Amateur Team East, 14.02.2009
So this is a theoretical pawn sac, it's a pretty fun line, and since it was round one, I was feeling cheerful and optimistic. All tournament, in fact, I was feeling great apppreciation for Dave Vigorito, who basically created a beautiful opening repertoire for me that gives me positions where my opponents have to know some specific, practically unguessable OTB positional knowledge of plans, and it turns out that no one under 2000 ever has that knowledge. It's very nice-- it means that lower rated players --and especially kids -- don't play that well against me.
7...cxd4 Doesn't this seem like a weird reaction? If you are black and going to take a sacrificed pawn, why would you open the position first? But it gets played against me more often than the straight up 7...Nxe4.
8.cxd4 Nxe4 Black can also decline the pawn with 8...d5 9.e5 Ne4 10.Ne1 (white's trying to trap the knight with f3) h6 11.f3 Ng5.
The alternative is 10.Nxe5 but after 10...dxe5 11.Re1 Nd6 12.Rxe5 it's somehow supposed to be not so great for white.
Now, in all the games I saw, the knight went to a3, but the c pawns were still on the board, so it couldn't go to c3. I figured Nc3 was probably an improvement, but from a3 the knight can also go to c4, which pressures d6, which might become weak after black plays e6 or e5, which he might have to in order to develop the bishop (since ...g6 hangs the Nf6). Also a knight on c4 pressures b6, which might become weak if black is forced to play a6 to defend the a pawn (after, say Be3). But I felt it was ridiculous and monkey-like to play Na3.
12.Bg5 is the theoretical move with the c pawns still on the board, but I played it in a previous game and the guy answered 12...Qg4 and I had to trade queens into an ending that's a tiny bit better, maybe,but I couldn't win it before and didn't want to bore myself in the first round.
So here I was kind of searching for a good move. I'm reluctant to play Bf4 or Be3-- they both seemed too commital before I knew how black was going to extradite himself from the tangle, since blocking either the e or f files allows black to play e6 or Qf5 or Qg4. I expected black to castle queenside (maybe kingside, but that would be at least funny to watch) so I briefly considered something like Qd3, which moves that direction, but I felt it's important to keep the queen on the Nf6 to maintain pressure.
I figure he's likely to castle queenside, so I prepare a5, or Nb5, or Ra3.
It looks like h3 has been played here, I guess to stop Qg4.
15.Nb5 this threatens Rxe6 and Nc7+
If 15...a6 16.Rxe6+ Qxe6 17.Nc7+; I was expecting 15...Kf7 16.Bf4 Be7 17.Bxd6 Bxd6 18.Rad1.
Now this was super-commital, and, I felt, a ballsy, move to make, because I'm basically saying I'm going to take on e5 no matter what black does.
But now I had second thoughts. I wasn't worried about 16...a6 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.Rxe5+ Be7 19.Rd1 -- I figured this would be, at minimum, fun, although Fritz calls it equal after 19... Qc6.
My original intention was 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.Rad1 Qc6 19.Qxc6+ bxc6 20.Nc7+ Kf7 21.Nxa8 Rxa8 22.Rxe5 but then I took a closer look at this position and decided it sucks. Am I even better? I'm worse?! Why am I going into this?
But now his position has no coherancy and everything is just weak.
17...exf4 18.Rxd6 Qc8 19.Rde6 threatening Nd6 and Rxe7
19.Bxh6 taking on d6 is also possible, but why take the weak pawn when you can take the pawn in front of the king
I could trade queens here --20.Qxg4 Nxg4 21.Be3 (I missed 21.Rxe4 Nxf2 22.Rxe7 Nxd1 --actually I got to this position in my head and didn't realize I could take on g7 and thought oh I'm down an exchange. 23.Rxg7+ Kh8 24.Nxd6+-) 21...Nxe3 22.Rxe3 I figured I would win one of his pawns here, and thus the endgame should be very good, but since is king isn't safe, I wanted to keep queens on.
21. Be3 It's nice to not have weaknesses.
21...a6? maybe my opponent gave up now. He should at least defend his d pawn with ... Qh5. or something.
24.Rxd5 Kh8 [If 24...Qe6 25.Rb5 gets out of the pin]
34.b7 34...Qa6 [34...Rxb7 35.Qc8+-; 34...Qd6 35.Qxe4 was my plan, althought fritzy wants to play Qf7 more. who cares, right?]
camera update: the hotel is mailing it to me and pictures will be forthcoming.
question: does anyone know an easy way to get the nice replayable chess boards on my blog?