qxc4 dxc4 $11 {Black's extra pawn is only temporary.}) 15... Rfc8 16. Ne2 Rab8 17. Nd2 Rc7 {unnecessary and slow.} ( 17... c5 18. R3a2 $15 cxd4 19. Qxd4 Qxd4 20. Nxd4 Ne5 {looks good for Black. The backward b-pawn will be a constant weakness for White.}) 18. R3a2 $11 Rcb7 19. Rc2 Ne4 {my first miscalculation, as the back-rank threat is still covered afterwards by White.} (19... Rc8 20. Rac1 $11) 20. Nxe4 $14 dxe4 21. Qxe4 c5 { I decided to go for complications here, since I didn't see any prospects after taking the pawn, although according to Houdini it was objectively best.} (21... Qxb3 22. Qxc6 Rb6 {I did not see this move during calculation, which would have held things together and ejected the queen. Qxd7 is not possible since that would leave the Rc2 hanging.} 23. Qc3 $14) 22. Rc4 {lets Black off the hook.} (22. Rac1 $5 $16 {and if} Qxb3 23. dxc5 {gives White a dominating position, although he still has to watch for back-rank ideas.}) 22... Qxb3 $11 23. dxc5 Qb2 {at this point I was feeling rather desperate, with the White c-pawn threatening ot advance, but Houdini shows an equal evaluation.} 24. Re1 $4 {with this move White loses his initiative} (24. Rcc1 Nxc5 25. Qc4 $11 Rc7) 24... Qd2 $4 {instead of simply winning the game, comments Houdini. There is a reasonably simple deflection motif here, based on the back-rank threat. However, I failed to re-evaluate the calculation of ...Rb1+, which did not work before due to the possibility of White blocking with Rc1. With both the Ne2 gone and the rook on e2, the tactic would now work.} (24... Qxe2 $1 25. Rcc1 (25. Rxe2 Rb1+) 25... Qa6 $19 {and Black is winning, for example} 26. c6 $2 Nf6) 25. Kf1 $16 {after this White has a won game.} Nf6 (25... Rb4 26. c6 Nf6 27. Rxb4 Qxb4 28. Qd3 $16) 26. Qc2 (26. Qd4 Rd7 27. Qxd2 Rxd2 $16) 26... Rb2 {deciding to try for activity on the 2nd rank, but leaving Black's 8th rank defenses weak.} (26... Qxc2 27. Rxc2 Rc8 28. c6 $16 Rbc7 {looks like a better practical try.}) 27. Qxd2 Rxd2 28. c6 Nd5 $2 {a blunder in a bad position, says Houdini.} (28... Ne8 $16) 29. Nd4 (29. c7 {forces things more effectively.} Rc8 30. Rb1 $18 Nb4 (30... Nxc7 $2 31. Rxc7) 31. Nd4 Kf8 32. Nb5 Ke7 33. Rbc1 {and now nothing can stop Na7.}) 29... Rbb2 30. Ne2 Nc7 31. Rd4 $16 Kf8 32. Rxd2 Rxd2 33. Rb1 Ke7 (33... e5 {would take the d4 square away from the knight.}) 34. Ke1 (34. Nd4 e5 35. Nb5 Ne6 $16) 34... Rc2 35. Nd4 Rc4 36. Nb5 $6 {Black should be able to draw after this.} (36. Rb7 Kd8 {was what I was expecting.}) 36... Rxc6 37. Nxc7 Rxc7 38. Rb5 Kd6 {too aggressive. I incorrectly thought that the White rook could be controlled and the a4 pawn won in exchange.} (38... Ra7 {is a defense that should hold without a real problem.}) 39. Rxa5 Kc6 40. Ke2 Kb6 41. Rb5+ Ka6 42. f4 Rc2+ {the final miscalculation.} 43. Kf3 Ra2 $2 44. Rb8 $18 Ka7 {should have been played earlier.} (44... Rxa4 {was my original intention, but Black is now lost due to his undefended kingside pawns. For example} 45. Rf8 f6 46. Rf7 e5 47. Rxg7 exf4 48. exf4 h5 49. Rg6 {and Black's material losses will be fatal.}) 45. Rf8 1-0

Annotated Game #81
[Event "rated standard match"] [Site "Free Internet Chess Server"] [Date "2013.01.06"] [Round "?"] [White "RLP"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D01"] [WhiteElo "1701"] [BlackElo "1594"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {D01: Veresov Opening} 1. Nc3 d5 {avoiding possible transpositions to double king pawn openings (...e5) or the Sicilian (after ...c5)} 2. d4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bg4 (4... Bf5 {would be more in the spirit of a Slav defense. For example} 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 e6 7. e4 dxe4 8. Bxe4 Bxe4 9. Nxe4 Qb6 10. Bxf6 Nxf6 11. Nxf6+ gxf6 12. O-O Qxb2 13. Rb1 Qxa2 14. Rxb7 Qd5 15. Qd3 Bh6 16. c4 Qd6 17. Re1 O-O 18. Re4 Rfb8 19. Rxb8+ {Gausel,E (2325)-Moen,O (2285) Gausdal 1985 0-1 (36)}) 5. Qd3 $146 {out of the database on move 5! Done in preparation for queenside castling.} (5. Ne5 $5 {is how the majority of the handful of games in the database went.}) 5... Nbd7 {the knight essentially has to be developed to d7 anyway, plus it protects f6 again.} 6. e4 dxe4 7. Nxe4 {the position now has a structure similar to a Caro-Kann.} h6 {not the best solution, as driving back the bishop will give it a protected base at g3.} (7... e6) 8. Bh4 (8. Bxf6 {is Houdini's preference.} exf6 {taking the e5 square away from White's knight is important, as it could otherwise hop in after ...Nxf6.} 9. Qe3 Qa5+ 10. Nc3+ Be7 $11) 8... Qb6 {targeting b2 and developing to the queenside, in anticipation of White's next move.} (8... g5 {was a consideration here as well, but I thought it would leave Black's position too loose.} 9. Nxf6+ Nxf6 10. Bg3 Bg7 {would produce a very different type of game.}) (8... e6 {is the solid option, again.}) 9. O-O-O {White has an active position} O-O-O {Black typically also castles queenside in analagous Caro-Kann positions, as White's pieces otherwise have a strong kingside attack.} 10. Nxf6 exf6 {I wanted to reserve the knight for possible support of c5 and also to prevent Whtie playing Ne5 in the future.} 11. h3 {this seems like a tempo loss, just helping Black redeploy his bishop to target the queenside.} (11. Bg3 Be6 $11) 11... Be6 12. c4 {White starts getting threats rolling on the queenside. Black now has to take into consideration threats of both d5 and c5 pawn advances.} Qa6 { I thought for a whille on the best position for the queen, a6 or a5. Houdini prefers a5.} (12... Qa5 13. Qb3 g5 14. Bg3 f5 15. Kb1 f4 16. Bh2 Bg7 {looks pretty good for Black.}) 13. Qc3 $2 {this pawn sacrifice turns out to be dubious, but this wasn't clear immediately.} (13. Kb1 Nb6 14. b3 Qa5 $11) 13... Kb8 $6 {here I didn't take the a2 pawn, worried about the initiative White might get if I went pawn snatching. However, Black should go ahead and take it. } (13... Qxa2 14. Bd3 {nothing better} Nb6 {and now} 15. d5 {doesn't work because of} ({nor does} 15. Kc2) 15... Na4 {which is a key move in a number of variations (that I did not see at the time).} 16. Bb1 (16. Qc2 Nxb2 17. Qxb2 Ba3) 16... Nxc3 17. Bxa2 Nxa2+) 14. Bg3+ Ka8 15. Bd3 {a sensible developing move, but White misses his chance to force the issue in the center.} (15. d5 Bf5 16. dxc6 bxc6 $14 (16... Qxc6 $2 17. Nd4 Qc5 18. Nxf5 Qxf5 19. Be2 $18)) 15... Qxa2 $11 {I finally decide the pawn is worth having, not seeing a forcing continuation for White leading to an advantage.} 16. Nd2 {if White intended to take the initiative for the pawn, he should have immediately threatened to trap the queen with a subsequent Ra1, which in any case would give White the a-file.} (16. Kd2 Nb6 17. Ra1 Nxc4+ 18. Bxc4 Qxc4 19. Rxa7+ { we will see this idea later in the actual game} Kxa7 20. Ra1+ Qa6 21. Rxa6+ bxa6 22. Qxc6 Bb4+ 23. Kd3 $11) 16... Nb6 $17 {increases the pressure on c4 and makes the knight more active.} 17. Bb1 (17. Bc7 $5 {was a possibility I had considered.} Qa1+ 18. Kc2 Qa4+ 19. Qb3 Qxb3+ 20. Nxb3 Rd7 $15) 17... Qa4 18. c5 {this appears to simply improve Black's position, but the c-pawn otherwise would be difficult to protect. White's forces are tangled up on the kingside and his king position has holes in it which the Black queen and light-square bishop can expoit.} Nd5 19. Qf3 $2 (19. Qb3 Qxb3 (19... Qxd4 $2 { doesn't work here, since the Black queen cannot escape along the 4th rank.} 20. Ne4) 20. Nxb3 b6 $17) 19... Nb4 $6 {Houdini prefers to go ahead and take on d4. I had thought White would gain some extra activity and it would not be worth it. However:} (19... Qxd4 $5 20. Nb3 Qc4+ 21. Qc3 $19 {and Black is two pawns up with no evident compensation for White.}) 20. Ne4 {White continues to pass up chances to play more defensively and exchange queens. An exchange would make sense because Black's queen is much more active and has mate threats, while White's queen threatens comparatively little. However, this would essentially doom White to a defensive struggle, which my opponent evidently was not interested in.} (20. Qa3 Qxa3 21. bxa3 Nd5 $17) 20... Na2+ (20... Bb3 { I had thought about this move, which Houdini prefers, but wasn't able to see a concrete way to make progress afterwards. It would make Black's subsequent threats more potent.} 21. Rd2 (21. Nc3 Qa1 $19) (21. Rde1 Bc2 22. Nc3 Qa1) 21... Na2+ 22. Bxa2 Qxa2) 21. Bxa2 $17 Qxa2 22. Nc3 (22. Qa3 $5 $17) 22... Qc4 23. Qe3 {not the ideal square, as we'll soon see.} (23. Qe4 {would cover f5 and keep the queen on the more valuable h1-a8 diagonal.} Be7 $17) 23... g5 { I knew at this point it was critical for Black to activate the dark-square bishop or at minimum get it out of the way of the rooks. This was played with the idea of an eventual ...f5, giving the bishop the long diagonal.} (23... Be7 $19 {was the simpler way to get the bishop out and connect the rooks.}) 24. Kc2 $2 {this loses by prematurely exposing the king. At the time I thought Robert must have missed the possibility of ...Bf5.} (24. h4 Rg8 $17) 24... Bg7 $17 { I was still fixated on getting the bishop out.} (24... Bf5+ {could have been played immediately.} 25. Kc1 Qa6 {with the threat of ...Qa1+}) 25. Ra1 $2 { Houdini gives this a question mark, but it is perhaps the best practical chance for White at this point, threatening mate with a rook sac on a7.} (25. Kc1 $5 $17) 25... Bf5+ $19 {Black spots the sac and doesn't give White the time to execute it.} 26. Kd2 (26. Kc1 Rxd4 27. Rd1 Rxd1+ 28. Kxd1 $19) 26... Rxd4+ {after this breakthrough, White's position is hopeless.} 27. Qxd4 Qxd4+ 28. Ke2 Re8+ (28... Qd3+ 29. Ke1 Re8+ 30. Be5 Rxe5+ 31. Ne4 Rxe4#) 29. Kf3 (29. Kf1 $19 {praying for a miracle}) 29... g4+ {I saw this mate and went for it.} ( 29... g4+ 30. hxg4 Bxg4#) (29... Qd3#) 0-1

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