Wednesday Round 2 – November

I Played Dean in this game, as White, our 7th encounter OTB. Recently, he has dropped some rating points – it is usually over 1600.

He trotted out his Accelerated Dragon again, and perhaps sensing (correctly) that I had something in store for his usual reply of …d5, decided to play ..e6 and …f5 instead, which Crafty is real down on. He also felt that it was a mistake OTB.

I missed a tactic, after 11…f5, there was 12.exf6 which I figured would go 12…d5 and my knight has to move back with Nc3, but I missed that the correct reply would be to let the knight hang and play 13.Qd4 attacking Rh8, threat is f7+ QxRh8. I had seen the f7+ possibility , but missed Qd4, only looked at Ng5.

He makes a huge mistake with 16…Qb7 instead of 16…Qe7, as 17.Bc5 prevented him from castling.

What’s interesting is that if he had played 16…Qe7, I could respond with 17.b4 axb, 18.cxb and later if he plays …Nd5 can even play BxNd5, advance the b-pawn
to passivate his bishop and then play opposite bishops with a free bishop essentially and look for queen, rook and bishop mates. This was recently a hole in my knowledge until RollingPawns had pointed it out – Dvoretsky also pointed it out in his ‘Secrets of Chess Tactics’ book.

IOW, the b4 push and BxN doesn’t surprise me as I had thought of doing those things OTB, but the thing I found surprising was to not approach it as an endgame position (with the outside passer to be promoted, simply keep it as a threat) but rather as a middlegame position. White is up to around 2.75 according to Crafty, and yet there is no material advantage. Just as interesting is that White can still promote an isolated a-pawn with queens off the board.

Again, I have a nice workable position against him, but he keeps his queen up front as a target, allowing me to win his a-pawn cleanly and that was basically it. I saw his counter-moves and stuff that could have happened but didn’t, but there was simply no need to play the fancier lines as a win is a win.

Also, 21…Qa5 is the wrong idea as I saw that I also had 22.QxQ RxQ, 23.Bb4 Ra8 and I am still winning the a-pawn as in the game, minus the queens, but I wanted to keep queens on as she was a nice target for my attack. Black no doubt wishing for some lucky sort of Qd1+.

29…Qa5 was possible, and I was looking at responding with 30.b6 with the idea of deflecting the Bc8 from defense of d7, but even the queen is out of play I now see and the queen and bishop mate threat is back on.

Near the end, I felt that he could have sacked his queen on a8 for rook and bishop, but then I would have sought to mate Black on g7 with queen and bishop. Turns out ..Bd7 was not possible, so I goofed with that thought, but I played so prophylactically that it did not matter.

Also, I thought about pushing d7 toward the end, instead of Ra8. d7 would have been relatively quite a blunder; no need to entertain these sorts of moves as there is no crowd about to bust out the gold coins. hehe.

Some people there play some really outlandish stuff. I feel my game is more staid/Karpov-ish than theirs, but everyone is different I guess, some play looser than others, but then I guess I don’t have a low rating that I can let bounce all over the place like some of them do. One of the guys I talk to there intentionally blocked his own defense of c2 to allow a Nxc2+ fork, only to get in his own Nc7+ fork and win the Na1. That is sick, so to speak, and he spots lots of traps, quite talented, typically has an hour left at the end of games, but is back to around 1500 again, WTF? But that’s the thing, the rating system isn’t about who is most talented and gets the prettiest wins, it simply describes who wins most, period, the end.

Mark (1880-ish rating) played a game where he had a knight, rook and 3 pawns vs. a bishop, rook and 5 pawns – the extra two pawns being isolated – against a 1400 level player. Mark won but had 5 seconds on his clock the whole time, the other guys had 30 minutes but walked into a mate with 7 minutes left. I didn’t watch, didn’t want to make him nervous in case he did. But another guy that looks up to me finally took issue with me when I said I expected Mark to win, and then I added that it was because of the ratings differential – around 450 points. The other guys all thought that the 1400 player would win. It very much reminded me of the conversation that RollingPawns, Chesstiger, and I were having the other day.

I’m not saying that I could have won that position with 5 seconds left, but Mark has a lot of endgame experience and recalled when they used to play 7 hour time-control games. I probably couldn’t have won that position, but a chess rating is there for a reason! He said that the move was one where the other guy had 3 ways to go wrong, and chose one of those bad moves.

At the end of my game, I had 8 1/2 minutes left to my opponent’s 27 minutes or so. Really, I want to end my games with ten minutes on the clock as I am not really comfortable with the quality of my game once I go below that, but in this case it was a winning position against lower-rated so didn’t quite matter as much it could have.

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4 thoughts on “Wednesday Round 2 – November

  1. It was a good positional win, solid game, congratulations! I didn’t like how he played the opening, by the way one of the reasons I stopped to play Accelerated Dragon is because of Nxc6, bxc6, e5, Ng8 – I always hated that line. And yeah, e6 and f5 was bad, d6 square was very weak.

    If you want some fun, yesterday I blasted one guy on chess.com, from Ontario by the way, didn’t like his bashing of Benko gambit. He beat up a kid , 11-year old (not the same :)) in the big tournament, so he gloated and advised the kid to fire his coach for recommending Benko. I mean, I know your opinion about it and I respect it, but here it was just very annoying and not fair, so I said a few things:
    http://www.chess.com/forum/view/game-showcase/another-benko-smash

  2. RollingPawns, thanks! 🙂 I will check out that thread.

    BTW, no one agrees with me about Benko gambit, and I even championed it myself. 😉

    Mark was saying last night about how Benko gambit is a good opening, and I didn’t even bring it up. I chime my 2 cents in quite a bit, but it’s an opening that I completely forget about until someone else brings it up.

    I say, sure I’d love to get in c4, Nc5, Nd3 and I would take that side if I could get it in. Also, I don’t see much of an endgame with it, but he disagreed saying Black can control and b-files with rooks (I was thinking to myself “yeah, and if that goes wrong then….”). Best Black is saying is about trading everything off, to my mind.

    I would love nothing more than for Benko gambit to crush d4 and wipe it off the face of the map and have everyone play e4, you know that. 😀

    But reality is he is accepting it by trading on a6, which is fine for Black, and he is still winning against it (not even the best lines for White that he is playing and pointing out to me – such as f4) versus strong opponents like Anthea, and with lots of material to spare. I am thinking “come back to me with that argument once you start losing to it”. Why should I play it against him if he is beating it? And yet he is practically recommending it to me.

    So I say go for it, if you want to play it as Black. 😉 I will do my best to offer any advice I can, but usually it is so formulaic and predicable what Black must play. I think people who lose against it as White are total morons. lol. (not really, but that is how it feels sometimes).

    Wow, that guy really crushed the Benko as White even more than I could have imagined. I’d like to throw in a sympathetic “Yikes!” for Black, but it is really inspiring how he approached it as White even more so. It’s hard to know what to say on Black’s behalf until I see a game where a stronger player is losing as White, I guess.

    Very interesting debate there, a lot of the comments make a lot of sense to me. Biggest reason I don’t still play Benko is that I want to keep a certain unpredictability to the game. The White players at 40/2 time controls often knew exactly what I was trying to do as Black and had all day to prevent it, and then I never felt like I had a second or third rate choice move to play, always had to find the best move or get a busted position. I find it inspiring to see Benko games now. I don’t suppose that I could play it any better than you can, for example. You may play with more inspiration and knowledge. It’s interesting just to see it get played out, win or lose, as people play their sides with conviction, as I really play neither side now, so simply observe and appreciate as a bystander.

    But I sort of like that in other openings I can play bad moves as Black, and have that not determine the game, but rather at least makes my opponent earn it while still giving me counterchances. I don’t want to “have” to play best moves.

    I didn’t realize that you played the Accelerated Dragon in the past. I think that ..d6 is a much stronger move for Black, then go into the “classical” Dragon. Not playing ..e6 or ..d6 strikes me as Black wanting a “freebie”, so I play that variation as White on principle, even though Black can gain equality in the Kasparov line.

    Another thing about the Benko or Marshall, and I don’t mean this in any disrespect to those openings, and particularly not to the Marshall, is that it’s easy for anyone championing the Black side to get into that mindset “If sacking one pawn is good, then sacking two pawns must be better!” I think it’s subconsious and there are probably occasions where sacking a second pawn or even a piece can be winning, but it’s also easy to sack the second pawn just “for the sake of it”. And I am not picking on anyone as almost anyone I’ve come across who champions as Black seems to quickly fall under this hypnotic spell.

    I am looking over this game more carefully. 12…Qb6 instead of ..Qc7 was already a mistake for Black.

    18..QxNb6 seems more accurate than taking with the rook. Queen can stay on b-file, rook can go to c8, play c4 and sham-sac that pawn once …Nc5 is played. Yeah, the Benko needs to be played well, with a lot of feel/experience.

    21…Should have played hxg while he still had the chance.

    Clearly, Black did not have two free tempos to spend taking the b2 pawn with his knight, while also having willingly given up the h-pawn in front of his king.

    “Yes I did miss Nd3 immediately where most of whites advantage is gone.”

    I can’t agree with this suggestion from Catalyst, although an engine may show that I am wrong. If …Nd3, BxRb6 QxB, Rd2, and now there is Nd1 before redeploying it elsewhere. So Black is down a pawn and the exchange, but is strategically winning(?) It looks vicious for a moment, but if it doesn’t work out for Black then it could turn out quite badly.

  3. Don’t forget that Mark’s rating is about 100 more than Anthea’s, right? Second pawn you can sac in blitz, OTB you will think – what will I get for that? I feel that Benko is more positional than Marshall, you do not depend so much on right tactical line. Of course, you should feel it and play right positional moves. Frankly, only once the guy played e5 against me and it was too late, so I wasn’t under kingside attack yet (was in blitz). I am not overestimating it, that’s why I try Nimzo-Indian and Queen’s Indian. Whatever you play, you should know you s@#t. I was recently beaten in blitz with Bird. I tried to be careful, knew that it will be attack on the kingside, still.. The guy just knew how to play it. So I will never play f4 myself, but I respect it.

  4. Yes, Mark is about 80 points higher than Anthea.

    The kingside attack comment against the Benko by the guy that won that game struck me as strange. I don’t remember getting kicked on the kingside too much, as it was always the finesse against the queenside, dismantling my initiative/position that I was worried about, or in the center. If anything, I was mistakenly attacking as Black on the kingside in order to confuse the issue in a lost position, never worked though.

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