Update: I’m still adding the games to this post. I ultimately finished with 4 out of 5 points in the U1800 section, and tied for second-third place, winning $175. 🙂
My rating dropped five points to 1830.
I went two wins and one loss on day one of the Denver Open. I was analyzing rather accurately, when I was analyzing, but didn’t use my clock correctly. This last game is an example of what I was doing wrong.
14.Nc5? I had just lazily castles, thinking I won’t play 14.b4 because he won’t try 14…b5! I figured this move was a mistake, but played it anyway. I should never do this and learn to be objective. I figured 14.Nc3 might be close to losing after 14…b4, but it’s about equal. I actually analyzed the lines correctly, Houdini verifies that I wasn’t hallucinating. Nevertheless, I did call his bluff, as he did not follow-up with the dreaded 14…Nc6xd4, which I thought he might not go for. He spent a ton of time, and still didn’t play it.
26…hxg6. This is where my horrible clock management came into play. I was debating whether or not to play this move or 26…Nh2!, and chose wrong because I missed his 27…Rf4! After this he offered a draw, and I declined with eleven minutes on my clock, and played 28.f3?, but then saw that this was a losing mistake, but it’s because I hadn’t spent enough time. I was going to play 28.Kg2, which is much better, and simply missed the obvious 28.Rd1 to protect the d4 pawn, until I saw he could play 28…Nc6.
27.g4? I was going to play 27.Nh4, but then saw he had 27…Nf5, hence this move, but 28…Nxg6 anyway, which I had thought about, and when Houdini said yes, then I noticed the follow-up must be 29.g4. This is the sort of thing I can only miss in time-pressure because I am trying to hurry/rush myself. Also, 27…Be8 is better, which he probably would have found but which I did not notice, and even in the game continuation it threw me off as we both began rushing our moves. After the game, I wondered if even 27…f5 is good, but Houdini says it isn’t. This is the sort of thing where if you have the ability to analyze correctly, then you really have to manage your clock objectively and just go with the results that follow. Generally speaking, my ability to calculate tactics is my trump card.
Whereas we were playing our round 3 game over an hour after the other games had finished, my round 1 game was the first game finished of that round, and it didn’t take much time on the clock, maybe 25 minutes for the whole game, and most of that time was simply calming my first-round nerves.
In response to round 4, I posted this to chess Master Chris Peterson on Facebook:
I got a position against Meint Ohlthof that only a player of your calibre would really get a grasp of. The Gunar Andersen motto went through my head “play the simplest win” (he never said this, but it struck me as his credo, a while back), and so I played the game continuation.
20…Bxe5, the “boring” win. In the game, I wanted to play the piece sacrifice 20…Ng3, and eventually looked it off because I figured that 21.Rxf7 was a good response. However, the actual concrete line that justifies why this or that move actually does or doesn’t work is entirely non-intuitive for the average player.
If 21.Nf3, then 21…NxRf1 is -2.5, in favor of Black, according to Houdini.
So, after 20…Ng3, 21.Bf3 BxNe5! (is -1 in Black’s favor).
If 20…Ng3, 21.Bf3 BxBf3?!, 22.RxBf3 BxNe5, 23.RxNg3! is only good move BxRg3, 24.Ne4 Bh4, 25.Qf1 is equal, 0.0, even though White is down an exchange, due to Black’s weak king. Black has to play accurately to hold the draw.
There’s more to look at here, but you get the idea. An amazingly non-standard, tactical position to calculate, where the weaker player could easily go wrong. These types of variations make me think of the type that you or Shabalov might consider during a game, the offbeat-ness off it, that being a big part of it’s main attraction.
[Event “Denver Open”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Meint Olthof”]
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. h3 g6 4. e3 Bg7 5. Bd3 Nbd7 6. b3 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8.
Bc4 O-O 9. O-O e4 10. Nd4 Ne5 11. Nd2 c5 12. Nb5 a6 13. Nc3 Qa5 14. Bb2 Rd8
15. Qc1 b5 16. Be2 Bb7 17. f3 exf3 18. Nxf3 Nh5 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Bxh5 Bxc3
21. Bxc3 Qxc3 22. Bf3 Bxf3 23. Rxf3 Rd2 24. Rf2 Rad8 25. Rxd2 Rxd2 26. Qe1
Rxc2 27. Qxc3 Rxc3 28. Kf2 Kf8 29. Ke2 Rc2+ 30. Kf3 Ke7 31. g3 Ke6 32. e4 Ke5
33. Rd1 Rc3+ 34. Kg4 h5+ 35. Kh4 Kxe4 36. Rd6 c4 37. bxc4 Rxc4 38. Rxa6 Kf5+
39. g4+ hxg4 40. hxg4+ Rxg4+ 41. Kh3 Ra4 42. Rc6 Ra3+ 43. Kh4 g5+ 0-1
This game was more topsy-turvy, and I believe he was a bit better after Bc3, and he never played e5 earlier – instead, when he played e5 he found the one tactic that I was hoping to see, and loses for him.
When I played 30.Ng5 (=), Houdini says that I should be playing 30.Ne1 and going in for some queenside play. This is where I need to improve, positionally, by delving into this sort of position. As it was, I found the simple winning a4 move, based on process of elimination, since none of the other plans seemed effective. For example, I was even thinking of Kh2, g4, Rg1, but it’s so slow, and his attack appears ready to break through momentarily. Actually, this other plan does work 32.Kh2 Qc6 (getting out of the pin, and putting dynamic pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal), 33.g4 hxg, 34.h5 gxh, 35.Nh7 (this is what I missed), and the knight can come into f6. This line is winning (White eventually gets queen for rook and bishop, by trading on b5, and then get’s Black into zugzwang to win another piece), although 32.a4 was the much simpler win.
I joked with LM Brian Wall, and Alex before the game that all I had to do was “defeat Shiva” and I would win a prize. Added stresses were that the air-conditioner went out before the round, and the heat made it tougher to concentrate, not to mention I lost my wallet, and during the game drove all the way back to Subway where the guy said “Are you looking for your wallet?” and had kept it for me. Too funny. That was like a major comeback, wallet and win! 😀