Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Last weekend at the Marshall, I drew with two Masters and beat a young C-player (who gained a hundred rating points in the tournament). One of the draws (click here to replay) was almost one of the best games I've ever played...except that I didn't finish it off:
Gaillard, Ed (2124) -- Maltese, Adam (2324)
Marshall CC April Open (2) New York
1.c4 d6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 Ne7 6.Nge2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.d4 Bg4 9.f3 Be6 10.d5 cxd5 11.cxd5 Bd7 12.Be3 Na6
- 13 minutes here. I was thnking about things like Qb3 and Rfc1, and then I remembered: when the center is closed, you normally attack with Pawns on the wing. Thank you, Mr. Silman, I thought, and played a3.
- The nice thing about the fianchetto variation of the King's Indian (which this basically is) is that ...f5-f4 can be met with Bf2, and White has a very strong defensive position on the Kingside.
- This might be too slow. Black plans ...h5 and ...Bh6, after which Whitge can either exchange Black's bad Bishop, or play Bf2 and let c1 fall under Black's control. But meantime, White gets to continue his attack.
- Accompanied by a draw offer.
- This cost me 10 minutes, mostly considering sacrificing the b5-Pawn.
- I spent 10 of my last 12 minutes trying to work out the complications here. I would have liked to have prepared Bh3 with Ra3, but then Black gets in ...g5-g4.
- I had expected 29...Qxf3, when after 30.Qc7+ Kh8 31.Qxb8 White should emerge from the complications with a win on material.
- Having made the time-control with less than a minute to spare, I spent 48 minutes on my next move, mostly on a defence he didn't play. I don't regret it--when you think there's a forced win, you have to try to work it out.
He spent about five minutes on this, leaving him more than an hour ahead on
the clock, but 31...Bg7 was a much better defence. I thought 32.Qxb8 was
much too dangerous then--Crafty seems to disagree--, and was going to play
32.Be6. In that case, though, Black seems to hold after 32...hxg3 33.Bxg3
Qxg3+ 34.Rg2 Qe3+ 35.Kh1 Rf2! --I had considered only 35...Qf3 36.Ra3!!
As disgusted as I am at how I finished this game, I will never forget the expression on my opponent's face when I played my next move.
- White to play
- 32...Qxg4 33.Rxa7 ends the game on the spot. I expected 32...Qxe4 33.Rxa7 g5 (covering h7), when Black still has swindling chances due to my time-trouble, though 34.Qxd6 should just win.
- Thought for three minutes, and somehow couldn't see that 33.Rxa7 still kills--33....Qxf2+ 34.Kh1 and there are no more checks.
- I used two of my remaining 5 minutes on this. Of course, 35.Kxf2 is winning, but I felt that with so little time for the rest of the game, I was better off going for what looked like a winning endgame. I think that was actually a good practical decision.
- Objectively, 41.Rd7 Kf8 42.Ra3! is an easier win, but by trading Rooks I get rid of all the losing chances.
First of all, after 48.Kg2 Black is in Zugzwang: 48...Bd4--what
else?--49.Kd3 (intending Kc4-d5) 49...g2 50.Rxg2 Kxe6 51.Rg6+ Ke7 52.Kc4
and White wins easily. Even if Black somehow could pick up the b4-Pawn (as
I hallucinated he could), The position Kg5, Rg6, Ps b5, e4 vs Kd7, Bc5, Ps
b6, d6, e5 is also an obvious win--White can sac the exchange back on d6 and
kill both the d6 and e5 pawns.
Instead, I repeated moves and offered a draw. Why? Yes, I only had a minute and a half left, but I should be able to play every move within the 5-seond delay! Sheer cowardice. I am so ashamed.
This was a sin against the goddess Caissa. I'm looking for a suitable penance.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Another Goniff Weekend
I did rather better at last weekend's slow open at the Marshall: beat a young A-player when he self-destructed in a drawn endgame, and had two draws and one loss against Masters. I spoiled great positions in the loss and in one of the draws; on the other hand, the other draw was a comedy of errors beyond even my usual good fortune. Here's the games without notes, and here are a few positions from the games. Enjoy!
Questions and comments welcome, as always. Let me know if you like the hidden-text gimmick.