06 July 2012

Annotated Game #53: Immediate Punishment

This second-round tournament features a quirky sideline of the Classical Caro-Kann allowed by White's move-order choice on move 6.  The resulting positions from this sideline tend to bear little resemblance to the normal ones, throwing both players out of book quite quickly.  Here, White seemingly plays aggressively with 8. Ne5, but the following exchanges are mostly unavoidable, leaving the players with no pieces developed on move 10. White in compensation for a wrecked kingside pawn structure has the two bishops and somewhat more active prospects for his pieces.

Black plays rather conventionally, overlooking some interesting active possibilities such as 11...Qa5 which would have thrown White off his game, but is not in any real trouble until he gets lazy on move 17.  Centralizing the knight looks good for all of one move, then White's pawns immediately start rolling over Black's pieces, punishing him for lack of attention.  Black misses a rather complicated defensive idea and then is down a full piece, putting up staunch resistance in the endgame but to no avail.

I got the most positive value from analyzing this game from looking at the piece exchanges resulting from the opening, which look OK for Black, and understanding how moves like 11...Qa5 can be advantageous.  The negative lesson is rather obvious, since Black failed to falsify his move, which would not have been very difficult to do (i.e. simply seeing the move 18. c4! from his opponent, hitting the Nd5.)  It's interesting to see how easy it is to pick out thought process mistakes in game analysis, which leads in turn to a significant part of the improvement process, that of recognizing and correcting recurring mistakes in play.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class A"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B18"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "77"] {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. h4 Nh5 {White's move-order with 6. Nf3 instead of 6. h4 allows Black to vary from the main line, which would be reached with 7...h6.} 8. Ne5 {an unusual try which looks aggressive but scores poorly for White.} (8. Ne2 {is the highest-scoring move choice in the database. Sample continuation:} Bf5 9. g3 e6 10. Bg2 Nd7 11. O-O Bd6 12. b3 O-O 13. Bb2 Qc7 14. c4 Nhf6 15. Qc1 Rad8 16. Re1 Rfe8 17. Nc3 Bf8 18. Ng5 g6 19. d5 cxd5 20. cxd5 e5 21. Nce4 Qb6 22. Qc4 Rc8 {Georgiev,K-Schlosser,P/Germany 1999/ GER-chT/1/2-1/2 (49)}) 8... Nxg3 {otherwise Black's knight is out of place on h5.} 9. Nxg6 $146 (9. fxg3 {was played in all other database games. However, the move-order of the captures does not appear to be of significance.} Nd7 10. Nxg6 hxg6) 9... hxg6 10. fxg3 e6 {now ...Nd7 would of course reach the same position as above.} 11. Be3 {treating the bishop like a big pawn doesn't seem like good piece play, although the move usefully overprotects the d4 pawn while keeping the option of pushing c4.} (11. c3 Bd6 12. Qf3 Qc7) 11... Bd6 ( 11... Qa5+ {would now exploit the bishop move, however, as Houdini points out. White would have to block the diagonal with c3 after all, or lose a tempo by moving the bishop again.}) 12. Qf3 Qc7 13. Bf2 (13. O-O-O {is a pawn sacrifice that is liked by the engines.} Bxg3 14. Rh3 Bd6 15. Kb1 Nd7 16. g4 {and the problem is that Black's king can't castle without causing further problems, so White has pressure against the king in the center for his pawn.} O-O {for example leads to} 17. h5 gxh5 18. gxh5 {with lots of open lines for White's heavy pieces and bishops to assault Black's king, along with the h-pawn.}) 13... Nd7 14. O-O-O Nf6 (14... O-O-O {immediately is best, as the Nd7 is fine where it's at. The f7 pawn is protected tactically now, due to possibility of a rook going to f8 in response to Qxf7.}) 15. Bc4 (15. g4 {is more challenging, at the same time also getting the pawn away from the pressure at g3 and allowing the Bf2 to protect the h-pawn.}) 15... O-O-O {White has a small advantage due to the two bishops and more active prospects for his pieces.} 16. Bb3 Kb8 17. g4 Nd5 $2 {a classic case of not considering the opponent's possible (and obvious) reply, which hits the knight and then immediately afterwards the bishop.} (17... Nd7 $14 {and Black hangs on, comments Fritz.}) 18. c4 $18 Nf6 {this simply makes the knight a target on f6, however, and also blocks the advance of the f-pawn.} (18... Ne7 {is a better defense.} 19. c5 ( 19. Qxf7 $2 {still doesn't work due to the bishop on f2 being targeted in an x-ray attack.} Rhf8 20. Qxg7 Rxf2 $19) 19... Bf4+ 20. Kb1 $18 {and the Bf4 can only survive if Black allows other material losses.} f6 21. g3 Bh6 22. Bxe6) 19. c5 Bf4+ 20. Kb1 {now Black doesn't have the possibility of playing ...f6 and the ...Bh6 retreat, while also needing to worry about the potential Bg3 skewer of Qc7 to Kb8 if the bishop moves off the h2-b8 diagonal.} Nd5 (20... Nh7 {is the best try, according to the engines, but Black is already essentially lost.} 21. g5 Ka8 22. g3) 21. g3 {the bishop is now out of safe squares.} g5 22. gxf4 gxf4 23. g5 g6 {and the rest is just mopping up by White, although Black attemps to tenaciously resist.} 24. h5 gxh5 25. Rxh5 Rhg8 26. Qe4 Rg7 27. Bxd5 cxd5 28. Qe5 Rdg8 29. Qxg7 Rxg7 30. Rh8+ Qc8 31. Rxc8+ Kxc8 32. Rg1 Kd7 33. Kc1 Ke7 34. Kd2 Rh7 35. Ke2 f6 36. g6 Rg7 37. Bh4 Rg8 38. Kf3 Rh8 39. Rg4 {and Black admits that the endgame is now hopeless.} 1-0

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