26 February 2017

Annotated Game #166: Even short draws have lessons

Having finished off the 2016 master-level commentary games, I'll turn back now to looking at my tournament games.  At first glance this 19-move draw seems pretty worthless, but in fact analyzing it really gave me some insights into some key mechanics of the Classical Caro-Kann setup, especially how Black should coordinate the pieces - note the uselessness and even the liability that the Bd6 proved to be here - and think prophylactically (11...b5!?).  The opening itself veers out of book early on (moves 6-7), something I did not handle very well.  My opponent was rated significantly below me, but played well and I had the worst of a position with no prospects, so the draw was probably the best outcome.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class D"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B18"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 10"] [PlyCount "38"] {B18: Classical Caro-Kann: 4...Bf5 sidelines} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nf6 7. Bc4 e6 8. O-O Nbd7 {a solid move, but it allows White to establish the Bf4.} (8... Bd6) 9. Bf4 Nb6 {not a good decision. I waste time in the opening by driving my opponent's bishop to a better square, while moving the same piece twice.} (9... Be7 10. Re1 O-O 11. Nh4 Qb6 12. Nxg6 hxg6 13. Bb3 Rfd8 14. c3 c5 15. Ne2 e5 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Qc2 Nd3 18. Red1 c4 19. Be3 cxb3 20. axb3 Qb5 21. Nd4 Rxd4 22. Bxd4 Nf4 23. Rxa7 Rxa7 24. Bxa7 { Djacic,N-Maric,A (2407) Cetinje 2009 0-1 (34)}) 10. Bd3 {White has an active position, notes Komodo via the Fritz interface.} Nbd5 $146 {hitting the bishop and centralizing the knight, but I am still under-developed. Again, White's bishop is driven to a better square as well.} (10... Bd6 11. Be5 O-O $11) 11. Be5 Bd6 {a little late with the idea and not really helpful for me. Unfortunately, taking with the bishop on e5 would simply give White a strong e5 pawn and kick the Nf6, gaining a tempo. With the dark-square bishop gone, I also would have more trouble covering the dark squares on defense. The bishop is actually something of a liability on d6 for me, as the Qd8 is tied to its defense.} (11... b5 {is the engine's recommendation of a prophylactic move, to help preserve the Nd5 on its square. Whenever Black puts a knight on d5 in this variation, if White can advance a pawn to c4 to kick it off the square, it's not very well placed.} 12. h4 $14) (11... Nd7 $5 {might be a better version of the idea to exchange the Be5.}) 12. Re1 (12. c4 {would give White the initiative.} Ne7 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. Qb3 Rb8 $14) 12... O-O {removing the king from the e-file, very important for tactical reasons as well as developmental.} 13. Qd2 {my opponent continues to play decent but somewhat slow moves.} b5 {here I recognize the importance of defending the Nd5 outpost and implement the prophylactic idea (a bit late).} (13... Be7 {is also an option, acknowledging that the trade on e5 will not happen with the bishop and allowing ...Nd7.}) 14. a4 (14. c3 Be7 $11) 14... a6 (14... b4 {is a superior continuation, gaining space.} 15. c4 bxc3 16. bxc3 Be7 $11 {and now if} 17. c4 Bb4 $15 (17... Nb4 {also works.})) 15. h3 {presumably done to prevent ...Ng4.} (15. axb5 {is probably the most challenging way to continue, but after a series of piece exchanges White will not have enough material to push an attack.} cxb5 {forced.} (15... axb5 $2 16. Rxa8 Qxa8 17. Bxd6 $18) 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. Ne5 Bxd3 18. Qxd3 $11) 15... Re8 (15... Qc7 $5 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. c3) 16. Ne4 {this allows for simplification into a drawish position.} Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Bxe4 18. Rxe4 Nf6 {this seemed the obvious move at the time, although it would allow White to try to create something on the h-file with Rh4.} (18... f6 { is forcing with the Bd6 and also takes away the g5 square from White's knight.} 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. Rae1 {White can try to pressure the e-pawn but without prospects for success.} Re7 $11 {is the safe response, leaving e8 open for the other rook.}) 19. Ree1 (19. Rh4 Qe7 $11) 19... h6 {I correctly evaluated the position here as having no winning prospect for myself, with any chances on my opponent's side, so accepted a draw.} (19... Be7) 1/2-1/2

1 comment:

  1. Regards,
    Annotate many games is a hard work congratulations for this.

    In my opinion you fail in the evaluation of the final position. The position is about equal but not draw. There are a lot of room to play to the endgame and try to outplay your opponent or wait for a mistake. Equal are not draw, you can play more moves and see the evolution of the game. In this level you can win or lost this position.
    If you play for the short term you can accept draw if the points are good for you. However if you play for long term you need experience playing this types of positions.


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