Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reykjavik Open 2009 Rd. 1

It's been a long time since I have blogged, mainly because I have not been playing. I last played in October, so I worry that I will be rusty in this event. I love the Reykjavik Open because it gets so many strong players. The only sad thing was that they did not post the first round pairings, probably due to many players dropping out at the last second, so I didn't know who I would play, and I didn't get to prepare anything.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2009"]
[Site "Reykjavik, Iceland"]
[Date "2009.03.24"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Cross, Ted"]
[Black "Thorhallsson, GM Throstur"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "2076"]
[BlackElo "2442"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6
Well that tears it. I already know next to nothing about the Center Counter defense, but once he plays 2...Nf6 I literally only know one more move (3. d4) in the opening. That's not a good sign when you are playing a grandmaster!
3. d4 Nxd5 4. c4
Like I said, I didn't know if this was a line or not (it is). I just prayed that I could somehow come through the opening alright.
4...Nb6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3
While this move didn't feel right to me, I was purposely playing to prevent his white square bishop from developing easily. If I ever played Nf3 early on it would give him the g4 square. I was hoping to force him to play e6 before developing his bishop.
6...Bg7 7. Be2 O-O 8. Rc1
You see? I am still playing to prevent the bishop from coming out.
8...Nc6 9. d5 Ne5 10. Bd4
This was a spur of the moment decision because I saw some tactical motifs that I liked.
10...e6 11. f4!
This is what I was thinking of when I played Bd4. It feels terrible, especially when I haven't completed development, but I didn't see any instant attacks available for black, and I liked pushing the knight back to where it further impeded his development.
11...Ned7 12. Bxg7 Kxg7 13. d6!?
I decided on this because I didn't like opening lines for him. I had initially thought to play the correct line, but it worried me so I ended up trying to keep the center more closed. Better was 13. Qd4+ Nf6 14. g4 Kg8 (14...c5 15. Qxc5 Nxg4 16. Bxg4 Qh4+ 17. Qf2 Qxg4 18. d6 and white is slightly better)15. g5 Ne8 16. Nf3 exd5 17. c5 Nd7 18. Qxd5 c6 19. Qc4 Nc7 20. O-O with an unclear position.
13...Nf6 14. c5
Better was 14. Nb5 cxd6 15. Qxd6 Bd7 16. Nd4 with equality.
14...Nbd5 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. dxc7 Qxc7 17. Qd2 Re8 18. Nf3
I finally get a chance to develop the knight! I felt like I was just barely hanging on here.
18...Re4 19. Ne5 Bg4 20. Nxg4 Nxg4 21. O-O Ne3!
His plan over the past few moves was good, as this knight will be much better than my bishop.
22. Rf3 d4 23. g3 Rd8 24. Bd3 Re6 25. b4
It looks like it is better to go ahead and play f5 right here rather than later. (25. f5!? Re5 26. fxg6 fxg6 27. b4 a5 28. a3 axb4 29. axb4 b6 30. cxb6 Qxb6 31. b5 =)
25...a6 26. f5 Rf6 27. Re1
A little better is 27. Rf4
27...h6 28. Qf2 g5 29. h3 a5 30. a3 axb4 31. axb4 b6 32. cxb6 Qxb6 33. b5 Qb7
I am so close to being about equal, but not quite. It was frustrating that he never really made any mistakes.
34. g4 Rc8 35. Rg3 Rc3! 36. Bf1 Nxf1 37. Rxc3 dxc3 38. Qxf1 Qb6+ 39. Kg2?!
It probably wouldn't have made a difference to the outcome, but Kh1 is a touch better.
39...Rd6 40. Qc4?
I'm lost anyway, but here I overlooked a cute tactic. Qf3 was slightly better.
40...Rd2+ 41. Re2 Qe3!
Cute! This is what I didn't see. I could have just resigned right here, but I kept hoping I was overlooking something.
42. Rxd2 Qxd2+ 43. Kf3 c2 44. f6+ Kxf6 0-1

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