Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2017 3 Tables- June (82) Round 3 CM Justin Arnold, 2107 - Anton Taylor, 2024 Indian: London System (A46)

2017 3 Tables- June (82) Round 3 
CM Justin Arnold, 2107 - Anton Taylor, 2024
Indian: London System (A46)

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure this is a short and somewhat embarrassing loss. When you are improving quickly it should be expected that gaps in your knowledge will cause bizarre hiccups. If you were to look at this single game as a representation of my skills I will fall sadly short of master level chess. Let me give you the setting. I was one of only a couple players with 1.5 points after two rounds. I had played a 1950 in the first round in a tough drawn position. I had fought back from a lost position to win a drawn game. The second round I played against a talented junior player who is very young and rated nearly 2090. That game was an exercise in master chess by both sides in my opinion and resulted in a draw after both of us missed our turns to win. This combination is the strongest back-to-back games I had had up to this point. This rationale is partly my excuse for the loss but here us another excuse. The position was unfamiliar and lazy calculation led to a quick loss. Let's get right into this ... 

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bf4 b6 4. e3 Bb7 5. Nbd2 Be7 6. Bd3 h3 preserving the bishop is the common plan. 6. ... O-O Nh5 punishes the omission of h3 and should give black a small advantage. 7. Qe2 d6 A hypermodern approach that I have come to like in certain Nimzo-indian positions. If white builds a classic center Black will fight on the wing with a supported c5. 8. h4 This is a divergence from theory and isn't particularly challenging to black if black takes care. 8. ... c5 9. c3 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Qc7? A slight mistake that leads to equality. the simple build-up a6 leads to a pawn rush that is faster against the white king than any attack he can muster. Not winning but white will be on his "back foot" playing precise defense rather than attacking black. 11. Bh2 e5? Another opportunity to keep the center even and play a6 to start the wing attack. 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Nc4 Ng4?? The losing move and the rest is a blowout victory for white. (13... Bxf3 14. Qxf3 b5 15. Nd2 is the necessary line to understand after the choice to play 11. ... e5) 14. Bxh7+ Kh8 15. Bf5 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Ngf6 17. Rxd7 Coup de grace 1-0

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 3 Tables - June (82) Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2024 - Justin Storn, 2084 French: KIA (C00)

2017 3 Tables - June (82) Round 2
Anton Taylor, 2024 - Justin Storn, 2084
French: KIA (C00)

1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 c5 5. c3 Nc6 6. Be2 b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. Re1 Be7 9. Qc2 Qc7 10. Nf1 O-O-O This is the first non-book type of move but isn't inconsistant with black's other moves. Even with the imbalances the position is roughly equal. Black is just a little bit better by the computer's evaluation but in practice it's probably equal. 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 Nh5 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. a4? A useless "equal" move that appears to accelerate the attack but controlling the center after exd5! is far better. 14. ... Nf4 15. Ng3?? exd5 again is missed and a losing move is chosen in favor of the right path. Black is poised to attack directly against white's king if white plays actively in defense. Take this line for example: 15... Kb8 16. Rad1 g5 17. Bf1 h5 18. exd5 Rxd5 19. Ne2 Ng6 20. Nc1 g4 21. Nd2 h4 22. Be2 Nce5 23. f3 Qg5 24. fxg4 Qe3+ 25. Kh1 h3 26. Nf3 hxg2+ 27. Kxg2 Nf4+ 28. Kh1 Nxf3 29. Bxf3 Qxf3+ 30. Kg1 Nh3# 15. ... g5 16. Bf1 g4 17. Nd2 h5 This version of the kingside attack is one move slower than the example line in the previous comment. As a result Black is still better but not yet winning. 18. Ne2 Qg5 Black is trying to hold on to the kingside attack because he intuitively assumed he was winning in attacking on previous moves but has chosen the wrong path. 19. Nxf4 Qxf4 20. g3?? Komodo shows this is again a losing choice. By principle moving the pawns in front of your king is a horrible idea because it accelerates the potential to open lines against your king. 20. ... Qf6 21. Bg2 h4 22. b4 Komodo absolutely hates this idea and prefers to distract black's pieces with the sacrifice a4. Black is clearly winning and so white has to drum up distraction and activity to make a bid for the point. 22. ... hxg3 23. fxg3 Qh6? Rxh2! is a great sacrifice that breaks open white's position convincingly. Kxh2? is met by Qf2 when white's king gets trapped in the corner. 24. Nf1 This move order allows white to hold himself together. 24. ... cxb4 25. cxb4 Kb8 26. b5 Na5? Nd4 keeps piling on the pressure. 27. Rac1 Rc8 28. Qd2 Qg7?? Holding onto the queen is a losing retreat. White has new life a tries his best to pounce on the opportunity. 29. exd5 Bxd5 30. Qf4+ Ka8 31. Bxd5+ exd5 32. Ne3 The immediate rook trade is better by komodo but I preferred to try and develop the knight to a better place. I was distracted by trying to win the g-pawn and hold my position together and missed the winning ideas. 32. ... Rxc1 33. Rxc1 Qh7 34. Nxg4 f5 I felt I was winning but I missed the most challenging continuation. Rc7 getting a tempo on the queen is the best option. 35. Nf2 Qxh2+ 36. Kf1 Rg8 37. Qxf5? Qe5 is an easier win. the test makes it harder. 37. Qxg3 38. Rc8+ Rxc8 39. Qxc8+ Qb8 40. Qe6? The last vestige of the white win drops away here. Black's queen checks and holding the d-pawn prevents white from pushing his win. Qd7 is the right answer and wins the extra pawn. it's a hard win practically. 40. ... Qd8 41. Ng4 Nb7 42. Ne5 d4 43. Nc6 Qh8 44. Qe4 Qh3+ 45. Ke2 Qh2+ 46. Kd1 Qg1+ 47. Kc2 Qf2+ 48. Kb1 Qf1+ 49. Ka2 Qf7+ 50. Ka3 Nc5 51. Nd8+ Nxe4 52. Nxf7 Nc5 53. Ne5 Kb7 54. Kb4 a5+ 55. bxa6+ Kxa6 1/2-1/2 I very much dislike games that feature all three results. It constitutes a major hole in my ability to calculate if I see tactical shots in my post-game analysis.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 3 Tables - June (82) Round 1 Anton Taylor, 2024 - Josiah Hereford, 1950 Ruy Lopez/ Spanish: Open Berlin (C67)

2017 3 Tables - June (82) Round 1
Anton Taylor, 2024 - Josiah Hereford, 1950
Ruy Lopez/ Spanish: Open Berlin (C67)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Bxc6 This is the move order in my memory but it is technically incorrect. Nxe5 is the correct order. 6. ... dxc6 7. Nxe5 Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. Bf4 Bf5 10. Nd2 Bf6 11. Qf3 Be6 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. dxe4 Qe7 14. Nd3 Bg5 15. Qe3 Bxf4 16. Nxf4 Rfd8 17. Rad1 b6 18. Qc3 Rxd1 19. Rxd1 Rd8 20. Rxd8+ Qxd8 21. Nd3 c5 22. b3 Kf8 23. Kf1 Qd6 24. Qe5 f6 25. Qxd6+ cxd6 26. Ke2 g5 27. Ke3 d5 28. f4 Ke7 29. c3 dxe4 30. Kxe4 Kd6 31. g3?? The game has been a bit of back and forth equal maneuvering. HOWEVER, this move is the recipe for disaster. The correct order of moves is spotted quickly by komodo (31.gxf5 gxf5 32. Ne4 holds things together.) 31. ... c4 32. bxc4 Bxc4 33. a3 There is now a hole in the white position on b3. It is a technical draw but it requires great care on white's part. 33. ... a5 34. Nb2 Be6 35. Kd4 Bb3 36. c4 Bc2 37. Kc3 Bf5 38. Na4 Kc6 39. Kd4 Bc2?? The losing move  (39... gxf4 40. gxf4 Bh3 41. Nc3 h6 42. Nd5 f5 43. Ne3 Kd6 =) 40. Nc3 gxf4 41. gxf4 f5 42. Nd5 Be4 43. Nf6 Bc2 44. Nxh7 b5 45. cxb5+ Kxb5 46. Kc3 Bd1 47. Nf6 Kc5 48. h4 Kd6 49. Kd4 Bf3 50. Nh7? h5 is simpler ... the pawn is too quick. 50. ... Be2 51. Ng5 Bh5 52. Nh3 Bf3 53. Nf2 Bh5 54. Nd3 Bd1 55. Nc5 a4 56. Kc4 Kc6?? Interposes the king into the necessary path of the Bishop to route around Bd1-a4-e8-g6-h7 keeping the pawn from queening. 57. Nxa4! Be2+ 58. Kd4 Bg4 59. Nc3 Kd6 60. a4 Bf3 61. Nb5+ Ke6 62. a5 Bc6 63. Kc5 Bf3 64. Nc7+ Kd7 65. Kb6 1-0 A couple of the moves in this ending that I played are sub-par but there are many ways to win the two pawn tango.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mistake Check-In #3

It has been quite some time since I made a "check-in" type of blog post. There is no real excuse for it other than my traditional laziness. I'm writing this very post to fight or remedy most of the recent problems I have had in my chess life. Let me break it down:

Laziness - I have noticed a horrible lack of mindfulness once more when it comes to chess. It almost feels like boredom and I go on auto-pilot until my position is worse and then I begin to think. With lesser opposition I still win in these circumstances but what about players of average to better strength? I'm losing games I should win and not putting up the most amount of resistance in the lost games. I need to reconnect with my former meditation practices and restore my mindfulness.

Opening Mistakes - I have let certain opening lines slip out of my memory. All of the following are lines that have come up either in tournament play or in practice blitz games that I need to refresh myself on: The French Defense as white in all the common lines, The Sicilian Taimanov and Rossolimo, The Nimzo-Indian (just a few minor sidelines that aren't seen often), and the Caro-Kann classical variation as black and Panov-Botvinnik attack as white. Some of these I have studied in the recent past (Taimanov) and there is therefore very little acceptable excuse for allowing these things to escape into the ether. Some of these are recent choices based on a changing trend in blitz (the panov and classical caro-kann). These are excusable gaps that I simply have not had to use in a very long time or have had little need to study until now.

Calculation - As a result of the aforementioned laziness my tactical practice habits have been left to dwindle down to zero practice. The result is that not only do I find it difficult to "start the engine" of calculation but I can tell that I am not calculating as deeply as before and my answers over-the-board are nowhere near as accurate as they had been. Simply put, there are too many mistakes that are errors by too wide a margin.

Caffeine - I have become addicted to caffeine. From experimentation and observation I discovered that I did indeed calculate better under the immediate influence of the stuff. However, there were/are unacceptable side-effects to this drug and so I have been slowly removing it from my diet. At my lowest point I had resorted to the "stronger" stimulants of energy drinks. Never Again. I resorted to this because of the next problem

Working Long Hours - I have been working nine to ten hour days at my job during the week and some weekends leading to longer nights for practicing chess and a shortened and ineffective sleep cycle. I wake up tired and go to bed exhausted. My thinking is all blurry and "muddied". I can't really reduce the amount of working hours short of quitting the job but it provides the financing for tournament trips so that's not practical.

Conclusion - These are where things sit at this moment in my personal life. I must remove the lazy habits. I must get more sleep in quantity and quality. I must find those extra moments to study and find methods to streamline that study process. I am still consuming large amounts of caffeine by my own standards and that needs to be managed. All attempts at "cold-turkey" quitting have led to disaster ... shakes, headaches, etc. So for now it just needs to be regulated in usage until it can be eliminated eventually as it was several months ago.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 4 Anton Taylor, 2027 - Andy Porter, 2112 Caro-Kann Panov-Botvinnik (B13)

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 4
Anton Taylor, 2027 - Andy Porter, 2112
Caro-Kann Panov-Botvinnik (B13)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 g6 I have some reasonable experience in the Panov (as you see from previous games, actually) but I had never encountered g6 until this game that I can recall ... at least not in serious tournament play. 7. Be2 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Ne5 Be6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Bf3 Qc7 Rb8 was slightly better for Black because it ties up the bishop to the pawn's defense. 12. Qa4 This is objectively the inferior move to settling the center (which is fast building in black's favor) by either cxd5 or c5. However, keeping the tension could lead to double-edged positions that could favor me. 12. ... Rfd8 13. c5 I play this move here to make the rook and bishop both look a little foolish. It isn't good for white but there isn't much better and it will take black precise timing to take any advantage. 13. ... Bg4 14. Bxg4 Biting the bullet and trying to grab e5 while it is offered. there are holes in white's position. Double-edged with a slight advantage to black. 14. ... Nxg4 15. f4 h5 16. Ne2 Nh6? This gives white some breathing room. Rdb8 once again attacks the pawn and keeps the bishop occupied. 17. Bd2 Qd7 18. Qc2? I feared Qf5 but komodo recommends Nc1 with the plan of Nb3 making things solid and removing/defending the weaknesses on d4 and b2. 18. ... Nf5 19. Qd3 Re8 20. Bc3 Rab8 All of the moves recommended for move 21 for white by the machines are drawish "passing" moves. That means that in practical play it is lost. If you're not going forward you're going backwards. 21. g3 Qe6 22. Kf2? A waste of time and justifiably losing. 22. ... Nh6 23. h4?? Ng4+ 24. Kg1 Qe4 25. Rf3 Nf6? irrational fear brings the knight out of white's face. Black is still better but komodo gives several good alternatives. keeping the tension and simply playing a5 ridding black of an endgame liability seems very logical. 26. b3 Ng4 the knight goes back to where it should have stayed. 27. Re1 Qxd3 28. Rxd3 Nf6 29. Rb1 Ne4 30. Be1 f6 31. b4 a5 32. Ra3?? b4!? is the lever to break things open and complicate things. Ra3 can be classified as "cute" but is mostly useless. 32. ... axb4 33. Rxb4 e5 34. Ra6 exd4 35. Nxd4 Nxc5? Bf8! It can't be a coincidence that yet another bishop "retreat" is the cook in my calculations that I never considers. Black is still better but the margin gets smaller and his life is complicated by white. 36. Rxb8 Rxb8 37. Rxc6 Nd3? Ne4! keeps things in black's favor. This give white room to play for a win. 38. Bc3 Nb4 39. Bxb4 Rxb4 40. Rc8+ Kh7 41. Nb3? I was low on time and couldn't calculate my originally intended Ne6. However, I chickened out and played the text which is a hard fought drawing move. 41. ... f5 42. Kf2? Rd8 getting behind the pawn is the best drawing option. 42. ... Ra4 43. Rc2 Bf6 44. Ke3 Kg7 45. Kd3 Ra3 0-1 The final position is a draw but I was low on time and crumbled.