Friday, September 07, 2007

Another Loss

So, my streak is now up to 13 games without a win: 8 losses, 5 draws, and the funny thing is, I think my play during this span has gotten steadily stronger. Here is a game from my latest tournament.

BCC Wednesday Early Bird Rapid Quads
Joshua Haunstrup (1889)
Chris Chase (2331)
September 5, 2007

1.e4 g6
2.d4 Bg7
3.Nc3 d6
4.Be3 a6
5.Qd2 b5
6.Bd3 Bb7
7.a4 b4
8.Nce2 a5
9.Ng3 c5
10.Nf3 Nd7
11.Bb5Here, I think that white is very comfortable and probably reasonably better. My plan was to target the weakened white squares, and my instinct in the position was that the combination of a5 and c5 was rather too weak on the queenside. I had recently seen Ivanov-Ibragimov at the Continental, which contested a similar structure out of the same opening, and I had a sense of the patterns here. Evidently, Master Chase was disturbed by the prospects of the pin, so he sidestepped, making his position more flexible, but quite awkward. He told me afterward that he was hopeful that I would go after the c-pawn and miss the horribleness of Bxb2 followed by the skewer, Bc3.
12.c3 h5
13.h4 Nh6
14.Bxd7 Qxd7
15.dxc5 bxc3
16.bxc3 Rc8
17.Bd4!This was the only move to maintain my advantage, avoiding nastiness in the combinations between the Bg7 and c-file rook, but finding it, I think that the white position continues to be robust and comfortably superior.
18.cxd6 Qxd6
19.0-0 Ng4
20.Qb2 Ba8
21.Rab1?!I'm starting to drift here. Definitely better was 21.Qb5, and I continue to pressure him. It's tough to be so accurate under the grind of a G/30 time control.
22.Qb5 Bf4
Recognizing that the position has now deteriorated badly, I opted to bag a pawn.
24.fxg3 Bxe4
25.Rbd1? Qxg3
26.Bf2 Nxf2
27.Rxf2 Bxf3
28.Rxf3 Qxh4So, I've survived the worst of Chase's attack, but now it was serious crunch time on the clock, so I determined to push for an exchange of queens, hoping to accent the time loss he will have to go through to activate his k-rook while connecting my queenside pawns.
29.Qb4 Rc4?
30.Rxf6+!29...Rc4 was a terrible blunder, and now white should be winning. Either ...Qxb4 or Qg5 would have been far superior. Now, anything but ...Qxf6 and black gets mated.
31.Qxc4 Kg7
32.a5?I missed the key move, 32.Rf1 which would have secured the advantage and cut out any counterplay nonsense. Now, tormented by time trouble, I proceeded to misplay the position badly.
33.a6 Qe3+
34.Kh1 Ra8
35.Ra1 Kh6
36.Qc6 Rf8
I missed the threat entirely.
And now I felt crushed, and... missed that I am still winning easily by force!In the two minutes or so that I had to think, all I could come up with to hold was Qf3, which lost quickly after 38... Rf4+ 39.Qh3 Rxh3+ 40.gxh3 and now the check on the white squares secures a8 for the queen. Instead, 38.Qc7 would have won, enabling me to block the Rh4+ with Qh2, following up with the push a8Q with the comfortable resulting advantage of rook for two pawns.

So... I lost... again.


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