Games Outside the Spotlight

Mon, 2013-04-08 18:22 -- IM Max Illingworth

Blog Post 6-4-2013

Games Outside the Spotlight

With the Candidates tournament having such an exciting finish (for those of you who missed it – Carlsen is Anand’s challenger for the World Championship Match) it’s easy to forget that other tournaments were being played at the same time! So for this blog post I’ve decided to write a ‘Games Column’ of sorts with three lightly annotated games from various open tournaments. You’ll notice I haven’t covered any Doeberl Cup games – that’s because I’ll be going through those next week! ;

[White "Stukopin, A."]
[Black "Eliseev, U."]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[EventDate "2013.03.22"]

[pgn] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. c3 O-O 7. h3 {This move
indicates a positional approach by White, making a useful move while waiting
to see what setup Black opts for.} (7. d4 cxd4 8. cxd4 d5 9. e5 Ne4 {is quite
okay for Black.}) 7... Qb6 8. Na3 d5 9. e5 Ne8 10. Bf1 {White prepares to play
d3 as} (10. d4 cxd4 11. cxd4 Nc7 12. Bxc6 bxc6 {is quite okay for Black, who
can compensate for his backward c6-pawn through play on the queenside with ...
a5-a4, ...Bf5 and ...Rfb8.}) 10... Nc7 11. d3 Ne6 12. Qb3 Qd8 (12... d4 13.
Qxb6 axb6 {was slightly more accurate to gain more space in the centre as} 14.
Nc4 Ra6 {achieves nothing for White.}) 13. Nc2 d4 14. Bd2 (14. cxd4 Nexd4 15.
Ncxd4 Nxd4 16. Nxd4 Qxd4 {would be pleasant for Black as White's central pawns
are both vulnerable, but White should still be okay.}) 14... b6 15. cxd4 cxd4
16. Nb4 Bb7 17. Nxc6 Bxc6 18. Ng5 Nc5 19. Qc4 Qd5 (19... a5 {is a good
alternative to stop White getting any queenside play with b4.}) 20. b4 Na4 21.
f4 Rac8 22. Rac1 Bh6 23. b5 Qxc4 24. dxc4 Bb7 {This endgame is a bit better
for Black, who has a strong passed d-pawn and a good square for his knight on
c5. Meanwhile he has ideas of ...f6 to break down what's left of White's
centre.} 25. h4 a5 (25... Nc5 {might be more accurate since Bb4 doesn't seem a
real threat.}) 26. bxa6 Bxa6 27. Bb4 Nc5 28. g3 Bxg5 29. hxg5 Rfd8 30. Red1 ({
White missed a good chance for} 30. e6 fxe6 31. Bxc5 Rxc5 32. Rxe6 d3 33. Rxb6
Rxc4 34. Rd1 {when the d-pawn and a-pawn will soon be exchanged, with a simple
draw.}) 30... Rc7 31. Rc2 Rcd7 {Now Black is back in control of the position.}
32. Ba3 Ne4 33. Bd3 Nc3 34. Re1 Rc7 {Once Black wins the c-pawn it's a lot
easier for him to advance his d-pawn, but it's not over yet by any means.} 35.
Bb4 Bxc4 36. Bxc4 Rxc4 37. Bxe7 d3 38. Rd2 Rdd4 {The dark squares around
Black's king might seem to be an issue but it's very hard for White to take
advantage of it because Black controls the open c-file and the other files
aren't open.} 39. Re3 {After this simple blunder it's all over.} (39. Kf2 {was
an improvement, as} Ne4+ 40. Rxe4 Rxe4 41. Rxd3 Red4 42. Rb3 {gives White
enough counterplay to draw. White's pawns are safe enough and Black can't
really get his king into the game.}) (39. e6 Ne4 40. Bf6 Nxf6 41. gxf6 fxe6 42.
Rxe6 Rc2 43. Rd1 Kf7 44. Rxb6 Rxa2 {was another possible continuation, which
should also end in a draw after} 45. Rb3 Kxf6 46. Rbxd3 Rxd3 47. Rxd3 {.})
39... Nd5 40. Rexd3 Rxd3 41. Rxd3 Nxe7 42. Rd8+ Kg7 43. Rd7 Nf5 44. e6 Re4 45.
g4 Nd4 {After this blunder White is back in the game!} (45... Ne3 46. Rxf7+ Kg8
{was the simplest way to win as after} 47. f5 Rxg4+ 48. Kh1 Nxf5 {Black stops
the e-pawn in time.}) 46. e7 Nc6 47. f5 gxf5 48. gxf5 Nxe7 49. f6+ Kg6 50. fxe7
Kxg5 51. e8=Q Rxe8 52. Rxf7 {This endgame should be a draw due to the limited
material, but White messes up (perhaps in time trouble).} h5 53. Rf3 Re1+ 54.
Kf2 Ra1 55. Rb3 Rxa2+ 56. Kg3 {Even without the a-pawn the endgame should be a
draw as Black can't advance one of his pawns without losing the other.} h4+ 57.
Kh3 Ra6 58. Rb5+ {This is a blunder as Black will be able to achieve the
Lucena position. White's king will not make it back in time.} (58. Rb4 {was
correct, in order to recapture with the rook:} Kf5 59. Rxh4 Ke5 60. Kg3 Kd5 61.
Kf3 b5 62. Ke3 {and the endgame is an easy draw.}) 58... Kf4 59. Kxh4 Ke4 60.
Kg4 Kd4 61. Rb1 Kc4 62. Kf4 b5 63. Ke3 b4 64. Kd2 Ra2+ 65. Kd1 Rh2 {White
resigned.} 0-1 [/pgn]

[Event "36th San Sebastian Open"]
[White "Narciso Dublan, M."]
[Black "Vocaturo, D."]
[WhiteElo "2551"]
[BlackElo "2511"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]

[pgn]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b5 7. cxb5 c6 8.
Bg5 ({The idea behind Black's gambit is that after} 8. bxc6 Nxc6 {Black gains
a big lead in development with ...Ba6/...Bb7, ...Qb6 and ...Rfc8 coming, and
additionally he has managed to open the position. Therefore White prefers to
return the pawn to catch up in development and retain a small positional
advantage (i.e. the two bishops).}) 8... cxb5 9. e3 Bb7 10. Nf3 h6 11. Bh4 g5 {
While the pin is a bit annoying, it doesn't feel right to break the pin in
this way as it greatly weakens Black's king.} (11... a6 12. Be2 Nc6 {is better,
intending to complete development with ...Rc8.}) 12. Bg3 Ne4 13. Qc2 {White
chooses this square so he can fight for control of the e4-square with Bd3 and
possibly Nd2.} Na6 14. b4 (14. Bxb5 Qa5+ {is best avoided!}) (14. Nd2 {was
more precise to immediately contest the e4-square, e.g.} Rc8 15. Qd3 Nxd2 16.
Qxd2 {and Black's knight is not very well placed, while} Be4 17. Bd3 Bxg2 18.
Rg1 Bh3 19. Bxb5 {would be a favourable pawn exchange for White as his king is
very safe in the centre.}) 14... Rc8 15. Qb2 Nc7 (15... h5 {would at least
make some sense of Black's ...g5 plan as after} 16. h3 Nxg3 17. fxg3 {White's
kingside pawn structure would also be compromised.}) 16. Bd3 f5 17. Bxc7 Rxc7
18. O-O {White has managed to complete his development but this was at the
price of his bishop pair. Meanwhile Black has a powerful grip on the central
light squares and should even be a bit better.} g4 (18... Nc3 {was the correct
approach, intending with} 19. Rac1 Qc8 {to tie White up on the open c-file.
Meanwhile there are ideas of ...Bxf3 to wreck White's kingside pawns.}) 19. Ne5
Ng5 {Unfortunately Black spoils a good position by going for an attack that
isn't there.} 20. Rfc1 d6 21. Ng6 Rg7 {A strange blunder.} (21... Rf6 22. Rxc7
Qxc7 23. Nf4 {would be a normal continuation, though White's safer king and
control of the c-file would give him a big edge nonetheless.}) 22. Nxf8 Qxf8 (
22... Nf3+ 23. gxf3 gxf3+ 24. Kh1 {followed by Rg1 is completely safe for
White, and the same goes for}) (22... Nh3+ 23. gxh3 gxh3+ 24. Kf1 {.}) 23. d5
Bxd5 24. Bxb5 Kh7 25. Bc6 Be4 26. Bxe4 fxe4 {With Black's attack defused, the
rest shouldn't be a hassle for White.} 27. Kh1 h5 28. Qe2 Qf5 29. Rc6 Qe5 30.
Rg1 d5 31. Qc2 Kg6 32. f4 gxf3 33. gxf3 Qf6 34. f4 Kh7 35. fxg5 Qf3+ 36. Qg2
Qxe3 37. g6+ Kh6 38. Rc8 {That's the irony of chess - when you try too hard to
checkmate the opponent quickly, they play a successful mating attack on you
instead!} 1-0

[White "Korneev, O."]
[Black "Granda Zuniga, J."]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2609"]
[BlackElo "2634"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[EventDate "2013.03.27"]

[pgn]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qc7 {The game reaches a standard
Scheveningen position from a Taimanov move order.} 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O
a6 8. Be3 Be7 9. f4 d6 10. Qe1 {This Qe1-g3 manoeuvre is something of an
Australian speciality - Rogers did well with it in his career and recently
Solomon used it to inflict Van Wely's only defeat in the Doeberl Cup.} O-O 11.
Qg3 Kh8 {This move tries to avoid White's attack but doesn't really succeed in
doing so.} (11... Bd7 12. Rad1 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 Bc6 {would be a standard way to
play, activating the bishop and putting pressure on e4. Note that} 14. e5 dxe5
15. fxe5 Nd7 {would be fine for Black who can already think about ganging up
on the e5-pawn.}) 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. e5 ({The more patient} 13. Rad1 {was also
possible, but then} e5 {would give Black a good share of central control.})
13... Nd5 (13... dxe5 14. fxe5 Nd7 {was again preferable, with an interesting
endgame being a possibility after} 15. Rad1 Qxe5 16. Qxe5 Nxe5 17. Ne4 {-
Black might be up a pawn but he is losing the battle for the dark squares and
his queenside pieces are conspicuous by their passivity.}) 14. Bd2 {I admit to
not seeing the purpose of this move.} (14. exd6 Qxd6 15. Bd4 {would be a more
positional approach, hoping to one day exploit Black's isolated queenside
pawns.}) 14... Rb8 15. Kh1 {However this move makes more sense, getting out of
the way of a check on the g1-a7 diagonal. White is sacrificing a pawn but he
gets a strong attack on Black's king in return.} dxe5 16. fxe5 Rxb2 17. Bd3 f5
{This is a good defence, aiming to block that dangerous d3-bishop's view of
the kingside.} 18. exf6 gxf6 19. Qh3 Bd8 {This wasn't the best defence as now
White's pieces enter the floodgates to the kingside.} (19... f5 {was correct,
not fearing} 20. Na4 Rb8 21. c4 Nf6 22. Bc3 {as with} Bb4 23. Bb2 Be7 {Black
can hold a draw due to the threat of ...Rb4 or even ...Rxb2 sacrificing the
exchange to take the initiative.}) 20. Nxd5 cxd5 21. Ba5 {Perhaps this is what
Black missed.} Qg7 22. Bxd8 Rxd8 23. Bxh7 {Now Black's king is much too unsafe.
} Qxh7 (23... Rb6 24. Rf4 Qxh7 25. Rh4 {isn't any better.}) 24. Qc3 Qxc2 25.
Qxf6+ Kh7 26. Qe7+ {Black resigned as he is getting mated and/or losing all
his pieces.} 1-0

Finally I’ll leave you with an interesting game where the advantage ebbs and flows until White blunders a decisive pawn. Feel free to analyse this one yourself!

(313) Ulibin,M (2521) - Hillarp Persson,T (2527) [C02]
Paskturneringen Open Norrkoping SWE (8), 01.04.2013

[pgn]1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.e5 Nc6 5.d4 Qb6 6.a3 Bd7 7.b4 cxd4 8.cxd4 Rc8 9.Bb2 Nge7 10.Nc3 Na5 11.Nd2 Nc4 12.Bxc4 dxc4 13.Nde4 Ng6 14.0–0 Bc6 15.d5 Rd8 16.Na4 Qa6 17.Nac5 Bxc5 18.Nxc5 Qb5 19.d6 0–0 20.Qd2 Bd5 21.f3 a5 22.Bc3 b6 23.a4 Qc6 24.Na6 Qb7 25.b5 f6 26.exf6 gxf6 27.Bb2 Rf7 28.Ba3 Rg7 29.Qh6 e5 30.Nc7 Bf7 31.Kh1 Qc8 32.Rad1 Qf5 33.Qe3 Nf4 34.Rd2 Kh8 35.g3 Rxg3 36.Qxb6 Qh3 37.Qf2 c3 38.Rc2 Rdg8


Next week I’ll do a combined Doeberl Cup/SIO report, analysing the most interesting games from each event.