Round 1, Wednesdays

In this game, I felt I made a number of inaccuracies, and managed my time very poorly as well. I evaluated that I could have taken his knight on e4 with doubled-pawns, but I also felt my position was okay to where I was not so limited.

The critical mistake was not playing 21…cxd4 (+.34 or +=) before 21…e4?? I’ll explain. …e4 opens up the long dark-squared diagonal. Naturally, I figured that Be2 would be forced, after taking on f6, but it isn’t, Black can open the long diagonal with tempo by playing 23.dxc5! and this is what I missed (but he saw it right away). So, getting back to move 21, the reason for playing 21…cxd is so that there is no pawn on c5 where White can capture on c5 with tempo. This was something I missed, a hole in my understanding. I was merely trying to “keep the position closed” in an abstract way, and that is how I missed this concrete idea.

Naturally, it looks silly of me not to play …exBf3, but since dxc5 will happen in another move with tempo, the passed pawns are a winning position, and I wasn’t able to resist at all in the post-mortem other than he wanted to play Qd2 then Qd5, in the game, but he would need to capture the f3 pawn with his queen. At first, in the post-mortem, he allowed me to play ….Ne5, and then he had to retreat his queen to avoid losing it, but he saw it so fast that I don’t think he would have blundered in the game, and he was seeing the correct path, otherwise.

It may not sound like much to lose 3 rating points to a Master, but every rating point is hard-fought. I only gained 5 rating points in 5 games, for example, in Denver last weekend. Gunnar needed just one rating point to make 2300, and now he has it. It’s free for a Master to play in this tournament – $20 for over 1800 players, and $25 for the rest. So, I don’t think Gunnar is playing in this tournament, he lives two hours north, he just needed the one game.

I should have seen that he could give up two pieces for a rook and two pawns in that game, when I played …Rf6?, but I was already looking for quick moves, and hadn’t spotted that variation.

This has to be one of the craziest endgame wins.  Check this game out I just played on Chess dot com.  It shows how weak doubled pawns can be, a surprising outcome.


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