Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Tournament Review - Last Round

I had to take a fourth round bye, but it was okay as I was leading alone with 3. For round 5, I faced off against the only other person with 3.5 A victory would secure clear first. I draw would mean a multi-way tie for 1st.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3. Here I sat and thought for a period. I wasn’t sure how sound playing my usual 4… Bf5 was in this position. I could have imagined that 5. Qb3 Qd7 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Bb5 Nc6 could have been annoying. I’ve seen the Meran variation (4… e6 5. Bd3 dxc4 6. Bxc4 b5 7. Bd3 a6 with plans to play Bb7 and c5) but had no experience with it. However, I went with the Meran. 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. a3. Now seems to mess up my plans for the Meran. If 6… dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 a6 9. b4! Would prevent any hope of c5 and my bishop getting out. 6….a5!? This isn’t a typical move I was aiming to prevent a vast expansion on the queenside with 7. b4.

7. b3?! This was a bit strange. However, it was explained that he feared 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxd4 b5 9. Bd3 b4 10. axb4 Bxb4. I decided that I need to plan for a break on e5. 7…. Bd6 8. Bd3 e5. I felt that this move was absolutely necessary. If 8…O-O 9. e4 would have permanently cramped my position. CM agrees giving it 0.24 still in favor of white. 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nb5 (You can’t win the pawn with Bb5). Here is the crucial position for this game.

I evaluated Nxd3, but saw that if 11…Nxf3 12. Qxf3 Bb5 then the Queen would be trapped. I was disappointed to see the 13. Nxd6+ would have ruined the trap. Then I noticed the quite in between move. 11… Nxf3 12. Qxf3 Be5!! Now white has a choice of losing a rook or getting his queen trapped. I notice by my opponent’s reaction was that he saw the queen trap, before his 12th move, and saw the Nxd6+, but obviously failed to see the quiet move. What makes this trap good is that it is the best move anyway. White’s other option is 12. gxf3. While this doesn’t make White lose by any means, it hampers White from ever castling. While this is a perfect acceptable position to resign, it did take some thought to save the bishop. Being up a rook is an easily won game, but a mere exchange can be challenging.

13. e4 Bxa1. I briefly looked at dxe4, but sometimes simplicity is best. 14. Bf4 O-O The bishop move eliminates any retreating square for the bishop and threatens Nc7. 15. O-O Bg4 16. Qg3 dxe4. Up a rook, I am happy to trade any knight for bishop combination. 17. Bxe4 Nxe4 18. Qxg4 f5. 19. Qe2 Qf6. My bishop had been en-prise for 4 moves. However, it is possible to keep attacking pieces until you can secure it.

White tries one last tactical try. 20. f3 Bd4+ 21. Nxd4 Qxd4+ 22. Be3 Nc3! This marks the end of white counterplay and his demise.

23. Qe1 Qd3 24. Qd2 Qxd2 25. Bxd2 Nd5 26. Rd1 Nf6 27. Bc3 Rad8 28. Rb1 b6 0-1

Happy to put this tournament victory under my belt, I look forward to playing in the next tournament, this time in the Open Section.

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