28 October, 2010

T9030 - Round 1 : Is the Caro-Kann exciting ?

A game in a new T9030 tournament last night : a win in a Queen-and-pawns endgame.

I'm not sure if it was my mood, or the Caro-Kann  opening, or the endgame or a combination, but it won't be high on my "most enjoyable games" list.

I don't often meet the Caro-Kann, and had not prepared anything, so was playing what I think are normal moves to develop and control the centre.

Black put his knights on g6 and b6, which seems a little unusual to me, but I don't think I exploited it properly, especially the g6-knight. I had ideas of exchanging Bishop for knight and breaking up Black's King-side, but instead opted for a quieter Queen-side attack.

 In retrospect, I should have both attacked sooner, and resolved the Bg4 issue first with h3, as effectively all my attack did was neutralise the Queen-side and allow Black to do the same on the King-side with Nh4 and a series of exchanges leaving a fairly drawish position ( although bishops of the same colour are not supposed to be a draw ? )

19. Rfd1

 Here, I have played Rfd1, instead of Rxc8. I felt that 19. Rxc8 Rxc8 20. Rc1 Rxc1 21. Bxc1 was probably a draw, and was trying to encourage Black to play Rxd1 instead. He didn't, but his Rc4 and subsequent exchanges gave me the c-pawn as a difficult target for an advantage.

27. Ke4
 I really think this should be a draw, but my opponent never offered one, and since eventually I won the c-pawn, and Black made a mistake when running out of moves, I tried, doggedly, to win the Queen-and-pawn endgame that arose, as I felt I was ahead.
33...h5 ? 34. g5 Black's Bishop will be trapped

 Next time I will offer the draw myself as it was a hard slog, and in fact checking this position ( EPD: 1Q6/K7/8/1P3k2/8/8/8/6q1 w - - ) when the two pawns were promoted, against online endgame tablebases, it is in fact a draw ! Maybe its lucky that I don't have these tables built into my head?!

I guessed the key was to exchange the queens, but that involves putting your queen in a position where it must be captured, ie interposing to stop a check, and giving a check at the same time : difficult !

Not sure if my opponent just gave in or I won, but after move 68 ( and 17 moves of painful Queen manoeuvring ) he resigned.
Interestingly, my clock was at about 20 minutes and his was 1 hour and 25. This time control certainly reduces mistakes, but may be a bit too long overall.....
68.Kc8 ...Black resigns
 I will either find ways to avoid the Caro-Kann or else I need a suggestion from readers on how to enliven it !

Looking forward to them.....


ScotchYeti said...

Very well done, Signalman! In fact, don't take a draw in such an endgame unless you are 100% sure, try to win them and after the game look up the right strategy. At the end you want to learn WHY something is drawn and not just give in.

If you want something exciting against the Caro-Kann, look at the Panov Attack! (You can also reach it from the Scandinavian line 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6). You develop very fast (which already wins some games in the opening) and then use your isolated queen pawn. I am sure it will fit your style.