17 July 2011

Annotated Game #1: GM Walter Browne simul

This game was played at a simultaneous exhibition by GM Walter Browne at the 2006 National Open in Las Vegas.  I was able to prepare the opening in advance to a large extent, researching in my games database what Browne had used against the Caro-Kann after determining he was most likely to open with e4.  Although I went off-book at move 12, I still understood the positional ideas well enough that it wasn't a major issue.  Both players miss a couple of interesting tactical points along the way, maneuvering into an even endgame with Q+B+pawns on both sides.

The original tactical analysis was by Fritz 8 some five years ago.  I went through the game again from a human perspective and also had the Houdini engine check some moves, which in some cases overturned Fritz's assessments and backed up my own original thoughts.

I selected this game because it is a largely clean one and I remember my thought processes well enough, even five years later, probably due to the preparation and intensity involved.  I'm a fan of Browne's games and was honored to be able to play him.

[Event "Simul"] [Site "Las Vegas"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Browne, Walter"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B19"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2006.??.??"] {B19: Classical Caro-Kann: 4...Bf5 main line} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nf6 {This sub-variation is relatively rare in practice, with Nd7 being played most often. I evaluate it as just as sound and less famiiliar for most White players, making it good for Black.} 8. Ne5 Bh7 9. Bc4 e6 10. Qe2 Nd5 {This last sequence is essentially forced after Ne5, which is White's all-out attacking attempt.} 11. Bb3 Nd7 12. Bd2 Qc7 $146 ({ My personal opening book is} 12... a5 13. a4 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Qb6 15. O-O-O O-O-O {as the a5/a4 moves give the Nd5 an outpost on b4 if needed. In general, the idea is to exchange the e5 knight and castle queenside, with the queen deployed to either b6 or occasionally c7, depending on white's play. In the actual game, this is the point where I did not remember the book continuation, although I did remember the idea behind it.}) 13. O-O Nxe5 14. dxe5 O-O-O 15. h5 Bc5 16. Rad1 Rd7 17. Rfe1 Rhd8 18. Bc1 Qb6 {This illustrates why the normal move earlier is Qb6 rather than Qc7, that would have saved a tempo on the position.} 19. c3 Ne7 20. Rxd7 Rxd7 21. Bc4 Nd5 {This rook exchange sequence gains Black the d-file and reduces the number of heavy pieces available for White to attack with.} 22. Qf3 Qd8 {Both Fritz and Houdini at this point prefer Qc7, which in words means the queen pressures e5 and also helps cover the 7th rank on defense. While doubling up on the d-file looks good, the points of potential rook invasion are at this point well covered by White.} 23. Ne4 Bxe4 24. Qxe4 Be7 {Not the best. Houdini recommends f5 first, which would prevent a future queen invasion on h7.} 25. g3 {Prevents any funny business from Black on h4} Bc5 26. Kg2 Ne7 {It would be better to anticipate the queenside pawn advance with Bb6} 27. b4 Bb6 28. a4 Rd1 29. a5 {Qe2 is necessary to prevent the tactical shot on f2, which however...} Rxe1 ({I also miss.} 29... Bxf2 $5 30. Kxf2 Rxc1 31. Rxc1 Qd2+ {employs a queen fork and highlights the value of the queen on the open file.}) 30. Qxe1 $14 Bc7 31. Qe4 {This allows the black queen to penetrate, thereby fully offsetting white's space advantage and two bishops.} Qd1 $11 32. Be3 Qxh5 33. f4 Nd5 {Houdini says a6 would have been slightly better, although I thought getting the knight into play was more important at the time.} 34. Bxa7 Nxc3 ({Here both Fritz and Houdini originally thought that} 34... Qg4 {was better, as the queen stays active near white's king with the possibility of advancing the h-pawn to attack. However, Houdini eventually came around to my way of thinking. Both moves are essentially equal.}) 35. Qd3 (35. Qh7 $142 $5 $16 {was Fritz's evaluation, although I wasn't afraid of it at the time, believing my piece activity would compensate. Houdini agrees with me.}) 35... Nd5 $11 36. b5 Qg4 { Fritz agrees taking the pawn too early is bad.} ({Not} 36... Bxa5 37. bxc6 bxc6 38. Bxd5 exd5 39. Qa6+ Kd7 40. Qxa5 Qe2+ 41. Bf2 Qe4+ 42. Kh2 $18) 37. Bxd5 exd5 38. bxc6 Bxa5 $4 ({Unfortunately I didn't remember this and admittedly was a bit flustered by White's apparent attack. Better is} 38... Qe6 39. cxb7+ Kxb7 40. Bd4 $14 Bxa5) 39. cxb7+ $4 ({Both Browne and I missed} 39. Qxd5 $142 { and White wins} Qe2+ 40. Bf2 $18) 39... Kxb7 $16 40. Be3 Qd7 $11 {At this point we have reached a dead-even endgame where neither side can hope to make progress with good play.} 41. Qd4 Kc8 42. Qc5+ Qc7 43. Qxd5 Bb4 ({This allows white too much space. Better was} 43... Qb7 44. Qxb7+ Kxb7) 44. f5 {After this move, either Qc2 or Qb7 allows Black to comfortably hold. Something like Kh2 could have been tried to keep the queens on and white's space advantage.} 1/2-1/2


  1. Ncie draw with a GM (even in a simul that is an accomplishment!) and these posts are a very promising start to your blog. I appreciate the mention below. I will do a brief post pointing people here.

    Best regards,


  2. Thanks, much appreciated. In general I find that I do much better against stronger players, as my game gets elevated. One of the things I need to work on is playing strongly and consistently against players that are at or below my own (rated) strength.

  3. Ditto, congrats to getting a draw with a GM!

    I've just found your blog. It's so great. Thank you for including your notes on your games. They are extremely helpful.