Thursday, October 26, 2017

2017 Unc Fraud Round 4 Jason Skaggs, 1954 - Anton Taylor, 1966 Sicilian: Hungarian/Accelerated Dragon (B27)

2017 Unc Fraud Round 4
Jason Skaggs, 1954 - Anton Taylor, 1966
Sicilian: Hungarian/Accelerated Dragon (B27) 

I was very interested to see how this game would turn out. I had not played Jason in many years so I was anticipating a tough battle. Unfortunately, what I got was my most humiliating loss in this entire year. I got the short end of an unfamiliar variation and then allowed a checkmate out in the open in less than twenty moves. Let's look at the game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 I have played several games this year in this variation but the majority of those games continued 4.Nxd4 with a slow buildup by both sides. I decided to go for a sharper continuation. 4. Qxd4 Nf6 5. e5 The sharpest "stab". Nc3 has also been tried here at top level. 5. ... Nc6 6. Qc4 and here I depart from the mainline due to my inexperience in the variation. After some study it seems the main variation continues 6.Qa4 Nd5 Qe4 with a slight plus for white. The Qc4 line has been tried but isn't as tasteful as Qa4 to me. 6. ... d5 7. exd6 Qxd6 8. Nc3 Be6 9. Qe2?? Nb5 or Qf4 are better options but both lead to a small advantage for black. 9. ... O-O-O This move gives white the opportunity to play against the coming g7 bishop by 10. Nb5 followed probably by 11. c3 and the bishop "bites on granite". The control of the long diagonal becomes an important theme in the game as well as a number of variations that did not occur. 10. Be3 White develops a piece but misses the equalizing method of the previous note. 10. ... Bg7 11. g3?? The decisive blunder. Once again white has the opportunity to play Nb5-c3 and get a good game. 11. ... Qb4 12. Qb5 Nd5 13. Bd2 Nxc3 14. bxc3 Bxc3 15. Qxb4 Nxb4 16. Bxc3 Nxc2+ 17. Ke2 Bc4# 0-1

This game sets in motion several further hours of study in this variation I was caught completely unprepared in comparison to my opponent and the worst part is that I went willingly. The variation was the result of my choices in this case. I will be better prepared the next time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2017 Unc Fraud Round 3 Andy Porter, 2106 - Anton Taylor, 1966 English: Anglo-Indian (A17)

2017 Unc Fraud Round 3
Andy Porter, 2106 - Anton Taylor, 1966
English: Anglo-Indian (A17)

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 e4 is more energetic but this is fine. 3. ... d5 4. d4 Bb4 5. Bg5 Bxc3+ Here is an inaccuracy. The top level variation in this position is 5. ... h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3. 6. bxc3 c6 better is Ncd7 developing a piece and making the pin awkward for white (because he will either have to trade with anothe knight coming to the f6 square to control the same squares). 7. e3 Qa5 8. Qc2 Ne4 9. Rc1 Nxg5 10. Nxg5 dxc4 11. Ne4 b5 12. Nd6+ Ke7 13. Nxc8+ Rxc8 14. Qxh7 Nd7 Komodo likes Qxa2 but navigating the complications afterward are easier for a computer than a human and it determines the advantage is small enough to not be significant and therefore not justify the pawn grab. Whereas, if white goes grabbing with Qxg7 the open lines for the rooks are very big compensation. 15. Qc2 Rh8? The immediate c5 with the idea of creating a comfortable outpost for the black knight either on d3 or d5 makes a lot more sense. The half-open rook file is not quite as relavent as that central control and black has more pieces ready to join the central fight. 16. Be2 Rh6 this again is "chasing the ghost" of the half-open file and doesn't lead anywhere. It isn't losing but it is wasting dynamic action opportunities in the center. 17. Bf3 Qc7 18. h3 Rah8? This move comes up against a brick wall on h3 that isn't going to crack in a very long time. If white plays 
19. a4 a6 20.axb5 axb5 21. Ra1 I'm certain it is black who will be in a tough spot. 19. Ke2 White for his part throws away a golden opportunity to swing the game in his favor. 19. ... Nb6 20. e4 Na4 21. Qd2 f6? Komodo spots the right move immediately because it is supported by a series of simple tactics. Black should simply admit that Rah8? was a mistake and play Rd8 in which case he still has more dynamic play available in the center and will likely win the battle there because of his more active rooks. 22. Bg4 g5? It's never a good idea to move pawns where your opponent has more pawns. I realized this but I thought that the piece activity I gain on the queenside and the potential open lines would make my rooks better. I did not calculate anything and perhaps that was my real downfall here. Again Rd8 followed by opening the center is the best plan. 23. g3 Qd6 24. f4 gxf4 25. gxf4 c5 26. Rhd1 f5! I felt this move was winning and komodo sees a very big black advantage (+2 for black) but it is a long calculation and my time is ticking away. 27. exf5 exf5 28. Bxf5 Rf6? Stronger is Kf6 when after: 28... Kf6 29. Bg4 Rxh3 30. Bxh3 Rxh3 31. Rh1 Nxc3+ 32. Qxc3 Qe7+ 33. Kd2 Rxc3 34. Kxc3 Qe3+ Black is winning29. Bg4 Rxf4?? and with this final blunder I lose in a time scramble although I am certain my opponent did not find the best replies either after this. The problem with Rxf4 is that it allows Qe3+ when black's pieces become awkward as he tangos around white's central square control. Better is Qxf4 when 29... Qxf4 30. Qxf4 Rxf4 31. dxc5 Nxc5 32. Rd5 Nd3 presents a problem to white ... he either plays something useless like 33. Rb1?? Rxg4 34. hxg4 Nf4+ winning for black or Rg1 and the best he seems to get is a draw by something like 33. Rg1 Kf6 34. Rxb5 Re8+ 35. Kd1 Rf2 36. Bh5 Re4 37. Rg6+ Ke7 38. Rb7+ Kf8 39. Rb8+ Ke7 1-0

Monday, October 23, 2017

2017 Unc Fraud Round 2 CM Jerry Baker, 2037 - Anton Taylor, 1966 Nimzo-Larsen: Indian (A01)

2017 Unc Fraud Round 2
CM Jerry Baker, 2037 - Anton Taylor, 1966
Nimzo-Larsen: Indian (A01)

1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 e6 I'm still partial to this move even though g6 is technically accepted as the far superior choice. The idea of g6 is that the bishop on b2 will be unprotected while the g7 bishop is protected by a castled king which could give black tactical opportunities. My move is just to remain consistant with my Nimzo-styled repertoire. 3. Nf3 d5 4. e3 Nbd7 Bd6 is an interesting alternative that is vigorous and interesting. 5. Be2 Bd6 6. O-O e5 7. d3 O-O 8. Nc3 The idea of this move is to try Nd5 after white pushes e4 and black responds d4 (I guessed) but I curtail the whole idea without even thinking whether it has merit or not. 8. ... c6 9. e4? I don't like this advance. The simple reply makes white's pieces awkward and does nothing to stop the black lioghtsquared bishop from developing (which is I think the only promising plan in this equal position). 9. ... d4 10. Nb1 b5 I thought this move was interesting but probably objectively Re8 followed by Nf8-g6 makes more sense to counter white's f4 is better. However, I smelled blood and struck out with a counter-attack on the opposite wing. If white leaves things alone and just follows his plan f4 comes faster than any break on the queenside by black. 11. a4 Nb6 12. Ba3 This move isn't particularly good but white has very few options. Komodo like axb5 but that seems like at the very least clearing up some of black's awkward piece placement. A sample line might be something like 12. axb5 cxb5 13. c3 dxc3 14. Nxc3 a6 15. d4 exd4 16. Nxb5 axb5 17. e5 Be7 18. exf6 Bxf6 19. Rxa8 Nxa8 and the position looks a little better for white but black can hold. 12. ... bxa4 13. Bxd6? Allows black to improve his queen and weakens the black squares in white's camp without this bishop. 13. ... Qxd6 14. bxa4 a5 The idea of this move was to prevent the stranded a-pawn from moving off the target square. This however misses a defensive resource that white has on the very next move. 15. Nbd2? A mistake. The immediate c3 was demanded to either cut into the black center or defense the a-pawn with a strong knight on c3. Neither position seems good for black. Black wouldn't be lost but he (I) spent a lot of time think about nabbing the isolated pawn and would have to rethink the whole gameplan. 15. ... Nfd7? For his part black too commits an error. Bd7 pressures the pawn and now white can't play the c3 break. 16. Nb3 Qb4 17. Nfd2 Nxa4 18. Bg4 Nc3 19. Qf3 Nb6 20. Nb1 Bxg4 21. Qxg4 a4 22. N3d2 a3 I spent a lot of time on this move and as expected I make a mistake. The text is still winning but I did not even consider the merits of Komodo's logical Nb5. 23. Nb3 c5? After some energetic play I decided to play slowly and it puzzles me. a2 seems to finish things. After 23... a2 24. Nxc3 Qxc3 25. Qe2 c5 26. Qd2 Qxd2 27. Nxd2 Rfc8 Black is dominant. 24. h4 c4 25. dxc4 Nxc4 26. h5 Ra6 h6 was a swifter solution to white's elementary threat. 27. Nxc3 Qxc3 28. Ra2 f5?? A costly mistake that almost loses a completely won ending. The idea should have been something like 28... Nb2 29. h6 Rxh6 30. Rxa3 d3 31. cxd3 Nxd3 32. Qf3 Qb2 33. Rfa1 Nxf2 34. Qxf2 Rh1+ though white can play better he is still at a major disadvantage, 29. exf5 Raf6 30. Nc5 Nd2?? I commit a mistake that should lose on my last recorded move after 31.Ne6 R8f7 32.Rfa1 white just wins. However, white too was in major time trouble and allowed a variation that led to white being a piece up. 0-1

Thursday, October 19, 2017

2017 Unc Fraud Round 1 Anton Taylor, 1966 - Andrew Orr, 1669 Caro-Kann: Panov-Botvinnik Attack (B13)

2017 Unc Fraud Round 1
Anton Taylor, 1966 - Andrew Orr, 1669
Caro-Kann: Panov-Botvinnik Attack (B13)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. c5 I had recently had a long conversation regarding this opening with GM Gregory Kaidanov and we went over a few short variations that occur after Nc6. I have been guilty of allowing white to play in this same way and had suffered a major loss. I was prepared. 7. ... b6 8. Bb5 Bd7 9. Bxc6 Bxc6 10. Ne5 Qc7 11. Nxc6 Qxc6 12. b4 It may seem strange to trade the good knight off for the bad bishop and indeed 11. b4 is dominant. However, I settled on principle to try and create a passed pawn that could only be blockaded by a queen or rook is probably winning. 12. ... Qd7? Similar to my game against CM Surya Parasuraman a few months before this game ( Black should have played Ne4 with similar ideas. My opponent fails where I too slipped with the black pieces (the position isn't the same but the ideas are exactly the same). 13. O-O Be7 14. Bf4 O-O 15. Na4?! This move is certainly interesting. It invites a host of complications but if the players navigate correctly white only obtains a slight advantage. Komodo actually seems to go wrong with 15... Nh5 when 16. Be3 Nf6 17. cxb6 Qb5 18. bxa7 Qxb4 19. Qb3 Rxa7 20. Nc5 seems likely to produce dangers only for black. 15. ... Qb5 16. Qb3 Rfc8 17. Rfc1 Bd8 18. Rc2 a5 19. bxa5 I made this move fairly quickly anticipating the text reply because it seems the most natural but it seems that Qxa5 is much better for black than the text ...  19... Qxa5 20. Nxb6 Bxb6 21. cxb6 Rxc2 22. Qxc2 Qxb6 23. Be3 Ne4 24. a4 Nd6 looks hold-able by white but very dangerous. 19. ... Rxa5 20. cxb6! My opponent clearly did not expect this move. 20. ... Qxb3 21. Rxc8 Qxa4 22. Rxd8+ Ne8 23. b7 1-0

Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 3 Tables - September Round 3 Anton Taylor, 1972 - Bob Faust, 1993 French: King's Indian Attack (C00)

2017 3 Tables - September Round 3
Anton Taylor, 1972 - Bob Faust, 1993
French: King's Indian Attack (C00)

1. e4 e6 2. d3 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 Nge7 5. Be3 The only top level game to feature these last couple of moves is an odd game between Svidler and Rublevsky (Togliatti 2003) I suspect this is some sort of odd preparation by Svidler to avoid Rublevsky's preparation. Anyway, this is highly unusual ... especially without the move g3. 5. ... d6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 O-O 10. Nc3 a6 11. Qd2 b5 12. d5 exd5 13. Nxd5 Be6? This is probably the start of the downward spiral. It is better to just eliminate the problematic knight by Nxd5. There is a lot of options for white on how to continue. I thought here for a long time about moves like Bg5 but I dismissed it. Also, moving a rook to an open file can be a good continuation. For example, either rook on the d-file makes Nxd5 unappealing in some future variations because after the queen recaptures the d-pawn probably falls. 14. Bb6 I elected on playing this move because I determined that in most variations it leads to a rook penetrating on the seventh rank or a worse placement of pieces. 14. ... Qd7 15. Rac1 Rab8?? This move alters the plan to get a rook to the seventh but creates a new set of interesting options. I once more thought for a long time here. 16. Nxe7+ Nxe7 17. Bc7? Here I miss the key Rc7! followed by Ba5. I even missed this move in my analysis (see my previous note). In fact, this move wastes all the initiative and just leads to equality after some forced trades. 17. ...Rb7?? 17... Rbc8 18. Bxd6 Rxc1 19. Rxc1 Rd8 20. Bf4 Qxd2 21. Nxd2 Bxb2 leads to a slight advantage for black. The text move is winning for white. 18. Bxd6 Rd8 19. Rfd1 Qe8 20. Qa5 Bxb2?? This move evens up the material but makes a far worse losing position. 21. Rb1 The double threat of Rxb7 and Qxa6 wins. 21. ... Bf6 22. Qxa6 Rbd7 23. Bxb5 Rxd6 24. Rxd6 Rxd6 25. Qxd6 Qa8 26. e5 Nf5 27. Bc6 1-0