05 June 2018

Annotated Game #189: Unnecessarily complicated

This next tournament game has the recurring theme of unnecessarily complicated moves by White (me).  At several points, I see tactical or other ideas which are slightly worse than the simple approach to the position, and choose to go with them.  This doesn't lose the game for me - an underdeveloped sense of danger about Black's advanced passed b-pawn does that - but it certainly contributes to setting up the conditions for the game-losing blunder.  Some useful lessons in there.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class A"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A22"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 11.2"] [PlyCount "84"] [EventType "game"] {[%mdl 8256] A22: English Opening: 1...e5 2 Nc3 Nf6} 1. c4 d6 2. Nf3 {this is actually not played very often and has a relatively weak score (51 percent) in the database. Black's last move strengthened e5, so Nf3 is less effective than the alternatives.} (2. Nc3) (2. g3) 2... e5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d3 Be7 5. g3 O-O 6. Bg2 c6 {Black now has a rather effective version of an Old Indian Defense setup in place.} 7. O-O h6 {a classic restraining move, preventing ideas of White using g5.} 8. Rb1 a5 {restraining the idea of the b-pawn advance.} 9. a3 {White insists on the idea.} Re8 10. b4 axb4 11. axb4 Bf8 {part of the point of the earlier ...Re8, clearing f8 for the bishop, also a common idea in the Spanish Game / Ruy Lopez.} 12. b5 {the obvious follow-up for White.} d5 { the correct reaction for Black, who is well-supported in the center.} 13. Qc2 $6 {this does not in fact improve White's prospects any, so it would be better to go ahead and resolve the pawn tension.} (13. bxc6 bxc6 14. d4 Bf5 $11) 13... Qe7 {this queen move similarly does not do much for Black, although the idea of lining up on the e-file is clear.} (13... d4 $5 {is an interesting alternative, notes Komodo via the Fritz interface.} 14. Nd1 cxb5 15. Rxb5 Nc6 $15) 14. bxc6 $11 bxc6 15. Nxe5 {an unnecessarily complicated tactical idea.} ( 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Bd2 {and White has a comfortable game.}) 15... Qxe5 $11 16. Bf4 {regaining the piece via the skewer/double attack on the Nb8.} Qf5 17. e4 { this is slightly inferior and again unnecessarily complicated.} (17. Bxb8 Bd7 18. Bf4 $11 {and now if} dxc4 {which I was worried about due to the pin on the d-pawn,} 19. Ne4 cxd3 20. exd3 $11 {and everything is fine.}) 17... dxe4 18. dxe4 Qe6 19. Rxb8 Rxb8 20. Bxb8 Qxc4 {now the position is imbalanced, with Black having a passed pawn on the queenside. The engine rates it with only a slight edge to Black, but I think it's a harder position for White to play, at least at the Class level.} 21. Rc1 Be6 22. Qb2 Nd7 23. Bf4 g5 24. Nd5 {again with the unnecessarily complicated theme.} (24. Be3) (24. Bf1 $5) 24... Qa4 { White has an active position} (24... Qd3) 25. Ra1 Qb5 {Black chooses to force the queen exchange, as otherwise I would have two minor pieces hanging.} 26. Qxb5 cxb5 27. Nc7 {forcing additional simplification.} Rc8 28. Nxe6 fxe6 { my position has now improved strategically, with the two bishops and Black's pawns less able to protect each other, which should make it easier for me to play, although technically the game is still balanced.} 29. Be3 b4 30. Ra7 { active rook placement on the 7th rank.} Nc5 31. f4 $4 {the game-losing blunder. I neglect the concrete threat Black's advanced b-pawn is capable of making, which could be easily contained.} (31. Ra5 $11) (31. Bh3 {is also good, restraining b4-b3 due to the bishop's pressuring of e6.}) 31... gxf4 $19 32. gxf4 b3 33. Bd4 Rb8 {and now material loss is inevitable for White.} 34. Ra1 Rb4 35. Bc3 (35. Bxc5 Bxc5+ 36. Kf1 b2 37. Rb1 Bd6 $19) 35... Rc4 36. Be5 Nd3 37. Bf1 (37. Bh3 {is not the saving move} Bc5+ 38. Kg2 Kf7 $19) 37... Nxe5 $1 { well done by Black, giving up the rook for a winning position.} 38. Bxc4 (38. fxe5 b2 39. Rb1 Bc5+ 40. Kh1 (40. Kg2 Rc2+ 41. Kg3 Bd4 $19) 40... Rc1 $19) 38... Nxc4 39. Ra8 {just desperation at this point.} (39. Rb1 {there is nothing else anyway} Bc5+ 40. Kg2 b2 {and after ...Bd4 and ...Nd2 I'm lost.}) 39... Kf7 40. Ra7+ Kg6 41. Kf2 $2 {a blunder, but it just hastens the inevitable.} Bc5+ 42. Ke2 Bxa7 0-1

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