06 October 2018

Annotated Game #197: Play the long game when needing a win

Having lost in the previous two rounds, including rather shamefully in round 3, I very much needed a turnaround win in this tournament.  "Needing" a win can, however, be a dangerous state of mind, like when gamblers keep making larger and riskier bets to try to catch back up to where they think they should be; it rarely ends up well.  Here I will give myself credit for having enough patience to "play the long game" and recognize the need to patiently maneuver, rather than try to break through prematurely, although my play was not necessarily optimal along the way.

There are a couple of key strategic moments that lead to the win.  The first comes at move 26, where I correctly realized that pawn breaks on the queenside, where both my opponent and I had castled, would favor me (Black).  About 20 moves later in a double rook endgame, I find the final breakthrough idea, involving a temporary rook sacrifice with a deflection tactic (which the engine awards a '!!' in its analysis).

That said, this game's analysis is perhaps even more valuable for me in the long term for the missed ideas, for both myself and my opponent, which will help me refine my understanding of the middlegame structures in the Classical Caro-Kann.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class C"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B18"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 11.2"] [PlyCount "122"] {[%mdl 8256] B18: Classical Caro-Kann: 4...Bf5 sidelines} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nf6 7. Bd3 {a solid but unambitious continuation for White.} e6 {I judged it better to make a developing move (releasing the Bf8) rather than exchanging on d3. Having the bishop exchanged on g6 can sometimes weaken Black's king position, but here it's not yet a concern. Primarily Black has to worry about sacrifices on g6 that undermine the e6 pawn, and/or play up the h-file once the king is castled.} 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bxg6 hxg6 10. Qd3 Nbd7 {it's standard to develop the queen's knight before castling, in part to provide the option of castling queenside.} 11. O-O-O { consistent with the idea of exchanging on g6 and hoping for active play on the kingside.} Nd5 {my plan here is to clarify the situation on the kingside by encouraging the trade of the Bg5, then castle queenside, which I felt was more solid than castling kingside. Black should be careful about bringing a knight to d5 in the Classical Caro-Kann, however, when it can be chased off by the c-pawn.} (11... Qc7 $5) 12. Bxe7 {my opponent goes for the obvious response, exchanging on e7.} (12. h4 {would be a more challenging response, putting the onus back on Black. Exchanging on g5 would not be good, as the h-file could then be opened to White's benefit.} Bxg5+ $2 (12... b5 {is the engine's choice, starting immediate counterplay on the queenside}) 13. hxg5 Rxh1 14. Rxh1 $16) 12... Qxe7 13. Qd2 O-O-O 14. Ne2 (14. c4 $5 Nc7 $14) 14... N7f6 (14... e5 { instead would be a thematic pawn break. Black is well positioned to play in the center.} 15. Nc3 Nxc3 16. Qxc3 e4 $11 {the pawn can be reinforced by ...f5 and Black has a comfortable, if no more than equal, game.}) 15. Kb1 {keeping an eye on the weak a-pawn and clearing the c1 square.} Ne4 {the original intent behind the previous knight move, taking an active central position.} ( 15... Ng4 $6 {hitting the f2 square looks tempting, but White can protect everything and effectively re-deploy his Ne2 at the same time.} 16. Nc1 $14 { and there are no good follow-ups to the previous one-move threat.}) 16. Qe1 { forced} Ndf6 {here I was trying to anticipate a c4 push and proactively re-deploy the knight.} (16... Qb4 {Komodo prefers this more assertive approach, activating the queen and preventing c4.} 17. c3 (17. Qxb4 Nxb4 18. Rhf1 g5 19. h3 f6 $11) 17... Qb5 18. Ka1 $11) 17. Nd2 {it's difficult here for White to come up with a useful plan, although the position is equal.} (17. h3 Kb8 $11) 17... Nxd2+ {the correct decision, improving the relative value of my minor pieces.} 18. Rxd2 Ne4 {obvious, but unimaginative.} (18... e5 $5 {would be a bit more challenging.}) 19. Rd1 Qf6 {the right general idea, of activating the queen, here with the intention of pressuring both f2 and d4. However, g5 may have been a better square for the queen, pressuring the g-file and the d2 square.} 20. f3 {the obvious reaction.} Nd6 {the position here is quite balanced now. It will require patient maneuvering.} 21. Ng3 Nb5 {Increases the pressure on d4, but again this is easily solved by White.} 22. c3 Rd7 { continuing with the single-minded idea of building up pressure on the d-file.} (22... Qf4 {would at least move the queen to a better square.}) 23. Ka1 (23. Ne4 {is an idea that my opponent seemed to miss. Although it's not enough for a real advantage, initiative shifts to White and Black has to be careful about things like covering the c5 square.} Qf5 24. Qe3 b6 $11) 23... Rhd8 {the problem with this is that the rooks now both have less space to work with, and the Ne4 idea gets better as a result. Luckily my opponent fails to find it.} ( 23... Nd6) 24. a4 {White makes the decision to weaken his kingside shield, apparently optimistic about the pawn push.} ({Instead} 24. Ne4 Qe7 25. Nc5 Rd6 $14 {is rather awkward for Black.}) 24... Nd6 25. Rd3 Qe7 {redeploying now with an eye toward the weakened queenside.} 26. b3 $6 {although this covers c4, it makes the next move more effective in punching holes in White's pawn shield. } (26. Qe2 Nf5 $11) 26... b5 {this break favors Black, who is better positioned with both the heavy pieces and his knight to exploit the resulting holes on the queenside.} 27. axb5 $6 {this simply plays into my plan. White instead should move the queen onto a better defensive square, for example e2 (covering the 2nd rank) or b1.} Nxb5 $17 28. Qc1 c5 {the best follow-up. Now the rooks on the d-file can make their pressure felt.} (28... e5 {is not as effective due to} 29. Re3 $15 {pinning the e-pawn and getting the rook away from the d-file threat.}) 29. Ne2 e5 {with the added pressure on d4, now this move is effective.} 30. d5 (30. Re3 f6 31. f4 e4 $17) 30... e4 $2 {this looks aggressive but would allow White to stablize the center.} (30... Rxd5 $5 { is simple and breaks through immediately.} 31. Rxd5 Rxd5 $17 32. Rd1 Rxd1 33. Qxd1 Qd6 {heading for a pawn-up endgame.}) 31. fxe4 $6 (31. Re3 {holds things together.} Qf6 (31... f5 $6 32. c4 Nd4 33. fxe4 $14) 32. fxe4 $11) 31... Qxe4 { Black forks: d3, g2+e2} 32. Qe3 {now White forks: c5+e4} (32. Re3 $5 Qxg2 33. c4 Nd6 $15) 32... Qxg2 {after some thought, I mis-evaluated the possible continuations, although the text move is still fine for Black, and perhaps represents the best practical chances for an advantage.} (32... Qxe3 33. Rxe3 Rxd5 $15 {and White has some compensation for the pawn, although the engine doesn't think it's enough to offset Black's advantage. I was worried about} 34. c4 {but} Rd1+ 35. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 36. Kb2 Nd6 $15 {should be fine, because after} 37. Re7 {White's rook can't take advantage of the 7th rank due to the rook fork on d2.}) 33. Qf3 $2 (33. Rhd1 {is the only good defensive move here, but White I'm sure didn't want to abandon the h-pawn.} c4 (33... Qxh2) 34. R3d2 Rxd5 35. Nd4 $11) (33. Qxc5+ {doesn't work, although it's a rougher ride for Black:} Nc7 (33... Rc7 $15 {is perhaps the easier route to go}) 34. Rhd1 $5 Qxe2 35. d6 Rh8 36. R1d2 (36. dxc7 $2 Rxd3 37. Rxd3 Qxd3 38. Ka2) 36... Qe4 37. Rd4 Qh1+ 38. Rd1 Qb7 39. dxc7 Qxc7 $17) 33... Qxf3 {now I make the correct evalution and exchange queens.} 34. Rxf3 f6 {here I choose safety over activity, which is not usually the way to go in rook endings. It's still enough to maintain the advantage, though.} (34... Rxd5 $1 35. c4 Rd1+ {we saw this idea in a previous variation} 36. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 37. Kb2 Rd2+ 38. Kc1 Rxe2 39. cxb5 Re7 $19 {and now Black can consolidate the two-pawn advantage without much trouble.}) 35. c4 Nd6 {this looked like the obvious move to me, but the engine disagrees. It also again shows how rook activity should be maximized.} ( 35... Re8 $5 36. Rf2 Rde7 $17) 36. Nc3 {this is a much less effective square for the White knight. Evidently my opponent's idea was to cover the e4 square.} (36. Nf4 $5 $14 {goes after the weak kingside g-pawn, en route to an excellent post at e6.}) 36... Re8 {now I start activating the rooks.} 37. Rhf1 (37. Na4 Rc7 $15) 37... Rde7 38. R1f2 $6 {this doesn't make a lot of sense, as the knight is currently covering the e2 square, so penetration on the 2nd rank isn't an immediate concern.} Ne4 (38... g5 $5 {looks like a good preliminary move, protecting the g-pawn and threatening ...g4 at some point, as White has nothing constructive to do in the meantime.}) 39. Nxe4 Rxe4 {here I felt confident that although White has the passed d-pawn, my rooks were better and could do more damage with White's knight out of the way. It's a somewhat premature simplification, though, and could allow White to more easily equalize.} 40. Kb1 (40. Kb2 {would be better, protecting the b-pawn and getting closer to the action.}) 40... Re1+ 41. Kc2 Kd7 (41... Rh8 $5) 42. Kd2 ( 42. h4 {is the key idea for White, fixing the g-pawn on g6 and allowing White to pressure on the g-file, for example} R1e4 43. Rg2 Rxh4 44. Rxg6 Re7 $11) 42... a5 {not a bad move, but both I and my opponent continue to ignore the ideas around g5 for Black and h4 for White.} 43. Rg3 Ra1 {the idea being to switch focus and break through on the queenside.} 44. Rgg2 $2 (44. Kc3 { and White hangs on} g5 45. h4 $11) 44... a4 45. bxa4 {it's better to take than to allow Black to create a passed a-pawn, but White is still in a great deal of difficulty.} Rxa4 46. Kd3 g5 {ironically, this is no longer Black's best move, although it is still good.} (46... Ra3+ 47. Kc2 g5 $19) 47. Rc2 $2 (47. Ra2 $5 {this is the defensive idea for White that the rook check on a3 would have prevented.} Rxa2 48. Rxa2 $17) 47... Ra3+ {now I find the idea.} 48. Rc3 { this would be an equally good defense, except for} Re3+ $3 {Komodo gave the exclamation points via the Fritz interface, so I've left them in as coming from an objective source. This is an aesthetically pleasing deflection tactic that forces a breakthrough on the queenside.} 49. Kxe3 Rxc3+ 50. Ke4 Rxc4+ 51. Kf5 Rd4 52. Kg6 Rxd5 53. Kxg7 Rd6 {not the quickest route to victory, but I was playing conservatively to keep the win in hand.} 54. Kg6 c4 {passed pawns must be pushed!} 55. Rc2 Rc6 56. Kf5 Rc5+ {although this gives back a pawn, it permanently bars White's king from the fight to prevent the pawn from queening. } 57. Kxf6 Kc6 {now Black wins with a simple king march.} 58. Kg6 Kb5 59. h3 c3 60. Rxc3 Rxc3 61. Kxg5 Rxh3 0-1

29 September 2018

Annotated Game #196: Your opponent is always dangerous

This third-round tournament game is a short morality play about greed, overconfidence and the benefits of never giving up if you aren't yet completely lost.  The main lesson for me is to calmly consolidate after my opponent blunders, and to always treat them as being dangerous.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class C"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A25"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 11.2"] [PlyCount "40"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. d3 O-O 6. a3 {an unusual but logical move in this position, as it takes away the b4 square from Black's knight and prepares b2-b4.} d6 {Black has a solid but unambitious setup.} 7. b4 a6 8. e3 {this isn't bad at all, and allows me to capitalize on Black's next blunder, but in general I'm making too many pawn moves in the opening. Without a Black threat of advancing the f-pawn, as occurs in some variations when Black plays an early ...f5, this is also unnecessary. Objectively, Nge2 followed by d4 or f4 is a decent plan.} (8. Nf3) 8... b5 $4 9. Bxc6 $18 Rb8 { my opponent, to her credit, fights on.} 10. cxb5 axb5 11. Bxb5 {here I start getting a bit greedy, figuring why not take the extra pawn? Again, it's objectively good with best play, but by moving the bishop off the h1-a8 diagonal it neglects my kingside, which is full of light-square holes.} Bb7 12. e4 {yet another pawn move.} (12. Nf3 $18) 12... c6 13. Ba4 d5 {by this point my opponent actually has the initiative and I should be very careful, given that my king is still in the center and I remain underdeveloped.} 14. Qc2 $6 ( 14. Nf3 {again is the best way to play, developing and getting my king closer to castling.}) 14... c5 15. Nge2 {Black by this point has at least partial compensation for the piece.} dxe4 {my opponent chooses to open lines in the center, which is a good practical way to play.} 16. dxe4 cxb4 17. axb4 Bxb4 18. O-O {despite my pieces not being at all coordinated or doing much of anything useful, this should now be enough to regroup and win rather easily.} Qc8 19. Ba3 Qh3 20. Bxb4 $4 {incredibly, I have a total thinking process fail and miss Black's next move. Greed is definitely a deadly sin.} (20. f3 {is necessary.}) 20... Ng4 $1 0-1

23 September 2018

Training quote of the day #16

“Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?
- Dr. Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

21 September 2018

DVD completed: Stomping White with the Stonewall Defense

I recently finished the DVD "Stomping White with the Stonewall Defense" by GM Eugene Perelshteyn.  I found it to be a complete, if not comprehensive, intro to the Stonewall; the run-time is a little over 2 hours.  In my view, it offers enough of a mix of general ideas and specific suggestions to enable you to start playing it immediately in tournaments and experimenting on your own.  I've looked at other Stonewall resources previously and I would say this DVD is also a good addition to a Stonewall player's library, not just at the "intro" level, with some novel approaches and key concepts clearly explained and illustrated.  (Don't let the "Stomping White..." title mislead you, as it's actually a balanced treatment of the opening that doesn't promise a win for Black.)

One of the practical strengths of the lessons is the repeated presentation of different move-order possibilities to enter the base Stonewall formation (Black pawns on f5/e6/d6/c6, with Nf6 and Bd6 piece developments).  This allows you to strategize and choose which ones may be best suited for your existing repertoire - including the French move-order (1...e6), Queen's Gambit Declined (1...d5 followed by ...e6), Slav and others.  Naturally you can also commit on move one to the Dutch Defense (1...f5), but be careful with that; all of the anti-Dutch lines (like 2. Bg5 and so on) are in play after that, so you may never reach the Stonewall.

GM Perelshteyn typically mentions multiple, equally good plans for Black at critical points, although he will indicate a preference and then go deeper into certain lines.  For example, the primary strategic option he presents is fianchettoing Black's light-square bishop (with ...b6 and ...Bb7) in the main lines, but there are also examples where the alternate plan of ...Bd7-e8-h5 is shown to be strong.

The lessons also emphasize the fact that in the Stonewall, understanding the keys to the different setups / development schemes are usually more important than the move-order.  This reduces the amount of memorization required in terms of sequencing moves, and is a helpful insight in general for the improving player.  For study purposes, however, it may actually be a little more difficult to integrate the Stonewall into your existing computer repertoire database.  I ended up splitting my Dutch Stonewall "games" into two: White fianchetto and White non-fianchetto setups and using more text comments than usual on the ideas involved.

Following is a summary of the chapter contents with some personal commentary.

Chapter 1: Introduction and Fianchetto Systems with Nh3
  • Nh3 development by White (instead of Nf3): GM Perelshteyn does a good job of highlighting possible Black plans and offers a suggested method of taking on White's main ideas: Black should preserve the dark-square bishop, exchange off White's bishop once it lands on f4 by ...Nh5, or - in the case of b3 followed by Ba3 - exchange on a3 and misplace White's knight.
  • I appreciated the expert evaluations and explanations of why particular exchanges and moves worked in this particular setup. Normally Black tries to avoid exchanging off the dark-square bishop, for example, but here specific positional considerations outweigh that general principle when White plays Ba3.  In the other scenario, Black drops back the bishop on d6 to e7 when challenged by Bf4, since the exchange on f4 would in contrast help reposition White's Nh3 to a better square.

Chapter 2: Fianchetto Systems with Nf3
  • GM Perelshteyn prefers the ...b6/Bb7 development in the main line for White that features the development setup b3/Bb2/Qc1/Ba3.  He points out simplifying lines leading to endgame and more complex middlegame possibilities.
  • 8. Bf4 plan for White is also covered; here the exchange is OK, and then he shows the potential power of alternate bishop development for Black (...Bd7-e8-h5/g6)
  • Also shows alternate bishop development in Nc3/Qc2 plan for White, with queenside pawn expansion (Rb1 followed by b4).

Chapter 3: e3 and Nf3 Setups (non-Fianchetto)
  • This chapter demonstrates more classic Stonewall kingside attack ideas, centered around an early ...Ne4 by Black, followed by ...Qf6 and ...g5.  
  • Does a good job of emphasizing the elements of attack and the associated key concepts (control of e5, exchanging with a knight on g3, etc.)

Chapter 4: e3, Bd3 and Nge2 Setups
  • In this setup, White reserves the option of f2-f3 to kick a ...Ne4.
  • White also has different castling options - Bd2 followed by O-O-O is a possibility.
  • GM Perelshteyn recommends quick action by Black on the queenside after castling (O-O), with ...Na6 development, exchanging pawns on c4 then following up with ...b5.  These lines may involve pawn sacrifices, but Black has good compensation.

Chapter 5: Sample game: Kramnik-Anand, Melody Amber 2008
  • This game is particularly interesting for reaching the Stonewall via the Queen's Indian Defense move-order.
  • Black undertakes a thematic attack on the kingside after playing in the center; Anand switched to this strategy after Kramnik committed to a queenside advance.
  • Also notable for Anand's brilliant tactical finish with the queen
  • Below is the (unannotated) game, for those interested in taking a look.

[Event "Amber-rapid 17th"] [Site "Nice"] [Date "2008.03.15"] [Round "1"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2799"] [BlackElo "2799"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2008.03.15"] [EventType "tourn (rapid)"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "FRA"] [EventCategory "21"] [SourceTitle "CBM 123 Extra"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2008.05.06"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2008.05.06"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bc3 d5 9. Ne5 Nfd7 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. O-O f5 13. Rc1 Nf6 14. Bb2 Bd6 15. Nf3 Qe7 16. Ne5 Rac8 17. Nd3 Rfd8 18. Re1 Qe8 19. e3 g5 20. Rc2 g4 21. Qc1 Qe7 22. Rd1 Ne4 23. c5 bxc5 24. dxc5 Bb8 25. Ne5 Ng5 26. Qa1 Nf7 27. Nxf7 Kxf7 28. a4 h5 29. b4 h4 30. b5 Bb7 31. Rdc1 Kg6 32. Be5 Bxe5 33. Qxe5 Qf6 34. Qd4 e5 35. Qb4 hxg3 36. hxg3 Rd7 37. Qa5 Rh8 38. Qxa7 f4 39. exf4 exf4 40. gxf4 Rdh7 41. Qb6 Qxf4 42. bxc6 Qf3 43. cxb7+ Kf5 0-1

Chapter 6: Sample game 2: student game
  • This game, by one of GM Perelshteyn's students, features an early c5 by White, followed by immediate queenside play. Black responds with the classic ...Bd7-e8-h5 plan and builds up on the kingside after locking the queenside and center.
  • It illustrates typical Black attacking themes against a setup that might be used by a club-level opponent.  One of the important lessons is that Black takes the necessary time to build up and does not rush the attack.

Chapter 7: Conclusion
  • Summarizes the overarching ideas: Stonewall pawn formation achieved through various openings - Dutch, Slav, QGD, Triangle formation, French 1...e6; there are various move-order tricks; Black's fianchetto development vs. Bd7-e8-h5 standard plans.

17 September 2018

Annotated Game #195: Drifting into the wrong plan

This second-round tournament game features the Slav main line for White, and the Lasker variation (5...Na6) for Black.  This looks unusual, but I like it because it avoids a huge amount of theory and is OK for Black.  Basically the knight should hop into b4 fairly early on and otherwise standard Slav developing moves are good.

In the game, by move 12 (...Nb4) I'm fine, but could have also looked at the 12 ...c5 pawn break idea, which was more challenging in the center.  (I would say that missing this idea is part of a pattern of playing openings "by rote", which I need to overcome by thinking more for myself.)  The main problem is a lack of strategic understanding of the position, which results in either drifting planless (moves 13-19) or finally selecting a wrong-headed plan focusing on the c-file.  Move 22 is an instructive strategic error, as (more seriously) is 24...f6?, which opens lines around my king and weakens my center.  I committed a similar error in another recent game, unnecessarily advancing the f-pawn and only focusing on the increased activity it could (theoretically) give my pieces, without properly taking into account that my opponent would benefit twice as much from it.  A good strategic lesson - although one should not conclude to never move the f-pawn as a result, just be very careful about the balance of forces that are unleashed.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class B"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D16"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 11.2"] [PlyCount "85"] {[%mdl 8256] D16: Slav Defence: 5 a4: Lines with 5...Bg4 and 5...Na6} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Na6 6. e3 Bg4 7. Bxc4 e6 8. h3 Bh5 9. O-O Be7 10. Be2 {at the time, I thought this was largely a wasted tempo, but the bishop is doing no good on the a2-g8 diagonal.} O-O 11. Ne5 Bxe2 12. Qxe2 Nb4 { this is where the knight normally belongs in this variation of the Slav. The move is perfectly fine, but an alternative also suggests itself:} (12... c5 $5 {effectively challenges White's center and takes advantage of the fact that the knight can still support it from a6.}) 13. Bd2 a5 {not a bad move, but unnecessary, and it accomplishes nothing for me in practical terms, as the Nb4 is adequately protected. Better would be to develop with ...Qc7 to connect the rooks and pressure e5, or perhaps go for the immediate ...c5 idea to challenge the center.} (13... Nd7 $5 {is also a worthwhile idea, challenging White's well-placed knight.}) 14. Rfd1 Qc7 15. Rac1 Rfd8 16. Qc4 {this is aggressive-looking but really doesn't help White much.} (16. Qf3 {is a better square for the queen.}) 16... Nbd5 17. Be1 Nxc3 {this is OK, but I really didn't have much of a plan here.} (17... Bd6 {when no plan leading to an advantage is obvious, it's a good idea simply to improve the position of your pieces. On d6, the bishop is on a much more useful diagonal (b8-h2) and fights for the e5 square.}) 18. bxc3 Nd7 {I continue with the rather basic idea of just exchanging pieces.} 19. f4 Nxe5 20. fxe5 Rac8 $6 {this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the position. Not a blunder, but a strategic inaccuracy.} (20... Qd7 {is one path, removing the queen from the c-file and thereby freeing the c6-pawn to capture on b5. The plan would be to play ... Rdb8 and push b7-b5.} 21. Rb1 $11) (20... Bg5 {is another simple yet effective idea, greatly improving the bishop's scope and targeting the weak e3 pawn.}) 21. Bd2 {somewhat passive.} (21. Rb1 $5) 21... c5 {finally I am able to get in this active idea.} 22. Qe2 c4 $2 {this is a classic Class player type error, not being comfortable in maintaining pawn tension. Now the pawn is isolated on c4 and White's center is stronger for it.} (22... b6 {is another simple but strong move.} 23. Rb1 $11 {White cannot get enough pressure down the b-file to break through and pawn exchanges would not help him either.}) (22... Qd7 $5 23. Rb1 Qxa4 24. Ra1 Qc6 25. Rxa5 Ra8 $11) 23. Qf3 $14 {pressuring b7 and f7 at the same time.} Qc6 {at the time I thought this would solve my problems.} 24. Rf1 f6 $2 {this creates weaknesses for Black. It seems I have a tendency to do this sort of self-inflicted wound with the f-pawn by not calculating fully the consequences of an advance and pawn break.} (24... Qxf3 $5 25. gxf3 b5 26. axb5 Rb8 $11) 25. exf6 $16 Bxf6 {now the f7 square and e6 pawn are weak, with additional lines opened around the Black king.} 26. e4 (26. Rb1 Rc7 $16) 26... Rf8 $6 (26... e5 {was the best defense.} 27. Qf5 (27. dxe5 $6 Bxe5 {and now if} 28. Qf7+ Kh8 29. Rf5 Qd6 $15) 27... Kh8 28. d5 Qxa4 29. Bg5 Bxg5 30. Qxg5 Qe8 $11 {Black's pawn snatching at least provides compensation for the uncomfortable position.}) 27. Qg4 $16 {the most effective idea for White, pinning the g-pawn and creating tactical possibilities on the f-file against the Bf6. Also pressures the e6 pawn.} e5 $2 {it's interesting to me how good ideas played a tempo too late can turn into bad ones. This is an example.} ( 27... Rce8 $16) 28. d5 $18 {my opponent finds the move that leads to a winning advantage. The passed d-pawn becomes a major factor now.} Qc5+ 29. Kh2 Kh8 30. Rb1 {keeping the pressure on all the weak points in my position.} Rc7 31. Rb5 { by this point I realized I was in big trouble, since my passive defense can't cover all of my weaknesses.} Qa7 32. d6 Rcf7 33. Qe6 {it's instructive how White takes such effective advantage of my positional weaknesses, penetrating here to a key square.} b6 34. Qxc4 Qd7 (34... Rd7 35. Qe6 Qb7 36. Be3 $18) 35. Rxb6 Bd8 {desperation, but this just gets me in further trouble, due to back rank problems.} 36. Rxf7 Rxf7 37. Rb8 Rf8 38. Bg5 {I could resign here, but played on a few more moves in case my opponent randomly blundered.} h6 39. Bxd8 Rxd8 40. Rxd8+ Qxd8 41. Qc7 Qf6 $2 {I missed the forced exchange of queens in the next sequence, but I was lost anyway.} 42. Qc8+ Kh7 43. Qf5+ 1-0