Edmonton International (9), 04.08.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 0–0
I'm definitely supposed to play 6...c5 here. White's going to try to go Bd3, Ne2-g3, 0–0, Rae1 and eventually e4. So I have to do something in the center. Theory goes 6...c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5!? This weird pawn capture is the mainline for white; 8.Qd3!? and 8.Qd2 are the alternatives. White's idea in taking is that black has to recapture on c5, which might take a couple moves, esp. if white defends with Be3, and in that time white can get some quite reasonable development and/or space.
7.cxd5 exd5 8.e3 Bf5 I figured his bishop wanted to come to d3, so I would take this opportunity to try to trade off his better bishop, since he has 2.
8...c5 Probably better. I think I was worried about the isolation of my d pawn, but that's pretty silly. At minimum his c pawn is also weak.
9.Bd3 Qd7 I thought I was being all precise, but it turns out my queen doesn't want to be on d7, so really it's not good. [9...Bg6]
10.Ne2 Re8 11.0–0
So I don't exactly want to take on d3 here, but I had run out of useful things to do before developing my knight. And neither a6 nor c6 seemed playable here.
See, I'm very concerned that he doesn't get a huge huge center by playing c4, exchanging my d pawn, and then playing e4 (and d5, e5, f4-f5 etc). If he had tried it last move, I thought he was too far behind in development (see variation below), but I need to be watching out in the future, I felt. If I play 11... Nc6, then 12. c4 and I can't play ...c6.
I had thought 11.c4?! was not great because of Bxd3 12.Qxd3 dxc4 13.Qxc4 and then I was having fantasies about playing 13...c5 14.Qxc5 (14.dxc5 Na6? (14...Nc6) 15.c6!) 14...Na6 15.Qc2 Rac8]
11...Bxd3 [11...Nc6 12.c4; 11...Na6 12.Bxa6
12.Qxd3 Qc6 I was very proud of myself for this, I thought I was all "clamping down on the light squares," but now I think I was wrong because the queen is blocking the c pawn and will only get stranded on c4. Perhaps 12...c5?!Later note-- Rybka likes Qc6.
13.Ng3 Nbd7 14.Ra2 A good move which I had missed. I was expecting 14.Bd2 Nb6 15.Rae1 Nc4 when white cannot play e4 because the Bd2 is loose.
14...Nb6 15.Re2 Qc4
So I change my plan and put the queen there. It's a great idea if white takes the queen. Unfortunately, less good after
Two ideas behind this move:
1. Stops the dangerous Nf5, which might happen in conjunction with the scary e4 and the terrifying Qg5.
2. The reality is that I can't stop e4 from taking place, so I need to start planning for it. I hatch a scheme!
Of course I hadn't considered this at all. Instead, I'd expected 19.f4 f5 and this was my big idea-- if white doesn't take en passant, I play Nf8-e6 and it's pleasant for me because my knight on e6 is way better than his bishop. Plus the center and kingside are effectively closed, so my queenside superiority will finally mean something.
If 20. exf6 e.p. Nxf6 and I thought a number of his pieces would be v stupid, especially his bishop and knight. I didn't quite realize how scary it was going to become, however: 20.exf6 Rxe2 (20...Nxf6 21.Rxe8+ Rxe8 22.f5 Nbd7 23.fxg6 hxg6 24.Qh6 Qd3 25.Bg5 ( better is 25.Qg5) 25...Rf8 Abby and I were looking at this position and thought black was hanging on. Rybka gives it as 0.77 ) 21.Nxe2 Nxf6 22.f5 Re8 23.Ng3 Nbd7 24.fxg6 hxg6 25.Qh6 Qd3 (D)
This is very similar to previous line but black has one extra tempo, I think.
Back to the game....
19...cxd4 20.cxd4 Re6 I'm not so sure about this move. At the time it seemed to be a very practical move, defending g6,f6, and stopping white from playing e6, but these might not be the most important demands on black's time, plus the rook on e6 is vunerable to f4-f5. Probably Nf8 followed by Nbd7, or just Rac8 makes more sense.
21.h5 Nf8 22.Re3 [22.f4 Rc8 23.f5 Rec6 24.Qf4+- White threatens to take on g6 and invade on f7 or play Nf5. ]
22...Rc8 stopping Rc3
23.Ne2 Qc2 24.Qe1 Rec6 again stopping Rc3
25...Qxg6 Hilariously, Rybka thinks this is the worst of the recaptures, and by a fair amount. In order of good to descending badness, the recaptures are: 25...fxg6!, 25...hxg6, 25...Rxg6, 25...Nxg6.
I was scared that if hxg6 white was planning something like Kf2, Rh1, so I was scared to open the h file without the seventh rank open.
26.f4 threatens Rg3
26...Kh8? 26...Qf5 Rybka's preference, stopping white from playing f5.
27.f5 Qg4 I had 16 minutes here to reach move 40 (plus 30 second increment). Not 27...Qg7 28.Rg3]
28.Rg3 Qe4 threatening Rc2
29.Qd2 Qh4 It seems like my queen is getting chased around a lot, but white has a lot of pieces that are "not well-defended," i.e. attacked as many times as they are defended-- consquently he has to watch for Rxc1 and Rc2. Bu not quite yet: 29...Rc2 30.Qh6 and I'm mated.
30.Rh3 [30.Rf4 Rxc1+]
30...Qe4 31.Nc3 Qg4 32.Rf4 Qg5 33.Qe1 Na4 34.Rfh4 oops! [34.Ne2? Rxc1; 34.Rff3! Qg4 35.Rh4 Qg7 36.Ne2+-]
35.Bd2 I thought this was a very bad move-- it allows me to trade off my knight, which would otherwise be completely unemployed after 35. Ne2. Rybka is pointing out to me now, however, that Ne2 lets me play Qb1 or Qc2 or Rc2 and things are back to being ok for me.
35...Nxc3 36.Bxc3 Rg6 37.Bb4 Qg5 [37...Rc2!]
38.Qf2 Rg7? I was in time pressure-- this move is unnecessary. 38...Qc1 (as I played a move later) is much better
39...Qc1+ 40.Kh2 Rc2 41.Qf3
41...Qf4+! Hurray! [41...Rgxg2+! is even slightly better: 42.Qxg2 Qf4+ 43.Rg3 Rxg2+ 44.Kxg2 Ng6–+]
42.Rg3 Qxf3 43.Rxf3 Rcxg2+ 44.Kh3 Ne6 45.Be7 Kg8 46.Rh4 Rg1 47.Kh2 R7g2+ 48.Kh3
49.Bxg5 Rxg5 50.Kh2 R1g4 51.Kh3 Rg1 52.Kh2 R5g4 53.Kh3 [53.Rh5] 53...Rxh4+ 54.Kxh4 I was moving around a little so I could play Rd1 next.
54...Rd1 55.Rf4 Rd3 56.a4 At some point you become really curious when they are going to resign. It's very nice in Edmonton though-- they have free hot tea with real milk and flavored creamer, so I wasn't bothered at all. I was just drinking my tea, having a congratulations party for myself.
56...Ra3 57.Kg5 Rxa4 58.e6 fxe6 59.Kf6 Ra6 60.Rg4+ Kf8 61.Rh4 h6 62.Ke5 b5 63.Rxh6 b4 64.Rh8+ Kg7 65.Rb8 Rb6 66.Ra8 a6 0–1