Put Your Helmets On

…as Mark said tonight, regarding a tricky Benoni line we were looking on. Well, I was playing the King’s Gambit Declined, so it’s more like “Put your space-hats on” for this one.

The Game was a short one. I’d like to post what I was thinking during the game, and I saw a lot of the computer’s analysis, most of it, but it is difficult to keep the lines straight OTB.

After 10…0-0 (we both played our tenth move rather quickly), I realized that I could/should have played 10…Ng4 instead, but that is a whole nother ball of complications which I did not have to get into, as it turns out.

13…h3?? was the just the blunder I had hoped for in this very tricky position to evaluate and play through. I knew that he had “dropped the chalupa” as soon as he reached for it the second time and played it.

When I played 13…Ne3, I was hoping that he wouldn’t play the setup with Qd2 and Ke2, because I had accurately seen that the ..Rxf3, ..Qh4+, then ..Ng2-f4 maneuver is just equal, but it wasn’t until _after_ I had played 13…Ne3, that I noticed that the Ne3 was immune after 14…Nxb4!. So, incidentally, if White had gone 14.Qd2, then …Nd4! works on the same principle, the immune Ne3 so taking on d4 just gives the Ne3 the d4 pawn to support it with, which I had seen previously, but hadn’t found that tactic to connect it with.

Here is the analysis we were looking at in the post-mortem. I told him right away after he resigned that I would not have taken on a2, but would have played …Ra3 going after his king. What’s weirder is that we went over this variation a second time and I didn’t take his rook on a1, leaving both knights on the board, which Fruit says is even _stronger_, although a little more complex than necessary I have to admit.

I feel very blessed to get away with such an easy win. I had been studying a lot more KGA, and have a line ready for that, it’s a classical line I’ve never played before, although those positions lead to more hair-raising complications, it’s still good for Black. Although modern lines are better for White and who could say what he knew.

Oh, I didn’t take his b4 pawn sac because I wanted to keep my bishop on the diagonal that prevents him from castling, although Fruit definitely prefers taking the pawn (figures, it’s a computer, and can change it’s mind anyway).

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4 thoughts on “Put Your Helmets On

  1. He probably was inspired with the games of the old masters, but he chose an opponent from the wrong weight category. 🙂
    His b4 sac looks definitely not sound.
    I liked Nxb4, shows the strength of the pair of knights.

  2. Thanks, Rollingpawns! 🙂

    I’m a bit ashamed of my Thursday Game, however. Daniel is over 1700 now, and when he offered me a draw, I felt like I needed to consider it prudently. I had 48 minutes and accepted the draw with 45 minutes to his 1hr 15 min, after only 13 moves, and it would take many more moves for either side to lose, particularly for White.

    We did a post-mortem from here were he played b3?, and then I played …Ba3, Ra2. He could have owned the c-file, preventing my c-pawn push and instead actually gave me the c-file as in …Rc2, believe it or not. Also, he played h3, Nh2, Bg3. He made the wrong pawn push in the center, I told him so, to which he replied “I know, but I want to push this pawn instead”, whereupon I was hideously winning after a couple more moves, and I was showing him White’s neatest ideas, if they could be achieved.

    From a computer perspective, it’s really hard to lose for White, but I guess all that really matters in practical play is the ratings difference, after all.

    I thought drawing 1700 was being objective, but then I put it into ratings calculator for the first time and realize that drops 7 points, drawing a 1750 player drops 5 points, whereas draw with an 1800 player only drops 2 points for me! So, I basically screwed that up. Math is just not my thing. That win last night was maybe only 5 points. I was wrong to judge it by the position instead of by the rating.

    I was mostly worried about ending up with a weak position with a weak clock down the road. His draw offer, I made the mistake of allowing it to take the wind out of my sails, and I saw it as he didn’t want to fight anymore.

    He saw the draw offer as a psychological test, to make me play too active for the win, and also referred to it as a “swiss gambit” whereupon he would get an easier pairing in the next round. This makes more sense for him, since he will be Black in his next round, and it is a five-rounder. This makes less sense for me because I would rather play top-board with White in the next round, than get top-board with Black in Round 4, assuming things go well in Round 3.

    One thing about him and Alex is that they have timed their draw-offers perfectly. They are like GM-strength at knowing when to offer a draw. hehe. I sort of let myself fall victim to that.

  3. You just should have a rule never accept a draw offer from essentially lower rated unless you are really worse or in a huge time trouble or it’s a really drawn position. I have that rule.
    Accepting a draw offer from the equal player can also depend on your desire to continue the game.
    In your case I would agree that the position looks quite boring and I could accept a draw from 1800+ rated player, still I probably would play more just because I spent some effort (and on Thursdays it’s 1 hour drive) to get to the club. Anyway it’s not a loss.

  4. Thanks for the reply, RollingPawns! 🙂

    Yeah. I’m thinking now that players under 1800 are either not that good, or are lazy-minded somehow in too many of their games (the latter is more often the case).

    G/90, 5 second delay is really a terrible time-control to play down to the bitter end in. If someone wants to force the draw, it’s much harder to stop them as it would be in dual time-controls. Nevertheless, my goal should be to play on as long as it is feasible, and if I have 1 second left they won’t accept my draw anyway, so really I should trust fate more or less, for better or worse. At the end of the day, G/90 is a test of G/90 ability, nothing more, nothing less.

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