Monday, November 5, 2007

House of Glass

Game 2 of the 2007 Western States Open was against a player whose name I had seen in expert sections usually on boards ahead of me. So here’s a seasoned expert, the ones that make my confidence sink these days. I have a 2080 performance rating against Class A players, but only a 1980 performance rating against Expert players.

(363) Hong,E (2002) - Tserendorj,B (2154) [D33]

Western States Open, Round 2, Board 15, October 12, 2007

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nf3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.d4 The game has transposed into a Tarrasch Defense. The fianchetto of White's King Bishop indicates the Rubinstein Variation, which is the prescribed method for defeating the Tarrasch. 7...Bg4 I'm used to less aggressive lines such as Be7. I was already out of book here and saw some danger to my center.8.Ne5 This is me bailing out by finding an equal line. I don't lose the d-pawn for nothing, but I'm going to give him the "hanging pawns" at d5 and c6. [ I kept worrying about 8.0-0 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 cxd4 ( 9...Nxd4 10.Bg2 Qd7 11.Bg5 Ne4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Bxe4+/=) 10.Nb5 Bc5; 8.Bg5! Even though this is a typical deployment of the queen's bishop in the Rubinstein, I didn't even consider this move as an indirect defense of my center. 8...Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Nxd4 ( 9...cxd4 10.Nxd5 Be7 ( 10...Qa5+ 11.Bd2! Qd8! 12.Qb3 ( 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.Qb3 Rb8 14.Qb5 Be7 15.Bf4 Bb4+ 16.Kf1 Bd6 17.Bxc6+ bxc6 18.Qxc6+ Ke7 19.Qe4+ Kf8 20.Bxd6+ Qxd6 21.Rd1 Rxb2 22.Rxd4 Qc7 23.Kg2 g6 24.Rhd1 Rb6 25.Rd7 Qc6) 12...Nxd5 13.Bxd5 Qd7 14.Rc1 Bd6 15.Qxb7 Qxb7 16.Bxc6+ Qxc6 17.Rxc6 Kd7 18.Rc4 Be5 19.0-0 Rhc8 20.Rfc1 Rxc4 21.Rxc4 d3 22.exd3 Bxb2 23.Rb4 Bf6 24.Rb7+ Ke6 25.Be3 Rd8 26.Rxa7 Rxd3) 11.Nxe7+/- with the two bishops and the better pawn structure.) 10.Bxd5] 8...cxd4 [ 8...Nxd4? 9.Nxg4 Nxg4 10.e3+-] 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Qxd4 Qb6 Clever. Black often plays Qb6 since trades often benefit his pawn structure. Here it seems obvious not to take because it would bring a rook pawn toward the center I'm hammering away at. Black would get the half-open a-file, and I would be feeling foolish that Black has more center control and more development (Ra8). 11.Qe5+ I decided to try to play against his uncastled king even though that's double-edged with my king uncastled. 11...Be6 12.0-0 Nd7 evicting my queen. Black should probably develop the King Bishop and get the heck out of Dodge by castling. 13.Qf4 Be7 14.e4 It seemed logical to challenge Black's center, but Black need not capture or allow White to do so. The third option cast some disorder into my ranks. 14...d4! 15.Na4?! A knight on the rim is dim. [ A crazy computer variation is 15.Nd5!? cxd5 16.exd5 Bd6 17.Qg5 h6 18.Qxg7 Be5 19.Qxh8+! Bxh8 20.dxe6 Rd8 21.exd7+ Rxd7 Now that the position has reached quiescence, White has RBP versus Queen. White has the advantage of a better protected King and a better pawn structure. Black's Queen is easier to control whereas White's pieces are often difficult to coordinate. 22.Bf4 Kf8 23.Rac1=] 15...Qa6 16.b3 With Black controlling c3, c5, and b6, the White Knight is nearly surrounded. The only retreat seems to be Nb2 which is not a bad place to go in anticipation of Nd3 or Nc5. 16...0-0 17.Bb2?! But now I've disrupted my knight's mobility. [ More coordingated would have been 17.Rd1 c5 18.Ba3 Rac8 19.Rac1=/+] 17...c5 18.Rfc1 Rab8 19.Qd2 Rbc8 20.f4-/+ There goes my prodigal f-pawn! My king is quite a bit more exposed. The simple threat is f5, trapping the bishop. 20...f5 He opens the same window to his king. 21.exf5 Bxf5 A definite crosswind is developing in the center. Black is definitely better now with his advanced center and his slightly safer King. White's minor pieces include an immobile knight at a4, a bishop biting granite at b2, and a bishop attacking an empty diagonal at g2. 22.Re1 Black can't yet smash through with c4 because White can gain a tempo on the fight for c4 with Bf1. 22...Rfe8 23.Re2 Bf8 24.Rae1 Rxe2 25.Rxe2 Nf6?! Black let me get back into the game. 26.Re5! Bd7 Here I began to fear for my queenside pawn structure such as in Bxa4 bxa4. So I hatched a plan to plant my queen at a5. 27.Bf1 Qb7 My plan worked so far, but now I was afraid that the queen on b7 would soon be joined on the diagonal by Bc6 and then it was not hard to imagine my king getting checkmated by the queen-bishop battery. 28.Bg2 Qb8 29.Qa5 Ng4?! Black let me back into the game. Soon I will have a bishop and two pawns for the rook. [ 29...Re8! A Grandmaster's move which was very hard to find. White can't afford to allow the Black Queen to land on e3, so White has to go for 30.Rxc5 ( 30.Rxe8 Qxe8 31.Nxc5? Qe3+ 32.Kh1 Bxc5 33.Qxc5?? Qe1+ 34.Bf1 Qxf1#) 30...Bxa4 31.Re5 Bd7 32.Bxd4-/+] 30.Rxc5!= All my pieces which have been paralyzed by the c5-e4 duo now spring free after the rook sacrifice. 30...Bxc5 31.Nxc5 Bc6 32.Bxc6 [ Fritz likes 32.Qa6!? better. I think I saw this during the game, but 32...Bxg2 33.Qe6+ Kh8 34.Qxg4 Ba8 35.Bxd4= gives me an attack, but my light squares are awfully windy around my king.] 32...Rxc6 33.Bxd4 The pawn center that was paralyzing my development is now gone.33...Qd6 It was time to reassess the late middlegame. Material is imbalanced, but theoretically even. My pieces are fairly well placed and the center seems to be under my control. What I didn't appreciate was that the dark square bishop helps keep my king safe and the fact that the rook isn't on a fully open file at the moment is good. My king is still a bit more vulnerable. I have a constructive plan in advancing the a- and b-pawns. One of my goals was to cement the bishop at e5, but this square is better for the knight. Even though the bishop is insecure at d4, it's more active, preventing tactics against my king. 34.Qc3 Now I have the scary queen-bishop battery aimed at his kingside. 34...Nf6 35.b4 Qd8 36.b5!? This loosens my center. The blocking knight is more difficult to defend. 36...Nd5 37.Qc4?! [ 37.Qb3! is better because it unpins the white knight. My bishop on d4 is safe as long as the knight is pinned. 37...Rc8 38.f5 This move shows up in many of the lines good for White. It provides a strong point for White's knight at e6 with threats on g7 and threatens to intensify the pin with Nf4. 38...Qd6 39.Ne6 Rc1+ 40.Kg2 g6 41.Nf4 Rd1 42.Nxd5 Rxd4 43.Nf6+ Kf8 44.Qg8+ Ke7 45.Qg7+ Kd8 46.Qh8+ Ke7 47.Ng8+ Kd7 48.Qxh7+ Kd8 49.Qxg6 Qxg6 50.fxg6 Rg4 51.Nf6 Rxg6 52.Ne4+/-] 37...Rc8 38.Qb3?! [ 38.f5+/- Qd7 39.Qd3 Qe7 40.Ne6 Rc1+] 38...Qd6 39.Ne4 Qe6 40.Be5?! dropping coverage of e3. [ 40.Nc3 Qe1+ ( 40...Rxc3 41.Bxc3 Qe3+ 42.Kg2 Qe2+ 43.Kh3 Qh5+ 44.Kg2 Qe2+=) 41.Kg2 Qd2+ 42.Kh3 Qxd4 43.Nxd5 Kh8 44.Ne3 Rc3 45.Qf7 Rc8 46.Nf5 Qf6 47.Qxf6 gxf6=] 40...Kh8 41.Ng5? A lame attack that amounts to throwing stones at the enemy's palace. I had visions of glory if Black abandoned the a2-g8 diagonal including Philidor's Legacy Mate. 41...Qb6+! I've gotta watch the g1-a7 diagonal, especially since I so often push my f-pawn. 42.Kg2 Rc2+!! A nice move that takes advantage of the proximity of the knight to my king. I sure miss that bishop on d4. 43.Kh3 [ 43.Qxc2?? Ne3+ If the Bishop had been at d4, this never would have happened. 44.Kf3 Nxc2-+] 43...Qg6! At this point, I thought of my opponent as a shark and me so much shark bait. He's been finding all the best moves here. 44.Kg4?? [ 44.Qf3! h6 ( 44...Qh6+?? 45.Kg4+-) 45.Ne4 Qe6+ 46.g4 h5 47.Kg3=/+ Rxa2 ( 47...hxg4? 48.Qd3! Qh6 49.h4! Qxf4+ 50.Bxf4 Rg2+ 51.Kxg2 Nxf4+ 52.Kg3 Nxd3 53.a4+-) 48.Ng5=/+] 44...Nf6+ [ Fritz says 44...Rd2 is stronger but Black is still winning.] 45.Kf3 Black has mate in 6. [ 45.Bxf6 gxf6-+] 45...Qh5+! 46.Ke3 Qe2+ 47.Kd4 Qd2+ [ The shortest route to mate is 47...Qd1+ 48.Qd3 Qa1+ 49.Ke3 Qg1+ 50.Kf3 Qf2#] 48.Qd3 Qb4+ 49.Ke3 Ng4+ 50.Kf3 Nxh2+ 51.Ke3 Ng4+ White resigned [ 51...Ng4+ 52.Kf3 Nxe5+ 53.fxe5 Rc3-+] 0-1

I guess if there's a moral to this game, don't give up your assets, namely well-placed minor pieces in the center. Throwing stones might seem like a good offense, but when your king lives in a house of glass, it's likely to backfire.

1 comment:

Robert Pearson said...

So you went back to 1. c4 once you were playing the experts, eh? Just kidding, as under the circumstances of a big tournament I felt the same way, but in my last three games more or less unorthodox opening were played. Anyway, you're providing excellent annotated games here. Thanks!