A Great Game

Although not a great result.

I played Katherine for the third time, this time as Black. I last played and won against her at the Class Championships. This time she avoided my Open Variation to the Ruy and played the Worral attack instead.

I played 12..g5 rather quickly, but she accepted it. I was simply going to take with the pawn, but this sent me into a very long think, perhaps 25 minutes. I did not like my position, but the only alternative was 13..d5, when I can expect 14.Nf3, so the only move was to accept it – of course, I looked at other tricky replies which don’t work.

Both of us showed uncertainty, her with g2-g3-g4, and me with never getting …c6 in. I prepared ..c6, but then played …c5, but it was losing in any case because I took too long to play it, deciding where to place my rooks. ..Rh6 was a blunder and a waste of a tempo, for instance.

Turns out the …c6 idea was not going to work anyway, and I knew that it was quite involved, which is why I hemmed and hawed and never quite played it.
e.g. 23…c6, 24.dxc6 d5, 25.cxNd7 dxNe4, 26.dxe4! Ra7, 27.Rad1 Bd8 and now 28.h6+ Kg6 (to guard the Nf6), 29.Qf5+!, the point of move 26, leads to mate.

Crafty suggests playing …b4 in there somewhere but it’s evaluation of the position bounces around a lot, ending in favor of White. I didn’t develop smoothly, and that is what cost me most. I played …g5 mostly because I didn’t want to see BxNf6 followed by Bd5. I would have replied …Bd7 correctly though and Crafty gives Black an edge.

I thought White was fine without playing the sac on g4, but she was worried about me playing …g4, which I wasn’t even considering. I told her that after hxg…Bxg she would have been fine, and that I was looking to play …a4, and Crafty agrees with me there on both counts.

Omigosh, I can’t freaking believe this, the way she played that attack was over Crafty’s head! Crafty agrees after seeing the moves, but not beforehand. She played g3! If she had played g4? at the time, I was going to play …Rg8, which refutes her attack, king pulls back to f8. Oh my, I had seen that. But she played g3, Kg2!, h5! I just thought I wasn’t paying attention, but it was more than just that, she was attacking unstoppable. She didn’t want to court my ..c6 complications (even had I played it earlier). The tigress knew what she was doing!

When I played 16…BxBd5?, I thought to myself “This is either a blunder, or this is going to help me out.” Technically, I think that was the game losing blunder. After 16…Bd7, Black has a -0.5 advantage according to Crafty. Giving up that Ne4 square led to a strategically busted position for Black.

The end of the game could have gone 28…Kf8, 29. gxNf6 Qd8, 30.Qg3 Rg8, 31.Qg7! RxQ, 32.hxR followed by 33.Rh8 mate. White could also have taken the d6 pawn with 30.Nxd6 and something like a +6 score, although that introduces complications after 30…Qa8, so need for that.

I’m glad I told her that she played a great game, she is talented and really deserves to hear that. Sometimes I lose some stupid games to some average players, but in her case she really deserved the win.


5 thoughts on “A Great Game

  1. Hmmm, seems to me that Katherine knows her stuff.
    Black could only defend his knight on f6 the entire game while having to worry that his king was naked. Doubt that this g5 pawn push is good for black if you do not know the theory 100%.

    16. … Ra6 is maybe better. Dont know, but it puts away the pin and black keeps his white square bishop.

    20. h4? Maybe a plan with 20. Qf5 21. Kh2 22. f4 also works for white, but it is a bit slow.

  2. Chesstiger, according to Crafty 16…Ra6 is worse because of 17.d4! when White is up +1 because Black needs to sac Nxd4 because if instead 17…cxd4, 18.BxN RxN, 19.e5 exposes the Rc6 to the queen as well as attacks the Nf6.

    16…Bd7 is good because it continues to keep the light squares such as f5 observed by Black. 16…BxB was practically a game-losing blunder because it not only gives up the light squares to White’s queen, but also gives up the e6 square, so that …Qe6 is no longer possible to challenge the light-squares with. I played this move quickly, she played 17.Nd2, then I knew that Ne4 was coming and I had made a big mistake, but didn’t know how big. That’s a problem with G/90, one is looking to save time wherever possible, but it’s the bad strategic moves that can really kill a position in the long term, not just tactical misses.

    She goes by Katie, and I think she is just finishing High-School now. There is a whole group there I think that appear to be seniors in HS. Kurt, Rhett, Jason, Katie.

    I had a feeling before the game that I should play the French, but I could also play the Scandinavian. I have a feeling that closed positions and particularly the Ruy Lopez are a strength of hers.

    Belated note, I want to add how the game could have gone. No doubt White does not want to play this line, but it’s interesting that Crafty thought this endgame was equal for quite a few moves, even though it’s obvious to a human that Black must be winning, as delicate an an ending as it is (which is the part that fools the computer, since they can’t “look” at the board when making an evaluation).

    Possible game continuation.

    Another fascinating thing to note is that if White had simply played 30.BxNf6 in the above continuation, the game turns into even material, except that White has the bishop and Black has the knight. So my final conclusion would be that the sac on g5 was sound, but only drawing with best play from both sides, and I was hoping for that sort of game where she blows her winning chance early, but I misplayed it, getting too antzy with the bishop trade on d5.

  3. I found another way for White to gain the advantage, admittedly against Crafty but I didn’t notice anything better for Black.

    Strangest continuation yet

    I guess I have a new problem now, after my “old” machine crashed, my “new” machine is only DDR1 RAM instead of DDR2 and noticeably slower (although I haven’t put in a graphics card yet). Either that or my “postal chess” is picking up and I need a new, stronger engine(?) 🙂

    Incidentally, all of White’s moves from move 17 to move 35 were mine, not Crafty’s, as Crafty seemed unable to find the advantage for White and kept liking Black, oddly enough! However, from move 36 on it is all Crafty for both White and Black, except for the last move but I did that to clarify that Crafty’s strategy there is to either get a perpetual or trade queens.

    In that above game, I had to “help” Crafty as Black in the beginning because it was picking up the BxNc6 (deflecting Black’s bishop from the kingside) threat too late. So I had played ..Rb8, and then Crafty chose ..Na7 as the retreat square. But correct is ..Rg8, and then ..Nd8-e6, breaking the pin, is finally possible. Yes, Crafty had originally chosen moves like ..a4 and ..a3, and wasting any one of those tempos will lose for Black. In fact, even without playing ..a4, simply …Rg8 then …Nd8, Black still never finds the time to play …Nd6 until the complications/trades have already been resolved. White ends up with 2 pawns and a rook for 2 knights, worth about half a pawn advantage. White does this by getting in moves such as Ng3-f5+, d4 and Re3 (aiming for Rf3 or Rg3). This plan appears to work whether White’s bishop is at b3 or has been pushed to c2 after ..a4 (I chose Bc2 as Crafty wanted Bd1?).

    Afterward, I felt like my defense was rather “FICS-y” in this game, something I’m still trying to eradicate, and with defense there is much less slack than there is on offense. Offense has an easier time of changing plans according to what the defense does, whereas on defense one feels as though all possible attacks must be taken into account.

    Going back over the original sac on g5, I had correctly determined that after 13…d5, 14.Nf3 that White is too far ahead (around +1.73), but actually White could just win with 14.Nxf7 KxN, 15.Bxd5+ Re6, 16.d4! threatening Qc6 which double-attacks bishops on c6 and c5 and also threatens BxNc6..RxB, dxe winning the pinned Nf6.

    But here is what I hadn’t ever considered, playing ..d5 AFTER the sac! 14..d5, 15. exd a4! where trading pieces virtually equalizes, but after Bc2 White does have an advantage although it’s unclear how much of one. A lot easier to play Black than in the game continuation, however.

    No, wrong again, game continuation was the best try. 14..d5, 15.exd a4, 16.Bc2 Na5, 17.Qf3 Ra6, 18. c4! Be7, 19.cxb Rb6, 20.Nc3 Nh7, 21.BxBe7 QxB, 22.Bxa4 Qb4 and White is up 8 pawns to 3 for the measly cost of a knight, and the White king lacks adequate cover.

  4. I think g5 was a risky move. Fritz thinks that as with 13. Bg3, as well as 13. Ng5 Black has 0.5 pawn advantage, meaning that sacrifice was sound. But the position after Nxg5 is not easy to defend. 17… Nb8 was a mistake, Fritz recommends 17… e4 with an equal position. After 23. h5 the attack is very strong and I wouldn’t want to be Black here.

  5. I think the mistake was playing BxBd5 instead of …Bd7, although ..g5 was not a practical move, but then at G/90 it’s a battle of execution more than it is of ideas. I made that move quickly based on intuition and thought it could at least hold. I have to make fast moves somewhere at G/90 since 45 moves. x 2min. = 90 minutes.

    RollingPawns, thanks for your suggestion! At first, I was like “How did I not think of this?” until it is realized that …e4, Bxf6+ QxB, QxQ KxQ, dxNc6 and now Black has to somehow hold onto his advanced pawn and get another pawn, very unlikely it would seem, probably just loses.

    When I played ..Nb8 I was thinking to myself “I don’t know about this, it can’t lose this soon can it?”. But at G/90, how can one know about every move? We probably have to guess on half of our moves and analyze the other half or else the game will be decided on the clock.

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