Thursday, February 23, 2006


Victory is Mine!

After all of the preparation on the Reti opening, as well as others like the King’s Indian, I face the Dutch which I’ve never played against. Since I’ve played Bird’s Opening before, I sat and thought about where what his play likely is. I certainly didn’t win this game in the opening though. I think the preparation did get me thinking about the things I should be thinking about. So I won $55 for first place. More than the money, I was happy to win the tournament outright with 3.5/4 especially since I was only seated 7th. To win I had to draw a 2214, beat a 1760, a 1726, and this, a 2044. My rating should go over 1900 again for only the 2nd time. It was also my 150th rated USCF game.

White: Chris (1845)

Black: Anton (2044)

1. Nf3 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 Bb4 5. Bg5 a6 6. Bxf6 Bxc3 7. bxc3 Qxf6 8. e3 d6 I don’t think this is the best way to play against the Dutch defense, but I have the good bishop and a good center.

9. Bd3 e5 My ninth move was a mistake as Be2 is better. While I saw e5 and had my following move planned. Obviously I can’t take on d5 and doing nothing allows for the pawn fork. I thought there would be more exchanges in the center. 10. e4 f4 However, he’s nicely turned his bad bishop into his good bishop. 11. Qb3 Nc6 I have to get counterplay on the Queenside. The Queen on b3 helps to keep the bishop on c8 and prevent him from castling. 12. d5 Nb8 13. c5 dxc5 I have to play the pawn sacrifice c5. I can’t allow him to play Nd7, because then the knight nicely goes to c5 and I am losing. 14. Bb5+ Ke7 The sacrifice does make his e5 pawn weak. A lot of the tactics of c6 or Nd7 end him up with either doubled c pawns because the e-pawn would be unprotected if there is a Queen recapture on c6. 15. Qa3 b6 Keeping pressure on a new pawn, the move basically forces him to weaken his light square if he wants to keep the extra pawn. 16. h3 Bb7 I’m trying to remember why I played h3 instead of Nd2 right away. I really didn’t want to castle into a kingside onslaught of g5 & g4. The only way I can win is if I am able to break open the center and attack his king. Where can I do that? I wanted to put my knight on c4 and my rook on d1. Then push d6. Looking at the game afterwards Bd7 would have been better even though it seems like he is trading his good bishop for a bad bishop.

17. Nd2 a6 18. Be2 Nd7 19. Bg4 Nf8 He doesn’t want to trade knight for bishop but this ends up costing him in the end. He still could have held the position better with Rd8. 20. Nc4 h5 My knight is pretty nice on c4 and it’s why I never pushed the pawn to c4, which seems like a natural move, but it limits you’re your bishop and knight. 21. Bf3 Nd7 I really didn’t mind Bf3 because I knew it would be supporting the e4 pawn after d6. 22. O-O-O Kf7

I think he finally realizes the gravity of his position. The pawn break d6 is unstoppable. 23. d6 c6 24. Nxb6 Nxb6 25. Qb3+ Kg6 A mid-level tactic to dismantle his pawn structure and gain a pawn. 26. Qxb6 Rhb8 27. Qxc5 Qe6 28. c4 a5 I’m really in no rush and it’s best to stifle counterplay. 29. d7 Kh7 Now I threaten a rook pin on the queen. 30. Rd6 Qf7

The Queen is overworked and cannot protect all of the pawns. 31. Rhd1 Rbd8 32. Be2 g6 33. Qxe5 Kh6 Now that my pawn on c4 is secure, I can take the hopeless pawn on e5. I was the now threatening Re6 followed by Re7 pinning the queen. However, his follow-up isn’t better. 34. Qxh5+ 1-0 The pawn on g6 is pinned and the queen is protected by the bishop. He resigned as he has no counterplay and after 34…Kg7 35. Qe5+ 36. Kg8 I can play Re7 or R1d6 all threatening g6 and the king, he is toast.

Holy cow!! Good job!!! I bet you'll hit your Expert goal by the end of the year.
Thanks! It felt good to win a tournament again.
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