Thursday Round 2

In this game, I played Paul for the first time, a Class player who has often been rated 1900+ and has been rated as high as Expert in 2009.

I spent 8-10 minutes on the move where I drop a pawn, by then I was only deciding between Bb7 and a6, and seeing my blunder right after I move. Disturbing part of that is that I analyzed so much other stuff on that turn that I eventually needed to move to be sensible on the clock. The thing that I need to change is that I need to see this sort of threat right away (at G/90). Sure, I had almost gotten to it, but it’s too weird that I actually analyzed a lot of stuff before finally working my way back to an immediate threat.

I thought that I could attack my way out of it with his king still not castled, but Crafty seems to indicate that I am simply never getting back to even on pawns. Originally, my idea was to play Bb7 instead of Rd7, which was an over-finesse, and win the g-pawn, but even then Black has Qb3 and Qxb6 pawn.

Once he castled, I knew the jig was up. I drop a piece at the end and immediately resign, but I knew that I didn’t have time to play a losing ending either. 3 1/2 minutes to his 17. If I were playing a lower-rated player, I would have saved time for the endgame in any event, but here I was simply gambling on my attack. I had thought perhaps …Bb7 was a threat to trap his queen at first, but then saw that it was a mirage. Even though I had castled early, it turned out that I was the one who was always needing to factor in those back-rank mate threats, and after …g6 my attack would evaporate.

My last move blunder, ironically finally gave my king the luft it was looking for, but out of frustration. A typical ending, without even looking at it, could have gone rook and queen trade, then rook (while threatening both pawn chains) trades itself for bishop and queenside pawn, leading to won king and pawn ending. He knew the ending was lost as well.

I had seen the stuff that Crafty was looking at, that …dxc4 was probably Black’s best move, that h6 looked like an option as well, and had figured he would play cxd like he did. My point is, it seems like I enjoy seeing how higher-rated players will handle weird positions, instead of simply playing straight-forward best moves against them. I didn’t want my bishop on that b7 diagonal, even though I had predicted he would play Bb5, so if I had noticed that it was forced, I wouldn’t have let him trade pawns first like that.

One thing that might have thrown me off was that my opponent, who writes a column for the local club, had one recently where he said the perfect time-control was G/30. After playing him, I realized it must have been a sarcastic comment based on his results, but at the time all I knew was that he plays a lot of quicker time-control events, so I wasn’t sure if he was as strong as his rating indicated. Yep, he really is that strong.

Here is a continuation of how I should have played that attack. What is strange is that I had to pick out some of the moves for Crafty (i.e., they were my suggestions), namely Be4 (instead of Qxh4), Nd3+, g6 and even Qc3 at the end, which seems like an easy to find draw. But isn’t is just obvious to a human’s eye that if I had simply _developed_ my bishop to that diagonal as I should have, forget about attack just then, compare development. His king is in the center and all my pieces are developed and infiltrating, back rank is secure. There is a certain amount of “intuitively obvious” sort of reasoning that can be had there. Not necessary to do a nervous, sweaty material count on every move. Actually, in the game, he seemed nervous but I wasn’t.

In the post-mortem, after …Bxg2, Rg1, I proposed ..Be4 and he said Rc1 then, noting that if I play Nd3+ fork, that he would just take it with his queen, but really even that leads to an even position as his Rc8+…Qf8 has given me back the exchange, with even pawns. And if …Ra8 instead of …Nd3+, as Crafty notes, then the fork is back on and Black actually has the advantage. Crafty gives Ke2 followed by Qxh4. Then actually after Qxb6 and …Nd3 (my move, although Crafty finds another) Rcf1 g6 Black is able to take it down to an even ending or forced draw, based on White’s replies. So, it was indeed drawable after I had lost the pawn. I’m sure Fritz stands a good chance of finding better, but based on what was likely to happen on the board, that would have been sufficient enough.

I think what happened in that post-mortem is that I had postulated moving the Qf6, which allows for that QxNd3, then Rc8 mate. That is the problem when I do post-mortems, I put the ideas out of variations. There is no variation where the queen ends up on f6 in the Bb7 variation. I must have left it there over from analyzing the …Rd7, losing variation, that was actually played.

The way it actually would have gone after Rc1 …Ra8 is that he wanted to play Qc3 to threaten g8 (go figure). So I would have played ..g6 and had a slight advantage of 2 pawns for the exchange after a few more moves (-.80). So, he did still have a chance to work the clock, in any case. Time could have become a big factor, so I should have played Bb7 and moves like that quickly, especially as I had spotted them all along, was only spending all that extra time in case there was something “better”. Unfortunately, that is what lead to my …Rd7 also, too cute a move. Threatening his d4 knight was not a big deal as I had either a back rank issue, until Bb7, or it was simply an extra unnecessary temo, ..Rd7, which let him get out of the pickle. IOW, he has time for Qb3 and Qxb6 then.


3 thoughts on “Thursday Round 2

  1. Sacrifice on d5 is an interesting idea, but why did you play Rd7? Fritz gives it 2.5, instead it gives the line with Bb7 – 18… Bb7 19. Qb3 Bxg2 20. Rh2 Be4 21. Qxb6 h6 22. f4 Nd3+ 23. Kf1 Qd7 24. f5 Bxf5 25. Qc6 Qxc6 26. Nxc6 Rc7 27. Rc2 Nxb2 with 0.6 estimate.

  2. Thanks, Rollingpawns. It seemed like I knew for close to half an hour that I was going to play ..RxB followed by ..Bb7, but once I got to the position, I noticed I had two other moves, Nd3+ and Rd7.

    I wasn’t thinking concretely but got caught up in abstract concerns.

    The Rd7 does a couple of things, it develops the rook, it can threaten RxN, winning that knight in some variations, and it also protects my back rank against mate threats.

    The first and biggest problem with it is that it just loses a tempo, which is everything for Black. The second problem with it is that it’s more important to develop the bishop, and attack with that.

    The RxNd4 threat is really a mirage, as is worrying about the back rank since the bishop is controlling the queen’s possibilities for the next two moves. The back rank is secure with the queen on e7. I was worried about, after …Bb7, Nf5 in some cases, in which after ..Qf6 the back rack would be less secured since …Qf8 is no longer possible as a defense.

    I got lost in the land of “abstract concerns” rather than a concrete continuation. When I played ..Rd7 I thought, I hope I didn’t just blunder, but didn’t feel good about making it, but did with my previous moves. I definitely did want to just stop my clock at that point with a move, which was not good thinking.

    Once the bishop gets to e4, it will prevent Nf5, but let’s look right now. Glancing at it right now, I am thinking if ..Bb7, Qb3 Bxg, Nf5 Qf6, Qxb, simply Ra8!? This is the type of move that I wasn’t noticing at the board, after which his knight and his rook will be simultaneously hanging. Actually, not only that but just realized that the Qf6 is also protecting b6 from White’s queen anyway.

    So, this loss and my last draw had something in common, I was trying to play “in the abstract”, not calculating fully and being too lazy in the department of calculating all the way a concrete continuation. The visual errors are all about noticing that ‘a couple moves from now’ that pieces that have moved will not only be undefending some squares and diagonals, but defending new ones as well, which can obviate the need to defend the old ones, or they are protecting the old squares from a new position. This is an important part of calculation that I was not getting in my quest to ‘lose the retained image’ of the current position.

  3. In Fritz’ analysis, starting at move 25 White has a number of wins at it’s disposal. The last two plies, Rc2 and Nxb2 are both blunders. That line is so long that it probably outstripped Fritz’ calculation horizon.

    23…Qd7 is another obvious blunder for Black in that line. In fact 23…Rb7, 24. Qxa6 Nc5, 25.Qa5 Bd3+ is given a -1.7 score for Black! in a huge advantage for Black.

    You’ve gotta keep your engine on a short leash, my friend. hehe. 😉

    In fact, 25…Bd3+ is just completely winning for Black, and Crafty ups it’s estimate considerably for that move. Here’s the pgn for it:

    [Event “?”]
    [Site “?”]
    [Date “?”]
    [Round “-“]
    [White “?”]
    [Black “?”]
    [Result “*”]

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Qc2 Nbd7 7. h4 c5 8.
    e3 b6 9. cxd5 Nxd5 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Bb5 a6 12. Bc6 Ra7 13. Bxd5 cxd4 14.
    Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Nxd4 Ne5 16. a3 Rd8 17. Qe4 Rxd5 18. Qxd5 Bb7 19. Qb3 Bxg2
    20. Rh2 Be4 21. Qxb6 h6 22. f4 Nd3+ 23. Kf1 Rb7 24. Qxa6 Nc5 25. Qa5 Bd3+
    26. Ne2 Qxe3 27. b4 Ne4 28. Qa8+ Kh7 29. Qxb7 Ng3+ 30. Kg2 Nxe2 31. Qf3 Be4
    32. Rf1 Bxf3+ 33. Rxf3 Qg1+ 34. Kh3 f5 35. Rxe2 Qg4+ 36. Kh2 Qxf3 37. Ra2
    Qxf4+ 38. Kg2 Qe4+ 39. Kh3 Qg4+ 40. Kh2 f4 41. a4 Qg3+ 42. Kh1 f3 43. b5
    Qe1+ 44. Kh2 f2 45. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 46. Kh3 Kg6 47. a5 Kf5 48. b6 Kf4 49. b7

    In human terms, this could be considered a brilliancy-prize. But really, bad things can happen to those who go fishing for pawns and don’t castle. He gave me this look during the game, like I was being an upstart or something, but it’s hardly unreasonable to think that fishing for pawns before castling can be a good thing. I should also mention that he was considering e4 instead of Qe4 during the game, which is perhaps level last time I checked it with Crafty.

    After 17.e4 instead of Qe4 …Rc7, 18.Qb3 Rd6, 19. 0-0 Qxh4, the position is even (Crafty). So he is right that he missed a better move in trying to erroneously hold onto the extra pawn/material.

    I actually pointed out to him during the post mortem that I was worried about 17.Qb3, but that then after Rad7 that 18.e4 would be a blunder because of ..RxB, 19 exR Nf3+ (double-check), winning the Nd4. To which he replied “I’m glad I didn’t play that!” So, I did realize that my position wasn’t completely without a dab of venom.

    I’ve also got to say that it’s not just that he was fishing for a pawn before castling, but that I was thrilled to see h4 as I knew if the position became open, that that would appear more and more as a liability.

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