11 September 2021

Annotated Game #256: Back to the grind

This second-round game had me paired against a much lower-rated opponent. However, his rating was provisional and in practice he played significantly stronger. His main weakness was in not mobilizing his forces in a King's Indian Defense and letting me grab space and eventually win his unprotected d-pawn. After that I followed a strategy of safety first and felt confident in my strategic advantage, which became more apparent as material left the board. NM Dan Heisman's advice of pursuing a "go to sleep" strategy in the endgame paid off, as I covered all my weaknesses and then forced an imminent breakthrough, my opponent losing on time.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class E"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E61"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo Dragon 2"] [PlyCount "84"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Be2 O-O 5. O-O d6 {transposing into the King's Indian formation, as I had expected.} 6. c4 Nbd7 7. Nc3 c5 {much less popular than the standard ...e5, but a good alternative. However, it's a less direct way of challenging in the center.} 8. d5 {database statistics show that White does better to maintain the central tension, for example after b3 or a3. I was comfortable immediately going for more space, however.} Nb6 {targeting c4 and opening the diagonal for the Bc8.} 9. Qc2 {this waiting move doesn't really do much for me, although it reinforces e4. I should do better by focusing on exploiting Black's slightly awkward setup, for example pushing a2-a4 immediately to gain further space.} Bd7 {this is slow, allowing me to recover the initiative, as the bishop is not placed to do anything useful here. Challenging in the center with ...e6 or ...e5 looks better.} 10. a4 Bg4 { despite the double bishop move, this is Komodo's choice as well, pointing out the flaw in developing to d7 in the first place.} (10... a5 $6 {would block ideas of a4-a5 but leave too many holes on the b-file for White to later exploit.}) 11. b3 {the idea here is to develop the dark-square bishop before doing anything else major. More active play is possible.} (11. Ng5 $5 {would offer to trade Black's most active piece and help increase White's light-square advantage.}) 11... a6 $16 {this keeps my knight out of b5, but now my structural and developmental advantages are more evident.} 12. Bb2 { although not winning yet, at this point I was content with what I felt was a strategic advantage here, with Black's pieces not cooperating well and me able to pursue longer-term ideas on both the queenside and in the center. For example, I can think about a4-a5 and Nc3-a4-b6, as well as the e4 advance and further play in the center.} Bd7 $6 {this third bishop move is just a time-waster.} (12... Bf5) 13. Rfe1 {with the idea of targeting play on the e-file, which I felt was the most dynamic option and also would keep squeezing Black.} Nc8 {my opponent continues time-wasting maneuvers.} 14. e4 Na7 15. h3 { a prophylactic move, taking away the g4 square from both Black's knight and bishop, to continue the squeezing motif.} (15. e5 $5 dxe5 16. Nxe5 {looks more active, but I was not in a rush to resolve the situation in the center.}) 15... Re8 {finally developing the rook to the e-file, to be able to aid in a future fight there.} 16. Bd3 {this is a bit of a wasted move, as the bishop accomplishes nothing on the new diagonal and e4 is already overprotected.} e6 { correctly challenging White's central pawn formation.} 17. dxe6 Bxe6 18. Nd5 { this obvious-looking move may let Black off the hook in the center. The point is that Black could then exchange off the bad light-square bishop for the centralized knight.} Nc6 $14 {getting the knight back into the fight, as b4 looks like a good place for it.} 19. Qd2 {proactively moving away from a ... Nb4 threat and to more open diagonals.} Rc8 (19... Bxd5 $5) 20. Rad1 {like my opponent, I try to develop my rook to a more potentially useful file.} Bd7 $6 $16 {while not immediately losing, this creates some targets for me to focus on and complicates Black's play. The d7 square is taken away from the Nf6, reducing the amount of space available to his pieces, and the d6 pawn is now unprotected, creating some tactical possibilities.} 21. Bb1 {getting out of the way of the d-file heavy pieces, while keeping up protection of the e4 pawn. } a5 $2 {ignores the threat to the pawn and thereby creates a fatal weakness.} (21... Be6) 22. Nxf6+ Bxf6 23. Bxf6 (23. e5 $5 {I did not even consider, instead going immediately for the win of the pawn. Komodo favors it because of the extra threats involved, although it is much more complicated.} Bg7 24. Qxd6 $18) 23... Qxf6 24. Qxd6 Qxd6 25. Rxd6 Be6 26. Red1 Rcd8 27. Kf1 {following the simple plan of activating the king.} (27. e5 $5) 27... Rxd6 {I was please to see this, as simplifying down material, especially from double to single rooks, normally makes the defender's situation worse in an endgame.} 28. Rxd6 Rd8 29. Rxd8+ {happy to exchange down further} Nxd8 30. Ke2 Kf8 31. Ne5 (31. Ke3 $5 {no reason to not keep centralizing the king and making it more powerful.}) 31... Ke7 32. Nd3 b6 33. Bc2 {played with the idea of establishing a defensive blockade first, then grinding away on the win.} Nc6 34. Bd1 { now ...Nd4 is no longer a threat.} Kd6 35. f4 {seizing space. although perhaps a little premature.} (35. Ke3 $5 {would better centralize the king and open up the diagonal for the bishop.}) 35... f6 36. g4 {my opponent by this point was quite low on time. I endeavored to play solid moves that kept my advantage and make the game easier on me, while difficult for my opponent to do anything useful.} Bd7 37. Ke3 Ke6 38. h4 $18 {by this point my 4v3 pawn majority is fully mobilized and supported by my pieces. The threat is to break through with g4-g5.} Nd4 39. f5+ {picking the simplest path to a win.} gxf5 40. exf5+ Kd6 41. Kf4 Be8 42. Nf2 Ke7 {and lost on time, although the knight maneuver Ne4-c3-d5 would decide things.} 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.