17 February 2015

Annotated Game #140: The lessons of drawing twice in one game

After the disappointing results of the previous tournament (which finished with Annotated Game #139), for my last OTB tournament I was looking more to stabilize my results rather than hoping for a big breakthrough.

In this first round game, as Black I successfully neutralize my opponent's play out of the opening, a Classical Caro-Kann.  My opponent commits a touch-move fault on move 21, which however I offset by not pushing my (correct) claim for a draw by repetition a few moves later.  I play some sub-par rook moves and allow a small advantage and some pressure, but my opponent overpresses and nearly gets his rook trapped (which it should have been, with a neat little tactic).  Finally material is exchanged off into a drawn rook endgame.

Despite the goofs, I ended up feeling psychologically strengthened by the game.  The failure of my opponent to acknowledge the early threefold repetition I took as an opportunity to play out the position, in keeping with the "no draws" mentality I try to foster.  I was also able to learn more about the concepts involved in trapping a piece, through the missed sequence on move 37, which in this case would have involved sacrificing a pawn to lure the White rook to its doom.  In practice, this was not a bad result and I felt better about my play in general than I had in the previous tournament.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class A"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B18"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini/Komodo 8"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2013.01.18"] [EventRounds "7"] {B18: Classical Caro-Kann: 4...Bf5 sidelines} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 { my opponent took longer than normal to make his moves in the opening, which led me to believe he was trying to remember the line.} dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nf6 {an important alternative to the standard ...Nd7, as we shall see on the next move.} 7. h4 {my opponent had remembered the book line this far, but now I prevent him from executing the standard plan with h4-h5.} Nh5 8. Ne5 Nxg3 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. fxg3 e6 {the game is now firmly off the main line track, although generally equal. The spectacle of no pieces developed as of move 10 is unusual.} 11. Bf4 $146 (11. c3 Bd6 12. Qf3 Nd7 13. Bg5 Qxg5 14. hxg5 Rxh1 15. O-O-O Rh5 16. d5 Ne5 17. Qe3 cxd5 18. Be2 Rh2 19. Qg1 Rh7 20. c4 Nxc4 21. Bxc4 Rc8 22. Qxa7 Rxc4+ 23. Kb1 Rh5 24. Qxb7 Rxg5 25. a4 Rxg3 {Vasylius,K (2105)-Kaunas,K (2275) Vilnius 2009 1-0 (37)}) (11. Be3 Bd6 12. Bf2 Nd7 13. Qf3 Qa5+ 14. c3 e5 15. Bc4 O-O-O 16. O-O-O f5 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. Be6+ Kb8 19. Qe2 Rhe8 20. Bb3 Ng4 21. Qf3 Qc7 22. Bd4 Bxg3 23. Kb1 Be5 24. Bc5 Nf6 25. Bc2 Bg3 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. Be7 Qxe7 28. Qxg3+ Rd6 29. Re1 Qd7 30. Qxg6 Ne4 31. Qh7 Rd2 32. Qg8+ Kc7 33. Qb3 Rxg2 34. Bxe4 fxe4 35. a3 Rd2 36. Ka1 Qd5 37. Qa4 Kb8 38. c4 Qd3 39. Ka2 Rxb2+ 40. Kxb2 Qd2+ 41. Qc2 Qxe1 42. Qh2+ Kc8 43. Qe5 Qe2+ 44. Kb3 Qd3+ 45. Kb2 Qd2+ 46. Kb3 Qe3+ 47. Kc2 Qf2+ 48. Kb3 Qxh4 49. Qxg7 Qh3+ 50. Ka4 Qe6 51. Qf8+ Kc7 52. Qg7+ Kb6 53. Qc3 a6 54. c5+ Ka7 55. Qb4 Ka8 56. Ka5 e3 57. Qh4 Qe8 58. a4 {0-1 (58) Diaz,J (2134)-Kjartansson,G (2385) San Cristobal 2012}) 11... Bd6 {challenging on the diagonal seemed best to me, which also results in White losing the (slight) positional advantage of the two bishops.} 12. Qd2 Bxf4 13. Qxf4 Qa5+ 14. c3 Nd7 {leaving the way open for queenside castling.} 15. Bc4 Nf6 {blocking a potential attack down the f-file.} 16. Rf1 O-O-O (16... O-O {castling kingside is perfectly fine here as well. Optically White may look threatening, but he cannot get anything going on either the h- or f-files and does not have enough material to sacrifice for a breakthrough.}) 17. O-O-O Rd7 {at this point it is hard to see where either side can make real progress. White's light-square bishop is restricted by Black's pawn structure, while Black's knight is relatively mobile, making it at least equal in worth.} 18. Kb1 Qf5+ {I decide to force the queens off, ending any possible attacking chances for White.} 19. Bd3 Qxf4 20. Rxf4 Rf8 {this is somewhat counterproductive and limiting for the rook. If I want to activate it, h5 is a much better square, with lateral dominance on the 5th rank. Moving it off the h-file only aids White's prospects, as we'll soon see.} (20... Kc7 $11) 21. Rf3 {my opponent had a touch-move fault here, intending to play g4, which is his best chance at an advantage.} (21. g4 Nd5 22. Rf3 $14 {in this configuration, White can put some pressure on the kingside by concentrating all of his pieces on supporting a pawn advance, while Black has no real counterplay. However, I doubt it would be enough to win.}) 21... Kc7 22. Rf4 Nd5 23. Rf3 Nf6 24. Rf4 Nd5 25. Rf3 {Twofold repetition} Nf6 {Draw by threefold repetition, notes Houdini via the Fritz interface. I was not 100 percent clear in my mind on this so only halfheartedly claimed the draw (in advance of the move, as required by the rules) and my opponent asserted that it was only a twofold repetition. Rather than challenge him, which would require stopping the clocks, calling a TD and replaying the whole game, I decided to play on.} 26. Re1 Re8 27. Re5 Ree7 28. Be2 Rd5 29. Rfe3 Rxe5 30. Rxe5 Rd7 (30... Nd7 $5 {is an idea that could have been played effectively now or later. For example} 31. Re3 c5 32. Bf3 cxd4 33. cxd4 Nb6 $11) 31. Bf3 Rd8 32. g4 Rh8 {by this point it was clear to me that White had nothing, but might overpress.} 33. g3 Rg8 $6 { this does nothing for the rook and removes it (again) from the more useful h-file. The position is still balanced, however.} 34. Kc2 Kb6 {controlling the queenside squares on the 5th rank. This is a little dubious, taking the king further away from the action on the kingside, but I had in mind trying to trap White's rook.} (34... Kd6) 35. c4 {my opponent continues to press for winning chances.} Rd8 36. Kc3 Nd7 {here I spot the basic idea behind trapping the rook, but fail to calculate it properly while close to the time control, so it escapes.} 37. Rg5 $2 {far too cavalier a move, although my opponent gets away with it.} (37. Re2 Kc7 $14) 37... Nf8 $2 (37... f6 $1 38. Rxg6 Rg8 $17 { the rook will now fall prey to the knight and Black gains the exchange. Ironically the last move which I fail to spot involves moving the rook to an otherwise passive square, something which I had been previously doing without such a worthy goal.}) 38. Re5 Nd7 {Twofold repetition} 39. Rg5 {giving me the chance again.} Nf8 {having missed the tactic, I was simply focused on sealing the draw.} 40. b4 {this finally gives White's rook a protected square on a5.} a6 41. Re5 Nd7 42. Ra5 (42. Re2 $5) 42... Nf6 (42... e5 43. d5 c5 $11) 43. Rg5 Rg8 44. a4 (44. Re5 $5 {White's only chance to maintain a slight edge would be to transfer his rook back behind his pawns, where it belongs.}) 44... Nd7 $11 45. Ra5 Kc7 46. d5 exd5 47. cxd5 Ne5 48. Bg2 Re8 ({Worse is} 48... Nxg4 49. dxc6 bxc6 50. Rxa6 $16) 49. dxc6 Nxc6 50. Bxc6 Kxc6 {and the endgame is elementary from here on.} 51. Rc5+ Kd6 52. Kd4 Kd7 53. Rd5+ Kc6 54. b5+ axb5 55. Rc5+ Kb6 56. Rxb5+ Kc6 57. Rc5+ Kd6 58. Rg5 Kc6 1/2-1/2

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