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. 

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