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.


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. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

2017 Kentucky Open Round 2 Mike Thomas, 1977 - Anton Taylor, 2030 Richter-Veresov System (A45)

2017 Kentucky Open Round 2 
Mike Thomas, 1977 - Anton Taylor, 2030 
Richter-Veresov System (A45)

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 I took a moment here. I have never played a tournament game against the Veresov. I have seen it many times in blitz games over the internet but I never bothered to study any of the openings's variations. As it turns out I follow a sideline but it works out. The only problem with my approach was that time was spent on the earlier moves where it might have been saved had I done my homework. 2. ... d5 3. Bg5 Nbd7 4. Qd3 c6 5. Nf3 h6 6. Bxf6 Nxf6 7. e4 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nxe4 9. Qxe4 Qa5+ 10. c3 Bf5 There are a couple of master games in this position but in both of those white plays Qe5 and the games eventually dwindle into a draw. 11. Qf4 e6 12. Bc4 g5 Rd8 followed by Bd6 gives black a comfortable lead in development. The text was played in order to make kingside castling somewhat distasteful for white. However, it does not turn out so useful. The weakness of the black king leads to a drawn ending where there might otherwise have been a win. 13. Qe3 Bd6 14. a4 b5 15. Bb3 O-O 16. Ne5 Qc7? this is actually a mistake. b4 was better fixing the a-pawn on an awkward square and restricting white's counterattack options. 17. h4 g4 18. axb5 cxb5 19. O-O a5 20. Bd1 Bxe5 21. dxe5 Rfd8 22. Qxh6? It would be better to solidify the e-pawn and then force black to defend his h-pawn. Qxe5 23. Qg5+ Qg7 24. Qf4 a4 As is often the case in these types of positional problems I move the "wrong pawn". But truthfully the symmetry is suggestive of a draw. 25. Re1 Rd5? Useless. It is better to go ahead and play a3 to liquidate the pawn islands. The current state of things will result in white building up an attack on both the b and g pawns. 26. Be2 Rad8 27. Red1 Qf6? At a depth of 20 or so Komodo claims that the only move that isn't losing here is Kh7. 28. g3 Rxd1+ 29. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 30. Bxd1 a3 31. bxa3 Qxc3 32. Bxg4 Bd3? At the time I thought this was a saving move. My opponent apparently suffered under the same delusion. The correct white reply is 33.Bh5! when all black replies fail and he is lost. 33. Qg5+ Kh8 34. Qh6+ Kg8 35. Qg5+ 1/2-1/2 and we agree to a draw.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2017 Kentucky Open Round 1 Anton Taylor, 2030 - Kevin French, 1800 Sicilian Moscow (B52)

2017 Kentucky Open Round 1 
Anton Taylor, 2030 - Kevin French, 1800 
Sicilian Moscow (B52)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. a4 Nf6 4. ... a6 is probably the most accurate response here. 5. Nc3 e5 6. d3 Be7 7. Bg5 This is the most logical move that develops the last minor piece. However, the position holds no real secrets. It is a pretty dead drawn position. Meaning that the only positive white can claim is that his development is slightly more useful but not enough to win. 7. ... O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Nd5 Rc8 I expected Bg4 but I saw that as not much of a threat. This move seems like much the same as the rest of black's development. good for equality and not much else. 11. h4 I decide to stir things up and I think this is the most interesting way to do that if not particularly principled. 11. ... Be7 12. g3 Be6 Kh8 preparing f5 is probably the best way to go. the f5 break has to be where black's advnatge lies. 13. Bc4 Nd4 14. Nxd4 cxd4 15. f3 f5 16. O-O Qd7? good alternatives to this move are f4 and Rc5. Play on the two bishop files are similar plans that give black a slight edge. 17. exf5 Rxf5 18. f4 Rcf8 19. g4 R5f7 20. f5 Bxd5 21. Bxd5 Bxh4 22. g5?? In my opinion this is the decisive error. When I had calculated this variation on move 17 I missed that 24. Bxg5 can be interjected. Had I re-evaluated g5 properly when it appeared on the board I would have seen the problem. however, I trusted the earlier calculation as is my worst current habit and failed to convert a nice position. 22. ... Kh8 23. Be6?? This is a worse sin. However my previous note applies to this move as I had looked at it on move 17 and failed to recheck here. Black's reply is technically winning. 23. ... Qe7 24. Bxf7 Bxg5 25. Qh2 Qxf7 26. Rae1 Qd5 27. Re4 Rf6 28. Qh5 Be3+ 29. Kg2 Qf7?? throwing away the win. Qc6 guarding the back rank and simultaneously threatening Qxc2+ is simple and strong. 30. Qxf7 Rxf7 31. c4 Bf4 32. Rfxf4! exf4 33. Rxf4?? Terrible. Without even thinking about it I miss a mate in 2 on the back rank! For all of black's sins White's are far worse in this game. That is how an Expert can draw a low class A player ...  commit worse sins. 33. ... Kg8 34. Kg3 Kf8 35. Kg4 Ke7 36. Rxd4 g6 37. fxg6 hxg6 38. Kg5 Rf2 39. b4 Rg2+ 40. Rg4 Rb2 41. c5 Ra2 42. cxd6+ Kxd6 43. b5 Ra3 44. Rd4+ Kc5 45. Rc4+ Kd5 46. Kxg6 Rxd3 47. Rc7 Ra3 48. Kf7 Rxa4 49. Rxb7 Kc5 50. Ke7 Ra5 1/2-1/2

Friday, May 26, 2017

2017 3 Tables - May Round 3 Michael Thomas, 1998 - Anton Taylor, 2011 English: Anglo-Indian (A15)

2017 3 Tables - May Round 3
Michael Thomas, 1998 - Anton Taylor, 2011
English: Anglo-Indian (A15)

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e6 Oftentimes Catalan players will accept this transposition and I get into familiar territory as black. My opponent in this game (a long-time friend of mine) prefers to keep things tense and undecided. 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 Bd6 Be7 is more common and probably just a bit better because the queen supports the d-pawn advance. the bishop on d6 interferes with the queen's file. 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 c5 7. e3 There are very few games in the database in this position to give a fair assessment but after my next move I give a plus to black. White has delayed his central push in favor of activity on the wings. These ideas are often countered by action in the center. 7. ... d4!? 8. exd4 cxd4 9. Re1? Bb2 seems the more appropriate reply or maybe even Ba6. This is just an inaccuracy but not a blunder. There is game left to play here. 9. ... Nc6 10. Bb2 e5 Only now does komodo running on my home pc begin to see white's problem. He has some weaknesses but perhaps just as important he has zero attacking prospects and his only plan for the next several moves is to try and develop. 11. a3? This move comes from a fear of black getting a knight outpost on c2 but white can simply prevent this with a move he will have to play eventually (d3). Therefore, this a waste of time. Also, as it turns out in the coming ending this is a decisive mistake because it leades to a weak b-pawn. 11. ... Bg4 Bf5 instead of this move was probably better. I considered it but did not spend much time on it ... not enough time. 12. h3?? This is a blunder but I failed to capitalize on it correctly. I, however did find a technically won ending from here. 12. ... Bxf3 13. Bxf3 Qd7? komodo gives the interesting sacrifice 13. ... e4!. I have to say that I did not consider that move at all. To my eyes it just seemed to blunder a pawn but with potential variations like 13... e4 14. Bxe4 Nxe4 15. Rxe4 f5 16. Re6 Qd7 17. Re1 f4 Black looks to be mopping things up nicely. 14. Kg2? Sacrificing the pawn was necessary to leave black with only a slight edge of a rook-pawn. 14. ... Qf5?? e4 once again looms in the air as the winning idea. This move allows white to consolidate and even gives him a winning game with correct play.  15. d3 Rae8 16. Bxc6?? Almost every other move on the board wins for white or at least gives him a comfortable edge to work with. This move, however, just gives up a whole set of squares to black's forces in the bishop's absence. 16. ... bxc6 17. Qf3 Qxf3+ 18. Kxf3 Rb8 19. Nd2 Nd7 20. b4 a5 21. c5 Bxc5 22. Nc4 axb4 23. axb4?? White is already lost but the game could be saved in the time trouble of the ending if white had tried Nxe5 as I expected him to play here. The text just leads to carnage. 23. ... Bxb4 24. Re2 f6 25. Ra6 Nc5 26. Rxc6 Nxd3 0-1 Mike said "that's enough" and extended his hand. I have played Mike a few times in the last fifteen years but until this game I was on the receiving end of a massive beating. It is a landmark game for me in spite of the mistakes. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017 3 Tables - May Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2011 - Randas Burns, 1992 c3 Sicilian (B27)

2017 3 Tables - May Round 2
Anton Taylor, 2011 - Randas Burns, 1992
c3 Sicilian (B27)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c3 Bg7 4. Bc4 Nc6 I had followed this path as white mainly to take Randas out of his book knowledge. I fell pray to his intuition in his pet accelerated dragon in our previous encounter and I did not want a repeat. 5. O-O I'm content not to exchange on d4. Instead, I decide to stunt the bishop's diagonal and build a kingside attack. 5. ... d6 6. d3 e6? If Black intended d5 then he should have played e6 on his previous move. this idea now just wastes a tempo. 7. Nbd2 Nge7 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nf1 The common reorganizing of this knight in such positions is a clear path for white. I would argue that black has had no clear plan. 9. ... a6 10. h4 d5 11. exd5 exd5 12. Bb3 h6? This is a reflexive reaction to h4. It seems like such moves can only create weaknesses when they don't attack pieces to gain time. 13. Bf4 Just completing developing pieces until I can crack open the black kingside. The plan is to play Qd2 and start an attack on the black h-pawn. 13. ... Be6 14. Qd2 Kh7? An inaccuracy. I had expected Nf5. Talking with Randas after the game he did not think he could keep the knight on that square and so quickly decided to make the thematic king move.  15. h5 Qd7 This is an interesting position. White has one major weakness and set about a plan to eliminate it. The bishop on b3 needs to find greener pastures and control more squares. 16. d4 cxd4 17. cxd4 Nf5 Too little too late. 18. Ne5! Black would have an equal position if he could make something out of his central attack. This move and the plan to recapture with the d-pawn ensures that that counterplay goes nowhere. 18. ... Nxe5 19. dxe5 komodo feels that Bxe5 is superior and that may very well be true but I see no harm in the move. Perhaps it is best to compromise and call this a slight inaccuracy. 19. ... g5 20. Bh2 The only move. The tempting Bishop sacrifice on g5 doesn't work. 20. ... Rfd8 21. Bc2 Kg8 22. Qd3 It's interesting how badly komodo assesses white to be here. Perhaps this counterplay on the open file is exactly why the machines did not like dxe5? 22. ... Rac8 23. Rac1 Rc7 24. f4? This turns out in analysis to be foolishly optimist or at least premature. I felt I was winning here but with correct play white is just holding on and fending off black's counterplay in the center. 24. ... Qe7?? Rdc8 was both necessary and probabl;y winning. This is the decisive blunder. 25. g4 Qc5+ 26. Kh1 Nh4 27. f5 Qf2 28. Re2 Qf3+ 29. Qxf3 Nxf3 30. fxe6 fxe6 31. Bh7+ 1-0

In the face of being so much material down Randas throws in the towel. My foolish optimism in the attack could have cost me this game. My positional evaluation after 19. dxe5 was flawed and that complicated my life considerably. You can even see in the annotation that I start out liking the move and gradually come to the realization that it was a turning point in the game where I nearly spoiled the good idea of 18. Ne5.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 3 Tables - May Round 1 NM Davis Whaley, 2352 - Anton Taylor, 2011 Nimzo-Indian 4.e3 (E41)

2017 3 Tables - May Round 1 
NM Davis Whaley, 2352 - Anton Taylor, 2011 
Nimzo-Indian 4.e3 (E41)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Ne2 d6 This is a bit of a sideline. I honestly could not remember the mainline (cxd4) or how I was supposed to play there. d6 is a nice idea giving white a bit of space to close the center and get in e5. I will probably play this line again but I will be better prepared the next time. 7. O-O e5 The silicon monsters absolutely hate this move but it is the only clear idea after d6. My chess sense tells me that it is hard for white to prove a direct winning method here. However, at a ply greater than 20 komodo gives +- 0.78. 8. d5 Ne7 9. f4 exf4 I hated to play this move but I saw no reasonable alternative. It is rough equality with white being a bit better. The main problem practically is that the Bishop on c8 has very few squares and zero attakingt prospects. 10. exf4 Bg4 11. Qc2 Ng6 12. Ng3 O-O 13. f5 Ne5 14. h3 Nh5 15. Nge4 Bxh3 16. gxh3 Qh4 17. Kg2 f6 18. Bd2 Bxc3 19. Qxc3 Rae8 20. Rae1 g5 21. fxg6 Nxg6 22. Bc2 Nhf4+ 23. Bxf4 Nxf4+ 24. Kh2 Kh8 25. Qg3 Qxg3+ 26. Kxg3 Nh5+ 27. Kh4 Re5 28. Nxd6 Rg5 29. Rxf6 1-0
 The remainder of the game is interesting with a lot of alternatives and a lot of potential pitfalls for white (even though he is a piece up at the cost of a pawn). However, it seems more efficient for time for me to go back and look at the opening again and draw some positional conclusions before the tactics came into play. Once again I have trouble in a Nimzo based opening line (I recall a game from last month where I played against Michael Johnson and lost right out of the opening as happened here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 3 Tables - April Round 3 Anton Taylor, 2017 - FM Matt Hassen, 2288 Pirc (B07)

2017 3 Tables - April Round 3 
Anton Taylor, 2017 - FM Matt Hassen, 2288 
Pirc (B07)

1. e4 d6 I never know what to expect from Matt. 2. d4 e5 3. dxe5 dxe5 4. Qxd8+ Kxd8 5. Bc4 Be6 6. Bxe6 fxe6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. Bg5+ This is the first deviation from mainline theory. There are maybe a dozen games on chessbase and the results vary meaning that it is probably just as equal "with chances" for both players. 8. ... Nf6 9. Nbd2 Nd7 10. O-O-O b5!? Ke7 is the database recommended move here but there is nothing wrong with the text exactly. It just looks bizarre. 11. c4 I felt as though this was the most direct way to challenge the b-pawn and since black can't capture without weakening his a-pawn and c-pawn it seems awkward for him. There is no path to victory in this complication and the more conservative moves like c3 or h3 just passing the turn over to black work just as well. 11. ... a6 12. Kc2? Rhe1!? seems to be a better path to follow. It isn't groundbreaking but it can be underestimated. the plan is something like Rhe1-e3-b3 or d3 depending and white has a wrokable edge. Moving the king closer to the action for the endgame isn't bad though. 12. ... Ke7 13. a3? This is just a useless move. Komodo recommends either h3 or Rhg1 as interesting moves. 13. ... c5 14. h3? Now Nb3 is possible which I missed and is probably winning. It certainly offers a decent edge for white. I missed that 14. Nb3 bxc5? 15. Na5 Nb6? 16. Nc6+! Had I seen that result of bxc5 I would have played Nb3 here. 14. ... Rhf8 15. Rhe1? Be3 and Nb3 both look appealing for white in this position as Komodo points out. However, that makes me curious. Does this mean then that Bg5+ was not particularly useful even if it forced black to make a certain kind of development (which he may have played anyway)? It is worth consideration, thought, and experimentation. The text is only good enough for equality now. It should have been played much sooner. 16. ... Nb6 16. cxb5? b3 was far better but the text still isn't losing. 16. ... axb5 17. Nh2 h6 18. Bxf6+? This is the concession that starts black on a downward spiral. Bh4 holding onto the bishop and planning to attack e5 is the best way to hold everything together. Truthfully, I had always planned to make the trade and never really considered anything else. Mistakes were made. 18. ... gxf6 19. Re3 c4 Matt told me afterwards that after he freed the bishop to go to c5 he felt as though he was winning. He is absolutely correct. White is completely lost here. But perhaps the real mistake then goes all the way back to white's move 16 ... unblocking the bishop by trading pawns instead of the solid b3. 20. Rg3 Rg8 21. Nb1 Bc5 22. Rd2 b4 I expected Rxg3 here because it is hard for white to hold onto his isolated e-pawn and I assumed it would be lost. Black chooses and more aggressive looking but less precise method (but perhaps a more practical and easily calculated line). 23. axb4 Bxb4 24. Re2 h5 25. Nf1 h4 26. Rxg8 Rxg8 27. f3 Rd8 28. Ne3 Kf7 29. Nd2 Rc8 30. Nb1 Going back where the knight came from can't be productive. However, I felt there was nothing better and Komodo agrees. 30. ... Kg6 31. Ng4 Kg5 32. Nc3 Rd8 33. Na2 Be7 Even up to this point komodo's evaluation is rough equality. I felt the king march was winning for black and it is clear that Matt did as well but it just doesn't seem to be enough to win. 34. b3?? Here is the losing howler. There are numerous winning paths once the position inevitably opens up. 34. ... Kf4 35. bxc4 Nxc4 36. Nc3 f5 37. exf5 exf5 38. Nf2 Ne3+ 39. Kb3 Bc5 40. Na4 Ba7 41. Kc3 Nxg2 42. Nd3+ Kxf3 43. Ra2 Bd4+ 44. Kc4 Ne3+ 45. Kb5 e4 46. Nf2 Nd5 47. Nd1 e3 48. Nxe3 Kxe3 49. Nc5 Nc3+ 0-1 There is some exceptionally poor technique in the last several moves but the game is lost regardless. Move 34 is the real loser for white. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 3 Tables - April Round 2 Michael Johnson, 1983 - Anton Taylor, 2017 Neo-Indian (E10)

2017 3 Tables - April Round 2 
Michael Johnson, 1983 - Anton Taylor, 2017 
Neo-Indian (E10)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 This move is my attempt to create variety in the game. Normally I play the Queen's Indian (b6) and go from there but I have been trying to vary the repertoire. Both moves are seen in top master games. 4. Nc3 Bb4 This is my attempt to transpose into a Nimzo-Indian. The simple and conservative Be7 seems better. 5. Bg5 c6 White is considered better after this move and it is very strange to me that after the energetic Bb5 I elect to play the timid c6. A counterproductive warring within I suppose. 6. Bxf6 gxf6 This move is clearly inferior but I'm interested in creating an imbalance. Perhaps this is once again the warring within myself to play aggressive or to play conservative. From this point on aggressive has to win or there is no cohesion and black loses quickly. 7. e3 Qa5 8. Qc2 Nd7 9. cxd5 Qxd5 Positional suicide as it turns out. there isn't much of a chance in cxd but that is the recommended move. Black is just lost. He has to play aggressively and complicate to have any hope here. 10. Be2 e5 More errors in the center. This move "threatens" to open the center to black's own king. I can't even justify any of this. I am at the mercy of posterity on this one. 11. O-O Bxc3 12. e4 Qe6 13. bxc3 Nf8 This is more ambitious aggression in a completely lost position. 14. Rfd1 Rg8 15. d5 Qh3 16. Ne1 Bd7 17. Kh1 Qh6 The wrong square but any square still leads to black losing. His "attack" is foolish optimism and leads nowhere as the white king is sufficiently defended. 18. Rab1 b6 19. dxc6 Bxc6 20. Rd6 Bd7 21. Qd3 Ne6 22. Qd5 Rd8 23. Rxd7 Rxd7 24. Bb5 Nc5 25. Rd1 Qf4 26. Bxd7+ Kf8 27. f3 Nxd7 28. Qxd7 Qe3 29. Qd2 Qc5 30. Qd6+ Qxd6 31. Rxd6 Ke7 32. Rd3 Rc8 33. Kg1 Rc4 34. Nc2 a6 35. Kf2 b5 36. Ke3 a5 37. a3 Rc5 38. Ke2 a4 39. Ne3 1-0

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 3 Tables - April Round 1 Anton Taylor, 2017 - Maxwell Boakye, 2028 Modern Defense (B06)

2017 3 Tables - April Round 1 
Anton Taylor, 2017 - Maxwell Boakye, 2028 
Modern Defense (B06)

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 a6 5. Be2 a4 may be more accurate but even at the top level the conservative Be2 seems to have been played frequently. 5. ... b5 6. a4 b4 7. Nd5 a5 8. c4 bxc3 e.p. seems to be the better move than what black chooses in this position. 8. ... Bb7 9. Qd3? Qc2 makes more sense playing to control the c-file (or essentially forcing c5, etc.) 9. ... Nd7 10. O-O c6? e6 makes more sense leaving the bishop's diagonal more open. 11. Ne3 c5 12. d5 Ngf6 13. Nd2 Ne5 Ironically, this would not be even a threat had white played Qc2 on move 9. 14. Qc2 h5 15. h3? Here is, I think, the point where White begins to go wrong. This move is completely pointless. g4 is not a proper outpost for the black knights. The immediate f4 gives white an edge to work with. 15. ... Qc7 16. b3 I take the opportunity to develop my bishop and it does seem to get me into the game. 16. ... O-O-O 17. Bb2 Kb8 18. f4 Ned7 19. Nf3 e5 I had not considered this move over the pastseveral moves as I analyzed. It seemed good for white. However, I could not work out the details of refuting it at the board. 20. fxe5 I eliminated dxe6 e.p. far too quickly. I missed that after the forcing move (Bxe4) that black's g-pawn could become a target. Had I seen that I would have followed that line of thought. 20. ... Nxe5 21. Nxe5 dxe5 22. Rf2? Komodo recommends Bf3 or Nd1. Those moves are difficult for me to see how they lead to progress. As I go through the line Bf3 is probably winning by a tiny edge. The move I chose is terrible because it just wastes time. I missed the knight maneuver to d6 that holds everything together. 22. ... Ne8 23. Raf1 Nd6 24. Bd3 Bc8 25. Qe2 Rdf8 26. Nc2 Qe1! is the komodo recommended choice. In retrospect I have to agree. The threat of sacrificing to open lines on the kingside, playing Qa1 hitting the e-pawn, and hitting the weak c5 pawn after reorganizing the pieces is enough to shred black's defenses. 26. ... Re8 27. Ne1 Rhf8 28. Bb1 Kb7 29. Qe3 f6 I felt very strong here and I analyzed Nd3 but I determined itled to almost bothing. Komodo confirms that it is actually the best move. I couldn't see it. 30. Qg3 g5 31. h4?? This maneiver forces black to close things up and the result is likely a draw in that case. 31. ... g4 32. Qe3 Bd7 33. Nd3 Kb6 34. Bc1 Rc8 35. Qe1 Qd8 36. Bd2 Qe8 37. Qe3 So, after some distraction I hit on the right plan (basically the same idea as Nd3 on move29. There is no defense for black. I thought Nb7 held everything together but white has a free hand in the center in that case. We analyzed this position after the game and neither of us saw the hopelessness of black here. 37. ... Bxa4?? 38. Nxc5! 38. ... Rxc5?? 39.Qxc5! kxc5?? 40. Be3# 38. ... Nxc4 39. Nxa4+ Kc7 40. Rc1 Kd6 41. bxc4 Qxa4 42. Qb6+ Kd7 43. c5 b3 44. Bxa5 Rb8 1-0 45.Qe6# is to follow so black resigns.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

2017 CC Spring Open Round 4 Anton Taylor, 2033 - CM Josh Suich, 2062 Scandinavian, Portuguese Variation (B01)

2017 CC Spring Open Round 4 
Anton Taylor, 2033 - CM Josh Suich, 2062 
Scandinavian, Portuguese Variation (B01)

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. d4 Bg4 4. f3 Bf5 5. g4 Bg6 6. c4 e6 7. dxe6 Nc6 8. exf7+ As it turns out this is an error. Based on my research after this game I have abandoned the f3-g4 line ... but it is playable if you like sharp firework fights like this. 8. ... Kxf7 9. Be3? There is no good alternative but this is probably one of the worst development moves. 9. ... Bb4+ 10. Nc3 Re8 11. Kf2 Qe7 12. Qd2 Nxg4+ 13. fxg4 Qh4+ 14. Ke2 Rxe3+ 15. Qxe3 Re8 16. Nf3 Qxg4 17. Rg1 Nxd4+?? RxQ+ is winning for black. This needless complication makes black's life harder. 18. Kf2 Qf5?? Another mistake. White has slowly gained ground through inaccuracies but after this move white is just winning. Failing to convert this game though is not such a big deal as it is such fireworks that calculating becomes prohibitive at my current level. This kind of game is how you grow. 19. Qxd4?? It's my turn to play a bad move. 19. Qd3 Bc5 20. Qxf5+ Bxf5 21. Ng5+ Kg8 22. Na4 and white comes out of the fireworks a rook up. 19. ... Bc5 20. Rd1 Bxd4+ 21. Rxd4 Bh5 22. Bg2? Rg3 is the path to keeping pieces on the board and take advntage of the exposed queen. Bg2 is considered by Komodo to be a draw. 22. ... Bxf3 23. Bxf3 Qc2+ 24. Ne2 Qxb2 25. Rd7+ Kf8 26. Rgxg7 Qxg7 27. Rxg7 Kxg7 28. Bxb7 Rb8 29. Bd5 Kf6 30. Nd4 Rb2+ 31. Kg3?? The problem with this choice of endgame on my part is that it requires a high degree of accuracy and According to Komodo the only way to really keep a draw is Ke3 and that is so counter-intuitive. I honestly would have to sit and calculate for a very long time in this one position to even scratch the surface on that calculation. Amazing. 31. ... Rxa2 32. Nb5 c5 33. Nc7 Ke5 34. Ne6 Kd6 35. Ng5 a5 36. Ne4+ Ke5 37. Nxc5 a4 38. Nd3+ Kd4 39. Nb4 Rb2 40. Nc6+ Kc5 41. Ne5 a3 42. Nd3+ Kd4 43. Nxb2 axb2 44. Kf4 b1=Q 0-1

Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 CC Spring Open Round 3 Farnood Farmand, 1708 - Anton Taylor, 2033 Benko Opening (A00)

2017 CC Spring Open Round 3 
Farnood Farmand, 1708 - Anton Taylor, 2033 
Benko Opening (Nimzo-Larsen) (A00)

1. g3 d5 2. Bg2 Nf6 3. d4 c5 4. e3 This move is considered just weakening. Better is Nf3. 4. ... Nc6 5. Ne2 e6 Bg4 is far more ambitious. This move is born from my fear to move the bishop. I vote instead for a French-like structure. 6. O-O Be7 7. b3 b6 8. Bb2 O-O Every result seems possible in this position. 9. Nd2 Since white delays c4 I was confident in my victory. also, the knight are not optimally placed both on the second rank. 9. ... Bb7 10. a3 Rc8 11. c4 cxd4 12. exd4 Na5 13. Rc1 Qd7 14. cxd5 Bxd5 15. b4 Nb7? In general moving backwards is the wrong method. Nc4 was the better "forward" movement of the knight. This is not losing but i'll call it an inaccuracy. 16. Nf4 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Nd5?? This makes the win a lot harder. 17... Rxc1! 18. Qxc1 Rc8 19. Qd1 Nd6 20. Qb3 Qc6+ 21. Nf3 Qc2 22. Qxc2 Rxc2 is a winning line. 18. Nxd5 Qxd5+ 19. Qf3 Nd6 20. Qxd5 exd5 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Rc1 Rxc1 23. Bxc1 Nc4 24. Kf1 Bf6 25. Nf3 Kf8 26. Ke2 Ke7 27. Kd3 Ke6 28. Nd2 Nxd2? Once again I make a poor exchange. b5 is obviously just better. 29. Bxd2 b5 30. f3 h5 31. g4 g6 32. h3 Be7 33. Bf4 Bd6 34. Bxd6 Kxd6 35. Ke3 Ke6 36. Kf4 Kf6 Well, the same color bishop ending that was only slightly in my favor has dwindled down into a drawn ending ... 37. g5+?? until this blunder that gives me the full point. 37. ... Ke6 38. h4 f6 39. Kg3 fxg5 40. hxg5 Kf5 41. f4 h4+ 0-1 computers are always quite interesting in their evaluations. Here for example there are two main lines that both end in forced mate in 23 moves. Can you see it? Yeah, me either. haha

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 CC Spring Open Round 2 Anton Taylor, 2033 - John Stoughton, 1629 French Classical (C13)

2017 CC Spring Open Round 2 
Anton Taylor, 2033 - John Stoughton, 1629 
French Classical (C13)

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. Qg4 Every move up until this one has been the mainline classical. Qg4 is one of those moves that I'd call interesting but not the right move. I could not remember the correct move at the time this game was played but I now know that the most common and frequently tested line starts with f4 instead. 7. ... O-O 8. Bd3 f5 9. Qg3 exf6 e.p. is the move that several engines seem to agree on but it is only good for equality. Qg3 might be over-ambitious but here it is as played. 9. ... c5 All of the handful of games played in this line in the database are black victories and there are zero master games. I'd say whiteis lost but it is more a matter of having a lack of winning prospects than losing. 10. Nf3 Nc6 11. Nb5?? A tactical blunder which I clearly see is a problem now, even without the computer showing me c4 followed by Qb4+. The games on the day of this event seem to be full of these kinds of mistakes. It is a wakeup call to action and retraining my internal tactical engine. 11. ... cxd4 12. Nbxd4? an inaccuracy (or really a blunder) ... 0-0 instead gets rid of the queen check and the pawn isn't going anywhere. 12. ... Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Qb4+ 14. c3 Qxb2 15. O-O Nc5 16. Rfc1 Nxd3 Black would be winning if he had applied more pressure to the squares the knight is headed for with moves like Bd7. Instead he trades away his better minor piece and helps me (the defender). 17. Qxd3 Qb6 18. c4 I considered Nb5-d6 but I thought the open c-file and a weak second rank of my opponent would lead to something better for me. That did not materialize. 18. ... dxc4 19. Qxc4 Rd8 20. Nf3?? Again I play passively and miss a killer tactic ... Nxf5! is clearly winning. I did not even consider it. Obviously I need to rework my tactical training process. 20. ... Rd5 21. Ng5?? not only is this a wasted move but realistically there is a real chance for white to play for a win here by playing Rd1 taking advantage of his lead in development. Yet another chance to win in this game thrown away. 21. ... h6 22. Rab1 Qd4 23. Nf3? Here I failed to see a pin. After 23. Qxc8+! Rxc8 24.Rxc8+ Rd8 Nxe6! and Qd1+? is met by Rxd1!. In my head that line lost for white because the rook could recapture (but in reality it is pinned). 23. ... Qxc4 24. Rxc4 Bd7 25. a4 Bc6 26. Kf1 Rad8 27. Ke2 Ra5 28. g4 fxg4 29. Rxg4 Rxa4 30. Rxa4 Bxa4 31. Rxb7 a6 32. Ke3 Bb5? Volunteering to put the bishop on a square white's knight can attack immediately helps white to equalize. 33. Nd4 Bc4 34. f4 Ra8 35. f5 exf5 36. Nxf5 a5 37. Kd4 Be6 38. Nxg7 Bc8 39. Rc7 a4 40. e6 Bxe6 41. Nxe6 a3 42. Rg7+ Kh8 43. Rg1 a2 44. Ra1 Kh7 45. Nc7 Ra4+ according to Komodo white is convincingly better here. however, with my time now dwindling down to nothing I was very unclear how to convert the extra material. This requires study. 46. Kc3 Kg6 47. Kb3 Ra5 48. Ne6?? Here was a slip, giving black time to get his king into action to attack my distant pawn. The simple and forced 48.Kb4 Ra7 49. Nb5 followed by likely Na3 wins the pawn and preserves the h-pawn. 48. ... Kf5 49. Nd4+ Kg4 50. Nc2 Kh3 51. Na3 Kxh2 52. Rxa2+ Kg3 53. Rc2 h5 54. Nc4 Rf5 55. Kc3 Rf3+ 56. Kd4 h4 57. Ne3 h3 58. Ke4 Rf4+ 59. Ke5 Rf2 1/2-1/2

There were so many chances to play much better in this game and I made so many blunders it is actually quite miraculous that I did not lose. It is time to give myself a tactical bootcamp so to speak. I have fallen behind in my study of that aspect of chess. To come this far and yet slip back into old lazy habits. It is a strange development to play moves like 45. Nc7 that require fairly precise calculation and takes some 15-20 ply for engines to actually think more of than other knight moves and then to fall for simple tactics like 21. Ng5?? or missing 23.Qxc8! or 20.Nxf5. Perhaps we are once more talking about gaps in my focus during the games as well.