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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

2017 3 Tables - September Round 2 Michael Johnson, 2026 - Anton Taylor, 1972 Queen's Indian (E15)

2017 3 Tables - September Round 2
Michael Johnson, 2026 - Anton Taylor, 1972
Queen's Indian (E15)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 d6? This move has too many drawbacks to be good. normally d6 is pushed in Indian positions to bolster e5 but in this case it is at best very premature. The more common move is the immediate Ne4. 8. Qc2 c5 The only way to fight for the center at this moment. 9. d5 exd5 10. Nh4 White gets a big plus with this move. The problem is the backward pawn on d6 and the hemmed in bishops. 10. ... Nc6 I like this move because it is at least proactive. I did not even calculate where this piece might go but not moving it seemed like asking for a strangling death. The best plan for black here is contemplating something like 11... Nd4 12. Qd1 Nd7 13. e3 Bxh4 14. exd4 cxd4 15. Qxd4 Bf6 when black has more activity and better development than white. 11. cxd5 Nb4? As stated it turns out to be better to place this knight on d4 but that requires analyzing all the way to Bxh4 freeing the f5 square for potential knight occupation. 12. Qd1 Re8 Mustelin - Kinsigo Tampere, 1989 continued  12. ...  Qd7 13.a3 Na6 14.e4 g6 with the idea of tucking the Bishop into g7. My idea is to preserve the kingside pawn structure and temporarily tuck the bishop away while planning a future Be7-Bf6 or g6-Bg7 whichever plan looks better later. 13. a3 Na6 14. Nf5 Bf8 15. e4 Bc8 As I look at this move I begin to dislike it. It is an understandable attempt to get activity for this bishop that was stuck behind the pawn prison but it doesn't seem to control any more squares from c8 than it did on b7. c4 was tried in Bergraser -Raizman Nice, 1938 with black eventually winning but I do not think I would have seen this move at the board. The move itself looks ugly and like it throws away a pawn for nothing after, say, Ne3 but it turns out that blakc either hold this pawn or gains a significant advantage somewhere else for it. 16. Ne3 Nc7 17. b4 Ba6 18. Re1 Nb5 From this moment on black is just lost. 19. Nxb5 Bxb5 20. a4 Bd7 21. bxc5 bxc5 22. Nc4 Rb8 23. Bf4 Bc8 24. Bd2 Ba6 25. Na5 Qd7 26. Qc2 Rb6 27. Nc6 Bb7 28. a5? The simple Nxa7 wins. 28. ... Rxc6 29. dxc6 Qxc6 30. a6 Ba8 31. f3 Nd7 32. Qa4 Qc8 33. Bf1 Nb6 34. Qc2 c4 35. Be3 d5 36. exd5 Rxe3 This sacrifice is a trick. If white reacts calmly he just bulldozes black. 37. Rxe3 Bc5 38. Re1? Qf2 is the antidote Black must trade the bishop for the rook because he cannot pile on attacking pieces to e3 in the same way ... 38. Qf2 Nxd5 39. Re8+ Qxe8 40. Qxc5 and black is falling apart. 38. ... Nxd5 39. Qc1 Nxe3? Again my inability to calculate variations shows here. c3 pushing the passed pawn and making it harder for white to equalize was called for here. 40. Rxe3 Bxf3 41. Bxc4 Ba8 42. Kf1 Bxe3?? The losing move in a winning ending. Qc6 was probably the safest finish. 43. Bxf7+ Kxf7 44. Qxc8 Bh1 45. Qb7+ 1-0

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

2017 3 Tables - September Round 1 CM Justin Arnold, 2076 - Anton Taylor, 1972 Modern Defense (B06)

2017 3 Tables - September Round 1
CM Justin Arnold, 2076 - Anton Taylor, 1972
Modern Defense (B06)

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bd3 Nd7 Nf6 is a more common move order but it likely transposes. The main difference is that black will castle one move later than he could potentially but this is not significant. 5. O-O a6 This move extends Black's desire to either stretch the opening book or to outright try to play outside of theory. White takes the opportunity to prevent b5 and make a6 look at least a little silly. 6. a4 Ngf6 7. Re1 e5 8. dxe5 Nxe5 This more or less forces the trade of knights. White quickly obliges and the position is just equal. 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Bg5 Be6 11. Na3 In hindsight this "creative" move is not particularly good and has several drawbacks. The idea is obviously to go to c4 but at this moment such a move is not overwhelming. However, the d2 square is needed for the bishop so that it might swing to c3 and therefore a3 is the only square left for the sad knight. Na3 would have been more of a threat if the Bishop could be decoyed away from guarding c4 first. 11. ... h6 12. Bd2 Qe7 13. Qe2 Nc4 should have been played here tempting black to trade the bishop taking advntage of the moment where black cannot play b5 in response. 13. ... O-O 14. Nc4 Nh5 this seems to hold together but Nd7 is probably more accurate. However, as an attacking player I anticipated Justin's move and even the next move. I decided that neither move was particularly scary and that I would use the time he gave me to reposition my knight to a much more useful square. 15. g3 Bh3 16. Ne3? This gives up the initiative to black when I could have instead seized the initiative by playing Bc3! when every potential response is unsavory for black. He either remains content with a minor piece tying down his queen, weakens his pawn structure to force the minor pieces away from his e-pawn, or swaps his queen for a rook by moving one of them to e8. None of these are good and it means that probably Nh5 was a decisive mistake that I failed to take full advantage of during the game. 16. ... c6 White can be happy that black created these pawn weaknesses but imagine how much better the threat of Nd5 might be with a bishop on c3. White's pieces are in fact gaining a little momentum and activity but will it be enough to win? 17. Ng4! I really liked this move which I had spotted a few moves earlier and I thought it was very strong. My opponent must have seen the problems he has coming as here he sank into a long think. 17. ... Kh7 18. f3 Rae8 Black would like to play f5 but Nf7! steals his bishop. 19. Ra3 Qd7 The simple threat is Qd4+ but the queen is put on a less useful square than she came from. Also, this puts the queen on the d-file which is where the rook on a3 was planning to go and now could go in the future with a tempo attacking the queen. 20. Be3 Rg8 21. Bc4 foreseeing that the knight may potentially move to a better square and no longer prevent f5 White again makes a move that porevents the f-pawn from advnacing while also clearing the d3 square for his rook. 21. ... Bxg4? An understandable mistake trying to trade down into a simpler ending and getting rid of this annoying knight for his trapped bishop. 22. fxg4 Nf6 23. Rd3 This is a way to improve white's worst piece but is a mistake. In fact, there is a sea of better moves: Rf1 continuing the assault on black's f-pawn, Bb6 taking possession of important squares and preparing to take over the d-file, and others. The move is not bad but it is a simple attack on principle without having calculated very far. Old habits die hard. 23. ... Qe7 24. Red1 b5 25. Ba2 Rd8 This move would not have been possible in the move order starting with 23. Bb6. 26. Bxf7?? Presumably cashing in on this pawn but in fact the f-pawn is not worth as much as the e-pawn so this is just a mistake. Rf1 followed by Qf3 and g5 makes a lot more sense. 26. ... Rgf8 27. Bb3 Nxe4 28. Bb6? This comes far too late. It is better to trade the roo pair and play c3 to preserve the bishop. 28. ... Rxd3 29. Qxd3 Nc5 30. Qd6 Qxd6 31. Rxd6 Nxb3 32. cxb3 Rf3 33. Rxc6 Rxb3 34. Ba5? Bc5 preserves the draw but I am still trying to win and taking unnecessary risks. 34. ... bxa4 Rxb2 is the killer. This move is just a draw.  (34... Rxb2 35. Rxa6 bxa4 36. Ra7 Kg8 37. Ra8+ Bf8 38. Bc3 Rb1+ 39. Kf2 a3) 35. Bc3 a3 36. bxa3 Rxa3 37. Rc7 Kg8 38. Rc8+ Kf7 39. Rc7+ Kf6 40. Bxe5+? I thought at the time that this move was a winning idea but it turns out that the pawn isn't significant and, in fact, with the black passed pawn rolling the draw is made harder by the exchange of the bishops. At this moment the black king is trapped in a box and a 3-fold draw should be the result. 40. Rc6+ Kg5 (40... Ke7 41. Bb4+) 41. h3 Ra2 (to prevent Bd2 checkmate) 42. h4+ Kxg4 43. Rxg6+ Kf3 44. Rxg7 40. ... Kxe5 41. Rxg7 Kf6 42. Rc7 a5 43. Ra7 Kg5 44. Ra6 Ra2 45. h4+ Kxg4 46. Rxg6+ Kf3 47. Rxh6 a4 48. Rg6?? finally buckling under the pressure and throwing away the draw. 48. h5 Kg4 49. Rh8 Kg5 50. h6 Kg6 51. h7 Kg7 52. Ra8 Kxh7 53. Ra6 1/2-1/2 48. ... a3 49. h5 Rg2+ 50. Kh1 a2 1-0

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

2017 3 Tables - August Round 3 Anton Taylor, 1999 - Randas Burns, 1977 Sicilian: Hungarian (B27)

2017 3 Tables - August Round 3
Anton Taylor, 1999 - Randas Burns, 1977
Sicilian: Hungarian (B27)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Bg7 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Be2 Bc4 is more common but I have better results in other variations with Be2. 7. ... O-O 8. Qd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxd5 Nxd4 11. Bc4 I thought quite a while on this move. The other option (Bxd4) was unsatisfactory to me. 11. ... Nf5 12. O-O-O Be6 13. Bc5?? The decisive error. I missed the upcoming Qc7 after the knight comes off. Bb3 and Qe2 are far better. 13. ... Bxd5 Qc8 is also stronger but this should be better for black anyway. 14. Bxd5 Qc7 15. Be3 The fact that this has to go back means that moving it was probably stupid. 15. ... e6 16. Bb3 Rfd8 17. Qe2 Qe5 18. c3 a5 19. Rhe1 Nxe3 20. Qxe3 Rxd1+ 21. Bxd1?? Right after my hand comes off the piece I notice the tactical theme that loses this game.  21. ... Bh6! 22. Qxh6 Qxe1 23. Qd2 Qxd2+ 24. Kxd2 Rd8+ 25. Ke2 Kg7 26. Ba4 e5 27. Bb5 f5 28. f3 Kf6 29. Bd3 h6 30. a4 Rd6 31. b4 b6 32. Bb5 e4 33. bxa5 bxa5 34. c4 exf3+ 35. gxf3 Re6+ 36. Kd3 Ke7 37. c5 f4 38. Kd4 Kd8 39. Bd3 g5 40. Be4 Kc7 41. Kc4 Re8 42. Kd4 Rb8 43. Ke5 Rb4 44. Kf5 Rxa4 45. Bd5 Rd4 46. Be6 Kc6 0-1

Friday, September 15, 2017

2017 3 Tables - August Round 2 CM Justin Arnold, 2073 - Anton Taylor, 1999 Nimzo-Indian: Kmoch (E20)

2017 3 Tables - August Round 2
CM Justin Arnold, 2073 - Anton Taylor, 1999
Nimzo-Indian: Kmoch (E20)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 O-O More common is d5 immediately contesting that big white stake in the center but this move is perfectly playable. 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 A lot of different moves have been tried here with all kinds of ideas. d5, d6, b6, Nh5, and even Ne8. 7. e3? At some point white has to play e4 to justify f3. It even seems much stronger here than his lackluster choice. In fact as I look at the menace of e4 I'm reconsidering the c5 line in favor of the solid d5. Black seems a bit busted after e4 to the point of getting strnagled. 7. ... Nc6 A minor miscalculation. Better is d6 preparing e5 and not tempting d5. 8. Bd3 e5 This is my deviation from the database. I am curious why this move has never been tried before. It seems to be an unexplored option. There are a lot of transpositions from here though into more common territory (if a sideline can be said to be common at all) 9. Ne2 d6 10. O-O b6 11. d5 Na5 12. Ng3 Ba6 13. Qe2 Qd7 14. e4? Surely Black must be better if only slightly against the terrible white light-squared bishop. 14. ... Nb3 15. Bg5 Nxa1 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Nh5 Qd8? The evaluation is roughly equal until thhis point. Kh8 accelerates the rook getting into action and if black takes his "free pawn" he simply loses a rook. He cant forget that he's a rook down in this position. 18. Qf2 Kh8 19. Qh4 Rg8 20. Nxf6 Rg7 21. Rxa1 Qe7? b5 is a clever move order: 21... b5 22. cxb5 c4 23. Bxc4 Rc8 24. Bf1 Bxb5 25. Bxb5 Qb6+ Had I seen this it is a much preferable active continuation to the one I chose in the game. 22. Rb1 Rag8 Floundering going nowhere while white can improve his rook and the queenside in general. 23. g4 Bc8 24. Kf2 Bd7 No ideas are coming to me here so the analysis of this whole sequence of the last few moves gives me interesting new ideas to study. 25. Qh6 Rb8 26. h4? More direct is Rg1. The win gets further away from white though he is still in the drivers seat and should win. 26. ... a6 27. h5 b5 28. Nxd7?? White has been blundering his way through this ending only slightly less poor than black. This, however, releases some pressure off of white. 28. ...Qxd7 29. Qf6 Qd8 30. Qxd8+ Rxd8 31. cxb5 axb5 32. Bxb5 Rb8 33. a4 f6 34. h6 Ra7 35. Rh1 Kg8 36. Rh5 Kf7 37. Ke3 Rg8 38. Kd3 Rga8 39. Rh2 Rxa4?? In the rush to end this game I dive headlong into a lost ending. Keeping things as they are is the best chance to hold the draw in the complications and time trouble. 40. Bxa4 Rxa4 41. Rb2 Kg6 42. Rb6 c4+ 43. Kc2 Ra2+ 44. Kd1 Rf2 45. Rxd6 Rxf3 46. Kd2 Rf4?? throwing away the draw. Rf2+ thrown in here either nabs the c-pawn or puts the king one square further away from defending the e-pawn after Rf4. 47. Rc6 Rxe4 48. d6 Kf7 49. d7?? Rc7! wins immediately. 49. ... Ke7 50. Rd6 Kd8 1-0 The final recorded position should be drawn but in the scramble I lose it.