Moulthun wins SIO Part 2

Wed, 2014-05-07 10:29 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.25"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Roy Chowdhury, S."]
[Black "Ly, Mo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2491"]
[BlackElo "2440"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "92"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{The following win really set up Moulthun's SIO victory by putting him in the
clear lead (after co-leader Nisipeanu only drew his game).} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6
3. d3 b6 $5 {This is already a sign that Black wants to play the opening
creatively.} 4. Nbd2 Bb7 5. g3 d6 6. Bg2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8. h3 {It is hard to
see how this move helps White.} (8. e5 dxe5 9. Nxe5 Bxg2 10. Kxg2 {would be a
more logical attempt to press, though the endgame after} Qd5+ 11. Qf3 Qxf3+ 12.
Ndxf3 Nd5 13. a4 f6 14. Nc4 Nc6 {is already completely fine for Black - I
would even prefer his chances due to his extra space.}) (8. Re1 O-O 9. c3 Nc6
10. d4 {probably makes the most sense of all.}) 8... Nbd7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. a4 a6
(10... Qc7 {immediately connects the rooks, but in such a non-confrontational
position Black can afford to take time gaining some queenside space right off
the bat.}) 11. c3 (11. b3 b5 12. Bb2 {is a more harmonious deployment, though
after} e5 $1 {Black has no problems; if White pushes for f4 with} 13. Nh2 {,}
Re8 14. f4 exf4 15. gxf4 c4 $1 16. bxc4 bxc4 17. Nxc4 d5 {is a nice
counterstrike at the centre.}) 11... b5 12. Nh2 (12. axb5 axb5 13. Rxa8 Qxa8 {
is a favourable trade for Black as he now gets the open a-file and stops White
playing a quick d4. So White correctly plays on the side of the board where he
is stronger.}) (12. d4 {occupies the centre, but then it is hard for White to
develop the c1-bishop as the d2-knight is tied to defending the e4-pawn.} Qc7
13. e5 dxe5 14. dxe5 Nd5 {for instance would just leave the e5-pawn as a
target for Black's pieces.}) 12... Qc7 13. f4 bxa4 {This seems a small
concession, splitting the Black pawn chain.} (13... e5 14. f5 {seems a
promising change in the structure for White, but Black can play the strong} c4
$1 {to make the e4-pawn backward, and} 15. dxc4 bxc4 16. Nxc4 a5 $1 (16... Nxe4
17. Bxe4 d5 {is also OK mind.}) 17. Nd2 Qb6+ 18. Kh1 Rfc8 19. c4 Nc5 {gives
Black a very strong queenside initiative - White's pieces are tied to
defending all the weak pawns while Black penetrates the weak squares left
behind by those pawns.}) 14. Rxa4 Rfe8 15. Ra1 Bf8 {Black is preparing his
defences for the attack with ...g6 and ...Bg7, but after} 16. g4 $1 {White
definitely has the initiative.} g6 (16... Nb6 17. g5 Nfd7 {borrows an idea
from the Scheveningen, but I don't trust a lone bishop with the safety of my
king.}) 17. c4 {This is a positional mistake as it unnecessarily weakens the
d4-square.} (17. Bf3 Nb6 18. g5 Nfd7 19. Ng4 {followed by e5! is how I would
build up the attack. Black is yet to generate any counterplay on the other
wing.}) 17... Bg7 18. Ndf3 Nb8 $1 {A clever manoeuvre: after} 19. Bd2 Nc6 {the
knight will be ready to later come to the d4 or b4 outpost.} 20. Bc3 e5 (20...
Nd7 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 {is a positionally favourable exchange for Black, but after}
22. g5 {and Ng4 he should take great care not to get mated.}) 21. fxe5 {A
strange move as after Black's recapture his e5 and c5-pawns are as good as
White's c, d and e pawns.} (21. f5 {is the obvious reply, to deprive Black of
a pawn break and press on with the kingside attack.}) 21... dxe5 22. Qf2 Nb4
23. Rfd1 Rad8 (23... Nxd3 24. Rxd3 Nxe4 25. Qe1 Nxc3 26. bxc3 e4 27. Re3 Rad8 {
followed by ...f5 would have been a strong sequence - all of White's pieces
look stupid now. But Black prefers to play more positionally.}) 24. Qe2 h5 25.
g5 Nh7 {With the kingside closed, White won't ever get a checkmate, even if he
can somehow arrange a sack on h5.} 26. Nf1 Nf8 27. Ne3 Ne6 28. Bxb4 (28. Nd5
Bxd5 29. exd5 Nf4 {is very cute, but after} 30. Qe4 {I don't see how Black
cranks up the pressure.}) 28... cxb4 29. Nd5 Qd6 30. Qe3 Nd4 (30... Nf4 {is an
interesting idea, as White can't take the knight without the g7-bishop
breathing fire down the long diagonal.}) 31. Qf2 (31. Nxd4 exd4 32. Qf4 Qxf4 {
(else Nf6 will be quite annoying)} 33. Nxf4 {was White's chance to come out
unscathed - with Black's queenside pawns isolated and vulnerable, White will
take the initiative on the queenside.}) 31... Bxd5 $1 32. exd5 (32. cxd5 Nb3
33. Rab1 a5 34. Nd2 Nxd2 35. Rxd2 a4 {was still much better for Black as
White's bishop is effectively a prisoner, while Black is up a pawn on the
queenside and can activate his prelate to c5 via. f8.}) 32... e4 {A neat trick
- if Nxd4 Black has e3!.} 33. dxe4 Nb3 34. Ne1 {Sacrificing the exchange like
this is hopeless, but} (34. e5 Bxe5 35. Nxe5 {(to stop ...Bg3!)} Rxe5 {still
picks up a pawn due to the double threats of ...Nxa1 and ...Rxg5.}) 34... Nxa1
35. Rxa1 Qe5 (35... Rc8 36. Rc1 Qe5 {was more precise, so that after} 37. Nd3
Qxg5 {, compared to the game the rook on c8 attacks the c4-pawn.}) 36. Nd3 Qxg5
37. Rf1 {A blunder; instead} (37. Kh1 {followed by advancing the c-pawn would
have given White real compensation in his connected passed pawns.}) 37... Rxe4
38. Qxf7+ Kh7 {Now White's king is unable to resist the pillaging Black pieces.
} 39. Qc7 Rde8 40. d6 Rd4 {Here or on the previous move, ...Re2 would have
been pretty strong too.} 41. Rf7 Rg8 42. Nf2 Qc1+ 43. Bf1 Rf4 {Preparing ...
Rxf7 and ...Rf8, after which it is all over.} 44. b3 Rxf7 45. Qxf7 Rf8 46. Qe7
Qf4 {White resigned as if Qe2, Bd4 crashes White's tea party.} 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.26"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Ly, Mo"]
[Black "Ikeda, J."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B42"]
[WhiteElo "2440"]
[BlackElo "2338"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "25"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{In the next round the two stars of the SIO - Moulthun and Junta - agreed a
fairly early draw to conserve energy for the crucial penultimate round. For
those of you who haven't heard of the SIO before this post, there are two
rounds a day in this nine round tournament and each round can go for six hours
- so even hardened professionals can become fatigued from this schedule,
especially after playing the same schedule in the Doeberl Cup just beforehand!
} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Be7 7. Nc3 d6 8.
O-O Nf6 9. f4 Nc6 10. Qe2 Qc7 11. Bd2 O-O 12. Rae1 g6 13. Kh1 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.26"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Melkumyan, H."]
[Black "Ly, Mo"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D10"]
[WhiteElo "2633"]
[BlackElo "2440"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "152"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{I attended this round of the SIO in person (I didn't play the tournament as I
fell ill just after the Doeberl Cup) and it was a good round to visit as this
game was very interesting and Junta Ikeda broke a live FIDE of 2400 on the day!
} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. e3 Nf6 6. Bd3 a6 (6... Bg4 {is
Avrukh's recommendation in his Classical Slav book, getting the bishop out
without spending a tempo on ...a6.} 7. Qb3 Na5 8. Qc2 e6 {proves fine for
Black.}) 7. Nc3 Bg4 8. Nge2 {The knight comes here rather than to f3 so that
the pin can later be broken with f3, if he wants.} e6 9. O-O Be7 10. h3 (10.
Rc1 O-O {is a tabiya position for this system, where White has a wide choice.
White can generate small pressure with Na4-c5 but has to be very accurate or
Black will diffuse White's little initiative and fully equalise.}) 10... Bh5
11. Rc1 O-O 12. Na4 Nd7 13. a3 Bg6 {A good positional move - in this structure
Black's better bishop is the one on e7 and White's better bishop is on d3, so
Black trades his worse bishop for White's better half.} 14. b4 Ra7 ({After the
more obvious} 14... Rc8 15. Nc5 {may have bothered Black, but} Nxc5 16. bxc5
Bxd3 17. Qxd3 b6 $1 {with the idea of} 18. Qxa6 bxc5 19. dxc5 e5 20. Bh2 Qd7 {
would give Black good compensation for the pawn as White's two queenside
passed pawns are blockaded, isolated and weak.}) 15. Nc5 ({White can play Nc5
any day of the week, so I'd go for} 15. Bxg6 hxg6 16. Qd3 {as the a4-knight
stops Black playing the hugely desirable ...Nb6-c4 leap:} Nb6 17. Nxb6 Qxb6 18.
Nc3 {and one knight on a4 is replaced with another.}) 15... Ncb8 {This retreat
is quite strange; Black wants to kick the knight with ...b6 but this gives
White too much headway.} (15... Bxd3 16. Qxd3 Nb6 {was fine for Black as after}
17. Nxb7 $1 Nxb4 $1 18. Qxh7+ $1 Kxh7 19. Nxd8 Rxd8 (19... Nc4 $5 20. Nxe6 fxe6
21. axb4 g5 22. Bg3 Bxb4 {is sharper, intending to tie White to stopping the
a-pawn's march.}) 20. Bc7 Rd7 21. Bxb6 Rab7 22. Ba5 Nd3 {the knight makes it
to the promised land of c4 via. b2, and gives Black enough activity to make a
draw.}) 16. Bg3 b6 17. Nxd7 Nxd7 18. Nf4 b5 $1 {An accurate move, preparing ...
Nb6-c4 to lock down the position. It does let White penetrate down the c-file
(as he did in the game), but penetration of an open file does not lead to
success unless it can be transformed into something else.} 19. Qc2 Qa8 20. Qc6
(20. Nxg6 hxg6 21. a4 Bxb4 22. axb5 axb5 23. Bxb5 Nf6 {is just equal as all
the pawns are on one side of the board.}) 20... Nf6 (20... Bxd3 21. Nxd3 Rb7 {
followed by ...Nb6-c4 was the way to equalise - White can stop this with} 22.
Bc7 $5 {, but then the bishop gets in the way and} Nf6 23. Ba5 Ne4 {followed
by ...Nd6-c4 will be 100% fine for Black.}) 21. Nxg6 hxg6 22. f3 {It is
difficult to find a constructive plan (unless he goes back to ...Rb7/...Nd7-b6)
, so Moulthun sits and waits.} Nd7 23. Bc7 Nf6 (23... Nc5 24. Qxa8 Rfxa8 25.
bxc5 Rxc7 {is a solid option - Black will have to suffer the passed c5-pawn,
but it isn't easy to see how White makes use of it or favourably opens up a
front.}) 24. Qxa8 Rfxa8 25. Rc6 Ne8 26. Bg3 (26. Bb6 Rb7 {stops ...a5, but
lets Black get in ...Nd6-c4.}) 26... a5 27. Bxb5 axb4 28. a4 Rd8 29. Rfc1 Nd6
30. Bxd6 Bxd6 31. Kf2 {This ending is definitely better for White - a typical
characteristic of better opposite-coloured bishop endgames with rooks on the
board is that the inferior side has to suffer for a long time, making them a
good practical choice for the stronger side.} Kf8 32. Ke2 Ke7 33. Kd3 g5 34.
Kc2 Bg3 35. Kd3 Rda8 36. Rb1 Bd6 {White has improved his pieces about as much
as he ever will, so he makes a break for it.} 37. e4 dxe4+ 38. fxe4 Rd8 (38...
f6 {is inferior as White obtains a new target - the e6-pawn.}) 39. Kc4 Bf4 (
39... e5 40. d5 Rh8 {(intending ...Rh4 attacking the e4-pawn) was another way
to get what arose in the game.}) 40. Rd1 (40. Rxb4 Rad7 41. Kd3 Bd6 42. Rcc4
Bxb4 43. Bxd7 Ba5 44. Bc6 f6 45. d5 Rb8 {should be tenable for Black.}) 40...
Bd6 41. Rd3 f6 42. d5 e5 {I don't see how White breaks through Black's dark
squared fortress here.} 43. Rb3 Rh8 44. g4 Raa8 45. Rd3 Ra7 46. Kb3 Raa8 47.
Re3 Ra7 48. Rg3 Rb8 49. Rd3 Rh8 50. Re3 Ra5 51. Rc4 Ra7 52. Rf3 Raa8 53. Rd3
Rhb8 54. Rc2 Rh8 55. Re3 Ra7 56. Rc6 Ra5 (56... Rb8 {was better to prevent the
manoeuvre White employs over the next few moves.}) 57. Rb6 Ra7 58. Rd3 Rc8 59.
Bc6 Bc5 60. Rb5 {The long, laborious defence has taken its toll on Black and
now White is making progress.} Kd6 (60... Bd6 61. a5 Kf7 62. Ka4 Ke7 63. Rb6 {
followed by Kb5 and a6 will win for White as the a7-rook can then be paralysed
with Bb7 or kicked out before then.}) 61. Rd1 (61. Rf3 {is correct to prepare
Kc4 without allowing ...Bf2 Kxb4 Be1 Kc4 Ba5 blockading the a5-pawn. Then
White will advance the a-pawn and win like in the previous note.}) 61... Rh8
62. Rh1 g6 $5 {Both players were short of time at this point, so Black takes
his chance to push for ...f5 and complicate White's life.} 63. Kc4 Be3 64. Rxb4
(64. Rf1 $1 Rf8 65. Rf3 {would still bring White back to the winning plan
mentioned before of pushing the a-pawn with the help of the king and rook.})
64... f5 $1 65. Rhb1 Rxh3 66. Rb7 (66. Rb8 {apparently wins for White - the
point is to threaten R1b7 and meet ...Rh7 with a deadly Rd8 check, while} Ra5
67. Rd8+ Kc7 68. Rd7+ Kc8 69. Rg7 $1 {gives White a winning attack with his
rooks and bishop.}) 66... Rh7 67. Rxa7 (67. Rb8 {would still have worked,
intending} fxe4 68. Rg8 Rh6 69. Re8 {and the rooks successfully penetrate.})
67... Bxa7 {Now White even has to be careful to hold on to a draw.} 68. exf5
gxf5 69. gxf5 g4 70. f6 {Amazingly, after defending all game, Black is now
winning!} (70. Rb3 {would have held on to the draw; if} Bf2 71. Rb8 g3 72. Rd8+
Ke7 73. Rg8 {stops the rampant pawn.}) 70... g3 71. Rb7 Rxb7 72. Bxb7 {Here
Black went for the draw, missing the nice ...Be3-h6 manoeuvre to stop the pawn;
to be fair I didn't see it either when watching the game!} g2 (72... Be3 73. f7
Bh6 {leaves Black with an unstoppable passed g-pawn!}) 73. f7 {Now it is just
a draw.} Ke7 74. d6+ Kxf7 75. Bd5+ Kf6 76. Bxg2 Ke6 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.27"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Ly, Mo"]
[Black "Vajda, Le"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C88"]
[WhiteElo "2440"]
[BlackElo "2597"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "120"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{Moulthun only needed a draw in this game to secure his first GM norm. As it
transpired, this draw also proved sufficient to win the tournament outright.}
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O {
Vajda sticks to his main defence to 1.e4; Moulthun opts for a safe approach
which still contains a bit of venom.} 8. a4 b4 9. d4 d6 10. dxe5 Nxe5 (10...
dxe5 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12. Nbd2 {can be a difficult position for Black to win from,
and Vajda was trailing by half a point, so he wanted to keep as many winning
chances as possible.}) 11. Nxe5 dxe5 {Now the exchange of queens is less
desirable as Black no longer has a c6-knight tied to the defence of the
e5-pawn (in the previous note, Black sometimes plays ...Bd6 and ...Ne7-g6 to
reroute the knight).} 12. Qe2 Bc5 13. Bg5 (13. Be3 {is more precise, and}) (13.
Nd2 {followed by Nf3 also deserves attention.}) 13... h6 (13... Bg4 $1 {would
be quite annoying for White.} 14. Qc4 ({After} 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 {White can't take
on g4 because of ...Qxf2.}) 14... Bd4 15. Qxb4 Rb8 16. Qa5 Be6 $1 17. Bxe6 fxe6
18. Qxa6 Rxb2 19. Qxe6+ Kh8 {shows how difficult it is to contain Black's
initiative, especially with a dozing a1-rook and b1-knight.}) 14. Be3 Qe7 (
14... Bd4 15. Bxd4 Qxd4 16. Rd1 Qa7 17. Nd2 {with equality represents best
play for both sides.}) 15. Nd2 a5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5 17. Qe3 {A sensible practical
decision as Black will find it impossible to win when the queens are swapped.}
Qe7 {Objectively a questionable decision, but as mentioned before Black had to
keep some winning chances - it was a must-win game if he wanted to win the
tournament.} 18. Bc4 Bb7 19. f3 Nd7 20. Nb3 {White has a very comfortable
advantage as Black's pawns are weaker than White's, and White simply has more
squares for his pieces. One thing I've noticed from looking at Moulthun's
games is just how skilled he is in these static positions.} Bc6 21. Bf1 Nb6 {
Black wants to tie White to defending a4, but he will have real problems in
the arising endgame.} ({Sitting and waiting with} 21... Rfd8 22. Red1 Kf8 {is
not in Black's style.}) 22. Qc5 $1 Qxc5+ 23. Nxc5 Rfd8 24. b3 Nd7 (24... Rd2
25. Rac1 {sees Black unable to make use of his rook on the 2nd rank, while
White is ready to play c3 and attack the weak c7-pawn.}) 25. Nd3 (25. Na6 {is
propagated by the computer, but White's natural retreat is far more coherent.})
25... f6 26. c3 (26. Rac1 {is more patient - White could keep the idea of c3
hanging over Black's head like the Sword of Damocles.}) 26... bxc3 27. Rac1 Nf8
28. Rxc3 Be8 $1 {A smart decision - Black returns the pawn to reorganise his
minors with ...Ne6-d4 and ...Bf7, when it will be difficult to keep the extra
pawn.} 29. Rxc7 Ne6 30. Rc3 Bf7 31. Rb1 Rdb8 32. Kf2 Nd4 {White can't use his
extra pawn, but that's no problem for him - draw = GM norm!} 33. Nc5 Ra7 34.
Rbc1 Kh7 35. Bc4 {White returns the pawn to simplify into a dead drawn endgame,
which doesn't require any investigation.} Bxc4 36. Rxc4 Nxb3 37. Nxb3 Rxb3 38.
R1c3 Rb2+ 39. Rc2 Rab7 40. Rxb2 Rxb2+ 41. Kg3 Ra2 42. h4 h5 43. Kh3 Ra3 44. Kg3
Kh6 45. Kh3 g5 46. Kg3 Kg6 47. Kh3 Ra1 48. Kg3 Ra2 49. Kh3 Ra3 50. Kg3 Ra1 51.
hxg5 Kxg5 52. Kh2 h4 53. Rc8 {Giving up the pawn, but the position is still an
easy draw.} Rxa4 54. Rg8+ Kh6 55. Kh3 Ra2 56. Kxh4 a4 57. Ra8 a3 58. g3 Kg6 59.
Kg4 Ra1 60. Ra6 Ra2 {My flag has fallen, so I will save my analysis of Junta's
great showing at the Doeberl Cup and SIO for next week! Take care and have a
good week!} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]