Sunday, July 08, 2007

Success Continues!

Yes, that's an image of me taking on the Dragon! Turning the tables on my previous post, I got the chance on Saturday to show that I am no wimp when it comes to wrestling the firebreather! More on that in a bit though.
Saturday was the BCC Quads, and my unbeaten streak continues: 2 wins and 1 draw. Since coming back to the game after my 1/2 year break, I have won 5 and drawn 3! And... I still haven't played anyone higher rated than I am, but I think it's really important to be able to show that you are what your rating says by continually asserting it against the lower rateds, and I have picked up enough points to be over 1900 for the first time ever.
With black in the first game, I won a fairly straightforward pawn-grabbing operation:

16... Nxa3
17.bxa3 Qxc3
And from there it's just a question of patience because white really wasn't coordinated enough to launch much of an attack. Some time aqo, I played the same combination in another game, but in that one it was a good deal more stressful:

Here, the advanced f-pawn and the reasonable attacking coordination that white has mean that after the combination, black's dislocated queen is actually the impetus for some violence from white, and the game continued:
15... Nxa3
16.bxa3 Qxc3
17.Bb2 Qc7
18.e5 Bxf3
19.Qxf3 Nd7
And I was in some trouble, though I eventually won that game too, but only after some adventures.
In my second game, I had white against the Sveshnikov, and got a very reasonable position out of the opening, a position that I have actually essentially had before, but I have always gone wrong with it:

I think I have finally learned, and hopefully will remember, that I must play f4 here. I cannot allow black to have that advance at the expense of my poor prelate. In this game, I played:
15.0-0 f4
16.Bb6 f3
And was in scalding hot water. I found a reasonable way to hold on:
17.gxf3 Bg5
18.Kh1 Qh3?!
I think that Bf4 had to be better.
And I can breath a big sigh of relief, though I am still in some trouble, if not a little worse. But I survived to draw. Anyhow, now I have a better feel for the position, and I'm not going to let it slide like that again.
Finally, for the last game of the day, I had white against an accelerated dragon - a slimy half-formed version of its big brother to be sure - so no Yugoslav violence, but I have other tricks up my sleeve for the Accelerated beast, and I gave the game both barrels, so to speak:

Here we are after black's move 14, Ne8-c7. White is playing loose and furious without much recourse if the attack doesn't work.
15. h4 b4
16. Na4
I had looked at other options, but it seemed best to me to cut out all of the nonsense by just using my knight as a shield on the queenside.
16... Nb5
17 fxg6 hxg6
Black can't take back fxg6 because of the queen check.
18 h5 Ne5
19 hxg6 Nxg6
20 Bc4
This was my key idea, bringing about pinning threats, but Fritz doesn't really agree that it's best. The silicon brain wants me to take, Qxb4 - doesn't Fritz have any aesthetic at all??!
20... Be5
21 Qe2 Kg7

My opponent played this cooly, evidently confident that it would turn the tables on my attack. Once the rook comes to h8, there's no longer any major mating threat down the h-file, so I had to act fast.
22 Rh7+
Moves like this are what chess is all about as far as I am concerned! I live for these moves! I just hardly ever get to play them...
22... Kxh7
23 Qh5+ Kg7
24 Qh6+ Kg8
25 Qxg6+ Bg7
This is the only reasonable defence, but I just castle queenside to swing over the second rook.
26 0-0-0 d5
Yeah, shucks. I hadn't really gotten this far in my original analysis - not calculating quite precisely enough.

27 Qh5 dxc4
Here, my opponent offered a draw, content with the notion that the two rooks for the queen would about level it, but I had no intention of putting down my sword.
28 Rh1 Re8?
Much more irritating for the attack is 28...f5. Then if I play 29.g6 to suffocate the king, black plays 29...Rf6, slipping away. Whereas 29.Qh7+ allows 29...Kf7. I think that best after 28... f5 probably is 29.g6 Rf6 30.Qh7+ Kf8 31.Bh6 where black has to let go of the bishop because of the threat of Qh8#. In that case, I'd have the piece for the rook and still have a fair amount of play, with multiple pawns to round up and many threats - I think I'd still be winning even, according to my analysis, but only by a little.
29 Qh7+ Kf8
30 g6 f6
31 Bh6

From here, it's all over.
Whew! Definitely something to write home about.


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