Saturday, March 15, 2008

Reykjavik Open round 8

My thinking before this game was that I needed to do something positive with black. I had not lost any whites this tournament, but I had lost every black so far. My opponent didn't have a much higher rating, but looking at her games showed me that she was very experienced against strong competition, plus she played the Alapin Sicilian a lot, which I can't stand. However, I found an interesting plan to play against her Alapin, so I was actually hoping she would go for it! Sadly, she didn't.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2008"]
[Site "Reykjavik, Iceland"]
[Date "2008.03.10"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Andersson, WIM Christin"]
[Black "Cross, Ted"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "2194"]
[BlackElo "2079"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3
I had really prepared hard for the Alapin, so this disappointed me. I did see that she once played into an Alapin after 2. Nc6, so now I hoped for that.
2...Nc6 3. d4
Nope, she was playing something that was not in her large collection of games in my database.
3...cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Nxc6
Even worse, she now played a move that no one had played against me before. I had lightly analyzed this move, of course, since it is always a possibility in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, but I wasn't truly familiar with it. If she prepared this at home, knowing that I played the Sveshnikov, then she had a huge advantage over me right now!
6...bxc6 7. Bc4 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 Bb7
Over the past few moves I kept spending lots of time trying to figure out whether I could get a decent position after taking on e4 with my knight, but it never quite looked okay.
11. Qd3 Qc7 12. Rad1 Rad8 13. Rfe1 d6
Apparently I could have had an advantage here by playing 13...d5. (13... d5 14. exd5 cxd5 15. Bb3 d4 16. Nb5 Qc5 17. Qc4 g5 18. Qxc5 Bxc5 19. Bg3 (19. Rxe5 Nd7) 19... Ne4 20. Bxe5 d3 21. Rf1 d2 22. c3 Ba6 23. Bc4 Bxb5 24. Bxb5 Rd5 25. Bg3 Bxf2+ 26. Rxf2 (26. Bxf2 Rxb5 27. b4 Rd8 28. Bd4 Rxd4 29. cxd4 Rxb4) 26... Rxb5 27. Rfxd2 Nxd2 28. Rxd2 Rc8)
14. Bb3 Bc8
I felt that finding a plan here for black was difficult and I didn't want to just make waiting moves, so I decided to swing the bishop over to e6. I was glad to see later that Fritz thinks it is the right plan.
15. f3 Be6 16. Bf2
I was happy to see this move, because I had not felt comfortable playing d5 as long as that bishop kept pinning my knight. Now I felt that d5 was playable and had to give me at least equality.
16...d5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Bxd5 19. Qe3
Hmm, I suddenly realized that I needed to worry about the two loose pawns on a7 and e5. I figured out how to save them for now, but I didn't know whose position was better afterwards.
19...Bxb3 20. axb3 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 a5 22. Qb6 Qxb6 23. Bxb6 Ra8 24. Rd7 Bf8?!
Since I saw a trick to keep her from winning the c6 pawn, I didn't look further to see that later she could still force the win of a pawn. Plus, the plan with 24...Kf8! has some very hard to see ideas in it. (24... Kf8! 25. Rc7 Ke8 26. Be3 (26. Rxc6 Ra6 27. Rc8+ Kd7 28. Rc7+ Kd8) 26... Ra6)
25. Rc7 Ra6
The funny thing was that she actually reached for the rook as if to take the c6 pawn. Oh, how delicious that would have been! But, she saw the skewer of course.
26. Be3 f6?!
I didn't realize here that I was about to lose a pawn. Her advantage in this position was not apparent to me. I think black can always draw this position, but the endgame is quite difficult really. (26... g5 27. Ra7 Rxa7 28. Bxa7 f5 29. Bb6 Kf7 30.Kf2 Ke6 31. Ke2 Bd6 32. Kd3 h5 33. Bxa5 g4 34. h3 Be7 35. Bd2 g3 36. b4 Kd5 37.c4+ Ke6 38. b5 cxb5 39. cxb5 Kd5 40. b6 Bd6 41. b7 e4+ 42. fxe4+ fxe4+ 43. Ke3 Ke5 44. Bc3+ Kf5 45. Kd4 Bb8 46. Bd2 Bc7 47. Kd5 h4 48. b4 Bb8 49. b5 Be5 50.b6 Bb8 51. Bh6 Be5 52. Be3 Bb8 53. Bc5)
27. Ra7
Now I understood that I was going to have a very difficult endgame to try to draw.
27...Rxa7 28. Bxa7 Kf7
There is no way to save the pawn on a5, so I simply get my king into the center, hoping that this will allow me to force a draw somehow.
29. Bb6 Ke6 30. Bxa5 Bc5+ 31. Kf1 f5 32. Ke2 g5 33. Bd2 Kd5 34. h4 Be7
I thought that taking the pawn on h4 would be bad, but apparently I can draw with this. (34...gxh4 35. c4+ Ke6 36. Bxh6 Be7 37. Be3 e4 38. fxe4 fxe4 39. b4 Bxb4 40.Bg5 Ke5 41. b3 Kf5 42. Bxh4 Bf8 43. Be1 c5 44. Bh4 Ke5 45. Bd8 Kf4 46. Bc7+ Kf5 47. g3 Bg7 48. Bd6 Bd4 49. b4 cxb4 50. Bxb4 Kg4 51. Bd6 Ba7 52. Bf4 Bd4 53. Be3 Be5 54. Bf2 Bd6 =)
35. hxg5 hxg5 36. c4+ Ke6 37. Kd3 c5 38. Be3?
This is a mistake that gives black a fairly straightforward draw, but I didn't see the right idea. (38. g4 e4+ 39. fxe4 fxg4 40. Ke3 Bd6 41. Bc3 Bf4+ 42. Kf2 g3+ 43. Kf3 g4+ 44. Kg2 Kd6 45. b4 cxb4 46. Bxb4+ Ke5 47. Be1 Kxe4 48. Bxg3 Bd2 49. Bf2 Bf4 50. b3 Kd3 51. c5 Kc3 52. Bg3 Be3 53. c6 Bb6 =)
I overlooked the power of the coming b4 move, so I thought that getting the pawn to f4 with tempo so that my king could come to f5 would then allow me to play an eventual g4 or e4 and draw. The right move here was 38...g4! since it allows a consolidation that makes it pretty easy to draw. (38... g4 39. Bf2 gxf3 40. gxf3 Kd6 41. Bg3 Ke6 =)
39. Bf2 Kf5 40. b4 cxb4 41. c5 Ke6 42. Kc4 b3 43. Kxb3 Kd5 44. Kb4 g4 45. Kb5 g3
Playing e4 instead doesn't quite work either.
46. Bg1 Bd8 47. b4 Bc7 48. Ka6 Kc4 49. b5 Kd3 50. b6 Bb8 51. c6 Ke2 52. c7 Bxc7 53. bxc7 Kf1 54. c8=Q Kxg2 55. Qc7 Kxg1 56. Qxe5 Kf2 57. Qxf4 g2 58. Qg4 1-0

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