07 March, 2012

Ups and Downs in T52

Four TL games in just over a week, means I haven't posted much recently.

These games were all good and I felt I played well in all of them, but came away with 2 wins and 2 losses.

Both losses as Black, both in U1800, and probably both through my mistakes.

Wins both as White, both in U1600 and both against the French !

Make of those what you will, but it leaves the team in a good position in U1600, and struggling in U1800.

Here's a few positions...

This was from a French Defence, which was an interesting positional game, with much manoeuvring until the exchanges started !

15. Ng5

I had played an early a4, and saw the benefits of that after Black played a less active Rf6 to protect his e-pawn, rather than Rxf4 or exf , either of which might have left things equal.

Although I went up 2 pawns, he played until I created the unstoppable passed pawn. A tough and enjoyable game.

 Next up I was Black against my only d4 opening, and it led to a long positional-type game, something I rarely play.

 This was the position after my knight tour ( b4-d3-e5-d7-f8 ).

27. Nd4
I saw the threat against my b-rook, but plainly missed the check and fork. Instead of the better Kh8, which would have kept me in the game, I played Qf7 and result wasn't really in doubt afterwards: Black's cramped position and the loss of the exchange sealed it.

The third position arose from a Philidor, something I hadn't played in a while.

White played a very slow opening (5.Be2, 6.0-0, 7.Re1, 8.a3) , and I equalised and gained the initiative quite early. In fact White seemed to lack any imagination in play, but in the end, I probably over-reached and missed the key combination in the position below. I guess White's policy is to wait for the mistake against lower-rated players !

26. g4
Lots of threats....what would you do ?

I elected to exchange Bishop for Rook, and trust in two rooks vs rook and minor pieces, but I missed a much smarter defence that would have given me a better chance.

Eventually, running out of time, I later mis-calculated and lost.

Finally, another French where I felt I had the upper hand most of the game.

After much indecision from me about how to reap my advantage, in time-trouble, my better position forces an error and Black loses a piece.

20...Bxc4 ??
However, being over-confident now, and greedy, I return the favour a few moves later....

...but for a change, I do not panic at my mistake, as I see possibilities in my good position, and since I have more time than my opponent, I think I make fewer mistakes.

[Immediately afterwards. I couldn't resist switching on an engine to see what it thought.  Totally level for computers, but luckily for me, we humans make mistakes ! ]

Here we are a few moves later, and Black resigns.

Did he see Bc5 check, winning the Rook, or the whole mate in three ?

No matter, either was a win !

At least two games to play in the next week, possibly three : it will be a busy time.