06 October 2012

Annotated Game #66: How do I hate thee, let me count the ways...

For this fourth-round tournament game, I won't dwell too much on the opening, as it's been the subject of previous posts, such as Annotated Game #63: Third time's the charm (?) - for this fourth time, I shall simple count the ways I hate it.

The rest of the game is in fact worthy of analysis, as the balance swings back and forth between the two sides' plans.  Black's inferior opening gives White an easily superior position and the initiative, but White fails to find the idea of pushing h6, which Black eventually blocks.  Black then strikes back on the queenside, although the basic idea of pressuring the c5 pawn is flawed.

Just as things seem completely locked up, White brashly sacrifices a knight on the queenside in order to get three connected passed pawns.  However, Black spots a key idea (35...d4!) which allows him to demolish the pawns via a deflection tactic.  By move 43 Black has also won the a-pawn and is on the road to victory. Sadly, he is unable to find the active ideas necessary to realize the advantage of the piece and accepts a draw on move 58.

In terms of bigger themes, this game shows:
  • How class-level players often make unsound sacrifices in hopes of winning.
  • How class-level players can fail to realize winning late middlegame/endgame advantages.

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