My chess game yesterday December 7, 2006Posted by dorigo in chess, games, personal, social life.
Below is a report of my game with Alex Pehas, played yesterday on board 2 of the Dragons-Fermi match for the Chicago Industrial Chess League.
Alex Pehas (Dragons) – Tommaso Dorigo (Fermi), Chicago Industrial Chess League, 12/5/061.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.g3 Bf5This early sortie of the lightsquared bishop is playable although not best. It is a move I often employ with black in these kinds of positions to avoid the main lines where knowledge of theory (which I do not possess) might prove a factor. It’s a bit like saying “now we’re both on our own, pal”.
Again, a psychologically-driven decision. My opponent is supposedly weaker than me, and also a tad older. Bxb1 destroys the simple plan white might have, of playing against d5 with Nxc3, Qb3 and Bg2, and places the game at a more tactical level. Sure, I have to part with my bishop pair, but I am not afraid of a fight…
5.Rxb1 Qxd5 6.b3
Probably not best. The a2 pawn really is to be defended, but it was more accurate to play a3, taking away a checking square from the range of the black’s remaining bishop.
6…., e5 7.Bg2
Again not the best move. I confess I thought i would destroy my opponent very quickly at this point, although objectively black has only just equalized here.
Sadly, Nh4 loses the N by 8….,g5, so the retreat is mandatory.
8…., Nf6 9.f3
Another move I did not expect, and which arose killing instincts in me. Surely the weakening of black squares around the white king is a clear signal of a mandatory attack by black ? However, 9.f3 is not really a losing move. It is actually perfectly playable, and poses some difficult problems to black. In fact, here I thought for 10 minutes before replying.
9…., Bc5 10.Qc2
I had been thinking for a while at 10.fxe4 Nxe4 11.d3? Qf5! where black is winning (12.Nf3 Nc3 and a rook goes), or the more complex 10.fxe4 Nxe4 11.Qc2 f5 12.d3 Dd4 13.e3 Qc3+ 14.Qxc3 Nxc3 which is roughly equal. But 10.Qc2 is perfectly playable and forced me into another long think.
I did not even look at Bxg2, considering it too much. I love bishops, I think they are superior to knights in most positions, and already Bxb1 was a concession – so Bxg1 was not in my agenda, although the computer likes it – white loses the right of castling, and after 10…., Bxg1 11.Rxg1 Qh5 black retains the initiative. Instead, I considered exf3, but I concluded that white would get a pleasant game, with two central pawns and an open f-file. So I really had to sacrifice a pawn for positional aims… Which is ok, of course, but always a grievious decision.
Here I also thought for a while at the possibility of 11….,Ng4!? 12.e4, Qd4. Here, if white plays 13.fxg4, there might follow 13…., Qf2+; 14. Kd2,Qxg2; 15.Qxc5 and I thought that 15…., Qxh1 would lose because of 16.Ba3! In fact, however, black defends from mate with the simple 16….Qxe4, while if 16.Nf3 black has 16….,Nd7 and things look good for him. This was my worse miscalculation in the game. However, I did reject 11….,Ng4 also because of 12.e4, Qd4 13.Nh3, when it is not clear how black should continue.
11…., 0-0 12.Qc4 Qd6
After playing this move I got worried about 13.b4!, which is strong indeed, and thinking that 13.b4! Bb6 14.Rb3?! would get white in a very good position – after all, he is threatening to come to d3 with the rook, getting possession of the d file, and defending the e3 pawn. However, it is not all so clear. After 13.b4! Bb6 14.Rb3?! Nbd7 black retains an edge.
13.Nh3, Nd5 14.e4, Bb4+ 15.Kf2, Nc3
All my moves are aimed at keeping tactics in the agenda for as long as possible – such that my opponent cracks under pressure. Here I thought white is forced to play Ra1, since Rb2 gets forked: 16.Rb2, Nd1+ 17.Rxd1+, Qxd1 18.Qxb4, Qxc1 19.Qd2 and black is on top. However, my opponent found another possibility, which took me aback. He offers the exchange in another way, which forces the exchange of queens and leaves on the board a position where black has a rook for a bishop and pawn, and white’s bishop pair dominates the scene.
Indeed, if black were to speculate on some tactical possibilities here he would get the worst of it: 16…,Bc5+ 17.Kf1 Nxb1?! 18.Bxd6 Nd2+ 19.Ke1 Nxc4 20.Bxc5 Nb6 21.Bxf8 is better for white.
17.Be3! Qxc4 18.bxc4 Nxb1 19.Rxb1
Sure, black has a rook for bishop and pawn, but the position is not nice. Objectively it is still a perfect balance, but with little time to play, black’s is the most uncomfortable side.
19…,a5 20.Nf4, Na6 21.Nd3, b5 22.cxb5,cxb5 23.Bh3,Rab8 24.Bd7,Rfd8 25.Bc6,Rdc8 26.Bd5,Rc3
Still trying to enter into tactics… The trick is easy: 27.Bd2?? Rxd3 and if 28.Bxb4 Rxd5! and black wins.
27.Bd4, Rc2 28.Bb3, Rcc8; 29.Bd5, Bc5; 30.Nxc5, Nxc5
And here I half-hoped on Rc1, which would save me from the pain of attempting to win a still balanced position… Objectively, the natural conclusion of the game would have been 31.Be5, Rb6; 32.Bd4, R6b8; and a threefold repetition. But my opponent, finally, played a bad move in a game otherwise surprisingly well played. My efforts to complicate the game payed off when I least expected it…
31.Rc1?? Nxe4+ 32.Bxe4 Rxc1
That does it. White is lost.
33.Ba7, Rbc8 34.Bd3, b4 35.Bd4, g6 36.h4, a4; 37.Bb2, R1c2!
The last finesse (and Fritz agrees!). Black gives back one exchange, but white has to pay dearly for it: part with his coveted bishop pair, and lose the a2 pawn. However, there is no choice.