Monday, September 27, 2010

A Star is Born...

My name is Daniel Fernandez, IM from Texas. I am an ex-UTD student and still maintain close contacts with several of my ex-teammates from Dallas. This is the main reason I decided to join the team this year. I always closely watch the Destiny matches while they are played on ICC and this time I decided to share some thoughts from a particular game played by our new star, IM Julio Sadorra from Philippines.

Julio has been one of the few bright spots on the Destiny this year and following is his week 5 victory. Since joining the team Julio has provided a great spark (going 2-0 the past two weeks) and has proven to be a great addition to our team.

IM Sadorra,Julio (2471) - IM Brooks,Michael (2411) [E00]

Week 5, 20.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 A move order that is becoming more and more popular. White is avoiding the Queen's and Nimzo Indians (considered two of Black's best chances for equality against 1.d4) and instead opting to play a Catalan against 3...d5 or against Bogo-Indian (3...Bb4). Also, it is worth mentioning that if White uses this move order he is limiting himself to playing the fianchetto variation against the Benoni (not necessarily a bad thing) or 4.Nf3 in response to 3...c5, which has been a battleground for many top level games over the past few years 3...Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 d6 6.Bg2 0-0 7.e4 e5 8.Ne2!? A novelty proposed by Avrukh in Volume II of his Opening repertoire for White.

8...c5 9.d5 b5? This move looks far from sound. Black attempts to get a Benko-style position but with a few significant drawbacks. First, e5 is occupied by a pawn so Nbd7-e5-c4 ideas are nonexistent. This makes Black's only viable option for his b8 knight the more passive Nb8-a6-c7 route, which is not aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, White is able to construct a 'fortress' to neutralize Black's play on the a- and b-files by being able to have in a4 and knights on c3 and b5, limiting the scope of Black's rooks on the a- and b-files [Better is 9...Na6 10.Nbc3 Nc7 11.0-0 Rb8 12.a4 b6 13.Nc1 a6 14.Nd3 b5 15.b3 (Worse is 15.cxb5 axb5 16.b4 c4 17.Nb2 bxa4 18.Ncxa4 c3 19.Qxc3 Nb5 20.Qd2 Nd4 with compensation -Avrukh) 15...Nd7 16.cxb5!N axb5 17.b4 c4 18.Nb2 += Avrukh] 10.cxb5 a6 11.Nbc3 axb5 12.Nxb5 Ba6 13.Nec3 Qb6 14.a4 Nbd7?

This normal-looking move is wrong. Black's pieces get bundled up because of his lack of space. The d7 knight's only shot of getting into the game will be via b6, but that would require moving the queen and even so, White can easily stop any ...Nc4 intrusions by simply playing b3 or moving Bf1 at some point. Being down a pawn, Black was hesitant to trade pieces but in Benko-type positions, trading is never too bad unless it involves one of your rooks (your main compensation for the sacrificed pawn) [Better is 14...Bxb5 15.Nxb5 Na6 16.0-0 Nc7 17.Nxc7 Qxc7 after this series of trades, Black now clears the a- and b-files in order to allow his rooks free movement along these files. It is not so easy for White to deal with this. For example: 18.b4 cxb4 19.Qxb4 Rfb8 20.Qa3 Nd7 21.Rfb1 Nc5 22.a5 h6 23.Rxb8+ Qxb8; Black does not have enough compensation for the pawn but he is definitely doing better than he was before the trades]

15.0-0 Rfb8 16.Rfb1 Ne8 Black finally gets the idea but it would have been more efficient to use the other knight to begin with 17.a5?

White's first mistake of the game. This move seems too committal. It softens up both the knight on b5 as well as the a5 pawn, giving Black unnecessary hope.

17...Qd8 18.Bf1 Ndf6 Black correctly puts the d7 knight on f6 to pressure e4. Also, and more importantly, d6 is now defended by someone other than the e8 knight making ...Nc7 possible next move 19.Bd3 Its hard to find a better move, for example: [19.f3 Nc7 20.Nxc7 Qxc7 when Black seems to have taken care of most of his problems; 19.b4 cxb4 20.Rxb4 Bxb5 21.Nxb5 Rxa5 22.Rxa5 Qxa5=] 19...Bc8 [Trying to win his pawn back by using tactical means doesn't work, for example: 19...Bxb5 20.Nxb5 Nxe4 21.Bxe4 Rxb5 22.Bxh7+! Kf8 23.a6±; Better is 19...Nc7]

20.f4 Nd7 [I am still not sure why Black didn't play 20...Rxa5 after 21.fxe5 (21.Rxa5 Qxa5 22.Na3 exf4 23.Nc4 Qc7 24.gxf4 Ba6 25.b3 +=) 21...dxe5 22.Qe3 Rxa1 23.Rxa1 Qb6 24.Bc4 += Where in both cases White still has a positional advantage but at least Black is not losing by any material] 21.Qe1 Ba6 With this move again Black prefers to keep the tension. Maybe he is holding out for a more opportune time to take on a5? [21...Rxa5 22.Rxa5 Qxa5 23.Ra1 Qb6 24.Bc4 +=] 22.Qe3? The queen was playing a great role on e1 (keeping both e4 as well as a5 defended). I did not see the point of moving her from there except to defend the d3 bishop to avoid ...Nc7 tactics. If that was the problem then why not just move the d3 bishop? [Better is 22.Bf1] 22...Ndf6!

Taking advantage of the poor position of White's queen because now 23.fe5 is met by ...Ng4! Also, now the knight on d7 is no longer undefended once the queen leaves d8, therefore, Black is now threatening to take on b5 and recover his pawn on a5

23.Be2 Bxb5 24.Nxb5 Rxa5 25.Rxa5 Qxa5 26.Na3 Qa4 27.Nc4 Qa2?! Overextending the queen. It would have been wise to keep her on a4 from where she can still assist operations on the queenside but simultaneously be able to swing to the kingside via d7 in case things open up on that side of the board [Better is 27...Rb3 28.Qc1 exf4 29.gxf4 Qd7! unclear] 28.Qd3 Rb3?

Smothering his own queen, losing a tempo, and giving White strong counterplay along the a-file all with one move. After this move Sadorra is relentless in bringing home the point finding one precise move after another.

29.Qd1 Qa4 30.fxe5 dxe5 31.Ra1 Qb4 32.d6 Nd7 33.Ra8 Kf8 34.Nxe5! g6 [34...Nxe5 doesn't help: 35.d7 Nxd7 36.Qd6+! Kg8 37.Rxe8+ Nf8 38.Rxf8#] 35.Nxd7+ Kg7 36.Rxe8 Rxb2 37.Rb8 1-0

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