Friday, March 14, 2008

Reykjavik Open round 4

I was pretty psyched up to play this round. I was getting to play a very strong player, yet my preparation made me feel more confident than usual, because I had an odd feeling that he just might follow my preparation longer than most people had. He did, but not long enough for me to get to implement the new move I wanted to use.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2008"]
[Site "Reykjavik, Iceland"]
[Date "2008.03.06"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Arngrimsson, FM Dagur"]
[Black "Cross, Ted"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B31"]
[WhiteElo "2359"]
[BlackElo "2079"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6
I have seldom encountered the Bb5 variation of the Sicilian, so I have never really become knowledgeable in this particular opening. I had recently been tinkering in blitz with using 3…e6, but I was only able to find good preparatory games against this opponent with 3…g6 and I really liked something I found, so this is the variation I went with.
4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 b6 7. Nc3 e5 8. Be3 Ne7 9. Qd2 h6 10. Nh2 Be6 11. O-O
Unfortunately, I suppose his danger sense made him decide not to continue following his older games and he castles short. I think this is not a great move here, though I am admittedly no expert. Castling long seems more natural to me here, and that is what he played in an older game that I was following, hoping to implement a novelty. Since openings are my biggest weakness, I was happy to have reached such a solid position, and frankly I felt that I liked my position here more than white’s. If given the choice, I would take the black side here.
I wanted to castle queenside here in order to throw everything at his king.
12. b3 O-O-O 13. b4?
I don’t trust my old version of Fritz to be accurate, but it considers this to be a pretty serious mistake. I followed my instincts and refused the pawn, though if c4 had not looked like a good option, I would have taken it. I prefer to hold off his attack rather than snatch material.
The computer says that 13... cxb4 14. Ne2 c5 15. Rfc1 f5 is simply much better for black. My move still leaves me with an advantage, but only a slight one.
14. Rfd1 f5 15. f3 g5
An alternative try is 15...cxd3 16. cxd3 f4 17. Bf2 Kb7 with a slight edge, but I was feeling particularly aggressive and wanted to go after him.
16. Qe2 cxd3 17. cxd3 g4!?
The computer prefers 17…Ng6, but like I said, I wanted to really go after him!
18. fxg4 fxg4 19. hxg4 Rhg8 20. Rd2 Bh8
Fritz prefers the caution of 20…Kb8 but I didn’t want to waste any tempii.
21. a4 Bxg4!? 22. Nxg4 Rxg4 23. a5
Here is the critical position of the game. I spent some time thinking about whether to play a defensive move with 23…b5 or simply continue attacking. I have been burned in the past by taking time out to defend a bit only to find that my attack never came then. However, it was silly for me to think that way here, because my plan if he moved his queen after 23…Rdg8 was to then play b5 anyway! So, why not do it now when I clearly saw the potential danger of him playing 24. axb6. I can’t believe I ignored my own logic, because I thought basically just like that during the game, but played the aggressive move anyhow.
This may not be clearly losing, but it really hurts, when I could have played one defensive move and then continued with my attack - 23...b5! 24. Rc1 (24. Bxh6 Rdg8 25. Be3 Ng6! 26. Rc1 Nf4 27. Bxf4 exf4 28. Nxb5 Kb8 and black wins, but 24. Rf1 Rdg8 25. Rf7! appears to be an amazing way to win for white) 24...Kb8 25. Qf3 h5 26. Qh3 Ng6! (26...h4 27. Rf2 Rdg8 28. Kh1 Nc8 29. Rfc2 Ne7 is unclear) 27. Qxh5 Nf4 28. Qf5 Qg7 29. Bxf4 exf4 30. Nd1 Rg8 31. Rcc2 Qh6 32. Qc5 R4g5 33. Qf2 Rh5 34. Kf1 Rh1+ 35. Ke2 Qh5+ and black wins.
24. axb6!
He plays the right move and now things are grim for black.
24…Rxg2+ 25. Qxg2 Rxg2+ 26. Rxg2 a6
This is black’s only try to save the game.
27. Rxa6 Qxd3 28. Ra8+ Kd7??
It is funny how one can have tunnel vision at certain points in a game. I spent around ten minutes looking at this position, trying to figure out what gave me better chances to complicate things, and I only considered the rook checking me on a7; it never occurred to me for a moment to look at the rook coming to d2. How embarrassed I felt. I am losing, but 28. Kb7 has certain possibilities for white to screw up - 28...Kb7 29. Ra7+ Kb8 30. Bf2 (30. Bc5 Bf6 31. Rf2 Nc8 32. Rxf6 Qg3+ 33. Kf1 Qh3+ 34. Ke2 Qxc3 35. Rf8 Qc2+36. Kf3 Qd3+ 37. Kg4 Qxe4+ 38. Kh5 Qd5 39. Raf7 e4+ 40. Kg6 e3 41. b7 Qe4+ 42.Kg7 Qg2+ 43. Kh8 Qb2+ 44. Rg7 Qxg7+ 45. Kxg7 Kxb7 and white wins) (30. Bd2? Bf6 31. Kh2 Qf3 32. Rc7 Bg5 33. Bxg5 hxg5 34. Rxg5 Qxc3 35. Rxe7 Qd2+ 36. Rg2 Qf4+ 37. Kg1 Qe3+ and black has saved the game) 30...Bf6 (30...Qxc3? 31. Rxe7 Qc1+ 32. Kh2 Qf4+ 33. Kh1 Qf8 34. Rh7 Qd8 35. Rxh6 Bf6 36. Rgg6 Be7 37. Rh7 Qe8 38. Re6 and white wins) 31. Rg3 Qd8 32. Bc5 Nc8 33. Rc7 Qd2 34. Rxc6 (34. Rg8 Bd8 35. Rf7 Qxc3 36. b7 Qe1+ 37. Rf1 Qd2 38. bxc8=Q+ Kxc8 39. Bb6 Kb7 40. Bxd8 Qe3+ 41. Rf2 Qe1+ 42. Kg2 Qxe4+ 43. Kh2 Qd5 44. Rgf8 Qd1 45. Be7 e4 (45...Qg4 46. Ra2 and white is winning, though there is still a complicated task ahead.) 46. Bc5 Qh5+ 47. Kg1 Ka6 48. R2f5 Qh3 49. Kf2 Kb5 and white is winning, though again it is tough.) 34...Bg5 35. Rf3 Bf4 36. Kf1 h5 37. b5 Qc1+ 38. Kg2 Qd2+ 39. Bf2 Nd6 (39...h4 40. Nd5 Qd1 41. Nxf4 exf4 42. Rxf4 h3+ 43. Kh2 Qf1 44. Rg6 Qxb5 45. Rf7 Ka8 46. Rg8 Qe5+ 47. Kh1 Qxe4+ 48. Kg1 h2+ 49. Kxh2 Qe5+ 50. Kg1 Kb8 51. Bg3 and white wins) 40. b7 h4 41. b6 Nxb7 42. Nd5 Nd8 43. Rg6 Kb7 44. Rg7+ Kb8 45. Nf6 Ne6 46. Nd7+ Kb7 47. Nc5+ Kxb6 48. Nxe6+ Kb5 49. Nxf4 exf4 50. Rg5+ Kb4 51. Rf5 and white wins)
29. Rd2 1-0

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IM Elizabeth Paehtz versus GM Miezis in round 2

Young FM Ray Robson from the US

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