27 April, 2010

Monthly Standard ( April ) : Round 3

Last week wasn't the best week ( chess-wise ) for me.

So, I wasn't really positive, nor probably in the mood, for a standard game, but having checked that Anand held an easy draw playing for 4 hours or more, I thought I could manage a meagre 2 !

In the end just 90-minutes and one move was all it took...could have been a cup-final !

It's good....8 moves in, Scotch Four Knights and I know what I'm playing until 8....Nxd5.

OK, its not the 'book' move of cxd, so it can't be the best, but what is wrong with it ?
[ 8...Nxd5]
To be honest, not a lot that I could see at the time, although the threat to win a pawn from Black, doesn't really amount to much. I guess positionally, it leaves Black with doubled pawns, whereas the standard pawn recapture doesn't : but what to play against it.

Thinking about it, 9.0-0 was probably as good as the 9.Qe2+ that I played, but this is subjective. More thought and some silicon assistance required.

The next few moves are fairly self-explanatory, resulting in an obvious "caveman" threat against h7, that is easy to defend. Surprisingly, at least to me, instead of 12...g6, Nf6 is played instead, which loses a pawn. In chat afterwards this was a deliberate move, with the belief that a pawn was worth an attack, and removed Black's doubled-pawn weakness.

Certainly, I felt under a lot of pressure from now on, although to my credit ( and no-one else is going to say this, so why can't I ! ) in nearly every case, I think I found a good move to defend and keep myself in the match, at the expense of a large time deficit.

[ after 12...Nf6]
This is a 'critical moment' for me, and although I do think about it, its inevitable that Qxc6 is what I will play. It wins a pawn, its natural, its obvious. I can deal with problems I haven't seen afterwards, and can enjoy being a pawn up for a while.

Next point is move 14. After...
I think a better move was 14. f4 which not only blocks the Bxf2 threat, but also prevents Ne5, there again, g3 works.

The expected Ne5 follows, but not Nxd3 removing the Bishop. This is what I was expecting.

Instead 15...f5 forces the Queen back, although I was still planning Bc4 at some point, so Qe2 helps me.

My plan was to play actively against his Knight moves as I saw that the checks he had ( Bc5, Qd4, Bd5 ) need backup to finish me off ( especially, I was looking out for Re1 (which arrived on move 19), threatening Bd5+ and winning the Queen ).

However, with Ng4 and h3, the Knight being 'en-prise', gave me ( or at least I thought ) some options.

[20. Qg2]
Doesn't this look scary ? Queen in front of King, with Bishops on the board ? Remember the idea, it is important !

However, at this point Bd5 to pin the Queen, fails to Qxd5+, Qxd5, Nxd5 and the possibilities of a future discovered check. Black needs more support in the form of Nf6, which secures the d5 square.

But really, Qf2 is an easy move to find, and I have the feeling that I am breathing again. I can see some exchanges to ease the pressure.

Here we are after
In hindsight, I think that Kh2 is pretty good, but in the game I wanted to exchange as I saw that I could still offer the Queen as a good move. 23...Ne4 was a neat threat against g3, and again, I now see Kg2 as a good move, but Bd1 did the job ( although taking the d1 square from my rooks).

I expected Rh6, at some point, but even I was surprised that after my b3, Black played Rg6.

Yes, I saw it too...remember the Queen-in-front-of-King that I had but Black couldn't exploit ? Well, here it is again, with the difference that White can make it work !

The rest wasn't even "a matter of technique", and, to his credit, Black resigned immediately...(with the comment "LOL, how did I miss that !" )

[26. Bc4 !! ]

What else could he do ?

I admit that I felt pressured during most of the match, although my opponent agreed that it was tougher than he imagined, as I put up a good defence. The win was "lucky", but then doesn't it nearly always depends on the last mistake ?

I can take away a good feeling through the many decent ( and often correct ) defensive moves I found, and that I was on the way out of the pressure, but many pointers to improvement for me, especially in time-management : I would undoubtedly have lost on time.

Looking forward to next week, with a restored faith in my limited ability !

The additional game shows an alternative instead of the 'caveman' Qe4, although  I think that Qe4 is the more correct move !


CMoB said...

25...Rg6 should be a double question mark ;)

Well played.

Signalman said...

Agreed, and changed !

After playing this over, I think I played well too !!