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.
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!