Thursday, March 16, 2017

Toledo March Swiss

The Toledo March Swiss, held on 3/11/17, had a record 68 players. Despite the huge turnout, the tournament ran smoothly, with no controversies. It was broken into three sections--Open, under 1800, and under 1400. Since I'm at my 1800 floor, I played in the Open.

In the first round I was paired against John Bidwell, a Master. Here is that game.

Round 1, chessart(1800)-Bidwell(2213), Benoni Defense

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3

Here I was quite confident, as the Catalan gives white good play with little chance for black counterplay.


Usual is 3...d5, with white retaining a nice 12.5% edge. Next is 3...Bb4+, with a similar edge for white. 3...c5 is third, with equal prospects as black transposes to a Benoni, a double-edged game which gives black more winning chances..

4 d5 ed 5 cd d6 6 Bg2 g6 7 Nf3 Bg7 8 Nc3 0-0 9 0-0 Na6 10 Bf4 Nc7 11 e4

The database much prefers 11 a4. It gives black a huge advantage after 11 e4.


This makes sense, but is not even given in the database!

12 Bxd6

This is a common theme in this variation of the Benoni. White aims to get his central pawns moving forward, in hopes at some point of discovering an attack for his B/g2 against black's R/a8.

12...Qxd6 13 e5 Qd7 14 ef Bxf6 15 Ne4 Bxb7 16 Rb1 Bg7 17 Nxc5 Qd6 18 Ne4 Qxd5 19 QxQ NxQ 20 Rxb5

The computer gives black a .34 edge here, but I still liked my position.

20...Bf5 21 Nd6 Nc3 22 Rc5 Bd3 23 Re1

The only safe square for my Rook to move to.

23...Rad8 24 Nb7 Rde8 25 h4 a6 26 a3 Nb5 27 a4 Nd4 28 RxR NxN+ 29 BxN RxR 30 Nd6 Bf8 31 Rd5 Re1+ 32 Kh2 Bc2 33. a5 Ra1 34. Ne4 Bb4 35. Nf6+ Kg7 36. Ne8+ Kf8 37. Nc7 Bxa5 38. Nxa6 Be1 39. Nc7 Bxf2 40. Rd2 Bg1+ 41. Kg2 Rc1 42 Nd5 h5?

In time trouble, black overlooks the fact that my knight move means I was now threatening to win material.

43 RxB RxR+ 44 KxB 

I now have knight + bishop for rook + pawn. While the point count is even, I actually have a huge advantage, because the two pieces are much better in this position. The computer gives me a 1.63 advantage.

44...Kg7 45. Ne3 Rb2 46. Ng2 f6 47. Nf4 Ra2 48. Bd5 Rb2 49. Bf3 Ra2 50. Kh1 g5 51. hxg5 fxg5 52. Nxh5+ Kg6 53. Bg4?

Here I go seriously astray. 53 g4 would preserve my advantage, which probably would be winning in light of black's time trouble.

53...Ra4 54. Bf3 g4 55. Bxg4 Rxg4 56. Nf4+ Kf5 57. Ng2 Rxg3 draw agreed 1/2-1/2

With the pawns off the board, black's exchange advantage is meaningless.

                         *********                                    **********

Round 2, Ravi Khanna(2136)-chessart(1800), Smith-Morra Gambit

1 e4 c5 2 d4 cd 3 c3 dc 4 Nxc3 Nc6 5 Bc4 e6 6 Nf3 d6 7 0-0 a6 8 Bg5(?)

I thought this was very weak, though my opponent disagreed. His idea is to eliminate my king bishop, and then gang up with his rooks on my d-pawn. Normal here is 8 Qe2.

8...Be7 9 BxB QxB 10 Rc1

The only game in the database continued 10 Nd4, with black winning in 42 moves.

10...Nf6 11 Bd3 Bd7 12. Na4 O-O 13. Nb6 Rad8 14. Qb3 Ng4 15. Rfd1 Nge5 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. Rc7 Nc6?

After the game my opponent suggested 17...Qh4, which seems much better. 

18 Qa3 Rfe8 19 Rxb7 d5 20 QxQ RxQ 21 Bxa6 Kf8 22 Bb5 Ke8 23 RxB Black resigns 1-0

                                     ***********                               *************
In round 3 I played a 9-year-old girl, who proved to be quite a formidable competitor!

Round 3, chessart(1800)-Sanjana Ramesh(1627), King's Indian Defense

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7

A huge surprise. The King's Indian seems way too complex of an opening for a 9-year-old!

4 e4 d6 5 f3 0-0 6 Be3 Nbd7 7 Qd2 e5 8 d5 b6(?)

This move is not even in the database! I'm not sure what her idea was here.

9 Bd3 Nc5 10 Nge2

Probably better was 10 Bc2.

10...Nfd7 11 0-0 NxB 12 QxN Nc5 13 Qd2 f5 14 exf5

I  like to capture the P/f5  in this line, as I will get active play however black recaptures. 

14...Bxf5 15 BxN(?)

I now understand that this move is wrong on principle. In a 2006 Chess Life article, Bruce Pandolfini writes that "Generally, in a King's Indian, white needs a very good reason to part with his dark-squared bishop, as the bulk of his pawns are already committed to light squares." 15 b4 deserved consideration here.

bc 16 Ng3 Bd7 17 Nge4

This is the point of my play. I now have a permanent spot on e4 for a knight, and black can do nothing about it. And yet, the computer insists that black has a .53 edge!

17...Qh5 18 a4 Bh6 19 Qe2 Bg7 20 Nb5 Qd8 21 Qd2 a6 22 Nbc3 Bf5 23 a5 Kh8 24 Rae1 Qe7 25 Rb1 g5 26 g4 Bg6 27 b4 cb 28 Rxb5 h6 29 Kg2

The computer finally gives me an advantage, albeit a miniscule .02.

29...Rab8 30 Rfb1 RxR 31 RxR Qf7 32 Qe2 Qf4 33 Rb7 h5 34 h3 

Probably too cautious, as 34 Rxc7 is likely playable.

BxN 35 NxB hg 36 hg Rf7 37 c5 dc 38 Nxc5 Qd4 39 Nxa6?

The computer line runs 39 Ne6 Qxd5 40. Rb8+ Kh7 41. Nxg5+ Kg6 42 NxR. For once, I have to agree with the engine.

39...Qxd5 40 Rxc7 RxR 41 NxR Qxa5

And so we arrive at an ending, if any position with queens still on the board can be called an "ending".

42 Ne6 Bf6 43 Qe4??

And I promptly blunder a piece. I will play the rest of the game a piece down. I am guessing at some of the following moves, as my scoresheet was missing a few moves.

43...Qa2+ 44 Kg3 QxN 45 Qg6  Qe7 46. Qh6+ Kg8 47. Qg6+ Bg7 48. Qe4 Qf6 49. Qd5+ Kh8 50. Qa8+ Bf8 51. Qd5 Qf4+ 52. Kg2 Qd4 53. Qf7 Qd2+ 54. Kh3 Qf4 55. Qh5+ Kg7 56. Qe8 Qxf3+ 57. Kh2 Qxg4 58. Qxe5+ Kf7 59. Qd5+ Kf6 60. Qd8+ Kg7 61. Qc7+ Kg8 62. Qd8 Qf4+ 63. Kg2 Qg4+ 64. Kh2 Kf7 65. Qd5+ Kf6 66. Qc6+ Qe6 67. Qf3+ Kg7 68. Qc3+ Kf7 69. Qc7+ Kg8 70. Qd8 Qe5+ 71. Kg2 g4 72. Qc8 g3 73. Qg4+ Kf7 74. Qxg3 Qxg3+ 75. Kxg3 Draw agreed 1/2-1/2

Young Sanjana went on to destroy her Class A opponent in the last round, winning both the game and the post-game analysis. She gained 43 rating points for her fine performance in this tournament.

                                        **************                  ****************

Round 4, chessart(1800)-Jonathan Prairie(1657), Benko Gambit, Zeitsev Variation

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5 4 cb a6 5 Nc3 ab 6 e4 b4 7 Nb5 Nxe4?

Black falls right into the trap. This loses his knight. This line of the Benko is called the Zeitsev Variation. Usual is 7...d6 8 Bf4 g5 9 Bxg5 Nxe4 10 Bf4, and now black can play 10...Qa5, 10...Bg7, or 10...Nf6, with the latter showing the best results for black.

8 Qe2 b3

The database gives only 8...Ba6 and 8...f5. Of course not 8...Nf6?? 9 Nd6#.

9 QxN

Perhaps 9 a4 was better, but I didn't like the messy position after 9...Qa5+ 10 Kd1.

9...Qa5+ 10 Bd2 Qxa2!

The exclam is for black finding this move despite not being familiar with this opening. It actually is a common idea in the Zeitsev, but kudos to black for finding it over-the-board!

11 Rb1 f5 12 Nd6+?

Here I start to go wrong. The simple 12 Qxf5 retains my advantage. If left on b5, my knight can participate in the queen-side defense with a later Nc3.

12...Kd8 13 Nxf5 g6?

Black misses a chance to take the advantage with 13...Ra4.

14 Ne3 Bg7

Now 14...Ra4 can be met with 15 Nc4.

15 Bd3 Ra4 16 Nc4 Ba6 17 Bc3?

The engine gives 17. Rd1 d6 18. Ne2 Bxc4 19. Bxc4 Qxb2 20. Qd3 Qc2 21. Qxb3 Qxc4 and I am still 3 points up.

17...BxB 18 bc BxN 19 Qe5 d6 20 QxR+ Kc7 21 Qxh7?

The engine gives 21. Rd1 Bxd3 22. Rxd3 Re4+ 23. Re3 Rxe3+ 24. fxe3 Qxg2 25. Qxh7 Qxh1 26. Qxe7+ Nd7=.

21... Bxd3 22. Qxe7+ Nd7 23. Rd1 Re4+ 24. Qxe4 Bxe4 25. Ne2 Bc2 26. Rc1 b2 White resigns 0-1

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