Defensive Collapse

Thursdays, Round 1

When I got back to Colorado, I got two hours sleep Tuesday night, then less than three hours sleep on Wednesday night, running around town partying with Alex.  So by the time Thursday comes around and I find out there is a game, perhaps that does leave me with some excuse for what was to follow, Shirley’s nice quiet house and free coffee not withstanding (it is ideal tournament conditions playing there, BTW).

My feeling was that 1.d4 and a King’s Indian Defense would give me a solid advantage against Rhett, but I decided to play this sharp system instead, even knowing that it’s virtually walking right into his preparation.

My first suspect move was 10.Bd2.  I wanted to play 10.Kh1, but figured he would at least equalize with ..exf, 11.Bxf Qh5.  But now I missed that after 10.Bd2 exf, that my planned, 11.Nd5 does not work because of …Qc5+, picking up the knight.

Stunned by this, I play 11.Kg1? when a more interesting move may be 11.Ne2!? with a nice attack on Black’s queen, plus interesting recapture on f4 possibilities.  Of course I was holding this knight in reserve to trap the queen in lines where Black might take on b2, and Na4 traps the queen.  It’s interesting how my tendency to maximize caused me to swot lines.  Earlier, it was Na4 lines which caused me to miss the …Qc5+ threat, and here it was this queen trap line which caused me to not realize that this was a fresh position where b2 pawn could be given up with an attack on his king.  For instance.  11.Ne2!? Qb6, 12.Bxf4 Qxb2??, 13.Qd2, and actually 14.Rf1b2 would be trapping Black’s queen!

13.gxf3? I had so much time to think at this time-control that I went into this sketchy position for the allure and fun of it.  Most of my time was spent calculating the serious 13.Rxf3 Ne5, 14.Bxf4 Bd6, and then what to do with the rook?  15.Rf1 would simply give up the d-pawn after …NxBd3, 16.cxN, Rxd3, but there is probably a lot more here than just that, and even 15.Rh3 or Re3 may be possible.

17.Na4?  17.b4 deserves the most consideration, although Black has such fancy continuations available as …Bc5, 18.bxc6 Be3, 19.c6xb7+ Kb8! or 17…c5, 18.b6 a6.  White might still be losing, but at least is sort of forcing, if not tempting Black, to develop his remaining two pieces.

18.Kg1?  18.Rg1, which Rhett offered post-mortem, is a far better defense as …Nxf3, 19.Rg2, threatening 20.Rf2! appears playable, and indeed we got into a double rook endgame where I was only down a pawn yet still managed to lose with risky bad play.

19.h2xNg3??  Not good.  By this point I was getting more short-sighted in time-pressure, and not able to think rationally.  19.Rf2 NxB, 20.RxN Nxf3+, 21.Kh1 was still a whole lot better than losing immediately.

This looks like a terrible loss, and is, even on paper, but it did give me a better sense of when not to sac a pawn and when to.  If I had had a real attack, it may have been a different story.  I thought that Anthea’s loss to Alex began when she decided to recapture Alex’s pawn instead of letting it stay there and ignoring it – different game, different position – whereas I think others looking at that game with me didn’t possess that sort of sense as much as I have developed by making dumb pawn sacs myself (I know a good one when I see one, or one that can be recaptured later).

It would be a little intriguing to know whether or not an engine agrees with my analysis here or finds anything that I didn’t find, and slightly wonder if it won’t, although surely it ought to.


6 thoughts on “Defensive Collapse

  1. Yeah, you don’t look being in your best shape in this game.
    Your troubles started early. Computer recommends 8. fxe5 instead of O-O with advantage.
    I think an important factor in your game was that he castled queenside.
    I would be careful in your place and move queen out of “d” vertical – 10. Qe1.

    I personally wouldn’t count on traps, he is almost an expert, so yeah Kh1 was a mistake.
    11. Ne2 doesn’t work – 11… Qb6 12. Kh1 Nc5 with multiple threats, Nxe4 being one of them.
    Computer thinks that 13. Bxf4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 Bd6 was better that 13. gxf3, but it’s still -1.5.

    18. Rg1 Nxf3 19. Rg2 is losing anyway after 19… g4.

  2. Computer is full of shite, as usual. :p

    8.fxe5 is always computer’s recommendation because they have that event-horizon thing going on for them, and will realize five moves later that Black has an advantage after ….Nf6-d7, and then to play….Nxe5, although objectively that may be the best move in the position. 😉

    I don’t like the 10.Qe1 idea because a banal move like ….Bd6 is fine, and …Nc5 threatens to win a pawn on d3; but you might find something that I am missing, and play well with it. You have good instincts to find the correct positional moves.

    “Computer thinks that 13. Bxf4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 Bd6 was better that 13. gxf3, but it’s still -1.5.” Of course, I examined this line during the game, but the computer is asinine to recommend it. Seriously, at least humans know what the word “hopeless” means in chess, unlike a computer that has no concept of it. hehe.

    I almost played 12.Qe1, reached for the queen to play it, and then moved my hand back just before I touched the piece. This was the most difficult move of the game for my and unfortunately I chose very wrong as 12.Qc1 is just losing, resignation. 12.Qe1 keeps the game very lively! I too saw his reply 15…Qd7, but if you look at it with the queen on e1, you’ll see that I didn’t want to play 16.Rad1 here, but this is at least far stronger than the computer’s recommendation on move 13. So for example I have if 16…Qh3, 17.Qf2! Kb8 (…b6, Ba6+ and the knight will threaten to sac itself on b6), 18.b5 (if …b6, then 19.Na5). So who is right, me or this worthless engine of yours, and yes I have had a beer to drink. 😀

    I think you are totally right about 11.Ne2 not working, although at this level I don’t think it would be a decisive mistake, rather just another (?) move that drops a pawn.

    Thanks for your analysis, Rollingpawns! 🙂 I definitely was wondering what the computer thought. I think 12.Qe1 would have been playable, unfortunately it was a toss-up move and I chose the one that landed me in a hopeless middlegame zugzwang position at best, and it was plain losing. Really, I missed that he would play with his pieces that were already there, and not try to attack me with pawns, except for the pawn that recaptured on g3, didn’t think about that one!

    I replied to your question about my trip:
    I could have played at the Chess Palace on Saturday, overslept but should have gone. Physically, I was very out of shape trying to jog, could barely pudge along. I’ll try to upload a pic of me playing one of my nephews.

    I have a touch of the flu already, just like clock-work for me for working at a call-center this time of year.

    I called in sick today. I just realized that Carlsen is brilliant. Don’t know what will happen in this game, but Anand is in trouble, don’t know if he can save it, looks +-, I’m betting he won’t but if it’s saveable by anyone, it should be by Anand.

    Carlsen is “on fire.” 27…28.Rd8 looks crushing. Oh, shoot, I can’t believe he didn’t play it, that looked like game.

    29.Rd7 Qc6, 30.axb5 Qxb5, 31.RxR QxR, 32.Rd7 Qc8, 33.Qg4 g6, 34.h5 looks very dangerous for Black, but he doesn’t play it.

    31.c4, do it. Oh no, he plays for simple endgame wins, Carlsen! For all his h5 bluster, he was sure to head for a winning endgame.

    34…h5? wtf, doesn’t that lose? Whoa, I didn’t even see 35.Qb7. Magnus plays it in under a minute and Anand resigns just as quickly. I am sure there were multiple ways to gain an advantage against …h5, but Carlsen finds the knock-out move.

  3. Yeah, I saw the game. Yeah, Carlsen’s positional play is brilliant.
    It looks like my observation was right, Anand didn’t change the mode yet.
    It is the same as Botvinnik would come to the match revenge with Tal and again would allow him to create these crazy positions where Tal was like a fish in the water.

    I posted both my Thursday games.

  4. It’s a very short match, 10 rounds left. Only four more White’s for Anand. Anand may have to win more than one game as Carlsen can win, too. If Anand has any preparation for a King’s Gambit, he should try it. Can’t really coast past Carlsen, has to try something more active.

  5. If you go to he analyzes the games lightly. I like his analyis of game 2 where he says that Anand “broke the attack”, but left himself with a bad position (instead of keeping the position more dynamic and not one where Magnus could just gnaw on Anand). Anand plays it deadly safe, so safe that it’s not safe. I would sure like to see a great game by Anand with some crushing win, but it’s not like I am hoping that Magnus falls down and Anand runs up to the puck for the easy tap-in either.

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