Wednesday, January 2, 2008

North American Open: Rounds Six and Seven: I Am a Proud, Lucky Champion and I Love Chess Again

In round six I'm paired with the talented Christian Tanaka, who has the best board manners of any kid I've ever played. He's beating me in a Bogo Indian, the opening in which I am the luckiest, when we both hit time pressure.

Here I play the desperate but optimistic 40... Bh3+, hoping of course for 41. Kxh3 Nf4+ 42. gxf4 Qg4#. He answers 41. Kh1, and I played 41.... Qe3. Now 42. Qe2 crushes all my dreams, since 42... Qxc5 loses to 43. Ra8+ Kh7/f7 44. Qxh5 and I'm getting mated. After the game Alex suggested 41... Bg4 was a better chance to swindle, which is true but of course it's losing also. Christian played 42. b7?? when 42... Nf2 forces 43. Qxf2, since 43. Kg1 Nd1 44. Kh1 Qe1 is mate. After 43... Qxf2 44. b8=Q Kh7, he had to resign, since there's no defence against 45. Qg2.

Finally, two interesting moments from my last round with Robert Akopian.

I spent a lot of time here trying to make
20.Ng5 work. The idea is that if 20...fxg5 I play 21.Rxf7 Kxf7 (21...Rxe2 22.Rxg7+ Kxg7 23.Qxe2-- I'm attacking his knight and threatening Ne6.) 22.Bc4+ Nd5 23. Rxe3, when his king is weak, my pieces are good, his pawns are doubled, and he has some weak squares, like e6. Very unfortunately, the move is refuted by 20... Bd5, when 21.Nge4 loses to 21.... b6, 21.Nge6 to 21...Rxe6; and 21.Qd2 to 21...Re5, when I can't play 22. dxe5 because 22...Bxg2 wins my queen. Sad, no? But good job me for seeing this!

I play 20. Nd2; the game progresses; things go steadily downhill for me until we reach this position

where he plays the overly fancy 32...Nd1. I respond 33.Nd3 Bg3 34.Qe4 Look at my queen! So centralized! You know what I thought here? I couldn't see how he was going to stop me winning his knight with Qe2, but it turns out that in addition to the move in the game he has 34... Qc4, when 35.Qe2 loses to 35... Nf2. Good thing that didn't happen. Also 34... Nf2 is ok, of course. 34...Qa2. And now look at my nice drawing trick: 35.Qe8+ Kg7 36.Qe7+ Kg8 37.Qe8+ ½–½. I agree that's not a trick, it's just a repetition, but the idea is that 36.. Kh6 loses to 37. Nf4 Bxf4 38. g4#, and 36.... Qf7 lets me win his knight for some pawns after 37. Qe2 Qb3 38. Nc1.

I finished with 2.5/7, which is moderately lame, but, ok, I knew I was going to be rusty, and somehow I gained six points anyway. Next tournament: Liberty Bell in Philadephia in 3 weeks, where I will endeavor to move quickly and achieve positions with fixed pawn structures.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on winning USCL blogger of the year!