Sunday, March 13, 2005


Game Anaylsis of Round 1

This is the post game analysis fo the the first round of the recent tournament I played in. In the U1800 section, I was matched with the #1 seat and I was playing black. This particular teenaged opponent I had played once before and lost as white, so I know he is a very talented player.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. e4 b5. 6. a4 a6 7. e5 Nd5 8. axb5 cxb5 9. b3 cxb3 10. Qxb3 Bb7. 11. Bd3 e6

4. Qc2 was a less typical move. It's designed to keep my bishop off of f5, but it doesn’t help white to win his pawn back. Typically, with 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 black forgoes his pawn in order to develop. This is why it is more important to focus on the principles of the opening as opposed to memorizing lines. Here, I'm out of my book knowledge. 10….Bb7 removes any threat of a take on b5 with a pinned a-pawn. Black has a well placed bishop and knight, has two passed pawns, up a pawn, and white’s d4 pawn is weak.

12. O-O Be7 13. Nd2 I see white’s knight aiming for d6 via e4. So I was also considering Nd7, Nc6 or O-O. With Nf4, I either knock out his light squared bishop which makes me great on the light squares or I can play Ne2+ and win his dark squared bishop. Hence if he plays Nd6 eventually, I can take on d6 with my dark squared bishop, without having weak dark squares.

13… Nf4. 14. Ne4 Here, I missed the tactic 13… Bd5 15. Qc2 Nxd3 16. Qxd3 Bc4! skewering the Queen. 14…Nxd3 15. Qxd3 Nc6 My several candidate moves for this last move also included Bxe4, O-O, and Nd7. I’ve delayed castling, because 15. Ng5 would force an unpleasant 15… g6 16. Ne4 with intentions to go to f6. I decided my light square bishop was too important and Nd7 was too passive. 16. Rd1 Nb4! 17. Qb1 Nd5 The knight makes it way back to it’s best square on d5 with tempo! 18. Bg5

18…. f6!? I felt forced to play f6 here. I didn’t want to take, and was still a bit wary of castling. Chessmaster 9000 is my main analysis tool. Perhaps not as good as Fritz, it still is a solid program. It did slightly prefer castling giving it a score of 0.96 versus my 0.9 for f6. 19. Bd2 O-O 20. Ba5 Qb8 This is the only square that protects d6 and avoid the pin following 19…Qd7 20. Nc5 Bxc5 21. dxc5. I also value my light squared, “bad” bishop more. 21. Re1 f5 This is forced as 21. dxf6 Bxf6 22. Ng5 threatens both the pawn on e6 and mate on h7. 20… dxe5 21. Ng5 threatens the pawn on e5, e6 and mate on h7. 22. Nc5 Bxc5 23. dxc5 Qe8. Now I’m aiming to go to the kingside. I also looked at playing the immediate Nf4, but I thought the white queen would have an chance to chase away the knight. I was looking at tactics like 23…Nxg2 24. Kxg2 Qg6+. Chessmaster preferred the immediate Nf4 giving it -1.00 but my move only -0.53. 24. Nd4 Nf4 25. f3 Qg6

26. Ra2 Bd5 27. Rd2 Rfc8 The f -rook is blocked by the f- pawn and I want to keep the a rook on a8 so I can start rolling the passed pawns on a moment’s notice. Again, Chessmaster preferred the other rook, giving it a -0.44 versus my -0.19. 28. Qb4 Bc4 threatening a fork. If 28. Red1 then Nd5 and my pieces are all better placed than the previous diagram. Moves like f4 and Ne3 can follow.

However, perhaps the psychology of the position became a factor and a blundered followed 29. Re3? Nd5 0-1. It’s interesting to watch how Chessmaster’s evaluation fluctuates during the game. It gives the subtle 29. Qa3 a rating of -0.09, almost an even game although I have a secure extra pawn. My opponent ended up winning his next four games and finishing second.

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