17 March 2013

Annotated Game #87: Is it a Colle? A Stonewall? No, it's a bust

This fourth-round tournament game has a more satisfying feel to it than the previous "ratings draw" where I (as White) should have made the necessary effort to win the endgame, regardless of the ratings gap.  Here, as Black I am unable to play my usual ...Bf5 in response to a Colle System setup because White plays an early Bd3 - probably with preventing that move in mind.  However, opening theory and practice exists for a reason and a drawback of the unusual early bishop move is quickly demonstrated by Black, who exchanges off the d-pawn and then pressures its replacement.  The opening - which seems to be a strange mix of Colle and Stonewall Attack ideas - doesn't lose for White, but he quickly abandons any chance of an advantage while giving himself some positional flaws, so it has to be considered a bust.

By move 9 Black has the game fully in hand and White is struggling to come up with good ideas, although the position is still balanced.  Black never loses his grip and then steers the game towards a drawn ending, although the alternatives shown around move 19-20 would have allowed him to keep pressuring White in the hopes of realizing his positional advantage.  Given the 250-point ratings gap and Black's lack of a clearly winning advantage, I think a draw was a reasonable result, although it would have been useful to probe harder in the middlegame, as White had no real counter-threats.

This was an encouraging game from the improvement standpoint, as it was blunder-free and I essentially dominated things strategically from early in the opening phase against a much higher-rated opponent, even though the advantage obtained was not sufficient for a win.  In more general terms, games like these should be encouraging for us Class B players, as they help show that Class A players should not be feared.


5 comments:

  1. A solid game, but I think you should fight a little more in those strategically superior positions : the class A players aren't going to hang a full piece... :-)

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    1. I completely agree, especially when there's no risk to your own position. 19...h6 followed by 20...Nf5 would have been the way to go.

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  2. Hi CA,

    Nice game, you're right about ignoring ratings. If this opponent was an "A" he must've been in a coma. After 14. Nbc3 it looks he has something like 4 hanging pieces. Not many good players allow that.

    It looks like you have a decent chance for a win after 22.g3. The key after getting a winning position is invasion. Since you control the c-file, that looks like the easiest entry. Maybe 22..Rxc1 wasn't so good. Let him exchange and keep control. Maybe 22. Rc7 if 23. Rxc7 Qxc7 probably forces 24. Qc1 with the exchange and tempo then you can work on the doubled pawns for the win with maybe ..Nf5 then ..Bc7 threatening d4 and a5 weakening a3. That d4 pawn is important though because with the N's on the board c5 square is a real concern.

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    1. Exchanging down as done in the game was definitely the wrong idea, albeit a safe one. After the game continuation the engines rate the position equal as of move 24 and I would agree with that, there's not enough material left on the board to exploit White's weaknesses and that c5 square is a weakness in Black's camp. I'm more savvy now (I hope) about the real effects of exchanging pieces, i.e. it's not always a path to realizing an existing advantage, if you can no longer exploit it afterwards.

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  3. Hi Chess Admin, you're right, after 24... it is probably equal but you might not want to rely on the machine to analyze for you. It looks like White equalizes because of the tempo lost on 24...Bxc7 and the white B still on d2. With my line white must take a lot of time to get the N to c5 because the B is on c1 which also weakens a5. With tempo White's frozen doubled pawn's look to make Black better.

    Exchanging for tempo is a huge advantage, I remember Nimzovich stresses it in one of his classics.





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