Thursday, September 15, 2011

Destiny Excommunicates Archbishops

As the Dallas Destiny manager I'm happy to report that we picked up our first win of the season last Wednesday, beating St Louis 3.5-.5. This win moved us to 2-1 on the season into 3rd place in the Western Division. I know that St Louis was in the process of hosting the Kings vs Queens tournament and as a result I'm sure some of their best USCL players were occupied or worn out. I am going to provide some analysis of the games from boards 3 and 4 from our match. I hope you enjoy!

Board 3: Kiewra-Eckert

1.e4 d6 It just goes to show, you can never successfully prepare for anyone in the USCL because they are also preparing something for you! I hadn't seen any games where Eckert played this move before and I was thoroughly surprised.

2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 Transposing into a Philador. I felt good about this having wins under my belt in this system against such strong players as IM Marko Zivanic and GM Mekheil Kekeleidze.

4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Bb3 exd4 I'm not sure if this is how the opening is supposed to go or not, but it did not work out in the game due to White's spatial advantage. More common is 7.c6 with ideas to leave the position closed and play on the Queenside.

8.Nxd4 Nc5 9.Re1 Nxb3 10.axb3 c6 11.Qf3 Kh8 12.h3 Be6 13.Nf5 Bxf5 14.Qxf5 Qd7 15.Qf3 The ending is comfortable for white, but I think black suffers more in the middlegame due to his lack of space. White can now play natural developing moves and focus on the weak d6 pawn.

15...a6 16.Bf4 Ne8 17.Rad1 f6 18.Rd3 Rd8 19.Red1 Qe6 20.Ne2 Qf7 21.c4?! Better is Ng3 suppressing black's counterplay. I calculated 21.Ng3 g6 22.Bh6 Rg8 23.e5!? but black seems fine after 23...d5. Thus I played c4 which controls d5 and prepares a c5 thrust. If black answers with b6 my idea works perfectly, however black found active counterplay with...

21...f5! 22.e5 dxe5 23.Rxd8 Bxd8 24.Rxd8 White has no advantage after 24.Bxe5 Bf6! 25.Qxf5 Bxe5 26.Qxe5 Qxf2+

24...exf4 25.Nxf4 g6 26.Qc3+ Ng7 27.Rd6 Kg8 28.Qd4 Re8 29.Rd7 Re7 30.Rd8+ Re8 31.g3 Ne6 32.Nxe6 Qxe6 33.Qd7 Qxd7? The rook ending is a headache for black. Black could equalize here with a series of precise moves: 33...Qe1+ 34.Kg2 Qe4+ 35.Kh2 Rxd8 36.Qxd8+ Kf7 37.Qh8 Qe2 38.Qxh7+ Kf6 39.Qh8+ Kf7 40.Qd4 Qxb2= The match was already over though and the price of this mistake was not very high. Doug offered me a draw which I would have gladly accepted, but because total points are important to the tiebreak system I needed to play on.

34.Rxd7 Re1+ 35.Kg2 Re2 36.Rxb7 Rxb2 37.Ra7 Rxb3 38.Rxa6 c5 39.Rc6 Kg7 40.Rxc5 Kf6 41.Rc8 Rc3 42.h4 h5 43.c5 Ke6 44.c6 f4 45.gxf4 Kf5 46.f3? My friend IM John Bartholomew pointed out that I missed a nice win: 46.c7 Kg4 47.f5! strips black's King of any shelter.

46...Kxf4? White is winning anyway at this point. 47.c7 Rc2+ 48.Kh3 1-0

Board 4: Hua-Xiong

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Nxd5?! cxd5 13.Qxd5 This line has been almost nonexistent at the high level in the last several years due to the excellent play black receives for the pawn. Michael Adams tried it with white against Alexei Federov in 2001 in a losing effort.

13...Qc7 14.Qc5 Taking the rook on a8 is a bad idea. 14.Qxa8 Bf5 15.Qxf8+ Kxf8 16.Bd3 Qe5 17.Bxf5 Qxe3+ 18.Kb1 Qb6! with a winning position for black.

14...Qb7 15.b3!? more common is 15.Qa3.

15...Bf5 16.Qa5 Rac8 17.Bd3 Qc6 18.Bxf5 gxf5 19.c4 Qg6 20.g3 Rc6 Despite white's extra pawn the position is more pleasant for black who can generate threats against white's King without having to worry about his own King too much. In order for white to win he would have to neutralize black's attack by trading pieces and escape into a favorable ending while avoiding the tactical pitfalls in the position, much easier said than done :)

21.Qd2 a5 22.h4 a4 23.h5 Qe6 24.h6 axb3! Xiong finds a winning piece sac. 24...Bf6 was also winning, but this is nicer and effective.

25.hxg7 Qxc4+ 26.Kb2 Rb8 27.Rc1 bxa2+ 28.Ka1 Rb1+ 29.Rxb1 axb1=Q+30.Kxb1 Qb3+ 31.Qb2 Qd3+ 0-1

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Season

Aloha again. We are back for yet another reason of exciting USCL. First week's match vs LA was a doozy. I didn't have the heart to review the games with such swings (at one point or another, all games had +-12 eval for one side). We luckily drew with the GOTW Holt's swindle.

Moving on to week 2, we got our good partners from SF. Interesting fact: every season I debut vs SF. Anyway, I'll go over my game with GM Wolff.

Wolff-SF (2623) - Bercys-DAL (2576) [C06]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Ngf3 didn't really expect this move. Wolff hasn't played a lot recently but from his past his move was mainly Bd3.

4...Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 Nc6 8.0-0 a5 9.a4!? Tough move to judge. White locks up the queen side but gives up a really strong outpost on b4. After the game I saw that Mickey Adams played it before as well but I doubt white has anything.

9...b6 I think better than what Adams' opponents did by playing cxd4 early. This move order does not allow for Nd2-b1-c3 repositioning.

10.Re1 Ba6 11.Bb1 cxd4 12.cxd4 Nb4 13.Nf1 Rc8 14.h4?!

I was taken aback by this move. I didn't know why white had to rush anything. I expected Ra3.

14...Bxh4 NOM 15.Nxh4 Qxh4 16.Nh2 h6 I like this prophylaxis. Dark squared bishop cannot annoy as easily now.

17.Ra3 Rc4 Only move to prevent a serious initiative from taking over.

18.Nf3 Qe7? This is where I started losing it. Correct placement for the queen was on g4. It protects e6 from there and allows safer castling...but I didn't want to castle so the whole idea was just bad.

19.Rae3 Kd8? Following through with the wrong plan. Advantage is almost gone without Kd8...and with it, white puts out tremendous pressure. Correct was the simply Nf8! White has no h pawn to harass the knight on g6. h4-h5 is the main weakness to all g6 knights. Really should have seen this move.

20.Bd2 Rc6 21.Nh2 Kc7 22.Rg3 f5?! This move is technically a "?" move but the reason I played it was to keep some hope alive for a swindle. Our boards 2-4 were not looking so hot so I couldn't force myself to play a correct move g6 which basically gave my opponent permanent initiative.

23.exf6 gxf6 24.Ng4 h5? The stretch from 18th to 24th move is just terrible. Here the simple Qf8! held the balance and was gonna kick out the knight with h5 afterwards.

25.Nh6! I severely underestimated this move. The knight simply cannot be touched.

25...h4? Mistakes will NOT stop. Houdini likes Qf8 Qxh5 e5...but I am not houdini and opening up the position like that as a human is a suicide mission.

26.Rh3? White lets one go. I had no idea that 26. Nf5! Qf8 27. Rg7! was just crushing. Black has no way to survive the onslaught.

Position after 27. Rg7!

Kb7 27.Rxh4 Qf8 The main idea was 27...Nd3 but after recalculating this mess I realized I overlooked some stuff: 28. Nf5 Qf8 29. Rxh8 Qxh8

30. Bxd3 Bxd3 31. Ne7! with a strong attack.

28.Qf3 Ka7 Repositioning for the fight to draw.

29.Qh3 Bc8 30.Nf5 Rg8? Overlooking white's

possible finisher next move...

31.Ng3? Wrong again! 31. Rh7! was similar to 27. Rg7! idea. Game is practically over. With this last error, we enter the endgame phase. I will skip to it... f5 32.Nh5 Nf6 33.Nxf6 Qxf6 34.Rh7+ Ka8 35.Bc3 Qd8 36.Re3 Rc7 37.Rxc7 Qxc7 38.Qh4 Qd7 39.b3 Qc7 40.Qh2 Kb7 41.Rh3 Rg7 42.Qxc7+ Kxc7 43.f3 Kd6?

Overlooking a not so hard drawing resource. 43...Ba6! with the idea of Bd3 was basically forcing white to exchange on b4. Which is very drawish afterwards.

44.Kf2 Bd7 45.Bd2 b5 46.Bf4+ Kc6 47.axb5+ Kxb5 48.Rh8 Nc6 49.Bd6! Oh the trickery...

49...Kb6 50.Bd3 Kb7 51.Be2 Rf7 52.Ke3 Rg7 53.Bf1 Kb6 54.Kf4 Kb7 55.Bc5?! Not sure if white should have allowed my king to get c7. It protects better from there.

55...Kc7 56.g3 Rf7 57.Be2 Kb7 58.Kg5 Rg7+ 59.Kf4 Rf7 60.Ke3 f4+! Only chance to draw.

61.gxf4 Ne7 62.Bxe7 Rxe7 63.Bd3 Rg7 64.Rh7 Rxh7 65.Bxh7 Kc6 66.Bd3 Kd6 67.f5 e5?? I won't post a diagram here as it's not hard to click a link above...but this move. Wow. Leads to a lost endgame. 67...Ke7! followed by Kf6 fortress should hold it...but I thought he could put me in a zug somewhere. Bad, bad, bad.

68.f6! Be8 69.Bf5 Bf7 70.Kd3 Be8 71.Kc3 Bh5 72.Kd3 Be8 73.Ke3 Bf7 74.Bc8 Bh5 75.f4

Game drawn by mutual agreement ?????????????????????????

White is winning. I am sure of it. 75...exd4 76. Kxd4 Bd1 77. Kc3 and black will eventually be put in a zug with black bishop on h5 and white bishop on c8 with white king on c3. It's sometimes better to be lucky than to be good!


Tomorrow, we play Hikaru-less (PHEW!) St. Louis. Let's do this!