Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reykjavik Open 2009 Rd. 5

I have noticed a pattern - my opponents never blunder. Oh, they make occasional second-best moves, but overall they just don't mess up. I believe I have played relatively well in this event, yet my results are miserable, and if you examine each of the games you will notice that my opponents never really make any mistakes. I have to assume that this is because my playing style is not generating enough confusion...

Today I played a new line (for me) of the French, simply because this line was the only example of a French that I had for this opponent. I played relatively well, yet I never gained any advantage, and my opponent kept playing almost all the best moves throughout the game, so that slowly but surely I was strangled. Note that my old Fritz 8 is not sufficient to be able to analyze the complexities that arose in this game, so I don't trust all of the analysis. I sure wish the new Fritz 11 or the Rybka 3 were more affordable.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2009"]
[Site "Reykjavik, Iceland"]
[Date "2009.03.28"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Cross, Ted"]
[Black "Halldorsson, Gudmunder"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C03"]
[WhiteElo "2076"]
[BlackElo "2248"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2
I have never played this variation before, but it was the only one for which there was an example of my opponent's previous play.
3...Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 c5 6. dxc5 O-O
I'm sure he purposely varied from his previous game in this line, which was played earlier in this same tournament against a GM. He played 6...Nc6 in that one.
7. O-O a5 8. a4
This is a novelty according to my database, and while my computer seems to think it is okay, I felt throughout the game that I had some trouble because of this move. ({RR} 8. Re1 Na6 9. exd5 Qxd5 10. Re5 Qd8 11. Nb3 a4 12.Nbd4 Nxc5 13. Bc4 Qc7 14. Nb5 Qb6 15. Nfd4 Bd7 16. Qf3 Rac8 17. Be3 Qa5 18. c3Bxb5 19. Bxb5 Bd6 20. Rg5 Nce4 21. h4 h6 22. Rg4 Nxg4 {Martinez Lopez,E-Bermejo Martinez,J/Mondariz 2003/CBM 95 ext/0-1 (37)}) ({RR} 8. Qe2 Na6 9. c4 Nxc5 10. cxd5 Nxd3 11. Qxd3 b6 12. Re1 Ba6 13. Qb3 Bc5 14. h3 exd5 15. e5 Ne8 16. Nf1 Nc7 17. Bg5 Qd7 18. Ng3 Ne6 19. Rad1 d4 20. Ne4 d3 21.Be3 Bb4 22. Bd2 Nc5 {Ruiz Jimenez,F-Baron Rodriguez,J/Mondariz 2002/CBM 91 ext/1/2-1/2 (51)})
8...Na6 9. e5
I didn't even look at the move the computer likes best: 9. exd5!? Qxd5 10. Bxa6 Rxa6 11. Nb3 and my old Fritz 8 says white is a little better here.
9...Nd7 10. Nb3 Naxc5 11. Nxc5 Nxc5 12. Bb5 Bd7 13. Qe2 Rc8 14. Be3 Bxb5 15. Qxb5 Qc7 16. Rfe1 Rfd8 17. c3 Qc6 18. Nd4 Qxb5 19. Nxb5 Nb3
I am sure there are ways to improve in the previous moves, though nothing really stands out. This 19...Nb3 move really hurt, because I had to choose between giving up a pawn and remaining somewhat active, or placing my rook on a terrible square.
20. Ra2 Rc4 21. Bb6
An alternative worth exploring is 21. Rd1.
The computer likes 21...Rd7 much better here and gives black a slight edge.
22. g3
I actually looked at the move the computer likes best - 22. Bc7!? - and it didn't look bad to me, but I wasn't sure enough about it.
22...g5 23. h3
23. f3 or 23. Rd1 are possibly better alternatives, but too complex to give lines here, especially since my computer isn't up to snuff.
23...h5 24. Nd6
The computer also likes 24. Kg2, but again I don't trust the analysis.
24...Rc6 25. Be3 b6 26. Nb5 Nc5 27. f4
My computer can't make up its mind about the move I played versus 27. Rd1.
27...gxf4 28. gxf4
The computer prefers that I first play 28. Nd4 Rcc8 and only then 29. gxf4. I imagine this is because it keeps black's knight out of b3.
28...Kh7 29. Kh2 Rg8 30. Rg1?!
Here again I had the chance to keep the knight out of b3 with 30. Nd4.
30...Rxg1 31. Kxg1 Nb3
You see, my rook gets stuck again.
32. Na7!?
The computer prefers 32. Kf2, but it seems to just lead to a lost game anyhow: 32. Kf2 Kg6 33. Kf3 Bc5 34. h4 f6 35. Na7 Rc7 36. Nb5 Rc8 37. Bxc5 bxc5 38. Nd6 Rd8 39.Ra3 c4 and black has a winning advantage. During the game I actually thought I might be winning here, but I was soon to be proven wrong.
32...Rc4 33. Bxb6 Kg6!
I had only looked at him taking on f4 with the rook, whereupon I thought I could win with 33...Rxf4 34. Nc6 Bc5+ 35. Bxc5 Nxc5 36. b4! Ne4 37. bxa5 Nxc3 38. Rf2 Rxa4 39. Rxf7+ Kg6 40. Rf6+ Kg5 41. Rxe6 and it is white with the winning chances.
34. Kg2
The alternative 34. Be3 still just loses to 34...Kf5 35. Nb5 Rxf4! 36. Bxf4 Kxf4 37. Kf1 Kxe5 38. Na7 Bf8 39. Ke1 Ke4 40. Kd1 Kd3 41. Nc6 f6 42. Nd8 e5 43. Ne6 Bd6 44. Ng7 e4 45. Nf5 e3 and black wins.
34...Kf5 35. Be3?
Better was 35. Nb5 Kxf4 36. Nd4 Nxd4 37. Bxd4 Rc8 38. Ra1 Rb8 39. Rf1+ Ke4 40. Rf2 Bh4 41. Rd2 Bg5 42. Rc2 Kd3 43. Rf2 Bd2 though black still has a large edge.
35...Ke4 36. Kf2
It's hard to call this a mistake when everything loses now. For instance 36. Bf2 Kd3 is also losing.
Also winning was 36...Kd3!.
37. Ke2 d4! 38. Bxd4
I know this looks like a terrible blunder, but it really is no worse than anything else. I was vaguely hoping I could find a way to pick up the 'a' pawn and start pushing my pawns. Just as bad was 38. Bd2 d3+ 39. Kd1 Bg3 40. Nb5 Nxd2 41. Kxd2 Bxf4+ 42. Kd1 Rc5 43. b3 Rxe5 44. Rf2 Rg5 45. Rf1 Rg2 46. Re1+ Kd5 47. c4+ Kc5 and black wins.
38...Nc1+ 39. Kd2 Nxa2 40. Nb5 Kxf4 41. b3 Rc6 42. Kc2 Nb4+ 43. Kd2 Nd5 44. c4 Ne7 45. Bc3 Ra6 46. Nc7 Ra7 47. Nb5 Rd7+ 48. Ke2 Nc6 49. c5 Bd8 50. Nd6 Nxe5 51. Bd2+ Kg3 0-1
It gets frustrating to watch other games and see people making mistakes, while in my own games the only one who seems to ever make mistakes is me...


Ingvar said...

Don't be discouraged, you are playing well. Sometimes we just don't get as many points as we deserve and I feel like I went through the same thing the last two rounds (5th and 6th). Same thing, played good better position but then mess up in timetrouble.

Chess can be strange in that way sometimes, at least you aren't playing horribly and getting slaughtered although when we just play bad, losing is easier to take i guess!?

Also from your writings I feel you are a little bit like me in that you dont' like uncertainties when it comes to openings. You want to be the one surprising the opponent and not the other way around. You hate not knowing....I do that to. Should we then play a line we don't know to surprise our opponent? How did you feel after he varied and you were playing the Tarrasch for almost the first time ever? I don't know where I am going with this but it's an interesting subject in any case!

Susan Grumer said...

Hi Knight_Tour,
I have been following your games, and was going to post about it on the ninja board, but saw you haven't written since September - and then I found your blog there.

I think you have been playing well. You just got stuck in the middle and have been getting players much higer rated every other game. I think these last three rounds will be better for you.

I think you also had said that this was your first tournament in a few years. So, feel good that you are playing so well.

knight_tour said...

Thanks for the kind remarks. Things have gone from discouraging to much worse actually. You'll see when I post the next rounds. I just lost to a 1660 player who never made a real mistake throughout the game, except one tiny one in the endgame. I am playing as well, if not better, than at any other time in my life, yet I am having a catastrophic tournament. I will lose boatloads of rating points...