21 September 2014

Annotated Game #133: What have I learned?

Following the rather blah and weak second-round draw in this tournament, we come to an even poorer loss.  As Black, I face my own favorite White opening, which is not easy to cope with psychologically.  As early as move 5, I start losing the thread of the game, although it was really 7...Qc8 that put me in a bit of a positional hole.  White misses a couple of chances to make his advantage concrete, including 12. Ne5, which would have given him a winning game.  Despite this, I manage to equalize and even have a shot at an advantage myself, after bringing my queen knight back into the game authoritatively.  The turning point and a swift tactical blow by White come following a big error on my 24th move that effectively puts me away.  My opponent deserves full credit for correctly spotting and calculating the sequence, which includes a neat deflection tactic on h6 and f6.

The big lesson for me from this game was my failure to actively falsify my opponents' moves.  This was obvious on both my 11th and 24th moves, as I failed to see or consider the strong knight moves my opponent had at his disposal.  (The first oversight was much simpler and therefore less excusable; I simply got lucky because my opponent also overlooked the opportunity).  Since by this point I had put together my simplified thought process, this game was just an example of my lack of energy or laziness in not following what I should have learned by now.  Remember: thou shalt always falsify thy moves.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class B"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A11"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini/Komodo 8"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2012.07.??"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] {A11: English Opening: 1...c6} 1. c4 c6 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 {White chooses a gambit continuation, although I decline to accept it, preferring the strong point on d5. White normally can also easily recover the pawn or get excellent compensation in these types of positions.} Bf5 5. O-O h6 {this is not a bad move in this opening, as it prepares a retreat square for the bishop on h7, but either ...e6 or ...Nbd7 would be more to the point in furthering Black's development.} 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Qb3 {a standard sortie by the queen, when the bishop has already been developed to f5.} Qc8 $6 {this ends up being too passive and putting the queen in a place where she can easily be attacked down the c-file.} (7... Qb6 {is a reasonable way of meeting White's threat, as the doubled pawns following an exchange would not be a decisive weakness.} 8. Qxb6 axb6 9. Nc3 Nc6 {with a slight plus to White.}) (7... Nc6 $5 {is pointed out by Komodo 8 as a possibility, as Black gets compensation for the pawn sacrifice.} 8. Qxb7 Bd7 9. Qb3 {White has to withdraw quickly or hand over the initiative and the center to Black.} (9. Qb5 Rb8 10. Qa4 e5 11. d3 Bd6 12. Nc3 O-O $11) 9... e5 {with an interesting, active game for Black.} (9... e6 10. d4 Bd6 {and again White has a slight plus, according to both Komodo 8 and Houdini, although Black certainly has the more dynamic game.})) 8. Nc3 $14 e6 9. d3 Be7 10. Bd2 {here White missed a chance to play actively and exploit his small lead in development.} (10. e4 dxe4 11. dxe4 Bg4 (11... Bxe4 {appears to win a pawn, but White gets immediate compensation and may be able to regain it with a strong positional plus, for example} 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Be3 O-O 14. Ne5 Nd6 15. Rac1 Nc6) 12. Be3 O-O 13. Rac1 Nc6 14. Nb5 $16 {and now if} Nxe4 $6 { White has either Ne5 or Nfd4 as a strong response.}) (10. Bf4 {would also be stronger than the text move, without the extra complications of the pawn thrust.}) 10... O-O 11. Rac1 Qd7 $2 {this appears at first glance to be reasonable, keeping an eye on the b7 pawn and avoiding the threat on the c-file, but both my opponent and I miss the easy tactic that would give White winning game.} (11... Nc6 {would develop a piece and block the threat, also challenging White's control of e5.}) 12. Rfe1 {throwing away the advantage, says Houdini via the Fritz interface.} (12. Ne5 {and White wins} Qe8 13. Qxb7 $18) 12... Nc6 13. e4 {White now goes for the pawn thrust, which however is less effective now than it would have been earlier.} dxe4 14. dxe4 Bh7 15. Bf4 {while a good move, White could have saved himself the tempo by not passively developing it to d2 earlier.} Na5 16. Qc2 Rac8 {a rook move seems to be called for in this position, but this perhaps is not the best one.} (16... Rfd8 $5 { places a rook on the open d-file and also gives the queen the e8 square as a good place to retreat, if necessary.}) 17. Red1 Qc6 {an obvious increase of pressure on e4, but White responds dynamically and improves his position.} 18. Ne5 {I'm now missing the knight on c6.} Qb6 19. Qe2 Rfd8 20. Be3 Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 {here the engines both consider this inferior to the queen recapture, although this is not obvious to a human.} (21. Qxd1 Qd6 (21... Qxb2 $4 {a poisoned pawn} 22. Nd5 Re8 23. Nxf6+ Bxf6 24. Qd7 $18) 22. Nd5 {this works because of the hanging Rc8} Rxc1 23. Nxe7+ Qxe7 24. Qxc1 Bxe4 25. Qc8+ Qf8 26. Qc7 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 Nc6 28. Nxc6 bxc6 29. Bxa7 $16) 21... Qc7 22. Ng4 (22. f4 {is the critical path and the best try for a White advantage.}) 22... a6 {the immediate ...Nc4 seems better. At the time I wanted to prevent White from harrassing the queen, but he can do that anyway.} 23. Qf3 {not a very helpful move for White, as it accomplishes nothing and allows Black to start making threats.} (23. Bf4 $5 Qc4 24. Nxf6+ Bxf6 25. e5 Qxe2 26. Nxe2 $11) 23... Nc4 $15 {the knight finally gets back in the game, on an excellent square.} 24. Bf4 {White threatens to win material: Bf4xc7} e5 $2 {although this is defensible in a narrow sense, as the e5 pawn can't be taken, White is able to think more dynamically, make threats in return and exploit a deflection tactic on the kingside.} (24... Qa5 {dodges the bullet.} 25. Nxf6+ Bxf6 {and Black is doing fine, since the b-pawn is hanging and White cannot break through on the kingside. For example} 26. Rd7 Nxb2 27. e5 Bxe5 28. Bxe5 Qxe5 29. Qxf7+ Kh8 30. Bxb7 Bg8 31. Qg6 Rxc3 $17) 25. Nxf6+ $1 $18 Bxf6 26. Nd5 {once again in this game, I miss a powerful knight move.} Qc6 27. Bxh6 $1 {Deflection: f6} Nxb2 { here I figured I was in trouble regardless of what I did, so should at least try for some counterplay.} (27... Kh8 28. Nxf6 Qxf6 29. Qxf6 gxf6 30. b3 Na5 31. Rd7 $18) 28. Rc1 {although the Bh6 is en prise, it still effectively reaches backwards to support the Rc1.} Qe6 {this leads to a quick loss, but I was done for anyway. The queen is overloaded protecting both the Rc8 and the f6 square.} (28... Nc4 29. Bxg7 Kxg7 30. Rxc4 Qxc4 31. Qxf6+ Kg8 32. Ne7+ Kf8 33. Nxc8 Qxc8 34. Qh8+ Bg8 35. Qh6+ Ke7 $18 {the e5 pawn will fall and the endgame is hopeless for Black, although this is of course still better than the game continuation.}) 29. Nxf6+ gxf6 30. Rxc8+ Qxc8 31. Qxf6 1-0

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