22 November 2015

Annotated Game #147: Simul vs. GM Shankland

I had the good fortune to have the opportunity to participate in a simultaneous exhibition given by GM Sam Shankland, one of the USA's top players.  In the following game, I venture into Stonewall Dutch territory, which was an excellent decision.  GM Shankland was unable to make any progress against it through the opening and middlegame phases.  I could have spiced up the game by offering a pawn sacrifice on move 9 and breaking the symmetry in the center, but chose instead to maintain the symmetry and keep things level.  GM Shankland made the excellent practical choice of heading for a level endgame, since Class players like myself often make poor choices and a GM can rely on their endgame knowledge without having to calculate too much.  This was the absolutely correct strategy, since under only mild pressure on the board I incorrectly chose to simplify the queenside pawn structure with an exchange, leading inevitably to losing a pawn and the game.  Well worth the experience, nonetheless.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Shankland, Sam"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A84"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 8"] [PlyCount "77"] {A84: Dutch Defence: 2 c4 Miscellaneous} 1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 {I was expecting a more committal follow-up such as e4.} d5 {there seems no reason to delay this inevitable move} 3. d4 {now I could enter a mainline Slav with ...Nf6, but I choose to go for a Stonewall setup.} e6 4. Qc2 f5 5. e3 Nf6 6. Bd3 Bd6 { we now have the Modern Stonewall on the board, via a Slav move-order. I was happy with the opening and my prospects versus White's chosen setup. Among other things White's B+Q battery on the b1-h7 diagonal is blunted by the f5 pawn and Black's strong grip on e4.} 7. O-O O-O {again, I saw no reason to delay an essentially inevitable move. This is also a way to see what White will do before developing the queenside.} 8. b3 {White needs to develop the dark-squared bishop somehow, either to b2 or a3.} Qe7 {the standard response to b3. By controlling a3 it ensures White will have to spend another tempo with a4 if he wants to try and exchange the Bd6. Also, e7 is in general an excellent square for the queen.} 9. cxd5 {this was a surprise, as I had expected White to follow up with developing the bishop immediately, or playing a4 to prepare Ba3.} cxd5 {there are only a couple of games in the database and Black wins them with either recapture. I decided to keep the pawn structure symmetrical and not offer to sacrifice the f-pawn, which however would give Black good compensation on the kingside.} (9... exd5 10. Bb2 (10. Bxf5 Bxf5 11. Qxf5 Ne4 $11) 10... Ne4 11. Ne5 Nd7 12. f3 Nec5 13. f4 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 Nb8 15. Nd2 b6 16. Rf2 Ba6 17. Qc2 Bb7 18. Ndf3 c5 19. Ba3 a5 20. h3 Na6 21. g4 Rac8 22. Qd2 Nc7 23. Rc1 Nb5 24. Bb2 Bb8 25. dxc5 bxc5 26. Qxa5 Nd6 27. Rxc5 Nc4 28. Rxc4 dxc4 29. Nxc4 Rxc4 30. bxc4 Qxe3 31. Qc3 Qxc3 32. Bxc3 fxg4 33. Ng5 { 0-1 (33) Zamfirescu,B (2108)-Posedaru,B (2318) Olanesti 2012}) 10. Ne5 { now out of the database. This was again somewhat surprising to me, as White seems to neglect development on the queenside.} (10. Nc3 Nc6 11. a3 Bd7 12. b4 Rac8 13. Qb3 Be8 14. Na4 Bh5 15. Be2 Ne4 16. Qd1 Rf6 17. g3 Bg4 18. Kg2 Rh6 19. Ng1 Rxh2+ 20. Kxh2 Qh4+ 21. Kg2 Nxg3 22. f4 Nxe2 23. Qe1 Qh5 24. Ra2 Ncxd4 25. exd4 Rxc1 26. Rxe2 Rxe1 27. Rexe1 Qg6 28. Kh2 Qh6+ 29. Kg3 g5 30. Nc5 Bxf4+ 31. Rxf4 gxf4+ 32. Kg2 Qh4 33. Kf1 f3 {0-1 (33) Lazic,M (2220)-Shumiakina,T (2375) Ulcinj 1997}) 10... Nbd7 {my instinct was to immediately challenge the Ne5, but this might not have been the best way to do it.} (10... Bd7 {Black would be perfectly happy if White exchanged his excellent knight for the "bad" light-square bishop.} 11. Bb2 Rc8 12. Qd1 Nc6 $11) (10... Nc6 {is another pawn sacrifice with good compensation and the knight doesn't block d7.} 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Qxc6 Bb7 13. Qc2 Rac8 14. Qd1 Ne4 $11 {Black has a significant lead in piece development and the open c-file in exchange for the pawn.}) 11. f4 { bringing more symmetry to the pawn structure and reinforcing the Ne5, so it can't be exchanged off.} Ne4 {I saw no reason to delay this knight jump, which is standard in the Stonewall and clears f6, potentially for the other knight. Also, Black can now exchange on e5, since the pawn recapture will no longer fork pieces on f6 and d6.} 12. a4 {this is a slight error which I can use to improve my position in the center.} (12. Nd2 a6 $11) 12... Nxe5 13. fxe5 Bb4 { of course this would not have been possible without White's move a4 having left the b4 square weak.} 14. Ba3 {no doubt the original intent behind a4.} Bxa3 {The piece exchange effectively gives a tempo back to White. Instead, it would have been better to use it for development.} (14... Bd7 $5 15. Bxb4 Qxb4) 15. Nxa3 a6 {I preferred this as a more permanent way of denying White the b5 square, although developing with ...Bd7 might be preferable.} 16. Bxe4 { White's light-square bishop has relatively little prospect and my Ne4 is well-placed, so the exchange makes sense.} fxe4 (16... dxe4 $6 17. Nc4 $16) 17. Rxf8+ Kxf8 {this felt a little dangerous - one always hates to put their king on an open file - but it keeps the position equal. Withdrawing the queen would be the wrong choice, allowing White to penetrate to the 7th rank.} (17... Qxf8 18. Qc7 $14) 18. Qc5 Bd7 {finally developing the bishop. Just as importantly the rook is now freed on the back rank.} 19. Qxe7+ {I thought this was a little premature, so welcomed it. The exchange is a good practical choice by the grandmaster, however, as he knew his endgame technique would be far superior to mine and give him winning chances, even in a balanced position.} Kxe7 20. Rc1 Rc8 {this is fine, although given the problems I later get myself into on the queenside, perhaps simplifying things with a pawn exchange would be best at this point.} (20... b5 $5 21. axb5 axb5 22. Ra1 Rc8 23. b4 $11 { this sequence is essentially forced and leaves White with no threats.}) 21. Rxc8 Bxc8 22. a5 {although the position is still dead even, White's more advanced pawns are a potential threat.} Bd7 23. Kf2 Kf7 24. Ke1 Ke7 25. Kd2 Kd8 26. Kc3 Kc7 27. Kb4 b6 28. Nb1 Bb5 {up to this point I have been successfully nullifying all of White's ideas. While the text move doesn't lose in itself, it does present a rather obvious target for White's knight. I would be better off playing a waiting move, since White cannot force a breakthrough.} (28... g5 ) (28... Be8) 29. Nc3 {with the (limited) pressure now on, I go astray and commit to resolving the queenside pawn tension. This is a typical Class player mistake, prematurely exchanging in order to eliminate tension.} bxa5+ $4 { not seeing the rather obvious way that White will be able to win a pawn in the near future, after transferring his knight to c5.} (29... Be8 $11 {this (or another bishop retreat) is the best way to continue.}) 30. Kxa5 $18 {and just like that, White has a won game.} Bf1 31. g3 g5 (31... Kd7 {does not improve anything} 32. Na4 Ke7 33. Nc5 $18) 32. Na4 Kd8 33. Nc5 Ke7 34. Nxa6 h5 35. Nc5 h4 36. b4 hxg3 37. hxg3 Kf7 38. b5 Bxb5 39. Kxb5 (39. Kxb5 Kg6 40. g4 Kf7 41. Kc6 Ke7 42. Kc7 Ke8 43. Kd6 Kf8 44. Nxe6+ Ke8 45. Nc7+ Kf7 46. e6+ Kf6 47. e7 Kg7 48. e8=Q Kh6 49. Ne6 Kh7 50. Qd7+ Kh6 51. Qg7#) 1-0

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