23 June 2012

Annotated Game #51: Closing with a victory

This game was in the last round of the tournament and was another victory, this time with Black.  A very unusual attacking variation of the Caro-Kann was used by White.  It's not clear whether this was a pet line of my opponent,or if he simply liked to conduct brazen attacks when not prepared for a particular opening.  I've included some more extensive opening notes than usual, since the line with 2. Nf3 (and certainly the follow-up 4. Ne5) isn't covered by opening manuals.

Despite White's unorthodox attacking play, Black is able to handily neutralize it and a balanced position results by around move 10.  White then conducts some artificial-looking maneuvering with a time-wasting and weakening move (13. b3), which Black immediately pounces on.  Black's relentless queenside pressure eventually leads to a breakthrough on the c-file and game-ending material losses for White.

I had the impression that I tend to do well in the last round of tournaments, regardless of my overall performance in them.  This was indeed one example of this.  However, after reviewing my database of tournament games, in reality there doesn't seem to be a clear trend.  Perhaps I just better remember the times that I succeeded in being mentally tough in the last round and focused on playing well, rather than the times I didn't put as much effort into the game.

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