Different night, different Master

Round 3

Richard “Buck” is a National Master even though his current rating is down to Expert and he doesn’t play as much these days, mostly directs.  I’ve been lucky to get mostly White against him, as I can think of three times where I was Black against him and he pretty much slaughtered me, but as White I have this winning record (mostly luck, I figure).

Okay, so normally we get into a Scotch, where he has been very unlucky, and I was more thinking of trying a Ruy Lopez (he has a King’s Gambit win as Black published in Bill Wall’s KG miniatures book from back when he played in Dayton, Ohio).  I got lucky in that he played a Caro-Kahn, probably to throw me off.  After the game, he asked me if I had ever played this line before, which made me think that he had never faced it before, OTB.

Well, I got an advantage out of the opening, but even then was dropping the ball move after move until he played 9…Qd6?  After this, I got a big advantage but was still not playing best moves.

Later (why do I keep doing this?), I got into time-pressure, and did not want to trade queens, but did once I had two and a half minutes left on my clock.  Paul pointed out that he could have pulled even with 29…BxN!, but instead played 29…Be7, whereupon I slowly began to outplay him in my time-pressure to once more establish a significant advantage.

Still, I feel that that given his skills, and given mine, it was a gift resignation, as he surely could have played on to try and find more drawing chances.  He correctly pointed out that after 37…Rc7, 38.d5! that White has a significant advantage, but White has to follow this up correctly with 38…Kd7, 39.Nd4!!.  I would have never found this move in time-pressure, and in that line I would have played 39.d6.  So, after the game I let him know that I was actually going to play the safer line 38.Kf2 followed by 39.Ke3 with ideas of playing Rc5 and trying to control the position by improving my pieces.  This line isn’t any better or worse than the 38.d5 line where I follow it up with 39.d6, according to Houdini, but my play all game had been far from spotless, so I feel really thankful that the game ended the way that it did.

I did blindfold the game as much as I could in the opening, but later it became impractical.  You can’t really blindfold it anyway, because if you try to do that all of the time, you’ll become unaware of when your opponent has made their move.  Still, in any position requiring difficult calculation it can help, but most of the time were are too nervous to do it, as humans locked in combat OTB.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Different night, different Master

  1. He played very bad in the opening, 7… Qf6 was a horrible move, 9… Qd6 too.
    21. Nxd4 was very strong and winning on the spot after 21… Rxf1+ 22. Rxf1 a6 23. Ne6+ Kb7

    24. Ncxd8 Instead of queens trade 28. Ra1 was crushing after 28… Ra7 29. Rxa7 Kxa7 30. Nxc6+ Kb6 31. e5
    Overall you played well and definitely deserved a win.

  2. The Russian player Alex Bozhenov shook his head the instant I produced this move 7…Qf6, when showing him and Paul the game. When people play chess, it’s a human affair, as I’ve noticed that Buck has a habit of placing his queen into seemingly direct fire, and the last time he did it against me the computer said it was as strong move, and it was, so that I was very wary while playing against him. Buck is actually far more dangerous, tactically, than a lot of Experts, if you give him half the chance to show it.

    21.Nxd4 RxRf1+, 22.RxR is tricky enough at least to get White to spend nearly all of remaining time looking for the best win, but not after the best ….a6 (too simple). Try 22…b5xa4, and once you’ve played around with the position 23.Qxa4(best) might seem obvious, but OTB a player is less likely to trust a free pawn proferred like that (even though it is a good way for White to avoid a queen trade), and play 23.Qc4 (hitting f6, e6, and protecting the Rf1), but then after 23…Kb7 (23…Rb8 leads to Qxa4, threatening Qxa7 is enough), 24.Rf7 (not only is the rook unapproachable by Black’s queen but it contains unstoppable threats) ….Rd7 or …Re8, 25.Nf5 is not an option because of …Qd1+, but 25.Rxh7 is obviously winning, but best is even 25.e5. Let’s say 24…Re8, 25.e5 Qc7, 26.e6 Rd6, 27.Qxa4 (controlling d1) a5, 28.Nf5 Rxe6??. 29.Qb3+, followed by QxRe6. If 27…Ka8, then 28.Qa6 threatens 29.RxBe7 QxR, 30.Qc8 mate. This represents the tactical truth of the position, which was only gotten to by a lot of variations. Nevertheless, if you evaluate the position correctly, you can pretty much take the pawns on a4 or h7 at any time with a demonstrable advantage.

    Afterward, people asked why I didn’t play 21.axb5, which I had planned to play during the game, but then I didn’t like looking at the possibilities in time-pressure, and I was heavily discounting the Nxd4 move, in any case, at the time OTB.

    I wanted to play 28.Ra1, but only saw …Ra7, 29.RxR KxR, 30.Qa5+ Kb7. However, looking at it now, I found the obvious continuation that does work, 30.Nxc6+ followed by the 31.d6 fork, just screaming to be played. Ironically, it’s even stronger to make the original idea that I was looking at, work with the knight sac 29.Nd7+ RxN (29…QxN, 30.Qc6+ Kb7, 31.RxR+ skewer), 30.Qa6+ Kc8, 31.Qa7+ and the queen, rook and e5 pawn form a mating net.

    Thanks! 🙂 I’d say I’m getting better still each time I play. It was too bad that I didn’t play tonight, but I went jogging before getting ready (and then ate dinner) because I hadn’t left the house in past two days, but then the jogging made me light headed, and then I needed to recover. I run into this issue in Colorado rather than in California. It’s like you sometimes have to exercise the day before because if you exercise on the day of a competition, then your body will be too depleted of oxygen even though it doesn’t bother you on a personal level, it still affects the body. That’s one pretty f’d up consequence of living at mile-high altitude I’ve found, over sea level. I mean, I can practically go without breathing at times, even when jogging, but it’s not about that at all, it’s about how much oxygen is stored in your blood at any given time. A total non-issue at sea-level. If I hadn’t been sick to where it stressed my immune system out as a well, I would have played regardless.

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