A much better tournament for me than the last Swiss, but I still lost six rating points. In the first two rounds I played three combinations with the theme of the overworked piece, and, oddly enough, the "overworked piece" in each case was the opponent's king! Then in the third round, I got a good position against a Master, but frittered it away as he ground me down in a rook-and-pawn endgame. In the fourth round, I blundered in the opening and miraculously held on to get the draw.
Aaron Probst(1484) - chessart (1895), Rd. 1, Sicilian Alapin's, B22
1 e4 c5 2 c3 d5
For years I struggled against the Alapin's (2 c3). Recently I finally overcame my innate laziness and did some study, discovering that 2...d5 meet's white's unenterprising opening quite effectively.
3 ed Qxd5 4 Nf3 Bg4
This illustrates an advantage of 2...d5. My queen bishop develops as opposed to being hemmed in (as after an early ...e6).
This allows the doubling of white's f-pawns, a huge positional mistake.
5...BxN 6 QxB QxQ 7 PxQ Nf6 8 d4 cd 9 cd Nc6 10 Bb5 e6 11 Bg5 e6 11 Bg5 Be7 12 Nc3 0-0 13 Bxc6 bc 14 Ne4 Nd5 15 BxB NxB 16 Rg1 Kh8?
An embarrassingly bad move. My brain told me it was bad, but somehow my hand was able to overrule by brain!
17 0-0-0 Rad8 18 Nc5 Nf5 19 Nb3 Rd5 20 Rd3 Rfd8 21 Rgd1 e5 22 Re1NxP? (c5!) 23 NxN RxN 24 RxR PxR 25 Re7!
Had I played 16...g6 instead of 16...Kh8?, this move would not have been so troublesome.
a5 26 Rc7 g6 27 Rxc6 Rd5 28 Kd2 Rh5 29 Rd6 Rxh3 30 Ke2 Rh4 31 Rd5 a4 32 Ra5 h5 33 Kd3 (33Rxa4?? d3+) Rf4 34 Rxa4 RxP+ 35 Ke2 Rf4 36 R 8+ Kg7 37 Rd8 h4 38 Kf1 h3 39 a4 h2 40 Kg2 Rxf2+! 41 Kh1 Rxb2 42 Rxd4 Ra2 43 Rh4 f5 44 RxP RxP
Trading rooks on h2 loses, as my king is too far away to stop his a-pawn.Now, however, the win is straightforward, with my connected passed pawns on the f and g files.
45 Rb2 Kh6 46 Kg2 Kg5 47 Rb5 Kg4 48 Rb6 g5 49 Rb5 Ra2+ 50 Kf1 f4 51 Kg1 Kh4 52 Rf5 Kg4 53 Rb5 f3 54 Kf1 Kf4 55 Rc5 g4 56 Rc1
His rook has to go the the first rank for defense, as I am threatening 56...Ra1+ 57 Kf2 g3#. And 56 Rc4+ does not help, as after 56...Kg3 he still must play Rc1.
g3 57 Rb1 Kg4 58 Kg1 Kh3 59 Rf1 f2+ 60 RxP RxR 61 Kh1 Rf1# 0-1
chessart(1895) - Robert Bowden(943), Rd. 2
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 NxP
I have never before faced this move, but a database shows my response is best.
4 NxP Bc5 5 Bc4 Ne6 6 0-0 Nf6 7 Nc3 c6 8 Qe2 Bb4 9 Rd1 Qa5 10 Nf3 BxN 11 PxB Qxc3 12 Rb1 Qa5 13 Ba2 Qc5 14 Bb4 Nf4??
This just plain drops a piece.
15BxQ NxQ+ 16 BxN Nxe4 17 Bd4 0-0 18 Bd3 f5 19 Re1 d5 20 Re2 h6 21 Rbe1 g5 22 Nd2 Rf7 23 f3 NxN 24 RxN Bd7 25 R2e2 b6 26 Re7 RxR?
This move gives me control of my 7th rank. Instead, 26...Rd8 would maintain the battle for control of this rank. After the move played, black is lost.
27 RxR Rd8 28 Rg7+ Kf8 29 Rh7 c5 30 Rh8+ Ke7 31 Bf6+! KxB 32 RxR Ke6 33 Bxf5+
Interesting that this is the same combination I executed two moves earlier!
33...KxB 34 RxB And black finally resigned on move 50. 1-0
William Schill II(2235) - chessart(1895), Rd. 3, Sicilian Dragon, B76
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 0-0 8 Qd2 Nc6 9 g4
I was well-prepared for this move, having studied it after facing it two weeks earlier in the Portland Chess Club's May blitz tournament. My conclusion is that it is playable, but not as enterprising as the other white lines against the Dragon, 9 0-0-0 and 9 Bc4, both of which are played much more often than 9 g4.
9...Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Be6 11 0-0-0 Qa5 12 Kb1
Usual is 12 a3 Rab8 13 h4 b5 14 h5 b4 15 Nb1.
12...Rfc8 13 a3 Rab8 14 Bxf6 Bxf6 15 Nd5 Qxd2 16 Nxf6+ Kg7! 17 Nh5+
This move was the source of some controversy after the game. Some preferred 15 Rxd2 Kxf6 for white. I disagree, as I would have been perfectly happy with my king on f6. He would then be safe from attack, as well as being well-positioned to take an active part in the coming endgame. Oddly enough, a database I consulted shows 17 Ne8+ as scoring best for white among the three alternatives.
17...gxh5 18 Rxd2 hxg4 19 fxg4
Here we see the problem with 17 Nh5+. White's King-side pawns are very weak.
19...Bxg4?? 20 Rg1 loses a piece.
20 h3 Rh1 21 Be2 Ke5 22 Re1 Rbg8 23 Rd3 Bc4?
The start of a flawed plan to exchange Bishops. This is wrong because black's bishop is far superior to white's. After the bishop trade, black's advantage has evaporated.
24 Rc3 Bxe2 25 Rxe2 Rc8 26 Rf3 f6 27 Rf5+ Ke6 28 Rh5 Rc5 29 Rh6 Kf7 30 Kc1 Kg7 31 Rh4 Kg6 32 Kd2 Rhc8 33 c3 h5 34 Rg2 hxg4 35 Rhxg4 Rg5 36 e5!
The exclam for this move is given for its ingenuity and surprise value, not because it confers any advantage on white. If black responds correctly with 36...dxe5, he maintains equality. After my move, however, black drifts into an inferior position.
RxR? 37 RxR+ Kf5 38 ed ed 39 Rg7 Rh8 40 Rxb7 Rxh3 41 Rxa7 Rh2+ 42 Kc1 Ke4 43 Re7+ Kd3 44 Kb1
Preventing the threatened 44...Ra1#.
d5 45 Rf7 Rf2 46 a4 Kc4 47 Rb7
Otherwise 47...Kb3 would give me the double threat of 48...Rf1# and 48...Kxa4,
Kc5 48 Ka2 Kc6 49 Rf7 Kb6 50 Ka3 Rf3 51 b3 Rxc3 52 RxP+ Ka5?
I was convinced that passive defense was hopeless, hence this odd-looking move. My opponent's face showed a combination of a grin and a grimace as he studied the position. Ultimately, he came up with the idea of putting me in zugzwang.
53 Rd6 Rd3 54 Rc6 d4 55 Rd6
And here is the dreaded zugzwang. My rook is doing double duty, guarding the d-pawn on the file, as well preventing mate on the rank. Since passing was not an option, I elect to give up my pawn rather than my king! However, the position is now hopeless for black.
Rh3 56 RxP Kb6 57 Rd5 Rh4 58 Rb5+ Ka6 59 Rg5 Rf4 60 Rg3 Kb6 61 b4 Rh4 62 Kb3 Ka6 63 Rg6+ Kb7 64 a5 Ka7 65 b5 Kb7 66 Rg7+ Kb8 67 a6 Ka8 68 Re7 Rg4 69 b6 Rg8 70 Kc4 Rh8 71 Kd5 Rh5+ 72 Kd6 Rh6+ 73 Kc7 Re6 74 b7+ Black resigns 1-0
chessart(1895) - Roland Eagles(1742), Rd. 4
1 e4 c5 2 d4 e6 3 d5 Nf6 4 f3? Nxe4 5 fe Qh4+ 6 Kd2 Qf4+ 7 7 Kc3 Qxe4 8 de fe 9 a3 Nc6 10 Nf3 Be7 11 Bd3 Bf6+ 12 Kd2 Qg4 13 Qe2 0-0 14 Nc3 d5 15 h3 Qg3 16 b3 Nd4 17 NxN PxN 18 Na2 Bg5+ 19 Kd1 Rf2 20 Qh5 Bxc1 21 KxB g6 22 Qh6 Bd7 23 Kb7? c5? (missing 23...QxB!) 24 Raf1 Raf8 25 RxR RxR 26 Rf1 e4 27 RxR QxR 28 Qg5 PxB 29 Qd8+ Kg7 30 QxB+ Kh6 31 Qg4 QxP+ 32 Ka1 Qe2 33 Qh4+ Kg7 34 QxP+ Kh6 35 Qh4+
I'm glad Roland didn't play 35...Qh5, offering to trade queens. As tired as I was from the long day, I might have blundered and traded queens, or moved my queen to the wrong square. Had the queen trade occurred, white is probably lost, even though he has the only piece on the board!
Kg7 36 Qd4+ Draw agreed 1/2-1/2
After the game Roland and I had an enjoyable analysis session. We were both in good spirits. Roland was happy for drawing a higher-rated player, and I was happy for drawing after getting such a horrible position early on. And I think we both were happy that the long day of chess had finally ended. For me, it was a day in which I played a total of 220 moves!