17 February 2024

Annotated Game #265: The importance of a sense of danger

This second game from the tournament featured a Symmetrical English, which had a great deal of symmetry indeed, only varying on move 9. If one chooses to play as White in this way, then patience is the key to success, rather than an ability (or desire) to pursue an attacking, imbalanced game. It can be annoying when Black clearly has no experience with the opening, but can still get a good position simply by mimicking moves. However, sometimes the patient approach pays off, as in this game after Black gets impatient and presses too hard with his queen, at a time when a sense of danger was necessary.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class C"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A38"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Dragon 3.2"] [PlyCount "148"] 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Nc3 {the Symmetrical Four Knights} g6 {my opponent took some time in the opening and did not appear to be acquainted with the Symmetrical English, going for mimicing moves simply on principle.} 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O d6 7. d3 {I seriously considered breaking new ground by playing d4 here, since Black postponed castling by a move, but eventually decided to stick with a position and strategy with which I was more familiar.} O-O 8. Rb1 {this scores best in the database, although I'm not sure how much difference move order makes for the basic plan, threatening b2-b4.} Bd7 9. a3 a5 {restraining the b-pawn advance} 10. b3 {with b4 having been prevented for now, I switch to a plan with a goal of swapping off Black's Bg7 and keeping the pressure on the light squares and center.} (10. Bd2 {is most played here, keeping White's options open.}) 10... Qc8 {choosing the common plan of seeking to exchange the Bg2.} 11. Re1 {choosing to keep the light-square bishop on the board, by clearing the diagonal so the bishop can retreat to h1.} Bh3 12. Bh1 h6 {controlling g5, otherwise Ng5 could harass the bishop on h3.} 13. Bb2 {following up on the plan decided on move 10.} Re8 {I thought for a long time here about what would be best to do. I looked at Nd2 as the other main candidate move, which is a standard maneuver to unlock the light-square bishop on the long diagonal. In ultimately choosing the text move, I preferred to maintain more control over the center and the d4 square. However, I did not see my opponent's response.} 14. Nb5 (14. e3 $5 {is another idea, suggested by Dragon 3.2}) 14... Na7 {here I could lock up the queenside with a4 and gain a bit of space, but I saw that I could force through b4 after the exchange, and preferred to try to open lines.} 15. Nxa7 Rxa7 16. Nd2 {it was between this or the immediate b2-b4, either of which are fine.} Bd7 {a surprise, but the obvious idea being to reposition the bishop on the long diagonal.} 17. Ba1 {played more out of minor frustration at not having anything apparently better. Now b4 seemed easier and I felt I was keeping my options more open.} (17. Bg2 $5 {has some value as a waiting move. The engine likes the plan of gaining space and restraining ...b5 by playing a4 afterwards.}) 17... Bc6 18. b4 Bxh1 19. Kxh1 Ng4 {this was also a surprise, threatening a fork on f2.} (19... axb4 $5 20. axb4 cxb4 {is tricky and would have been a better try for Black, perhaps. The point is that} 21. Rxb4 $2 (21. Kg1 $11) 21... Ng4 $1 {wins, due to the double attack on the Ba1 and the threatened fork on f2.}) 20. Kg2 {the idea being I could then play h3 to kick the knight.} Bxa1 {my opponent saw he could win a pawn here and became obviously eager to do it. However, the doubled b-pawns will offset the material gained with their weakness.} 21. Rxa1 axb4 22. axb4 Rxa1 23. Qxa1 cxb4 {I thought for a while here again, because I spotted the tactical issues with the weakness on f2 and Black's Q+N combination making threats.} 24. Qb2 (24. Rb1 $5 {is simpler and better, as the rook is much better employed on the b-file.}) 24... Qc5 25. d4 {played after long thought.} (25. Ne4 {I also considered, but ultimately was a little unsure of the Ne4's ability to defend in all variations.}) 25... Qh5 {a bit of a crude threat. Now for some reason I didn't even consider h3 to defend, in part due to some time pressure.} 26. Nf3 $11 {this is still good for equality.} Qa5 27. Ra1 {Black is out of immediate threats and now I felt good about taking over the initiatlve, although I still need to be careful with Black's queen still threatening to penetrate on the 2nd and 1st ranks in some variations.} Qb6 28. Ra4 b3 29. Ra3 {ready to safely round up the pawn and restore material equality.} Qb4 30. Nd2 {my opponent evidently did not consider this, which protects the c4 pawn and allows me to capture on b3 with the rook.} (30. Qxb3 {is even simpler.}) 30... Rb8 31. Rxb3 Qa5 32. f3 {finally kicking the Ng4 and also closing the long diagonal.} Nf6 33. Rb5 {played after some thought. I felt it kept more pressure up on Black and that the 5th rank was also a good place for the rook, if nothing else.} Qa4 {Black again threatens to peentrate with Qd1.} 34. Kf2 {protecting the e-pawn.} Qd1 $6 {Black plays this anyway, evidently hoping to go to h1. However this is over-ambitious and the queen has very few squares left.} 35. Nf1 {I felt this was the safe choice, as I did not have time to calculate out the situation after ...Qh1.} Kf8 $4 {Black is unaware of the threat to the queen.} 36. Ra5 $1 {sealing the queen's fate.} b6 37. Ra1 Qxa1 38. Qxa1 {White now has an easy win, but Black plays on almost until mate, hoping for a stalemate. I stay patient and "go to sleep" in the endgame, per Dan Heisman's advice, pursuing an inevitable winning strategy while avoiding any chance of stalemate.} Rc8 39. Ne3 e6 40. Qa7 d5 41. cxd5 Nxd5 42. Nxd5 exd5 43. Qxb6 Re8 44. Qd6+ Kg7 45. Qxd5 Re6 46. Qc5 Kf6 47. d5 Re8 48. Qc6+ Ke7 49. Qc7+ Kf6 50. d6 h5 51. d7 h4 52. d8=Q+ Rxd8 53. Qxd8+ Kg7 54. Qxh4 Kg8 55. e4 Kg7 56. e5 Kg8 57. Qf6 g5 58. Qxg5+ Kf8 59. Qh6+ Kg8 60. Qd6 Kg7 61. h4 Kh7 62. f4 Kg7 63. f5 Kh7 64. e6 Kh6 65. g4 f6 66. g5+ Kh5 67. Qd1+ Kxh4 68. g6 Kg5 69. e7 Kh6 70. e8=Q Kg7 71. Qf7+ Kh6 72. Qh1+ Kg5 73. Qg2+ Kf4 74. Qg3+ Ke4 {and my opponent decided he had suffered enough.} 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.