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. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

3 Tables - August Round 1 FM Matt Hassen, 2315 - Anton Taylor, 1999 Caro-Kann: Advance/ Bayonet Variation

3 Tables - August Round 1
FM Matt Hassen, 2315 - Anton Taylor, 1999
Caro-Kann: Advance/ Bayonet Variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. g4 Bg6 5. e6 fxe6 6. h4 Qd6 7. h5 Bf7 8. f4 Nd7 This is where I was a bit lost. Nf6 or Nh6 are the recommended moves by Komodo but I'm not convinced that these moves go anywhere either. To have an equal position and be a pawn ahead means that black has done something wrong here. It is sharp and double-edged and has the potential for being completely lost or completely won. Essentially choosing this continuation by both players eliminates the drawn result. 9. Nc3 g6 10. hxg6 Bxg6 11. Bd3 Nf3 and g5 are better ways to handle the awkward position of the bishop or grip e5. 11. ... Bg7 12. Bxg6+ hxg6 13. Rxh8 Bxh8 14. Qd3 O-O-O 15. Nf3 Ngf6 The c5 break has to happen sooner or later. It probably should have been played here. Komodo likes Nh6 followed by e5 if white takes the g-pawn ... equal. 16. Ne5 Rg8 17. g5 Nf8?? I elect to give up the material but it was unnecessary. Instead, Komodo spots an interesting resource I had not even considered. Ne4 gives away the extra pawn but there is actually a slight advantage to black after the eminent trade. 18. gxf6 exf6 19. Ng4 Bg7 20. Bd2 g5 21. fxg5 f5 22. Nf2 Qh2 23. Ne2 Ng6 24. Qh3 Qc7 25. O-O-O Rh8 26. Qe3 e5 27. dxe5 Bxe5 28. Bc3 Re8 29. Bxe5 Rxe5 30. Qf3 Qe7 31. Nd3 Qxg5+? 31. ... Rxe2 32. Qxf5+ Qe6 seems better for black but I got cute. 32. Kb1 Re8 33. Rg1 Nh4 34. Rxg5 Nxf3 35. Rg2 Rh8 36. b3 Rh2 37. Rxh2 Nxh2 38. Nd4 Kc7 39. Nxf5 Nf3 40. Kb2 b6 41. Nf4 Ng5 42. Kc3 Nf3 43. Kd3 Ne1+ 44. Kd2 Nf3+ 45. Ke2 Ng5 46. Ke3 Kd7 47. a3 Kc7 48. b4 Ne4 49. Kd4 Nd2 50. a4 a6 1-0

The final moves are unrecorded but this has been obviously lost for quite a while.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Cleveland Open Round 5 Adam Gerver, 2050 - Anton Taylor, 2002 Caro-Kann: Advance (B12)

2017 Cleveland Open Round 5
Adam Gerver, 2050 - Anton Taylor, 2002
Caro-Kann: Advance (B12)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 I'm still favoring this move over the classic Bf5 but it has developed a dubious relationship with my repertoire. It works out in the case of this game, however. 4. dxc5 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be2 This move is suspect and leads to more than a few problems for white. Bb5 seems more consistent with an open game. 6. ... e6 7. a3?? leads to a loss. After the game I discussed this move with my opponent. Essentially he had mixed up the plans for this type of position (it boils down to either keeping the e-pawn or the c-pawn but white can't keep his extra pawn without problems. 7. ... Bxf3 8. Bxf3 Nxe5 This is still very good for black but probably Bxc5 is more accurate still threatening the e-pawn and developing another piece. 9. b4 Qf6 10. c3? Be2 is given as equal by Komodo but it looks like an unhappy risk to allow black to win the exchange even if Bb5+ looks menacing. 10. ... Nxf3+ 11. Qxf3 Qxf3 12. gxf3 g6 Be7 is more flexible but this has the same idea of controlling the long diagonal. 13. Bf4 It's hard to suggest a better try. Komodo gives the best chance to Kd1-Kc2-Bb2-Nd2 but that is so defensive that black must be winning by a wide margin. This move, however, makes white completely bankrupt directly (but keeps things complicated and potentially leaves winning chances on the table. It's not going to work but I applaud the last round aggression. 13. ... Bg7 14. Bd6 Nh6 15. Kd2 Nf5 This is completely winning but I missed the even more clear a5! forcing white to advnace the pawn and further weakening the advanced c-pawn. 16. Bf4 d4 17. Kc2 dxc3 18. Be3 O-O-O Rc8 was a move that Komodo seems to like but that I never really looked at. In conjunction with b6 it is a quite powerful variation. 19. Nxc3 Bd4 20. Rhe1 Rd7 21. Rab1?? Black was slowly allowing white to slip out of his grip but this is too much. contesting the file by Rad1 was necessary. 21. ... Bxc3 22. Kxc3 Rhd8 23. Kc2 Nd4+ 24. Bxd4 Rxd4 The rest is an instructive rook and pawn ending with full advantage to black. 25. Re2 Rd3 26. Re3 Rd2+ 27. Kb3 Rxf2 28. Rh1 Rdd2 29. h4 Rh2 30. Rxh2 Rxh2 31. Re4 Rh3 32. Rf4 f5 33. Rd4 Rxf3+ 34. Ka4 Re3 35. b5 Re4 36. Rxe4 fxe4 37. Kb4 Kd7 38. Kc3 e5 39. Kd2 Ke6 40. Ke3 Kd5 41. b6 a6 42. c6 Kxc6 43. Kxe4 Kd6 44. a4 Ke6 45. a5 h6 0-1

Friday, August 25, 2017

2017 Cleveland Open Round 4 Anton Taylor, 2002 - Kevin Ho, 1934 Sicilian: Moscow (B51)

2017 Cleveland Open Round 4
Anton Taylor, 2002 - Kevin Ho, 1934
Sicilian: Moscow (B51)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. a4 I'm becoming quite comfortable in this position. I made a note in an earlier game that this is a sideline played several times by World Champion Magnus Carlsen. 4. ... a6 5. Bc4 e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. O-O b6 8. d4! This is by far the best move in the position. trading the pawns improves white's control of the center and leaves several squares still very weak (d5, c6, and b6 and probably more but these are the worst). 8. ... cxd4 Unhappy choice but there is nothing better. Black may already be committed to weak moves. 9. Qxd4? An error letting the advantage slip a bit. Better is Nxd4 because it is difficult to extricate this knight. e5? would lead to both Nf5 and/or simply jumping a knight into d5 and white gains a big advantage. 9. ... Ngf6 10. Bg5 Qc7 11. Rfe1 Bb7 12. Rad1 O-O 13. Bf1? As it turns out it is hard to find a clear plan for white here for me. I spent a decent amount of time on this move. The bishop must either be moved now or be forced to move with tempo later after black plays either rook to the logical c8. f1, however, is the wrong square. I came to the conclusion later on that e2 was better and this is confirmed by komodo. I was afraid for the pawn on e4 but Nd2 holds all things together in equilibrium. 13. ... Rfd8 14. Nd2 Re8? This move is completely unnecessary and I was happy to see it. I needed some time. Komodo recommends h6 but I think any advantage for black in that case is only slight. 15. Nc4 d5 Immediately after playing this move my opponent offered me a draw. I had told him before the game began that I was playing for a win. I politely declined after thinking for a good long time (he asked on my time, not the first or last mortal sin committed by this opponent in this game). 16. exd5 Nxd5 17. Bxe7 Rxe7 18. Nxd5 Bxd5 19. Ne3 Nf6 20. Nxd5 Nxd5 21. Bd3? Letting black's mistake playing d5 at the wrong time slip away. Qe4! here probably wins or at least presents enough problems that black must create a weakness or two to solve. 21. ... Rd7?? I felt this was losing for black but I did not see the winning combination. 22. Qe4! Rdd8 23. Qxh7+ Kf8 24. Qh4 The silicon monsters can easily justify grabbing the second extra pawn but during the game I could not see how to proceed and survive opening the files in front of my king. It just seemed that discretion was the better part of valor in this case. It is worthwhile to note that white gains time after chasing the black king to e7 by Qd4 (threatening to win the knight) to see this check this variation: 24.Qh8+ Ke7 25.Qxg7 Rg8 26.Qd4 and the needed time saving the queen and threatening the knight is achieved. Had I seen this I would have dived into the captures. 24. ... Nf6? 25. Qb4+? 25. Qh8+ Ke7 26. Qxg7 Rg8 27. Rxe6+!! Kxe6 28. Re1+ and the king hunt is terminal. 25. ... Kg8 26. g3 Rac8 27. c3 a5 28. Qh4 Rd6 29. Bc2? g4! wins. Rc2 should also be winning but g4 is much more precise and to the point. 29. ... Rcd8 30. Qg5 Rd5 31. Qe3 Ng4 32. Qe2 Nf6 33. Bb3 R5d6 34. Rxd6 Rxd6 35. Rd1 g6 36. Qf3 Kg7 37. Rxd6 Qxd6 38. Qb7?? I knew I had blown things immediately after I played this move and should probably be worse afterward. However, my opponent misses the correct reply and I'm still in the game. Bc4 to allow Qe2 if necessary and/or Bb5 covering everything and then advancing the inevitable passed pawn is winning for white. 38. ... Nd7? Qd2! 39. Qe4 Nc5 My opponent seemed happy with this fork but in my opinion this helps white. Is the endgame long and difficult? yes. Is white still winning? technically. It's a long hard road but I needed the win and knights complicate things for me. 40. Qc2 Nxb3 41. Qxb3 Qc5 42. Qb5! If black takes this trade he will lose quickly. So, the queen keeps her dominance on the queenside for white. If the white king can keep cover white wins. 42. ... Qd6 43. b4 axb4 44. Qxb4? Obviously wrong but the rigors and the time situation were getting to me. Also, every other move at this point I was getting draw offers. A floor TD stood nearby waiting for my complaint but I wanted to beat the loudmouth by ignoring him ... not let him win the psychological war by enlisting a TD. 44. ... Qd1+ 45. Kg2 Qd5+ 46. f3 Qd2+ 47. Kh3 e5? Qe2 holds. 48. Qxb6 Qh6+? "Monkey sees check, monkey makes check" as the saying goes. The rigors of this ending are getting to him too. Qxc3 was the move I expected. 49. Kg2 Qd2+ 50. Qf2 Qxc3 51. Qa2? Qe2 is more precise ... threatening the e-pawn and if 51. ...Qa5? Qb5! 51. ... Qa5 52. h4 f5 53. Kh3 Qe1 54. Kg2 Qa5 55. Qc2 Kf6 56. Qc6+ Kf7 57. Qd7+ Kf6 58. g4 fxg4 59. fxg4 Qa8+ 60. Kg3 e4 61. Qd4+ Ke6 62. Kf4 Qf8+ 63. Kxe4 Qf1 64. Qe5+ Kd7 65. Qb5+ Qxb5 66. axb5 Ke6 67. g5 Kd6 68. Kd4 Kc7 69. Ke5 Kb6 70. Kf6 Kxb5 71. Kxg6 Kc6 72. h5 Kd6 73. h6 Ke5 74. h7 Kf4 75. h8=Q Kg4 76. Qf8 Kh4 77. Qf4+ Kh3 78. Kh5 Kg2 79. Kg4 Kh1 80. Kg3 1-0





Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 Cleveland Open Round 3 CM Surya Parasuraman, 2089 - Anton Taylor, 2002 Caro-Kann: Panov-Botvinnik (B13)

2017 Cleveland Open Round 3 
CM Surya Parasuraman, 2089 - Anton Taylor, 2002 
Caro-Kann: Panov-Botvinnik (B13)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. c5 Nc6 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Bb5 Bd7 An inaccuracy. O-O is the standard move and preserves the Bishop's potential to go to a6 or b7 in some lines. 9. O-O O-O 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 Nh5?? I knew this was the wrong move even as I played it. Ne4 seems so obvious in this "rested" moment but I had no idea how to proceed during the game. It is a common outpost for the knight in such positions and black needs active play or he gets ground down in an inferior endgame. 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Re1 Nf6 14. Bxc6? Bxc6 This minor piece exchange trades a strong piece for black's weaker knight. I was happy to see it. 15. Ne5 Ne8? Repositioning to control b5 but removing a defender from the kingside is chronic. Fortunately, my opponent misses his chances through repeated inaccuracy. 16. b4 Nc7 17. a4 a6 18. Qd3 Qe8 19. Ng4? While this is still winning for white it is far clearer for white to simply play Re3! 19. ... f5?? Taking a drowning position and making it a whole lot worse by making the move Ng4 worth the effort. I did not spend enough time thinking about this move. Rc8 was probably necessary just preventing the queen fork. 20. Nxh6+ gxh6 21. Qg3+ Kh7 22. Qxc7+ Rf7 23. Qe5? Qd6 was the move I expected and is the one recommended by Komodo. My opponent didn't even seem to consider it. He made the last few moves quickly so I suspect he thought of Qe5 when he played Nxh6+. 23. ... Bd7 24. f4? Piling up the pieces against the backward d-pawn is the cleanest plan to win at this point with an easy endgame to convert. To that end Ne2-f4 should just win. 24. ... Rg7 25. Qe2 Qg6 26. g3 Rag8 27. Qf3 h5 28. Kf2 Black had been forming some reasonable threats and the king rightly decides to start sidestepping. Even if the battle is lost on this flank the war will be won in the center in an endgame. The more active king either wins or hides himself away in the opposite corner and let the pieces fight it out. Black should be winning now with fewer complications. 28. ... Qh6 29. Ne2 h4 30. Rh1 Be8 31. Qe3 Bh5 32. Rag1 Be8 33. Nc3 Rg4 34. Re1 R8g6 35. a5 Qg7 36. Qe5 Qxe5 37. Rxe5 Bd7 38. Re3 Kg8 39. Ne2 Bb5 40. Nc3 Bd7 41. Ne2 Ba4 42. h3 hxg3+ 43. Rxg3 Rxg3 44. Nxg3 Bc2 45. Rg1 Kf8 46. Ne2 Rh6 47. Rg3 Rh4 48. Ke3 Bd1 49. Nc3 Bh5 50. b5 axb5?? The pawn advances on this side will eventually lead to a white win but this accelerates the win quite a bit. 51. c6 e5 52. cxb7 1-0

I have no excuse for the blunderous and planless 11. ... Nh5? or the terminal move 15. ... Ne8? The plateauing continues. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 Cleveland Open Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2003 - Kent Lui, 2069 Spanish: Classical (C64)

2017 Cleveland Open Round 2
Anton Taylor, 2003 - Kent Lui, 2069
Spanish: Classical (C64)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4? This is Black's mistake and leads to a losing position. 0-0 is the far better alternative. 6. d4 exd4 7. cxd4 Be7 8. d5 Nb8 9. Re1 Nd6 10. Bd3 O-O 11. Nc3 b6?? Na6 or Re8 is an inferior but probably not immediately losing position. The text just leads to disaster. 12. Bf4 Bb7 13. Rxe7 I decided to dive in on an attack. Komodo immediately finds a cook to the move but humans are not so clear-cut on variations. 13. ... Qxe7 14. Bxh7+ Kh8?? Kxh7 is a lot of pressure to weather for a human but if black answers the knight check by Kg6 his king manages to squeeze out of the trap. HOWEVER, this requires such precis calculation that I don't think my opponent even bothered to consider Kxh7. 15. Ng5 g6 16. Qg4 This move wins and is the thematic idea but due to the open center Qd4+ is possible and even more precise. 16. ... f6 17. Bxg6 fxg5 18. Be5+?? The losing move. In a position with several clearly winning continuations I manage to find one of the few that loses on the spot. 18. ... Qxe5 19. Qh5+ Kg7 20. Qh7+ Kf6 21. Kf1 Ba6+ 22. Kg1 Bc4 23. Be4 Na6 24. Re1 Rh8 25. Qg6+ Ke7 26. g3 Rag8 27. Re3 Rxg6 0-1 I throw in the towel in disgust. My opponent can only say "you knew how to play that attack." I mean, what can he say? He knows he was losing right out the opening and escaped only because i allowed it by "falling asleep".


Sunday, August 20, 2017

2017 Cleveland Open Round 1 Anton Taylor, 2002 - NM Nabil Feliachi, 2200 French: KIA (C00)

2017 Cleveland Open Round 1
Anton Taylor, 2002 - NM Nabil Feliachi, 2200
French: KIA (C00)

1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 c5 5. Be2 Nc6 6. O-O Qc7 7. Re1 Be7 8. Nf1? I made this move thematically as it is useful in some variations but here it just loses a pawn. My opponent responds equally quickly and misses his chance to snag the pawn for a free win. c3 or Bf1 are the book moves here (althought this is a sideline that isn't particularly common at all. 5. Be2 is unusual instead of g3. 8. ... b6 9. Ng3 Bb7 10. Bg5 O-O 11. Qc1 My rationality for this move is that it gives more potential to the knight on g3. By threatening Bf4 either black will concede the diagonal to the bishop or play e5 allowing the g3 knight access to f5. 11. ... Rac8? I was happy to see this move as the c-file is not going to be opened any time soon. It is the equivalent of a passing move and I will use it to try and get a kingside attack going. 12. Bf4 Qd8 Bd6 is probably an even trade and e5 is what I thought would help me along with improving the g3 knight and bringing it into the kingside attack via f5.  Qd8 is fine by white. 13. c3 Probably the best way to kill black's central counterplay in the event of a kingside attack but I played the move thinking about playing something like Bd1-a4 because now the piece I wanted to improve was the sad e2 bishop. 13. ... b5 14. a4 I played this move as an attempt to settle the queenside issues so that I could proceed on the kingside. Komodo is content to play more solid moves like Qc2 or h3 which don't seem to do much but carry a lot less risk along wth their lack of reward. I'm headhunting. 14. ... b4 15. Bd1 This move is consistant with my plan but again Komodo is very sceptical. The whole thing is just roughly equal. 15. ... Ba6 16. Bc2 Qb6 17. e5 This move is interesting but probably wrong. I liked it because I'm eyeing an attack on h7 and looking to remove the squares common defending piece ... the knight on f6. 17. ... Nd7 18. Bg5 There must be an attack in the air with so many pieces headed to the kingside. 18. ... b3 19. Bb1 d4 This move keeps the b1 bishop out of play but I'm not really convinced that it helps black all that much. If white simply plays c4 he can pile up pieces to attack b3 and probably free his tinprisoned piece. 20. Qf4? This allows a lot of unnecessary complications with the wayward black b-pawn that must be  treated like a "criminal" as Aron Nimzowitsch would say. As stated before c4 is the right course. 20. ... Bb7 21. Nh5 Qd8 22. Bh6 g6 23. Bxf8? Bxf8 Some players may believe this is great for white but practice has shown that often enough the bishop could be just as good as the rook. In other words this is just an equal trade and probably should have been avoided by white. Instead, 23. c4 again is the right way to go. gxh5 runs into Qg3+ and mate follows. 24. Ng5 As I sat thinking at this juncture I realized an unhappy truth. There is no way to continue this attack. By making the small exchange sacrifice black has created a position where white has no good way to keep going. Since white has left his structure in queenside disarray committing to the attack what can he do now that there is no attack? Keep committed and hope for the best was all I came up with. Sadly mishandled what I felt was a won game. But it never has been particularly "cut-and-dry" as a win and is simply falling behind for white in a double-edged position. 24. ... Ncxe5 25. Rxe5 Nxe5 26. Nf6+ Kg7 27. Qxe5 Qxf6 28. Qxf6+ Kxf6 29. Nxh7+ Kg7 30. Nxf8 Kxf8? Here black goes astray. He should play dxc3 preventing c4 and then he has a winning and active game. 31. Ra3?? The losing blunder. White has no way to get his pieces really active here but after 31.c4 he would have a kind of fortress that is hard for black to break open to realize his advantage. Even at that objectively white is lost but he could at that moment continue the fight. This blunder leads to a swift end. 31. ... c4 32. dxc4 dxc3 33. Rxb3 Rd8 34. h3 (34.Bc2 Be4!) 34. ... Rd1+ 35. Kh2 Rxb1 36. Rxb7 c2 0-1

Friday, August 18, 2017

2017 3 Tables - July Round 3 CM Justin Arnold, 2110 - Anton Taylor, 2007 Veresov (A45)

2017 3 Tables - July Round 3 
CM Justin Arnold, 2110 - Anton Taylor, 2007 
Veresov (A45)

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bf4 c6? a6 is the most common move and is actually played in top games. I may try it the next time Justin plays this line but if memory serves correctly he has never played the same opening twice against me and may abandon this one. However, it's worth studying. I might win a nice game against some other opponent playing the Veresov attack. 4. f3 Bf5 5. g4 Bg6 6. e3 e6 7. h4 h5 8. g5 Ng8? up until this move both players have followed a game GM Grandelius - GM Bologan (2016) ... In that game black tries Nfd7 which is a better try but still is an inferior position for black. 9. Bd3 Ne7 10. Nge2 Nf5 11. Qd2 Nd7 12. O-O-O Qa5 Trying to develop but black is just lost. 13. Kb1 b5 14. e4 Ne7 15. Nxb5! I completely missed this thematic "sacrifice". 15. ... Qxd2 16. Nd6+ Kd8 17. Rxd2 Nc8 18. Nb7+ Ke8 19. exd5 Bxd3 20. dxe6 Bf5 21. exd7+ Bxd7 22. Re1 Be7 23. Nc5 Bxc5 24. dxc5 Be6 1-0

So once again I play an embarrassing game against CM Arnold. It's becoming a habit. This I believe is the third or fourth occasion I have had to witness his style of play first-hand I will be preparing a surprise or two for our next encounter and we will see what comes of that. I am determined to above all else claim Justin's "scalp". I love a good competitor and I get along with his personality which makes beating him psychologically difficult but I need those rating points. I smell blood in the water now. I'm motivated more than ever to win against him.

Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 3 Tables - July Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2007 - FM Matt Hassen, 2302 Modern: Three Pawns Attack (B06)

2017 3 Tables - July Round 2
Anton Taylor, 2007 - FM Matt Hassen, 2302
Modern: Three Pawns Attack (B06)

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. f4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O c5 8. d5 This option is "ok" but capturing on c5 is a small advantage for white because the c-pawn becomes a target. 8. ... e6 9. Qb3? c4 or dxe6 are better options that settle things in the center without compromising the position. 9. ... Qc8 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Rxf3 exd5 12. exd5 Re8 13. Be3 Nbd7 14. a4? Nd2 is a superior move that develops. 14. ... Ne4? Nb6 threatening c4 and making the d3 bishop bad is just better than this move. 15. Nd2 f5 16. a5? Bxe4 clears things up in the center and would rid white of his one trouble piece. 16. ... Rb8 17. Bb5? Making the minor piece trade is still superior. 17. ... Re7 18. Nxe4 Rxe4 19. Ra4? This is the losing mistake. Ironically, this is the move I conceived of playing when I played the useless a5. 19. ... Rxa4 20. Qxa4 Nf6 21. Bd3 Qc7 22. b4? Forcing the settling of things will only lead to cutting off the queen and losing in the center. 22. ... b6 23. a6?? Things were probably salvagable until this blunderous mess. 23. ... c4! The trumpet sounds the end of days. 24. Bb1 Nxd5 25. Bd4? Bd2 is still lost but black will have to be more accurate. This move makes black's choices much easier. 25. ... Bxd4+ 26. cxd4 b5 27. Qd1 Qe7 28. Bxf5 gxf5 29. Rg3+ Kh8 30. Qh5 Nxf4 0-1 There is no defense to Nd2+ winning the exchange. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 3 Tables - July Round 1 NM Mark Schwarz, 1950 - Anton Taylor, 2007 Caro-Kann: Classical (B18)

2017 3 Tables - July Round 1 
NM Mark Schwarz, 1950 - Anton Taylor, 2007
Caro-Kann: Classical (B18)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. Bd3 h4 first is more common. 7. ... Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 9. O-O Ngf6 10. Re1 Be7 11. c4 O-O 12. b3 Bf4 is worth considering as well. Maybe even a little better but things are equal. 12. ... c5?? Things are in an uncomfortable equilibrium with a slight advantage to white. breaking things open at this moment can only give something for white to work with. Komodo gives moves like Re8, Qc7, or a5 or even worse some moves like Bd6 moving the same piece twice. 13. Bb2? d5 expanding in the center gives white an advantage but this move keeps things in that odd equal place with white only slightly better. 13. ... cxd4 14. Qxd4 Bc5? No development. I thought maybe the attack on the f-pawn would pay off but there are no concrete variations to back that up. Qb6 or Qc7 are better. 15. Qh4 Qb6 16. Re2 a5? I made light in my mind of the kingside threats from white. This doesn't lose but the threat it generates is too slow. Rfd8 or Rad8 is komodo's recommendation at 20 ply depth or so. 17. Nh5 Nxh5 18. Qxh5 Nf6? Had I seen the crushing reply I would have played komodo's recommendation ... f6 instead keeps things together and safe. 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Ng5 fxg5 21. Qxg5+ Kh8 22. Qf6+ Kg8 I assumed that Mark would take the draw opportunity because I did not see a forced win. A piece down he should either see a direct winning method or settle for the forced draw. 23. Re4? Wins for Black. Rfd8 24. Rg4+ Kf8 25. Rg7 Qc7 26. Rxh7 Ke8 27. Re1 Qe7 28. Qf3 White backing up like this is a sure sign that black must be winning. 28. ... Bd4 29. Re4 Qf6 30. Rf4? This leads to a crushing response. 20. ... Qg6 31. Qe4 Be5 32. g3 Bxf4 33. Rh8+ Ke7 34. Qxb7+ Kf6 35. Rh4 Bg5 36. Rg4 Qf5 37. h3 Be3! The quickest end is returning the piece. 0-1

Monday, August 7, 2017

2017 On The Move Round 5 Gene Lewter, 1700 - Anton Taylor, 2027 Nimzo-Larsen: Indian (A01)

2017 On The Move Round 5
Gene Lewter, 1700 - Anton Taylor, 2027
Nimzo-Larsen: Indian (A01)

1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 e6 3. e3 d5 4. f4 This is a cheeky way to transpose into Bird's opening. Not particularly scary for black. 4. ... c5 5. c4 Nc6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. a3 This is less useful than a move like Ne5. 7. ... O-O 8. Qc2 Ne4? This is not losing but a way to keep an advantage is to push d4. 9. Bd3 f5 10. O-O b6 11. Nc3 Bb7? There are times when a simple and unambitious development of the pieces fails to simple tactics. this is one of those times. 12. cxd5 exd5 13.Nxe5 Qxe5?? Bc4! is the cook to this approach. 11... Ba6 12. cxd5 Bxd3 13. Qxd3 Nxc3 14. Bxc3 exd5 is the better continuation for black. 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Ng5? My opponent misses winning the pawn. 13. ... Bxg5 14. fxg5 Qxg5 15. Nxd5 Nb4 I get the right idea but the knight goes to the wrong square. Nd4 opens the bishop's diagonal and ends in the bishop attacking both b3 and g2 simultaneously and should be winning for black. Nxb4 is simple enough to win for white. 16. Ne7+? A way to trade the knights but it does nothing about the strong b7 bishop. 16. ... Qxe7 17. axb4 Qg5 18. Rf3 Rad8 19. Raf1 Bc4 is winning for white after Bc4-d3-Rg3 ruins the kingside attack. 19. ... Kh8?? A howler that wins on the spot but white misses BxN. 20. Rh3? I kept a poker face and breathed a huge sigh of relief at this blunder. 20. ... Rxd3? My penchant for irrational sacrifices catches me in ghost variations. A straightforward analysis shows this to be a mistake but in the heat of time pressure it is hard for white to find the answers. tricky tricky time pressure Tal. 21. Qxd3 Rd8 22. Qb5?? Rxf5! is the cook. Black now has a won ending. 22. a6 Nc3! wins even faster and with far more style. 23. Qe2 Rxd2 24. Bxg7+ Qxg7 25. Qf3 Ng5 26. Rxh7+ Qxh7 27. Qg3 Rxg2+ 28. Qxg2 Bxg2 29. Kxg2 White resigns after he moves. Mate in 8 anyway. 0-1

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 On The Move Round 4 Anton Taylor, 2027 - CM Jerry Baker, 2035 Nimzo-Larsen: Indian (A01)

2017 On The Move Round 4
Anton Taylor, 2027 - CM Jerry Baker, 2035
Nimzo-Larsen: Indian (A01)

1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 e6 3. c4 d5 4. e3 c5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. d4 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Bb4+ 8. Bc3 O-O The more common move here is Qa5 but this is not bad and is the second best and a consistent and solid approach. 9. Bxb4 Nxb4 10. Be2? a3 was necessary to keep control of c2. 10. ... e5 11. Nf3?? Nc2 is met by a5 but is still probably necessary. 11. ... Bf5 12. O-O Nc2 13. Nbd2 Nxa1 14. Qxa1 e4 15. Nd4 Be6 16. Qb2 Rd1 is better trying to fight for the center. 16. ... Qd6 17. h3 Qe5? Rac8 to further the central grip is better. White is still winning but it's a little harder. 18. c5 Nd7 19. Rc1 f5 20. g3 Rf6? This brings things to a halt. It doesn't continue the attack and it makes the knight a bit worse. g5 makes more sense to roll on with the attack started by investing in f5 and black should have an advantage. 21. c6 bxc6 22. Rxc6 Rg6? Putting a useless sacrifice in the air that was the plan when I played Rf6 but again g5 is the way to roll with the kingside attack. 23. Qa3?? This allows a variation similar to the following: 23... Rxg3+ 24. fxg3 Qxg3+ 25. Kh1 Qxh3+ 26. Kg1 Qxe3+ 27. Kf1 Qxd4 28. Rxe6 Qxd2 29. Qe7 Rc8 30. Qxd7 Rc1+ 31. Kf2 Qd4+ 32. Kg2 Qg1+ 33. Kh3 Qe3+ 34. Kh2 Qf2+ 35. Kh3 Rh1# 23. Bf7 I miss that the rook sacrifice works there but this should still be winning. 24. Bb5 Nf6 Once again Rxg3 is the winning idea. 25. Qa6?? the queen remains far away from the king and while it looks potentially good it is just shuffling around. The problem is that now I have just run out of time to calculate the sacrifice. 25. ... Rxg3+ Now the sacrifice is too late and probably losing ... one possible better course might be 25... f4 26. Nf1 fxe3 27. fxe3 Rxg3+ 28. Nxg3 Qxg3+ 29. Kf1 Qxh3+ 30. Ke2 Be8 31. Rc2 Ng4 32. Rc3 Qg2+ 33. Kd1 Qg1+ 34. Kd2 h5 and the two extra pawns win in the end. 26. fxg3 Qxg3+ 27. Kf1 Qxh3+ 28. Ke1 Qxe3+ 29. Ne2 d4?? the last recorded move is the big blunder in the ending in time trouble. h5, h6, or Kh8 hides the "bear in the hole" and is the winning method that I could not find. In short, the error in the final position is that I did not sniff the danger developing against my king, specifically the white grip on the e8 square was underestimated. 1-0

Saturday, August 5, 2017

2017 On The Move round 3 Anton Taylor, 2027 - Vivek Raj, 1797 French: KIA (C00)

2017 On The Move round 3
Anton Taylor, 2027 - Vivek Raj, 1797
French: KIA (C00)

1. e4 e6 2. d3 I have struggled to remain aware of the primary theory in the French as white. As a result I have been playing this sideline in the few games where the French has come up. 2. ... d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 d4 up until this move we have followed common ideas. This release of tension makes white's ability to fight for the e5 square less awkward and creates a nice potential outpost on c4. 6. f4 e5 7. Ngf3 Bd6 8. Nc4 Qc7?? A completely wasted move. Bg4 or Nbe7 seems the more logical options. 9. Nxd6+ Qxd6 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. fxe5 Qe6 There is nothing better than settling for the pawn loss. Qxe5? is met by Bf4! and either black's b or c pawn will come under heavy fire. 12. O-O Ne7 13. c3 Komodo likes b4 better but c3 seems to be just a winning with far less accurate calculation required. 13. ... Nc6 14. Qa4? This move starts a maneuver that wastes three moves. Komodo recommends something like: 14. b4 cxb4 15. cxd4 Nxd4 16. Be3 Qxe5 17. Qd2 a5? 18. Qf2 Nc6? 19. Qxf7+ That is nearly impossible for me to see. The key idea Be3 followed by Qd2 and Qf2 are not easy to spot for me from the initial position (ten half-moves ahead). 14. Bd7 15. Qb5? further errors. Qc2 admitting the error was better. 15. b6 Now any tactical ideas on the black c-pawn are gone. Black has sealed his defects and the position is equal. 16. Qa4 Nxe5 17. Qc2 Bb5 18. c4 Bc6 19. Bf4 O-O 20. Bxe5 Qxe5 21. Rf5 Qe7 22. Raf1 Bd7? This allows the potential for cheap tricks along the long diagonal (h1-a8) to potentially win the exchange. Rae8 probably holds together better. 23. R5f4 Qe5 24. Qf2 f6 25. g4 I felt I could "get away" with this weakening move in this case but it turns out that Komodo sees all kinds of problems in the position after this move. Black is at least a lot better if not winning outright from here. My personal horizon is not long enough to even talk intelligently at this juncture. 25. ... b5? This move was unexpected. Black correctly sees that this is a moment to strike out against white but moves like Rae8 that look quiet but prepare a break are probably best. 26. cxb5 Bxb5 27. Rf5 The bishop has been diverted from his duty in keeping this rook off this square. 27. ... Qe7 28. e5 and suddenly with a wedge Black crumbles. 28. ... Bxd3 29. exf6 Qe3 30. Bd5+ Rf7 31. Qxe3 dxe3 32. fxg7 Bxf5 33. Rxf5 Rd8 34. Bxf7+ Kxg7 35. Bb3 1-0 Bd5 eliminates more counterplay but this bishop retreat is still winning. Black gives up with no hope to recover.



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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2017 On The Move Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2027 - Andy Porter, 2106 Sicilian: Kan (B41)

2017 On The Move Round 2
Anton Taylor, 2027 - Andy Porter, 2106
Sicilian: Kan (B41)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Be3 Nf6 6. e5? I don't even know how to explain this lapse in judgement but Black emerges a healthy pawn up for no white compensation. White is just losing after this. 6. ... Qa5+ 7. Nd2 Qxe5 8. Be2 d5 9. O-O Nc6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. c3 Qc7 12. Re1 Bd6 13. Nf1 O-O 14. Qa4 Ne4 15. f3 Nc5 16. Qh4 f5 17. Qf2 Nd7 18. Rad1?? Everything up until now is losing but this move is yet another howler eliminating any chance of victory. 18. ... f4 19. Bc1 Bc5 20. Ne3 Bxe3 21. Bxe3 fxe3 22. Qxe3 Qa7 23. Bd3 Qxe3+ 24. Rxe3 Nc5 25. Bc2 Bd7 26. b4 Nb7 27. c4 Nd6 28. Bb3 Rab8 29. a3 Rf6 30. Ba2 g5 31. g3 Kg7 32. Kg2 Rbf8 33. Rd2 h5 34. Bb3 g4 35. f4 Ne4? An unnecessary risk. Black is still winning but this provides complications and counter-chances for white. 36. Rxe4 dxe4 37. Rxd7+ R8f7 38. Rd4 e5 39. Rxe4 exf4 40. gxf4 Rxf4 41. Rxf4 Rxf4 42. c5 Rf3 43. Ba4 Rxa3 44. Bxc6 Kf6 45. b5 axb5 46. Bxb5 Ra5 47. Be8 Rxc5 48. Ba4 Rc3 49. Bb5 Kg5 50. Be2 Rc2 51. Kf1 Kf4 0-1

This is my most embarrassing game from the event. It often happens that a chess Grandmaster will make a terrible blunder and the other GMs ridicule him saying, "Does a person that can make such horrible moves deserve his title?". I would ask the same of myself. Does a person capable of making these kinds of elementary mistakes deserve the NM title. I must conclude that he does not. Therefore, I have to begin working twice as hard and three times as long as before if I really want to make the title this year. There are no acceptable excuses for this kind of fumbling mess. Some might think this is harsh but this is simple fact. If I want the title I can't accept this kind of performance. The situation isn't hopeless. On the contrary, I know exactly what to do to train it out of myself. I have become stagnant and plateaued over the last few months. Time to hit it hard once more and become the machine I have seen that I can be.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 On The Move Round 1 Matt Gurley, 1746 - Anton Taylor, 2027 Caro-Kann: Advnace Variation (B12)

2017 On The Move Round 1
Matt Gurley, 1746 - Anton Taylor, 2027
Caro-Kann: Advnace Variation (B12)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Be3 Bf5 6. Nf3 cxd4 7. cxd4 e6 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. Rc1 Nge7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O Bg4?? After a few moves moving "out of book" by both sides I commit a huge error allowing the thematic Bxh7 bishop sacrifice that would have shortly won the game for white had he seen the possibility. Fortunately he did not. 12. h3 Bh5?? Bf5 was forced preventing the Bishop sac. Once more my opponent misses it. 13. a3 Ba5? Same reasons as the last several moves. the sac is up in the air and needs addressed. 14. Ne2 Bxf3 15. gxf3 Nf5 Ng6 is a little more accurate but this move works as well for an even yet unbalanced position with possibilities. 16. Ng3? Nxd4 is playable, probably winning, but VERY sharp. A computer makes the move quickly but a human would have to put in a lot of work to ensure that he both keeps the extra pawn and doesn't die to the given initiative of a capture. 16. ... Nxe3 17. fxe3 Qh4 18. Kg2 f6 19. f4 fxe5 20. fxe5 Rxf1 21. Nxf1 Rf8 22. Qg4? This allows a combination. Rf2+ 23. Kg1 Qxg4+ 24. hxg4 Rxb2 25. Rb1 Rxb1 26. Bxb1 Bc3 I knew this move was the error in my position even as I played it. I could find no forcing line and often in such positions I blindly move minor pieces around. Much better is b5 getting the pawns going. White can't swing his king over to that side of the board for fear of the h-pawns march as well, "dancing at two weddings". Black is winning here. 27. Ng3 Na5? b5 28. Ne2 Bd2 29. e4 Be3+ 30. Kg2 Nc6 amazingly this is the passive move that really cooks black. dxe4 is the saving move. 31. exd5 Nxd4 32. Nxd4 Bxd4 33. dxe6 Bxe5? 33. ... g6 preserves the h-pawn. 34. Be4? Bxh7+! and the bishop is immune due to the pawn queening threat. 34. ... Bd6 35. a4 b6 36. Bc6 Kf8 37. Kf3 Ke7 38. Bd7 g6? This is the result of poor calculation, low time (end of a G/30), and playing just on a few principles without considering the whole position. The best plan is Bc7-d8 mixed with moves like Kd6 and black holds his own game together by keeping the white king from assisting the passed pawn and can freely attack the queenside with his extra pawn and maybe force a bishop sac that loses. 39. Ke4 h5 40. gxh5 gxh5 41. Kf5 h4 42. Kg4 Bg3 43. Bc8 Kf6 44. Bd7 a6 45. Kh3 Ke7 46. Kg4 Kd6 47. Kh3 a5 48. Kg4 b5 49. Bxb5 Kxe6 50. Bc6 Kd6 1/2-1/2 draw finally agreed.

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. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 3 Marquis Quinn, 1672 - Anton Taylor, 2027 English: Anglo-Indian (A17)

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 3 
Marquis Quinn, 1672 - Anton Taylor, 2027 
English: Anglo-Indian (A17)

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4 c6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. a3 Up until this move we have followed theory. The text restricts the bishop but it finds a good home anyway so it is useless. 6. ... Be7 7. Bg5 Nbd7 8. e3 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 10. O-O Nf8 11. h3 Once again white plays a useless pawn move. This one is arguably a little more useful that the previous rook pawn advance but the bishop it is meant to restrict is happoy on other squares as well. 11. ... h6 12. Bxf6 Probably an error. White should keep his fine bishop and not give it up voluntarily. 12. ... Bxf6 13. b4 Bd7 14. Rc1 Ne6? An error on my part but not losing. Qe7 is better because it connects the rooks and eyes a3 if white advances b5 for a minority attack. 15. Qb3 Qe7 More or less a transpositon had I played Qe7 earlier. 16. a4 Qd6 17. e4?? I expected b5 here continuing white's plan. This move just loses a pawn and ultimately the game. 17. ... Nxd4 18. Nxd4 Bxd4 19. exd5 Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Qxd5?? A "winning blunder" Black is better after the pawn is lost but why not simply Qxe2! winning a piece? I was caught up in the variation from seven moves before and this was the move I had calculated. I did not take enough time on this move. 21. Bc4 Qg5 22. Qf3 Be6 23. Rfd1 Bxc4 24. Rxc4 Rad8 25. Rcd4 Rxd4 26. Rxd4 Re1+ In case you were wondering this ending is an excercise in good technique but should be completely won by black. 27. Kh2 Qe5+ 28. Qf4 Qxf4+ 29. Rxf4 Kf8 30. Rd4 Ke7 31. Kg3 Re6 32. f4 Rd6 33. Rc4 Kd7 34. Kf3 Rd5 35. g4 Rd3+ 36. Kg2 b6 37. h4 Kd6 38. b5 of all the moves to be tried giving black a passed pawn is not the best idea. 38. ... c5 39. Re4 Rd4 40. Kf3 Rxe4 41. Kxe4 Now with the rooks off the board any drawing chances white had are gone. as the saying goes "most rook endings are drawn" This one probably wouldn't be regardless but the win is easier after they get traded off and white should have avoided it. 41. ... Ke6 42. f5+ Kd6 43. g5 h5 44. g6 f6 45. Kd3 Ke5 46. Kc4 Ke4 47. a5 Kxf5 48. Kd5?? After this move komodo gives quite possibly the worst evaluation I have ever seen in a game -250.00!! 48. ... bxa5 49. Kxc5 Kxg6 50. Kc6 a4 51. Kb7 a3 52. Kxa7 a2 53. b6 a1=Q+ 0-1 Forced mate in 12.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2027 - William Brooks, 1623 Sicilian: Moscow Variation

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 2
Anton Taylor, 2027 - William Brooks, 1623
Sicilian: Moscow Variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. a4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. O-O g6 7. d4 This is my divergence from common theory in this system. It seems foolish to open things up when the bishop gets fianchettoed but I felt the queenside activity and the transfer of the king's knight over to that side makes up for the weaknesses. 7. ... Nxd4 8. Nxd4 cxd4 9. Qxd4 Bg7 10. f3 O-O 11. Qf2 Bxb5? This gives white a small advantage. The rook attack on a7 wins the initiative and controls a full file. 12. axb5 b6 13. Be3 Qd7 14. Rfd1 Rfc8 15. e5 Ne8 16. Bd4 d5 17. Ra4 Nc7 18. Rda1? This drops the advantage in favor of equality. Qe2 holds the advanced pawns and prepares the doubling on the file. The text is just harder. 18. ... Nxb5 19. Nxb5 Qxb5 20. Rxa7 Rxa7 21. Rxa7 e6 22. c3 Rb8 This move made me happy. Black's passive rook gets even more passive and I can work freely with my own rook. Qd2-g5-e7 seems like a possible plan (but black can impede the progress of this plan. 23. g4 This was my idea: advance the pawns and break on the f5 square. The unfortunate side effect of this idea is that my king too gets exposed and black gets counter chances. the queen route plan has no such drawback. 23. ... Qb3 24. h3 guarding the g-pawn after Qe4+ when I advance my f-pawn. 24. ... b5 25. f4 Bf8? This position is lost for black but I could not calculate just how. I felt I was winning. 26. f5 gxf5 27. gxf5 Qd1+ 28. Kh2 Qh5 29. fxe6? let's look at a potential variation: 29. Qg1+ Kh8 30. Qg4 Qxg4 31. hxg4 Kg8 32. Ra6 exf5 33. gxf5 b4 34. Kg3 Rc8 35. Kg4 Be7 36. Kh5 Bf8 37. Ra1 h6 38. Ra5 bxc3 39. bxc3 Bg7 40. f6 Bf8 41. e6 fxe6 42. Kg6 Rc7 43. Ra8 Rf7 44. Bc5 e5 45. Bxf8 Rxf8 46. f7+ Kh8 47. Rxf8#  Considering that this is not a mainline and certainly not the best play by black there is so much to calculate I just couldn't do it. However, I did not need to calculate all of this and instead I could just have trusted in the rook lifting between the a-file and g-file operations. I did see that but I went about it with the text move that is drawn technically. 29. ... fxe6 30. Ra1? This is the wrong timing of the lift. Qf6 right now is best. I saw this move but I thought the rook on g1 was safer than leaving it on the seventh rank. 30. ... Rb7 31. Qf6 Qe8? Qe2+ was the drawing method. This is much better for white. 32. Ra6 Re7 33. b4 Bg7 34. Qf1 Rf7 35. Qa1 Rf8 36. Qd1 Qf7 37. Qg4 Re8 38. Ra5? pointless Rb8?? 38... Kh8 39. Rxb5?? Qf1! 40. Rb7 Bh6 and black is winning. So, in essence the pawn is indirectly defended so this rook move is a waste. 39. Ra7 winning 39. ... Qg6 40. Qxg6 hxg6 41. Re7 Kf8 42. Rxe6 Kf7 43. Rd6 Ke7 44. Rxg6 Bf8 45. Bc5+ Kf7 46. Rf6+ Kg7 47. Bxf8+ Rxf8 48. Rxf8 Kxf8 49. Kg3 1-0 Two extra pawns is enough for my opponent to resign.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 1 Stephen Wilson, 1204 - Anton Taylor, 2027 Caro-Kann (B10)

2017 Owensboro June Open Round 1 
Stephen Wilson, 1204 - Anton Taylor, 2027 
Caro-Kann (B10)

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d3 e5 This move has been tried several times in the database and even by the likes of Anatoly Karpov. However, I am not convinced that it is even particularly good since it only becomes a second target for white's pieces. There is no satisfactory alternative and the only move more commonly played is dxe4. 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Qd2 As ugly as this move looks it really isn't as bad as it first appears. There is no satisfying punishment mostly because the absence of the light square bishop only gives white's pieces squares to play on with impunity. I do not think a master would make such a move but it seems strangely playable. 5. ... Bxf3 6. gxf3 Be7 This move keeps the enemy queen out of g5 and prepares to play Bf6 to protect the e5 pawn. 7. Ne2 Preparing f4 is unnecessary and playing it immediately is just good for white. 7. ... h6 A somewhat tricky move I considered that kingside castling was probably dangerous and so preparing g5 at some point was useful. the positionb is roughly equal. 8. Qc3 d4 9. Qb3 b6? I was uncertain what to play here. A pattern that was not at all clear to me is in the following variation: 9... Na6 10. Qxb7 Nb4 11. Kd1 Bc5 12. a3 Rb8! and the queen is lost. Had I seen this pattern Na6 would have been played. I missed Bc5! 10. f4 Nd7 equal with chances for both sides. This should technically favor me in this matchup where I have several years of tournament experience on my relatively new to tournament chess opponent. 11. c3 c5 A terrible blunder. Nc5 occured to me after I hit the clock and is komodo's recommendation to keep equality.  12. Bh3! This and Bg2! are both considerably good moves and probably winning. 12. ... Ngf6 13. Bd2 A wasted move giving black some initiative. This is what he needs more than anything. 13. ... g5 One good blunder deserves another. I simply make a giant hole on f5 for white's pieces to jump into. But if this is not the right move (and probably never correct) then the earlier h6 is suspect as well. 14. fxg5 hxg5 15. Bxd7+? Oh, thank God, one attacker down. Black is on the defense and this trade releases a little pressure. Nxd7 16. Ng3 Nf8 17. Nf5 Ne6 Now black is okay and can try once more to drum up an attack in an equal position. 18. Qd5 Qxd5 19. exd5 Nf4 20. Bxf4 gxf4 21. Ng7+?? The decisive blunder. The desperado knight has only to go back after making a useless check and once more concede a monstrous initiative only this time the target is glaringly obvious. 21. ... Kd7 22. c4 Rag8 23. Nf5 Bf8 24. h4 Rh5 25. Nxd4 cxd4 26. Ke2 Rg4 27. a3 Be7 28. b4 Rhxh4 29. b5 f5 30. a4 e4 31. dxe4 fxe4 32. Rxh4 f3+ 33. Kd2 Bxh4 34. a5 Bxf2 35. axb6 axb6 Amazingly Komodo gives Rg1 as winning by force ... for example: 35... Rg1 36. Rxg1 Be3+ 37. Kd1 Bxg1 38. bxa7 f2 39. a8=Q f1=Q+ 40. Kd2 Be3+ 41. Kc2 d3+ 42. Kc3 Qc1+ 43. Kb3 Qc2+ 44. Kb4 Qb2+ 45. Ka4 Qa1+ 46. Kb4 Bd2+ 47. Kb3 Qc3+ 48. Ka2 Qxc4+ 49. Kb2 Bc1+ 50. Ka1 Qd4+ 51. Ka2 Qb2#  36. c5  36. ... bxc5 37. b6 Bg3 0-1 White concedes that his pawn will not have a future and extends his hand. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

2017 Summer Party Round 5 Anton Taylor, 2026 - Connor Zhang, 1558 Spanish/Ruy Lopez: Caro Variation (C70)

2017 Summer Party Round 5
Anton Taylor, 2026 - Connor Zhang, 1558
Spanish/Ruy Lopez: Caro Variation (C70)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5. Bb3 Nf6 6. O-O Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. Re1 Bb7 9. d4 d6 10. Nbd2 Na5 This is the first real divergence from common theory. Yes, this move is thrown in at times but not normally in this position. More interesting alternatives are Re8 and Nd7. 11. Bc2 Nd7 12. Nf1 Rc8 c5 is the right move order. 13. Ng3 Nb6 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Nxe5 Bd6 16. Nf3 f6 17. Qd3 Be5 18. Nxe5 fxe5 19. Qe2 Qf6 20. Nf5 Nac4 21. b3 Nd6 22. Ng3 Nd7 23. a4 Nc5 24. Ba3 Ne6 25. f3 Nf4 26. Qf2 Rfd8 27. Rad1 bxa4 28. bxa4 Nc4?? Up to here black has made several innaccuracies but I think this one might be the most useful. When your f-pawn is gone your king becomes vulnerable along the long diagonal. 29. Bb3 Quick solution. Qf7?? It was better to move the king off the diagonal. now he loses the piece and gives me an extra move because the king will have to move anyway to prevent the queen getting pinned. 30. Qc5 Nd3 31. Rxd3 Kh8 32. Bxc4 Qe8 33. Red1 Rxd3 34. Rxd3 Qxa4 35. Nf5 Qe8 36. Ne7 Rd8 37. Qxe5 h6 38. Qf5 Ng6+ is a faster mate but a harder pattern for me to see. 38. ... Rxd3 39. Ng6+ Kh7 40. Nf8+ Kh8 41. Qh7# 1-0

Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017 Summer Party Round 4 NM Davis Whaley, 2335 - Anton Taylor, 2026 Queen's Indian (E15)

2017 Summer Party Round 4
NM Davis Whaley, 2335 - Anton Taylor, 2026
Queen's Indian (E15)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 I remember years ago studying a set of games by Peter Leko and a few others where Black plays a system based on Ba6. I could not recall any of that system beyond Ba6 at the board and so I opt for the "safer" continuation. 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Bxd2+ 7. Nbxd2 O-O 8. Qc2 d6 9. O-O Nbd7 10. e4 e5 11. d5 c6 I'm not certain how I feel about this move. It seems to be a bid for the long diagonal but it creates several holes. I think the move in the database (a5) is far superior. Trying to create a knight outpost on c5 is probably worth more than freeing the bishop. If it is so important to give the bishop life then a path like Bc8-g4 seems fine. 12. dxc6 Bxc6 13. b4 Qc7 14. Qd3 Rfd8 15. Nh4 a5 16. a3 axb4 17. axb4 Rxa1 18. Rxa1 Ra8? The firt trade seems fine but This second offer to trade benefits white. The simple g6 makes the knight on the rim grim. 19. Rxa8+ Bxa8 20. Nf5 Ne8 21. Nb1 Ndf6 22. Nc3 Bc6 23. f4 g6 24. fxe5 dxe5 25. Ne3 Nd6 26. Ncd5 Bxd5 27. exd5 Nd7 28. g4 e4 This move interested me. I envisioned a drawn ending with a small advantage 29.Bxe4 Nd5 30. Qd4 Nexc4 29. Qd4 f5? Here I go wrong. Far better is Qa7 keeping an eye on the c5 square keeping the pawns at bay and looking at invading along the a-file. 30. gxf5 gxf5 31. Bh3! This seems so obvious now but it was a bolt out of the blue for me. There is no satisfactory answer but my response is a howler. 31. ... f4?? The reason this move is so poor is because it gives the knight access to g4. It would have been better to lose the pawn. 32. Be6+ Nf7 33. Ng4 This was my feared continuation but Nf5! threatening mate on g7 is stronger. 33. ... Kf8 forced. White's threat is Bxd7 when black can't recapture or fall into the fork Nf6+! 34. Qxe4 Nde5 35. Nxe5 Qxe5 36. Qxe5 Nxe5 37. c5 bxc5 38. bxc5 Ke7 39. Bf5 h6 40. Kf2 Nf7 1-0 there is no way to complicate the ending. It is over.

Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 Summer Party Round 3 Anton Taylor, 2026 - CM Billy Woodward, 1990 Sicilian: Moscow Variation (B51)

2017 Summer Party Round 3
Anton Taylor, 2026 - CM Billy Woodward, 1990
Sicilian: Moscow Variation (B51)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nc6 4. Bxc6+ This trade is not usually taken until the capture is forced but here the bishop does at least a bit of structural damage on its way out. 4. ... bxc6 5. O-O Nf6? This is an innaccuracy that leads to a slight advantage for white. black should play e5 here to keep his center strong. 6. e5 White wins 70% of the games in the database after this move order. (34 games in chessbase) 6. ... Ng4 There are no white losses after this move. Nd5 is far more common. 7. exd6 Qxd6 8. Nc3 Here we come to the end of the database games. the two moves in the collection are g3 and d3. Neither of those moves further White's overall goals in my opinion to the text. Black's pawn weaknesses are chronic and so White needs to quickly develop to press his advantage. It shouldn't actually matter the move orders. The advantage is pretty wide in my mind. 8. ... Bf5 9. d3 g6? This move does not address the black positional problems but it is hard to recommend an alternative. White is winning. 10. h3 Re1 and Bg5 are great alternatives that all follow the same theme. Using white pieces to control e-file squares. 10. ... Nf6 11. Be3 this move is inaccurate but still uyseful development. I missed the e-file theme with the moves Re1 and Bg5 thrown in and instead opt for a plan to try and target the double pawns. 11. ... Bg7 12. Nd2 Nd7? Nd5 amazingly hold things together because of the active bishop on g7 but that's not easy to see from here. 13. Nc4 Qc7 14. Na4 ? Qc1! is spotted by komodo fairly quickly but it was never even one of my candidates. The plans of that move are straightforward. harass the queen on c7 by Bf4 and trade away the stronger bishop on g7 by Bh6. Also, the small sidestep guards the b-pawn to free up the c3 knight for useful action (clearing the pin). 14. ... Be6 Nb6 more or less forces the trade of the c5 pawn for white's on b2. Which would be a major victory for black. All white's play has been trying to win the weak pawns. If black can liquidate the weaknesses what is white's plan afterwards? He will have to take extra time to find his way to some new plan. 15. Nxc5 Bxc4 16. dxc4 Nxc5 17. Bxc5 Bxb2 18. Rb1 Bf6 19. Qf3 O-O 20. Rfd1 Qa5 21. Qa3 up to here the game is drawish. Black will not be satisfied with the queen trade falling into the draw and so concedes a small advantage by mistake. 21. ... Qc7? 22. Rb3 Rfd8 23. Rbd3 Rxd3 24. cxd3 a5?? The ending was still drawish until this little gem of a time-waster. Black assumes the e-pawn is untouchable. He is wrong. 25. Re1 h5 26. Bxe7 Re8 27. Bb4 Ra8 28. Bc3 Qf4 29. Bxf6 Qxf6 30. Re4 This is the last move I recorded because the time trouble was real and I mange to throw things away even after this winning position. The text move Re4 is an inaccuracy. Moving the rook off of my back rank gives black counter chances that weren't necessary. Better is the simple g3 removing all mating nets with rook+queen or the even more active Qc5 which I would have probably played with more time to think. 0-1 I'm not altogether dissatisfied with the moves I made in this game but the real issue I have is with the finishing technique. By the text I should have been able to close this out with little difficulty but I failed to convert a nice ending. Winning the won game is a big challenge for all chessplayers.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

2017 Summer Party Round 2 CM Jerry Baker, 2067 - Anton Taylor, 2026 Nimzowitsch-Larsen: Indian (A01)

2017 Summer Party Round 2 
CM Jerry Baker, 2067 - Anton Taylor, 2026 
Nimzowitsch-Larsen: Indian (A01)

1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 e6 3. g3 Jerry is always trying to shake things up a bit. This is probably objectively better for black (it is normally bad to fianchetto both bishops. It creates disharmony in your own position rather than controlling the center like you might expect. 3. ... d5 4. Bg2 c5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 O-O 9. Nd2 Nxd4 10. Bxd4 b6 11. c4 Bb7 12. Rc1 Qd6? 13. Bb2?? 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. cxd5 Bxd5 15. e4 Bb7 16. e5! wins immediately but both me and my opponent missed this continuation in the game. 13. ... Rfd8 14. Qc2 Rac8 15. Qb1 Ba6 16. Rfd1 Qb8 17. Bf3 Bc5? Again there is this theme of Bxf6 creating a win but it is hard to trade away a good bishop and my opponent again misses the forcing moves that clearly win in the end. 18. Qa1 d4 When I played this move I felt it was nearly winning. Somehow it is actually a very bad move and requires some investigation. Essentially Nf1 followed by e3 leads to black getting either a handful of holes n his position or going a pawn down ... both losing choices. 19. Ne4 Nxe4 20. Bxe4 e5 21. Qb1? This throiws away the win. Correct is e3! leading to a dominant position in the center for white. I saw none of that during the game. 21. ... g6 22. Qd3 Bb7 23. g4 Qa8 24. f3 Be7 25. Rf1 Bg5 26. Rcd1 Bxe4 27. fxe4 Bf4? This makes the win harder but isn't losing. Better is 27... Be3+ 28. Kh1 b5 29. cxb5? Rd7 30. Rf3 Rdc7 0-1 28. h4 f6 29. Rxf4 exf4 30. Kg2 Rd7 31. Kf3 g5? worrying about the pawn is foolish. White taking the pawn as black piles up on the e4 pawn is suicidal and mate is sure to follow closely. 32. hxg5 fxg5 0-1 The rest of the game score is lost in blitzing low on time. However, black is fairly far ahead and should win from here.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2017 Summer Party Round 1 Anton Taylor, 2026 - Andrew Orr, 1693 "Marshall Gambit" (C70)

2017 Summer Party Round 1 
Anton Taylor, 2026 - Andrew Orr, 1693 
"Marshall Gambit" (C70)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. Bxd5 cxd5 13. d4 Bd6 14. Re1 Qh4 15. g3 Qh3 16. Qf3 Be6 17. Be3 Rad8 18. Nd2  I have quite become a bit of a specialist in the white side of the marshall. After encountering it a few times in blitz this year and twice in tournaments I have studied even grandmaster games in the variation (specifically MVL playing as white and Aronian as black). 18. ... Rfe8 This move is a bit useful but the mainline that leads to the "GM draw" is 18. ... Bg4. 19. Qg2 This is the standard idea for white after Bg4 so there is no reason not to play it here. The silicon monsters like Bf4 and Bg5 but that seems a bit over-ambitious. After all, white only needs to stabilize because he is a pawn ahead. 19. ... Qh5 20. f4? I can see a master level commentator saying "that's a horrible move. who plays like this?" and objectively that is probably correct. The bishop on e3 is terrible and made so much worse by this move. However, in my experience if black can get a pawn on f4 in most situations even if it is a legitimate sacrifice black gets huge compensation. consolidating f4 in that case is paramount to me, Also, since we are a pawn ahead we can actually give a pawn back to improve the bishop if it becomes necessary to free the "big pawn". 20. ... Bh3 21. Qh1? Qf3 or Qf2 are much better. It doesn't matter. 21. ... Re6 22. Bf2?? 22. ... Re2! would win on the spot. Bf2 is pretty bad but it is made much worse in most variation by the queen trapped on h1. 22. ... Rg6? see the previous note. 23. Be3 The bishop has to go right back to the old square. white has obviously done something wrong. 23. ... Qf5?? Black is a little better with moves like Re8 but white is starting to unravel as he is allowed. 24. Nf3 Bxf4 25. Bxf4 I did not see that Nh4 worked because I thought that Bxg6. what I missed is this variation ... 25. Nh4 Bxg3 26. Nxf5 Bxe1+ 27. Ng3!  the text is still equal25. ... Qxf4 26. Kf2? Yet another chess sin. Re2 is the drawing move and an "only" move. 26. ... Rf6?? 27. gxf4 White gives up as everything loses. 1-0 

It seems a bit of poor taste to call myself a "specialist" and then show you a game in which I begin to go wrong immediately after the book moves end. I recant of that indulgence in phrasing. However, as with my previous games in this line this game will go into my mental data bank and serve to make me better in the line as white. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 Kentucky Open Round 5 Andy Porter, 2106 - Anton Taylor, 2030 English: Anglo-Indian (A15)

2017 Kentucky Open Round 5
Andy Porter, 2106 - Anton Taylor, 2030
English: Anglo-Indian (A15)

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e6 3. Bg2 d5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Rd1 Even at the GM level this move is fairly common. It makes only a little sense to me. It is just a way to clear the f1 square of the rook. That's pretty much it. There is no hope for this rook to use the d-file. 8. ... Ne4 9. Nfd2? A strange looking move that doesn't really help white extricate the black knight. In fact allowing himself to play f3 makes the knight's journey even more frutiful than it might otherwise be. f3 would be a permanent weakness in the white camp. 9. ... f5 10. f3? A blunder as stated but this was the idea of moving the knight from f3 on the previous move. 10. ... Nef6 Just going back. No need to make the knight awkward by Nd6 even if it is better according to Komodo. Why complicate matters when you're positionally better? 11. c5? This move makes it even easier for black to control d5 and gives black targets on d4 and c5 so his better development gives him something to play for now. 11. ... b6 12. Nb3 bxc5 13. Nxc5?? This further concession gives black a classical center. Black is clearly winning. 13. ... Nxc5 14. dxc5 e5 15. b4 Qc7 There is no need to get complicated just guard everything and white should eventuially collapse. 16. Nd2 a5 17. bxa5 Rxa5 18. Nb3 Ra7 19. e3 Be6 20. Bb2 Nd7 21. Bf1 f4? At the time I felt this move was a lever peeling open the white king's hiding place but  realistically this opens lines for the White bishop pair that needed not be opened. The simple Rfa8 or the powerful (if a bit complicated) Rb8 are much better alternatives. 22. gxf4? exf4 opening the file for the rook and not compromising white's king position is better. 22. ...  exf4 23. e4 dxe4 I felt I was completely winning here and Komodo agrees. However I missed an elementary tactic in a straightforward variation as you will see. 24. Qxe4 Bxb3?? The losing continuation. Nxc5 is really the only move and promises better than equality after something like 24... Nxc5 25. Nxc5 Bxc5+ 26. Kh1 Qf7 27. Qxc6 Be3 25. Qxe7! When I calculated this after dxe4 I thought 25. ... Bxd1 netted the exchange. Unfortunately, with the position on the board I discover to my horror that the bishop capture is met by Qxg7 checkmate! I was mortified. I had just voluntarily given up a piece in a completely winning position. 25. ... Rf7 26. Qe8+ Rf8 27. Qxd7 Qa5 28. Qd2 Bxd1 29. Qxa5 Rxa5 30. Bc4+ Kh8 31. Rxd1 Rxc5 32. Ba3 Rg5+ 33. Kf2 c5 34. Bb2 h5 35. Bc3 Ra8 36. h4 Rg3 37. Be5 Ra3 38. Rd8+ 1-0


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Kentucky Open Round 4 NM John Marcsik, 2149 - Anton Taylor, 2030 Caro-Kann: Exchange (B13)

2017 Kentucky Open Round 4
NM John Marcsik, 2149 - Anton Taylor, 2030
Caro-Kann: Exchange (B13)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bd3 A lackluster move but solid. I have no problems with it but the sharpest lines (i.e. those experimented with by the 2700 club) are the 5.Ne5 lines. 5. ... Nf6 Bg4 is more common. 6. c3 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. f4 f6?? This direct method of handling the threat of f5 is a mistake. It just creates more black weaknesses. Qb6+ and Nc5 are better options. I especially like Qb6+ because it takes over the e3 square which makes white's bishop on c1 seem rather silly and makes its development awkward. 12. Qh5 f5 White has chosen an overly-aggressive continuation and things are back in equilibrium. Black then must be better as the White pieces need to reorganize and Black gains a tempo with his next move. 13. Nf3 Nc5 14. Bc2 Bd7 15. Nd4 Ne4 16. Be3 Bc5 17. Rf3 Bxd4? This move is a very human decision. I want the b5 square and I want to play Be8 and transfer the other bishop to my king's defense. This capture perpetuates both of these ideas simultaneously but Komodo absolutely hates the idea. The problem with the plan is simple. A bishop cannot be on the king and queensiude simultaneously. Therefore, this is not a winning idea. The exchange is poor. 18. Bxd4 Be8 19. Qh3 Qe7? This move is a waste of time. Looking back on this game playing g6 earlier and controlling the a6-f1 diagonal makes a lot more sense. 20. Kh1 White finally gives up on his premature mating ideas with pieces and decides on a different method of mating attack using the g-pawn. 20. ... Bg6? Bb5 makes more sense ... countering white's kingside aggression by opening the game and controlling the mating squares while making my own threats on the queenside. That could be a winning plan if white persists too far. 21. Rg1 b5 22. Rff1 b4 23. Qd3 Rfc8 24. Bd1 a5? After a series of very strong moves and the right idea (attacking on the queenside to rob white of his time for attacking my king) I fall into this time wasting "gem". It is better to simply exchange the b-pawn and make white's lone c3 pawn a target of attack. Komodo correctly sees this as winning. Black is better even after a5 but it is much harder to convert to a win. 25. g4?? This is a howler of a mistake and I completely miss the continuation. One sample variation is 25... fxg4! 26. Qe3 (Black threatened to win the queen by capturing with the bishop after the knight checks on f2) bxc3 27. Bxg4? Nd2! 28. Rf2 Be4+. That variation is only eight half-moves deep but from the starting position moves like Nd2 are particularly hard to see as the squares are completely undefended at the beginning of the variation. 25. ... bxc3 26. bxc3 Rab8 27. gxf5 Bxf5 28. Bg4?? I was so hopelessly taken in by the idea that White had a strong attack that I failed to make a concrete observation that there was an attack to be discovered against the queen with once again this key check by the knight on f2 winning white's queen. 28. ... Qh4?? This hands the game over to white in all logical variations. A shame. 29. Bxf5 exf5 30. e6 g6 31. Rb1 Qe7? Qxf4 is better as my passer will be faster and the strong Nf2 is still in the air. 32. Be5?? Rxb1?? (Nf2+! for the third time is missed. This time winning the queen outright.)33. Rxb1 d4?? A sacrifice out of desperation and missing the saving and completely winning fork for the fourth time. 34. Qxd4 Nxc3?? A losing blunder. Komodo recommends Qxe6 as drawing but giving up the seventh rank seems a hard decision for black to make. 35. Qxc3 this wins but Qd7 is much faster. Qxe6 36. Qxc8+ Qxc8 37. Rb8 Qxb8 38. Bxb8 Kf7 39. Kg2 Ke6 40. a4 Kd5 41. Bc7 Kc4 42. Bxa5 Kb3 43. Kh3 Kxa4 44. Be1 Kb5 45. Kh4 h6 46. Bc3 Kc5 47. Bg7 Kd5 48. Bxh6 Ke6 49. Kg5 Kf7 50. h4 1-0

Friday, June 9, 2017

2017 Kentucky Open Round 3 Anton Taylor, 2030 - NM Davis Whaley, 2357 Sicilian Canal/Moscow Variation (B51)

2017 Kentucky Open Round 3 
Anton Taylor, 2030 - NM Davis Whaley, 2357 
Sicilian Canal/Moscow Variation (B51)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. a4 I had recently seen a game or two from Magnus Carlsen in this variation last year where this odd looking move had been thrown in. It's interesting. It should be pointed out that Black scores rather well in this variation at top level but I'm a risk taker. 4. ... Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. O-O Bg7 This is where theory currently sits on this variation and where several different moves have been tried for white's 7th. The move I choose is not in the database. 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 O-O 9. Be3 Nc5 10. f3 a6 11. Bc4 Bd7 12. Qd2 Rc8 I was regretting playing Bc4 here after this move that forces me to make some kind of concession. There are three main moves here for white ... Ba2, b3, and Bd3. I didn't like Ba2 Because controlling the a2-g8 diagonal isn't really my priority. I want to solve the tension on the queenside from the g7 bishop and rook on c8 in the most efficient way. 13. Bd3 Komodo gives immediately that Nxd3 leads to a black advantage but giving up the c5 knight is difficult to human eyes. I wagered that after Nxd3 I could keep my grip on c3 and maybe even expand safely in the center leading to a small edge for white. Davis must have come to the same conclusion. 13. ... Qc7 14. Nde2 Bc6? I think this is the first real mistake. Allowing me to block up the c-file will make black's queen and rook look stupid. Sure, I have to give up the "good" bishop I have controlling the dark squares but with the file closed the bishop on d3 can come back to c4 with a more solid grip than previously. 15. Bxc5 dxc5 16. Qe3 Nd7 17. f4 White has a classic center but he has to be really careful. 17. ... Qb6 18. a5! I really liked this move. White wants to play Bc4 and e5 when he will be comfortable but in most move orders a knight ends up on b6 to ruin white's plans. This move thrown in fixes that problem. 18. ... Qb4 19. e5 c4 20. Be4 Qc5 21. Qxc5 Nxc5 22. Bxc6 Rxc6 23. Rfd1 At the time this seemed the most principled reply. Develop the pieces. 23. ... e6?? Ne6 was the only move that didn't lose on the spot. Once again my opponent and I labor under the same errors. I thought e6 was forced. 24. Rd4 f6 25. exf6 Bxf6 26. Rxc4 Rd8 27. Rd1 Rxd1+ 28. Nxd1 Kf7 29. b4 Na4 30. Rxc6 bxc6 31. Kf2? This move is still completely winning but the immediate c4! stops all the counterplay. 31. ...  c5 32. Nc1 a humble retreat to reorganize the piece. komodo sees that b5! is a winning sacrifice but I couldn't see that far. It seems obvious now that you offer a piece sac on c3 and black either "counter-sacrifices" by declining white's and losing a piece or the a-pawn marches to queening unimpeded. Fascinating. 32. ... cxb4 33. Nd3 Be7 34. Ke3 Nc3 35. Nxc3 bxc3 36. Kd4 Bd8 37. Nc5 Bxa5 38. Nxa6 Kf6 39. g4 h5 40. h3 hxg4 41. hxg4 g5 42. Ke4 gxf4 43. Kxf4 Bd8 44. Nc5 Bc7+ 45. Ke4 Bd6 46. Nd3 Kg5 47. Ne5 The last ten moves are so have been played with black having second on his clock and playing with the time delay to stay alive. The position is a draw as my win has slipped through my fingers but ... 47. ... Bxe5?!? Black takes the trade and that runs into a lost king and pawn. 48. Kxe5 Kxg4 49. Kxe6 Kf4 1-0 I don't remember the exact moves from here but it is completely winning for white.