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