19 January 2013

Annotated Game #79: Happy just to finish the tournament

This was the last round of the tournament and was a fitting end to a rather poor series of games.  At least this time I secured a draw, rather than losing, although in the final position I accepted a draw after a poor move by my opponent.  Psychological factors often come into play in the timing of draw offers and acceptances; in this case, I had been forced to defend an inferior position for a significant amount of time and was happy to take the draw.

Some key points from analysis:
  • White's attempt to get Black out of book on move 3 was ill-advised; an inferior move like that offers no practical benefit in exchange for its weaknesses.
  • Black could have played the more challenging 6...Bg4 (and I probably will the next time I'm in a similar position).
  • Houdini validates the active 12...e5 for Black, striking in the center with White's king still there.
  • Unfortunately the bishop retreat soon after on move 15 invalidates this strategy and puts Black in a hole for the rest of the game.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class B"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D04"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2006.??.??"] {D02:1 d4 d5 2 Nf sidelines, including 2...Nf6 3 g3 and 2...Nf6 3 Bf4} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nbd2 $6 {apparently done to avoid any book knowledge by Black, more than anything. It blocks in the Bc1 and contributes little in compensation to White's development.} Bf5 {Black scores over 60 percent with this move.} 4. e3 e6 5. a3 Bd6 6. Nh4 {now out of the database, although it's a logical enough move, seeking to exchange the Bf5 and develop the other knight more usefully.} Be4 (6... Bg4 {is a little more challenging.}) 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 {the idea behind the previous move, to establish a strong central knight or force White to make concessions in his own position to remove it.} 8. Nf3 ( 8. Qg4 {would be an aggressive way to protect the knight, but White doesn't have enough going on the kingside to make it a real threat.} Qf6 {would be a simple way to defuse the situation.} (8... g5 {would also work tactically:} 9. Nf3 $2 h5 {and the queen is trapped.})) 8... Nd7 9. Nd2 Ndf6 10. Bd3 O-O 11. Qf3 Nxd2 12. Bxd2 e5 {the correct decision, according to Houdini. Black strikes in the center while White still needs to take time to castle.} 13. dxe5 Bxe5 14. O-O-O c6 {deciding to stay solid in the center, supporting d5.} 15. Qf5 (15. Kb1 {would be more prudent, vacating the square and allowing the defensive move Bc1.}) 15... Bd6 $6 {this one move hands White the initiative and puts Black in a positional hole, by abandoning the a1-h8 diagonal.} (15... Re8 {would develop the rook and maintain the bishop on the diagonal.}) 16. Bc3 $14 Qd7 $6 (16... Re8 $5 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Qxh7+ Kf8 $14 {would leave Black with at least some counterchances for the pawn.}) 17. Bxf6 $16 Qxf5 18. Bxf5 gxf6 {Black has material equality, but the shattered king position affords White long-term benefits and the initiative. Houdini assesses the position as the equivalent of Black being a pawn down.} 19. Rd4 (19. c4 $5) 19... h6 20. Kb1 (20. c4 Be5 21. Rg4+ Kh8 22. cxd5 cxd5 $16) 20... Be5 (20... Rfe8 {would at least get the rook into play, instead of leaving it dead on f8.}) 21. Rh4 Kg7 22. Rg4+ Kh8 23. f4 $6 {this cuts the Rg4 off from the queenside, limiting its usefulness and helping reduce the threats to Black.} Bd6 24. Rd1 Bc5 { pointing out the other weakness of f4, leaving behind a weak e-pawn.} 25. Rd3 Rg8 26. Rh4 Bf8 $6 {a poor decision, limiting Black's piece activity. In a rook ending, activity is key.} (26... Kg7 {would be a better defensive move.}) (26... Rxg2 {is the most active alternative.} 27. Rxh6+ Kg7 28. Rh7+ Kf8) 27. g4 (27. e4 dxe4 28. Bxe4 Re8 29. Bf3 Re7 {would leave Black in a more difficult position.}) 27... Re8 {preventing further thoughts of e4.} 28. Rb3 Kg7 $2 (28... Re7 29. Bc8 b6 30. Bf5 $14) 29. Rh3 $6 (29. Bd7 $1 {and a combination of interference and pinning themes would allow White to win a pawn. } Re7 (29... Rb8 30. Bxc6) (29... Re4 30. Rxb7 Rxe3 31. Rxa7) 30. Rxb7) 29... Bc5 $6 30. Kc1 {missing the tactical continuation.} (30. Rxb7 Bxe3 31. Bd7 Re7 32. Bxc6 $14) 30... Re7 $11 {now Black protects against all of White's threats. } 31. Kd2 Rge8 {The pressure on the backward pawn e3 grows, notes Fritz.} 32. g5 $4 {among the various equal moves available, White picks a poor one and then offers a draw, which I unfortunately accepted. Capturing with the f-pawn would simply leave Black a pawn up after the exchange, with no real threats from White, which however I didn't see at the time.} 1/2-1/2

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