06 September 2021

Annotated Game #255: Too eager to return

Earlier this year I had my first OTB tournament in some time and was quite eager to return to the board. Usually the first game of a tournament after a long layoff is dedicated more to cleaning out mental rust and getting back into fighting form; this one is no exception. The opening phase is not bad, despite my relative unfamiliarity with the position, but I am too aggressive in my intentions and delay kingside castling for too long. As a result, my opponent gets a significant strategic advantage and I decide to sacrifice material twice in order to try and get counterplay. The second sac is a better practical one and in fact my opponent did go wrong in the ensuing king hunt, allowing what would have been a drawing continuation, but alas I did not find it either. 

Although disappointed in the loss, I did not worry about it too much, given the ratings differential (over 100 points in my opponent's favor) and the fact I had another three games to go. At least I had made my opponent sweat, which gave some satisfaction.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class A"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D31"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo Dragon 2"] [PlyCount "67"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 e6 {the Triangle/Wedge formation. This can transpose to various different openings and my opponent opts for an aggressive continuation.} 4. e4 Bb4 (4... dxe4 {is most common here and may be superior, even with the ...Bb4 idea. One recent example with Carlsen playing it:} 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 c5 7. a3 Ba5 8. Be3 Nf6 9. Nge2 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Bxd4 Nc6 12. Bc5 Ne4 13. Be3 Nxc3 14. Nxc3 Bxc3+ 15. bxc3 e5 16. Rb1 Kd8 17. f4 Re8 18. Kf2 Kc7 19. Bd3 h6 20. Rb5 f6 21. Rhb1 Re7 22. Be4 Kd8 23. Rd5+ Kc7 24. fxe5 Nxe5 25. Bf4 Rb8 26. Ke3 Bd7 27. Rc5+ Bc6 28. Bxc6 b6 29. Bxe5+ fxe5 30. Rd5 Kxc6 31. Rf1 Rc8 32. Rf5 Kb7 33. Rfxe5 Rxe5+ 34. Rxe5 Rxc4 35. Kd3 Rg4 36. g3 Kc6 37. c4 Rg5 38. Re7 a5 39. Kd4 Kd6 40. Rb7 Rg4+ 41. Kd3 Kc6 42. Re7 h5 43. Re6+ Kc7 44. Re5 g6 45. Re6 Rg5 46. Kd4 Kb7 47. Rf6 h4 48. gxh4 Rg4+ 49. Kc3 Rxh4 50. Rxg6 Rxh2 51. c5 Rh3+ 52. Kc4 bxc5 53. Kxc5 Rxa3 54. Kb5 a4 55. Rg7+ Kc8 56. Rg4 Kc7 57. Rxa4 Rxa4 58. Kxa4 {1/2-1/2 (58) Xiong,J (2709)-Carlsen,M (2863) Lichess.org INT 2020}) 5. e5 {my opponent thought for a while here, probably expecting that I would take on e4. The text logically grabs space and prevents the knight development to f6, so} Ne7 6. Nf3 c5 {the correct reaction. This break is a major theme in the line, challenging White in the center and also with the idea of developing the other knight with Nb8-c6.} 7. dxc5 Bxc5 { here I thought for a while, not familiar with the position. It's better to at least temporarily sacrifice the pawn, rather than be so concerned with immediately re-establishing material equality.} (7... Nbc6) 8. cxd5 { psychologically this continued the pressure, with me feeling that my position was rather open once White's light-square bishop is freed. However, I didn't see anything real for White and this is objectively the case.} exd5 (8... Nxd5 {seemed a little loose to me.}) 9. Bd3 Bg4 {may be a little premature, as following the usual rule about developing knights before bishops seems better. However, in practical terms it is probably equal, since the knight development is coming anyway.} 10. O-O Nbc6 11. Re1 {this overprotects the e-pawn, but developing the dark-square bishop would be a more effective move.} Qd7 $6 { at this point I had to consider middlegame plans and also how to finish my king development. I was too afraid of castling kingside and instead kept my options open for castling queenside with the text move. However, it is too passive a square for the queen.} (11... Qb6 {is the logical reaction to White's last move, which left the f2 pawn vulnerable. White would now have to spend a move covering it, losing the initiative and allowing ...O-O.}) 12. h3 { White calls my bluff on the c8-h3 diagonal. The bishop sac on h3 would get me nothing, so now I have to retreat.} Bh5 (12... Bxf3 $2 13. Qxf3 {and now White really does have an excellent attacking game on the kingside.}) 13. Be2 Bg6 $6 {unnecessary and time-wasting. White does not follow up as strongly as he could, at least.} 14. Bd3 (14. Na4 $1 {one way or another will result in the disappearance of the Black dark-squared bishop, currently my most effective piece, making White's counterpart a monster. For example} Bb4 15. Bd2 O-O 16. Rc1 Rac8 17. a3 Bxd2 18. Qxd2 {with holes on the queenside (especially c5) that can be exploited by White's knight light-square bishop.}) 14... Rd8 $6 { again postponing castling, to my detriment.} 15. a3 $16 {taking away the b4 square from my pieces and preparing the next pawn advance.} O-O 16. b4 { I underestimated this. Now there is no good alternative to retreating the bishop to b6, but I felt that would just consign me to a hopeless strategic position. I was feeling aggressive so decided to sac a piece for two pawns instead. This is almost never the right decision, but it seems I need to better remember that.} Nxb4 $2 17. Bxg6 $18 fxg6 {in the hopes of eventually generating counterplay on the f-file.} 18. axb4 Bxb4 {a good example of a one-move threat that goes nowhere.} 19. Qb3 a5 {if my pieces were better placed, the two connected passed pawns on the queenside might provide compensation. However, White's pieces are much more active and mine still have to cover too many weaknesses.} 20. Rd1 Rxf3 $5 {given the desperate nature of the position, this is not a bad try, as it forces White to do some calculating on the defense, after his king position gets opened.} 21. gxf3 {one problem is that there is no good immediate follow-up. Here I decide to get my king off the diagonal and thereby free up the pinned d-pawn. This takes too long to allow me to make effective threats against White's king, however.} Kh8 22. Bg5 Rf8 23. Nxd5 Nxd5 24. Rxd5 Qxh3 {a last-gasp effort, although White could theoretically still go wrong here.} 25. Rd8 Rxd8 26. Bxd8 Bc5 27. Ra2 Qg3+ 28. Kf1 Qh3+ 29. Ke2 Qh2 30. Kd3 Qxe5 31. Re2 $2 {and he does go wrong! But under pressure, I miss how to use my queen.} (31. Bxa5 Qf5+ 32. Ke2 $18) 31... Qd6+ $2 {now it is effectively over.} (31... Qf5+ $1 32. Kd2 {I thought this would give White an out, but it doesn't. I suffered from "tunnel vision" and did not consider the possibility of a bishop check, only another queen check.} (32. Kc4 Qf7+ 33. Kxc5 Qxb3 34. Re8+ Qg8 35. Rxg8+ Kxg8 $11) 32... Bb4+ $1 {now White either has to repeat moves with Ke3 or lose the Bd8 to a queen fork.}) 32. Kc2 Qxd8 33. Qf7 $1 {White avoids the trap of being greedy.} (33. Qxb7 $2 $11 { now Black can escape the back-rank threat various ways, including ...Bf8.}) 33... Bf8 34. Re8 1-0

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and ideas on chess training and this site are welcomed.

Please note that moderation is turned on as an anti-spam measure; your comment will be published as soon as possible, if it is not spam.