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

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