28 November 2012

Annotated Game #72: Round 1 - Round Turkey Tournament

This was technically the first round game of the 2012 Round Turkey tournament, although it was in fact played after the round 2 game (analysis forthcoming) against Rocky Rock.  TomG graciously took over Wang's spot, after the latter was a no-show, and played an interesting take on the Slow Slav as White against me.

One of the two main points of analytical interest in this game actually occurs quite early on, with move 6.  Black makes a standard-looking developing move (...Nbd7), which is in fact an unintended pawn sacrifice, a fact which I spotted immediately afterwards.  The variations that flow from the initial tactic, which involves a queen fork on b5, show a dynamic balance between material on the one side, and piece activity and placement on the other, that is worth studying.  White however avoids the line, instead relieving the central pawn tension with 7. c5, at the same time gaining a bit of space on the queenside.  I usually am perfectly happy to see these types of moves, since they pose no immediate problems and offer possibilities of counterplay by attacking the head of the pawn chain.

The second main point of interest is the 17th (and last) move of the game.  As played, it was the result of a misclick, the electronic equivalent of a touch-move fault in an over-the-board (OTB) tournament.  With 16. e4, TomG had thrown down the gauntlet in the center and I was forced to consider the various permutations of pawn exchanges and follow-up moves.  Unfortunately, this type of pawn structure is a particular weakness for me, as I have trouble calculating and evaluating it.  However, that makes it all the more important for me to play.  My intended move (17...Qe5) was fine on the surface, but would in fact have lead to a significant White plus following the next round of exchanges.  Taking with the pawn in the center would have led to equality instead.

Props to TomG for a well-played game until that point, which despite the premature ending still provided value to me in the post-game analysis process.

[Event "rated standard match"] [Site "Free Internet Chess Server"] [Date "2012.11.22"] [Round "?"] [White "TomG"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "1420"] [BlackElo "1713"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "34"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [TimeControl "3600+5"] {D10: Slav Defence} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 Nbd7 {this was played rather quickly on general principle. I then spotted, however, that White could win a pawn by force, although Black would have some compensation in development.} (6... e6 {is the overwhelming choice here. Normally a game would transpose back into a standard Slow Slav variation after this, unless White deliberately avoided Nf3.}) 7. c5 {White either didn't see the chance to pick up a pawn, or didn't want to go down that road. This removes the central tension early, which is tempting but dampens White's possibilities in the center.} (7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Qb5 {with a double attack on d5 and b7.} e6 {is what Houdini prefers as a response, giving the line as equal.} 9. Qxb7 Be7 10. Nf3 O-O {at this point Black has a small lead in development and White has to take some care with his queen placement, so as not to get it trapped.} 11. Qa6 Rb8 {and now if} 12. Qxa7 Bb4 13. Qa6 Bxc3+ 14. bxc3 Ne4 { is considered equal by the engine, with Black having enough superior piece activity to provide compensation for the material.}) 7... e5 {the obvious pawn break, taking advantage of the fact that White has delayed playing Nf3. This gains space for Black in all variations.} 8. f3 $146 {Secures e4+g4, notes Houdini via the Fritz interface.} (8. b4 {is Houdini's choice and a logical follow-up to the c5 thrust, which gained a bit of space for White on the queenside. This would support c5 against Black undermining it from the front with ...b6.}) 8... Be7 9. Nge2 O-O 10. O-O {this marks the start of the middlegame, at least for Black; White still needs to fully complete his development.} Qc7 {largely a developing and waiting move, connecting the rooks and putting the queen on a more useful square supporting e5.} 11. Bd2 b6 { after some thought, I didn't see much of a future for kingside play for Black, so decided to work to undermine White's pawn structure and play on the queenside and center.} 12. b4 Rab8 (12... Rfe8 {immediately probably was better, as the e-file is relatively more important and potentially useful to Black.}) 13. Rab1 b5 {here Black is guilty of prematurely releasing the tension. No reason not to keep the pressure up on c5.} (13... Rfe8 14. Rfc1 $11 Bf8 {with a similar idea as to the game continuation.}) 14. Ng3 Rfe8 15. Rbe1 Bf8 {intending eventual redeployment on g7, if possible. Otherwise, the bishop still provides a useful extra defender of the king position and its retreat activates the Re8.} 16. e4 {bold play and the most active choice. I have problems evaluating these kinds of positions where pawn duos are facing off against each other and there are different permutations involving their exchanges.} exd4 17. Qxd4 Qd6 {ChessAdmin resigns} (17... Qe5 {was my intended move, which I thought would hold things together in the center.} 18. Qxe5 Nxe5 {was essentially where I stopped my analysis, not seeing any major threats. However} 19. exd5 {is awkward for Black and Houdini points out a nasty variation:} Nxd5 20. Nxd5 cxd5 {with a positional plus for White due to the isolated queen pawn, with an additional tactic} 21. Rxe5 Rxe5 22. Bf4 { available to increase that plus.}) (17... dxe4 {is instead recommended.}) 1-0

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about that mouse slip. It always is one of my greatest worries when I'm playing a serious game on-line.