26 October, 2010

T9030 : Round 3

A good win in my latest Chess 9030 tournament game from a slightly different Philidor variation, and with what could be called a Queen sacrifice as part of it !

White varied in this Philidor game by playing an early a4 and omitting Re1 completely. In theory, ie in GM games, this will transpose back to mainlines, as Black doesn't really have much more than the usual c6, b6 etc and White's moves of Qe2 and Re1 are fairly standard as well.

However, this time I had a line that I experience in blitz quite a bit, but not often in standard.

In the Philidor Files, Bauer, writes of dxe5 "The natural re-capture is ...dxe5. 'levelling' the pawn structure. The other capture,...Nxe5, is sometimes compulsory, notably to prevent the manoeuvre Nf3-h4-f5." Aiming at the dark-squared bishop on e7.

White might be aiming at f5...

So, after White captures with the pawn, I re-capture with the knight for a change, and we have quite an open position for a Philidor.

An open Philidor  ?
I actually expected White to continue with Qxd8 and simplify matters, along with the central pawn-exchange theme. I've played a few Queen-less games and its not as bad as it seems, especially when you are prepared for it.

However, Be3 is played instead ( preparing to connect rooks ? ) so my plan is simple: attack the white queen, double rooks on the d-file and assault the centre !

A few moves later, and we have this position...
13. ...Bb7 14. Kh1
I know that Kh1 is often a useful move to protect the King ( ie in the Sicilian) , or often a waiting move, but it doesn't seem so useful here.
Although White has now a rook opposite Black's rook on d8, he doesn't exchange, and allows me to play both b6, and Bb7 ( connecting Rooks on the back rank ).

At this point, Black may not have an advantage, but I think that White has let his slip away, by playing too "safe".

I really don't understand the next move of f4, and the later h3.
f4 ?!

Its seems to be aiming at f7,  but with the immediate exchange exf4 plainly not good for Black ( and there being a  straightforward defence with Bd6 ), why not try some tactics with Rxd1 first ?

Practically forced, is Nxd1 ( if Rxd1, exf4 wins a pawn, if Qxd1, Rd8 gains a tempo) and then Bd6 to hold the pawn and the position.

White's h3 a couple of moves later, has a similar confusing effect for me, forcing me to calculation.  I was concentrating on the consequences of Nxe4, and was not really considering that h3 was to stop Ng4. I think that maybe Nf2 would be better for White, as it both protects e4, and also g4. Black wins a pawn with Bxh2, but what can the Bishop do afterwards ?

I reject 18...Nxe4 and play the safer c5 instead, to increase the pressure on e4, and after White's Bg5 I have some excellent tactics that, combined with the wrong response from White, give me the game.
19...Nxe4 !
 White should have then played Bh4 to defend against the King/Queen knight fork on g3, but instead he was attracted by the beacon on f7, seemingly winning back the pawn, but missing that Black can give up the Queen as Ng3+ will regain it !

Its all over, but White makes one last mistake ( not that it makes much difference ) by playing Kf1 rather than Kf2 and Black is going to end up a Rook and Bishop to the good, difficult to face !

It's all over !

A forfeit win now puts me joint top in the group, so a decisive game in the next two weeks with me taking Black. My opponent will be looking for revenge after our last meeting !