The Frontier

In this Round 4 Game I had White against a lower-rated opponent, and that is frequently a one-way street, like this game. The opening was played with four pawns across for White, not yet crossing the frontier as Bronstein calls it, but gaining a lot of space.

The game may look a little ridiculous until you consider that I was not playing for tactics, but rather for position and for endgame advantage. Alemayehu is frequently a strong tactical player, but I broke down his patience I guess, and that’s basically what I intended to do, cruelly admitted.

21…Ng8, 22.e6 Nb8, 23.Ne7 Rd8, 24.exQf8(N)+ RxN would have been picturesque.

25.Qd3+? is lame, and I knew it when I played it because I had spent so long looking at 25.RxNf6, but was worried about zwishenzugs. If 25…Qc5, then Nd7, if 25…Qe7, then Rxh6+ followed by Qd3+ and Qxb5 winning a piece and pawn outright, and I even have against 25…Re2, 26.Bxh6 is a possibility but not necessary as I was just calculating this wrong and am simply up a piece. I was expecting 25…Ne4 instead of 25…Kg8??, when I could play 26.QxRb5 NxBd2, 27.Qd3+ Ne4 and am now up an only an exchange from all of that, which is still a rook for two pawns all in all. I showed him this last variation after the game.

The sad part is that this game was not the highlight of the evening. The highlight was when Mark offered a draw to Expert Paul A., and I showed that Mark had a forced win in the endgame which even Paul didn’t believe, but Mark did find one of the moves himself. Anyway, it was a pawn sac and then exchange sac for the win, made my chess year. Oh, it was opposite colored bishops with rook pair and pawns. Poor Mark, it’s as if he sensed what to do, but lacked the confidence to play it or to believe in a final outcome.

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4 thoughts on “The Frontier

  1. Good game. He made several positional and tactical mistakes and you used all of them.
    I don’t like his position already after 19. cxd5 and he plays 21… Bd4, allowing Nxd4.
    Yeah, that picturesque looks funny.
    I don’t think 25. Qd3+ was lame, just reasonable. You took on f6 anyway. 🙂

  2. RollingPawns, thanks! 🙂

    Right! I felt like he was letting me off the hook as well with …cxd; and then …Bd4 was just as obviously losing OTB as it is to see from here. I never considered that move …Bd4, and it would only work if I were in severe time-pressure.

    I was trying to play more like Karpov, and it worked. First, I didn’t go for some premature combination that I had looked at OTB, such as 17.b4 axb, 18.axb Bxb4, 19.Nb5 c6xNb5, 20.BxBb4 Qb6 (I had seen this much, and it’s a decent pawn sac, but the threat of my position is still worth as much as the execution). Besides, I had figured that he had already moved his rook from f8 just to avoid that skewer, as we had both spent enough time to see all of this.

    Second, I played on both sides of the board, and this probably surprised him as well.

    Thirdly, I kept grabbing more position until his position was virtually collapsing. For example, instead of 18.Na4?! (a sort of time-pressure move), I can see from there that 18.h4 is easily winning if I get in g4,g5, Qh5+, Rg1. But after 18…h5, that may slow down White’s attack a bit more than if White plays 18.g4 first, inducing 18…g5, and then h4 will crack open the position and should win.

    Actually, 18.Na4!? is not too shabby because it tied him up on the queenside, particularly his knight (..Nc5 was a bit of a constant worry), and still allowed me to attack his kingside had he not made the blunder that he did. Wow, I think I am starting to think like Karpov, already! After 18.Na4 Bd6, 19.Rbd1 Bc7, 20.d6 Bb8, 21.Qe1 looks like a real threat. Recently, I’ve begun to think that there is this place where study begins to be more important than play even. At least in my situation this feels true because I have been 1800 for so long that I have the experience now, and I don’t need as much expereience in repeating the same mistakes (hehe), and can appreciate stronger forms of play.

    Forthly, when I played 24.Nb6, I had 27 minutes remaining, and felt that this extra time, along with my improving/improved position was the next closest thing to drawing the curtains on the game. He spent too long making weak moves, and then his quick moves were outright blunders. I am pretty sure he wasn’t feeling at his best as it was 81 degrees fahrenheit outside and he felt cold inside and borrowed Pete’s jacket at the beginning of the game.

  3. I played yesterday, with an expert to whom I lost a few times in the past.
    Lately not without a fight and winning/drawing chances.
    I didn’t play very well yesterday, but again missed a draw in the endgame and lost after 70 moves. We played almost 4.5 hours and I was really exhausted.

  4. 70 moves is a lot of moves. You should post the game, as you may be too burned out after it to want to look at it yourself, or that’s how it goes with me, particulary against an Expert where it’s just close all the time. I have a lot of games that I should really go over again some day.

    A 4.5 hour game is something truly monumental for anyone over 40 years old that has to work a full-time job in addition to chess, particularly a sit-down job. Exercise, sleep, etc becomes a big deal, experience and rustiness also factors in there more.

    It’s an important game since I believe you would have made Expert had you won or possibly even if you had drawn would have cut it very close. You got a chance and that is about as much as you can ask for. 🙂

    Back to the books with more studying as I always say. After so much OTB experience, talent can only take you so far I tell myself. Some book study and then back to some more play again. Of course I do this all together, in reality – less than I should, but more than some others, and less than some others.

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