Sunday, December 4, 2016

Budapest Spring Chess Festival 2013 part 1

I have a fondness for the Budapest Spring Chess Festival, since back in 2003 it was the tournament in which I first earned my FIDE rating. Now ten years later I was back to play in it again. The first round I had a fairly standard win against a lower-rated player, not really worth seeing, and the second round I played the Grand Prix attack for the second time (see my previous post), this time against an FM and I didn't make any huge mistakes, but I was slowly outplayed. I considered showing it to you, but I just couldn't find much of interest in it. I certainly failed to improve on my use of the Grand Prix, as I performed miserably with it over both this tournament and the next one.

Instead I'll show you this third round game, again against a master. It was the first time I tried playing the Leningrad Dutch. I had played the Stonewall for many years when I was younger, and I didn't like the types of positions I got from it, so I had long considered switching over to the Leningrad.

[Event "Budapest Spring Chess Festival"]
[Site "Budapest"]
[Date "2013.03.20"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Zentai, Peter"]
[Black "Cross, Ted"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A88"]
[WhiteElo "2269"]
[BlackElo "2041"]
[Annotator "Cross,Ted"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2013.03.18"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "HUN"]

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Qc2 Na6 9. a3 Qc7
While the 'usual' move here is 9... Qe8, the database shows me that black performs much better in this Qc7 line.
10. b4 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Bb2
Playing this move leaves black with a slight advantage. It was better for white to go ahead with 12. e4 himself. If the next phase of the game has few comments, it's because both sides played solidly, with no mistakes, and the computer rarely offers up anything much better than what we chose.
12... e4 13. Nd4 Qf7 14. Na4 Be6 15. Rac1 Rac8 16. Rfd1 Bd7 17. Nb3 b6 18. c5 b5 19. Nc3 Nc7 20. e3 Ng4 21. Ne2 Ne5 22. Bxe5 Bxe5 23. Rd2 Nd5 24. Nbd4 g5 25. Nc3 Nxc3 26. Qxc3 Be6 27. Qc2 Bd5 28. Qd1 Kh8 29. f4 gxf4 30. gxf4 Bxd4 31. Rxd4 Rg8 32. Qc2 Rg7 33. Rd2 Rcg8 34. Kh1 Qf6 35. Qc3?!
The first real mistake of the game!
35... Qh4
I failed to take advantage of it. Black would have a large advantage after 35... Qxc3 36. Rxc3 a5 37. Rc1 axb4 38. axb4 Ra7. Now the game turns equal and peters out to a draw.
36. Qe5 Rf8 37. Rg1 Qf6 38. Qxf6 Rxf6 39. Bf1 a6 40. Rg3 Rfg6 41. Kg2 Rd7 42. Kf2 Be6 43. Ke1 Rxd2 44. Kxd2 Kg7 45. Kc3 Kf6 46. Be2 Rh6 47. Rg2 1/2-1/2
While it wasn't a highly exciting game, playing a new opening against a master strength player is tough, so doing well and even having a chance to gain a large edge at one point gave me confidence that I could play the Leningrad with decent results.

The next round was one that should have been a triumph for me, but turned into a nightmare with one of the biggest hallucinations of my life. I was playing against a 2100-level player and I felt this was the make or break point in the tournament. I wanted to get a statement win, a confidence builder, and the way I played it should have worked out. Instead it left me devastated.

[Event "Budapest Spring Chess Festival"]
[Site "Budapest"]
[Date "2013.03.21"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Cross, Ted"]
[Black "Marjanovics, Gyorgy"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2041"]
[BlackElo "2116"]
[Annotator "Cross,Ted"]
[PlyCount "122"]
[EventDate "2013.03.18"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "HUN"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Bc5
My opponent switches the opening over to a giuoco piano.
5. c3 Nf6 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Nxe4 8. Bxb4 Nxb4 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Qb3+ d5 11. Qxb4 Rf8 12. O-O Kg8 13. Qb3
I knew this line fairly well, and with this last move and the next I repositioned my queen, since I didn't want it imprisoned by black's wall of pawns. I knew this sort of position would entail lots of slow maneuvering.
13... c6 14. Qe3 Qf6 15. Nc3 Bf5 16. Ne5 Rad8 17. f3 Nd6 18. b3 Bc8 19. Rae1 Rfe8 20. Qd2 Nf5 21. f4 Nd6 22. g4 Qh4 23. Qf2 Qh3?!
My opponent makes the first mistake of the game. He needed to trade the queens. Now white gets a decent advantage.
24. Re3 Qh6 25. Kg2 Qf6 26. Rh3
I was trying to carefully probe black's position to see if anything would crack. Better was 26. f5, which of course I saw, but I felt at the time that it was too early.
26... Re7 27. Qc2 g6 28. Rg3 Rf8 29. Rff3 Kh8 30. Rh3 Kg7 31. Rf2?
My first mistake. Luckily black didn't see the correct way to punish it.
Black could have had a significant edge after 31... h5! 32. f5 Qg5 33. Rg3 h4 34. f6+ Rxf6 35. Rxf6 Qxf6 36. Rf3 Qg5 37. h3 Bf5 38. Qf2 Be4 39. Nxe4 dxe4 40. Re3, and though this isn't close to lost yet for white, it sure isn't easy to try to salvage.
32. Rhf3 Ree8 33. h3 Nd8 34. Nd1 Ne6 35. Qd2 Kh8 36. Ne3 Ng7 37. h4 h5?
I had a large advantage no matter what black played here, but playing h5 turned the position into a decisive edge for white.
38. f5! gxf5 39. gxf5 Rg8 40. Rg3
There's nothing wrong with my move, though the computer likes 40. Kf1 even more.
40... Nxf5?
White's advantage was already winning, but now it grows huge.
41. Nxf5 Bxf5

I knew this was the critical moment of the game. I felt it. And what is worse is that the very first idea I examined was the correct one--42. Nf7+!. I saw most of the lines after this move and felt strongly that it had to be winning. Ironically, it was following the instructions of so many chess manuals that steered me wrong here. They always said that you shouldn't just see the first winning line and go for it, but instead look for something even better. So after spending a decent amount of time examining the correct move, I decided to see if there was something more correct, and here is where I hallucinated. I looked at the combination of queen, knight, and the rook on the g file and thought I saw a smothered mate. And I so clearly saw this hallucination that I didn't even bother to take a breath and look it over carefully. I just reached out and played the worst move of my life.
42. Qh6+??
The way to win was 42. Nf7+! Kh7 (if 42... Qxf7 43. Qh6+ Qh7 44. Qf6+ Rg7 45. Rxf5 (I had seen this far in my analysis and was certain this was a win for white) Ree7 46. Qf8+ Rg8 47. Kf2 Reg7 48. Qf6 a6 49. Rgg5 and it is over.) 43. Ng5+ Kh8 (and in this line this was as far as I saw in my analysis, and again I'm pretty sure that once I did get this far I would have found the right plan) 44. Qd1! Rg6 (44... Be4+ 45. Kg1) (or 44... Bg4 45. Rxf6 Bxd1 46. Nf7+ Kh7 47. Rh6#) 45. Qxh5+ Kg7 46. Rxf5 Qxf5 47. Qh7+ Kf8 48. Rf3 and again it's all over.
42... Qxh6 43. Nf7+
There was no point in me playing on, but I was in total shock at what had happened and just needed some time to mentally torture myself.
43... Kh7 44. Nxh6 Be4+ 45. Kh2 Rxg3 46. Kxg3 Kxh6 47. Rf7 Rg8+ 48. Kf4 Rg7 49. Rf6+ Bg6 50. Rd6 Re7 51. Kf3 a5 52. a3 Kg7 53. b4 axb4 54. axb4 Kh6 55. b5 Re4 56. b6 Rxd4 57. Rd7 Rxh4 58. Rxb7 Rb4 59. Rb8 Kg5 60. b7 c5 61. Rd8 Be4+ 0-1

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