Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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

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

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


Sunday, August 20, 2017

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

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

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

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

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

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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

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

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

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

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

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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

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

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

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

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

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

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



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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

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

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

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

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