15 September 2012

Annotated Game #63: Third time's the charm (?)

The first game of my next tournament is already covered in Annotated Game #3: Attack of the Clones (as the original, not the copy).  The second game isn't quite a clone, but it is yet another disappointing example of turning a Caro-Kann into a French (see Annotated Game #47).  If the practice of analyzing a game a week for this blog does nothing else for my game, it will ensure that I never do this again, this being the third time I have seen this error.  Let's hope there's not a fourth one lurking out there...

Unlike the previous efforts, at least I managed to secure a draw in this game.  White's cramped 7. Nd2?! development probably gets most of the credit for this, as does his failure to find a recurring tactical theme of trapping my light-square bishop on the queenside.  Black's setup isn't horrid, but it lacks counterplay until White allows some maneuvering by the Nc6.  The final position is interesting, as White's rooks are cut off from each other and Black ends up chasing the one on the 7th rank around.

Some lessons learned from the analysis:
  • Never get off the boat play ...e6 in the Caro-Kann Advance when there's still a chance to meaningfully develop the light-square bishop.
  • Properly evaluate the effects of minor piece trades, to ensure that you're not getting the worse end of the deal (move 9).
  • Look for the most active square for your minor piece and place it there (move 14).
  • Be wary of taking away squares from your own advanced pieces (moves 18-19)

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class B"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B12"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "62"] [EventDate "2006.??.??"] {B12: Caro-Kann: Advance Variation} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Be3 cxd4 6. cxd4 e6 $146 {d'oh!! Now all Black has is a tempo-down French defense.} ({Better is} 6... Bf5 {says Fritz. Apparently even it figured this one out by now, after looking at my games.}) 7. Nd2 $6 {a passive version of the knight development which allows Black to obtain equality. The knight is far from the action and clogs up the d2 square.} (7. Nc3 Bd7 $14 {and White is going to have an easy and pleasant game.}) 7... Nge7 8. Ngf3 Nf5 9. Bd3 Nxe3 {a move illustrating that that the time, I had little real conception of how to evaluate the quality of minor pieces. The Be3 is locked in by the d4 pawn and therefore is of lesser value. Also, following fxe3 White no longer has to worry about protecting d4 and has the nice half-open f-file.} (9... Qb6 $5) 10. fxe3 Be7 11. O-O O-O {Black here is fine, but White still has the easier game.} 12. Rc1 Bd7 13. Nb3 (13. a3 {would have been a prophylactic move, denying Black the chance to generate some immediate counterplay with the knight.}) 13... Nb4 14. Bb1 {White correctly avoid the trade, as his light-square bishop is much more valuable in this position than the knight.} Ba4 (14... Bb5 { is preferable, as it gets the bishop to a useful diagonal and helps keep White from building up on f1.}) 15. a3 Nc6 16. Qd3 {now Black's minor pieces definitely look misplaced and useless compared to White's. However, Black's defenses still hold.} g6 17. Nc5 Bxc5 18. Rxc5 a6 {doesn't Black wish his bishop had gone to b5 back on move 14? Now he has to prepare it.} 19. Rfc1 Bb5 {unfortunately, Black doesn't prepare it enough. Now White could gain tactical threats on the queenside because of the bishop's lack of squares.} (19... Na5) 20. Qc3 {White misses the threat.} (20. Qc2 Qe7 21. b3 {and now the bishop's squares are gone, requiring Black to go into some contortions.} Na7 (21... b6 $5 22. Rxb5 axb5 23. Qxc6 Qxa3 24. Qc2)) 20... Ne7 (20... Be2 $5) 21. Qe1 Bc4 { the e2 square is no longer available for the bishop. However, the Rc5 is now exposed to the threat of ...b6.} 22. Qh4 Nf5 $6 (22... Kg7 {is the correct defense, allowing the rook to come to h8 for the defense of h7.}) 23. Qxd8 Rfxd8 24. Bxf5 gxf5 25. Rc7 b5 26. Ng5 {Begins the manoeuvre Nf3-g5-h3-f4, which is rather slow.} (26. Nd2 $5 $14 {would again set up the b3 advance.}) 26... Rf8 27. Nh3 a5 28. Nf4 a4 {Black now locks out the b3 advance.} 29. h3 Rac8 30. Rb7 Rb8 31. Ra7 Ra8 1/2-1/2

1 comment:

  1. The comment on 13. a3 for white is interesting. I read so many beginner books advising not "wasting time" with moves like this it took a lot of experience to realize how useful this is to restrict the Nc6 when there is nothing urgent going on elsewhere.

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