Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Budapest Spring Chess Festival 2003

Because I changed careers in 2001 and went into long term training, along with the fact that I couldn't seem to get involved with any chess in Zagreb, Croatia once I moved there, it took a long time to play chess again. It was nearly two years after my win at the U.S. Amateur that I finally played again. This time I was interested in attempting to get a FIDE (World Chess Federation) rating. In order to do that one must play 9 or more tournament games against FIDE rated opposition. Since the Budapest Spring Chess Festival was nine rounds, if I wanted to earn a rating then I needed to do well enough not to have to face any unrated opponents. I couldn't have asked for a better start.

[Event "Budapest Spring Chess Festival"]
[Site "Budapest, Hungary"]
[Date "2003.03.14"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Cross, Ted"]
[Black "Gorgs, Alfred"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B57"]
[BlackElo "2164"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bc4 Qb6
One of my favorite games is Kindermann-Zueger and it starts with this move. No one has played it against me before, so I was eager to see how long we could follow that game. Little did I know that it would follow the game entirely! How often does that happen?
7. Ndb5 a6 8. Be3 Qa5 9. Nd4
This is the idea, to offer a poisoned pawn on e4.
He went for it! Safer would have been 9... Ng4 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Bc1 d5 (11... Qc5 12. Qe2 leaves white with a slight edge) (11... Nxf2? 12. Bxf7+ Kxf7 13. O-O Kg8 14. Rxf2 g6 15. Qd3 Be6 16. Ne2 and white has a large edge) 12. Be2 Nf6=; 9... e6 10. O-O Be7 11. f4 O-O leaves white with a tiny edge.
10. Qf3
First I threaten both the knight and the f7 square.
10...Ng5 or 10...Nf6 both leave white with a small edge.
11. Nxc6
Now I create a weakness on c6.
11...bxc6 12. O-O-O
This tempts him to play d5 to seemingly consolidate the position.
12...d5 13. Nxe4
White is all but winning here.
I was amazed that he continued to follow the same moves as the Kindermann game, but other moves are no better - 13...dxe4 14. Qg3 leads to long lines where black cannot untangle his pieces and white wins pretty easily while 13...Qc7 14. Ng5 leads to a win for white too.
14. Qh5+ g6
Losing is 14...Kd8 15. Bxd5 Bd7 16. Qf7 cxd5 17. Rxd5 Qc7 18. Rhd1 Rb8 19. Bf4 Qc6 20. Bxb8.
15. Qe5 Rg8
16. Rxd5!
It felt so good to get to play this astonishing move, even if it wasn't my own creation.
16...Qb4 17. Rd4 Bg7 18. Bxg8 Qxb2+ 19. Kxb2 Bxe5 20. c3 Bxd4 21. Bxd4 wins.
17. Bxd5
I threaten to win his queen. With his move he seemingly finds a way to defend his rooks due to my unprotected queen.
17...Qb5 18. Qxe4
But this threatens his queen again and also continues to fork the rooks.
18...Bf5 19. Bc6+ Kf7 20. Qd5+ Qxd5 21. Bxd5+ e6 22. Bxa8 Bg7 23. Bf3 Rb8 24. b3 g5
Amazingly, this is the first new move of the game! The Kindermann-Zueger game finished with 24...Rc8 25. c4 1-0. White was threatening to win the black bishop with g4. I decided not to take the free g pawn because I was nervous about allowing any sort of counterplay.
25. h3 a5 26. Rd1 Rc8 27. c4 a4 28. Bh5+?!
Now I go ahead and allow him some counterplay anyhow.
28...Kf8 29. Bd4
I could have played 29. Bxg5 a3 30. Rd7 and won, but I was being cautious and worrying about stopping any counterplay.
29...e5 30. Bc3 Rb8 31. Kb2 Be6 32. Be2 Kf7 33. b4 Bf8 34. a3 e4 35. Bd4 Rc8 36. Rc1 Rd8 37. Kc3 Be7
I was being ultra-cautious, not wanting to blow it, and I was searching for a way to get rid of at least one of his biships.
38. c5 Bb3 39. Bc4+ 1-0
That did it! My 11th win in a row and a great way to begin my quest for a FIDE rating.

In round 2 I had to face a master. Though he lost to me, he had a great event and gained a lot of rating points.

[Event "Budapest Spring Chess Festival"]
[Site "Budapest, Hungary"]
[Date "2003.03.15"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Cross, Ted"]
[Black "Nagy, Bence"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C54"]
[BlackElo "2201"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 d6
I was glad he didn't play the normal Giuoco Piano line; I think it is pretty clear now that white is in trouble in the main lines of the Giuoco Piano, which is why I have now started playing the variation with 4...Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2.
5. d3 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 Bb6 8. Be3 Ne7
Equal is 8...Bxe3 9. Rxe3 Na5 10. Nbd2 Nxc4 11. Nxc4 Be6 12. Re1.
9. Nbd2 c6 10. Bb3 Bc7 11. h3 h6 12. Nf1 Kh7 13. Bc2 g6?! 14. Qd2 Nfg8 15. d4 Qe8 16. N3h2?!
The shifting around of pieces in this type of game is hard for me. I have trouble coming up with a good plan. Better would be either 16. Rad1 or 16. Ng3.
16...f5 17. dxe5 dxe5 18. f4?!
I missed the chance to take a significant advantage with 18. Bc5. I figured with his exposed king I should be trying to bust open the center. (18. Bc5 b6 19. Bd6 Qd8 20. Rad1 Bxd6 21. Qxd6 Qxd6 22. Rxd6 fxe4 23. Bxe4 strongly favors white).
Slightly better is 18...exf4 19. Bxf4 Bxf4 20. Qxf4 fxe4 21. Qxe4 Bf5 22. Qe2=.
19. fxe5 Bf5 20. g4 Rd8 21. Qg2 Be6 22. Bxe4 Nd5 23. Nf3 Nxe3 24. Nxe3 Ne7 25. Kh1
I should have tried 25. g5 here, but I had ambitions of getting a rook to the g file and directly attacking his king.
25...Rf4 26. Nd4
Nc2 was more prudent here.
26...Bg8 27. e6 c5
Suddenly I felt that I was in big trouble, so I thought I needed to lash out and hope the tactics fell my way. I needn't have panicked; the position becomes better for black but not by much if I just play 28. Ne2.
28. Ndf5?! gxf5
I think that black could have had a safer advantage by playing 28...Bxe6 29. Nxe7 Qxe7 30. Bxb7 Qh4 31. Kg1.
29. gxf5
This was my idea, to open up the g file for an attack. Sadly, it doesn't work against proper defense. Fortunately for me he doesn't defend properly.
To me it seemed obvious what black needed to do, so I was really surprised at his move. Clearly better is 29...Kh8, leaving white struggling to complicate things with 30. Rg1 or 30. Rf1.
30. Rg1 Be5 31. f6+ 1-0
My 12th win in a row. I couldn't believe how well I started this quest to get a FIDE rating. I lost the next one to an IM, so my winning streak came to an end, but it sure was great while it lasted.

I'll show one more game from this tournament simply because I felt I played really well and the game is not bad. It is from round 5.

[Event "Budapest Spring Chess Festival"]
[Site "Budapest, Hungary"]
[Date "2003.03.18"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Cross, Ted"]
[Black "Kerekes, Zsolt"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C42"]
[BlackElo "2134"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3
I don't like playing against the Petroff, so I play this to avoid it.
3...Bb4 4. Bc4 O-O
Bad for black would be 4...Bxc3 5. dxc3 Nxe4 6. Qd5 Nd6 7. Qxe5+ Qe7 8. Qxe7+ Kxe7 9. Bd3.
5. d3 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. Bd2 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Bg4 9. h3 Bh5 10. O-O Nb6 11. Bb3 Qf6 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bg5 Qd6 14. Re1 Nc6 15. Nd2?!
Better is 15. Nxe5! Nxe5 16. Bf4 with a slight edge.
15...Kh8 16. Ne4 Bxe4 17. dxe4!
I spent a long time on this move, because all of my instincts were telling me to keep my pawns intact by taking with the rook, but a long examination told me that it was better to take with the pawn. Sometimes you have to break the rules.
17...Qg6 18. Be3 Rad8 19. Qf3 Nc8 20. Rad1 Nd6 21. Bc5
At this point I felt I had the edge due to my bishop pair, despite my bad pawn structure.
21...b6 22. Ba3 Ne7 23. Rd3 c5 24. Red1 Nec8
Perhaps a better try is 24...f5 but with proper play white retains a solid edge with 25. Bc1 b5 (25...fxe4? 26. Rxd6 exf3 27. Rxd8 Re8 28. R1d6 and wins) 26. Ba3 fxe4 27. Rxd6 exf3 28. Rxd8 Re8 29. R1d6 c4 30. Rxg6 Rxd8 31. Ra6 Nd5 32. Bd6 cxb3 33. axb3 with a large edge.
25. Kf1!
With the idea of h4 to go after the locked-in queen.
A better try is 25...Rde8 26. h4! Nxe4 (26...Qxe4 27. Qxe4 Nxe4 28. Ba4 Re6 29. Rd8 Kg8 30. Rxf8+ Kxf8 31. Rd8+ Ke7 32. Re8+ Kf6 33. Rxc8 and wins) 27. h5 Qc6 28. Bd5 Qa4 29. Bxe4 f5 (29...Qxa3?? 30. Qf5 g6 31. Qf6+ Kg8 32. h6 Qxa2 33. Qg7#) 30. gxf5 Qxa3 31. h6 Qxa2 32. hxg7+ Kxg7 33. Rd7+ wins.
26. Be6! Rde8 27. Rxd6 Rxe6
No better is 27...Nxd6 28. Rxd6 f5 29. gxf5 Rxe6 30. fxe6 and wins.
28. Rxe6 Qf7 29. Rxe5 Qxa2 30. Bc1 Kg8 31. Red5 Ne7 32. Rd7 Nc6 33. Qd3
This was the simplest way to win, with the idea of Qd5+.

I was really proud of this win, because it was a fairly strong win against a good player. I did manage to play all rated players in the event, though I got badly sick and struggled in the middle portion of the tournament. I earned an initial FIDE rating of 2108.

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