Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm a choker

Battsetseg,Tsagaan - Vicary,Elizabeth [B19]
uscl , 09.08.2009

1.e4 c6
2.d4 d5
3.Nc3 dxe4
4.Nxe4 Bf5
5.Ng3 Bg6
6.Nf3 Nd7
7.h4 h6
8.h5 Bh7
9.Bd3 Bxd3
10.Qxd3 Qc7

So I switched to the caro a few months ago, but this is my first game in the classical variation. (I've had 1 two knights, 1 advanced, and the rest were panovs.) I teach it to kids a lot though, so I felt I know it ok, plus it's so simple. I'm intending to play the 0-0 lines but haven't learned them well enough yet, plus I know she is a good attacker and those lines are much sharper. I also thought it made sense situationally -- she's supposed to beat me, so it makes sense to be super-boring and see if she freaks out.

11.Bd2 e6
12.0–0–0 0–0–0
13.Ne4 Ngf6

I chose the move order here completely at random, but I guess there might be a slight difference between playing ... e6 first or playing ... Nf6 first, in the sense that with ... Nf6 first you can take on e4 and play Nf6 and when the queen moves it's your turn. With ...e6 first, white has the choice to take you. On the other hand, d3 isn't a great square for the queen, so maybe it's unimportant.

update! I was just looking at a Leko - Anand game which reached this position and the annotator Lukacs says 14. Nxf6 is inaccurate and 14. g3 is better.

14.Nxf6 Nxf6
15.Qc4 I've never seen this weird looking queen move before, but white can't play pawn to c4 with the queen there, so I decided it was time to neglect development and go pawn grabbing with ...Rd5.

16.Qa4 If white tries to save the pawn with 16.Ne5 I get good counterplay because her center isn't so stable: 16...Bd6 17.Bf4? c5 - +


17.c4 Rxh5
18.Rxh5 Nxh5

This position is a little annoying for me. Of course, I'm up a pawn, which is wonderful, but I need to finish development and get my knight back from the outer boroughs. Unfortunately, nothing looked simple--

... Bd6 is bad because of c5 and then Rh1, hitting the knight, and when it moves, Bf4.
...Be7 blocks the queen's defense of the f7 pawn and white will play Ne5.
... g5, intending to develop with Bg7, loses a pawn to Rh1 and N/Bxg5.
Finally, I thought at the time that bringing the knight back with 19...Nf6 20. Bf4 Bd6 21. Ne5 looked unpleasant, but probably it's ok-- Computer says I can continue 21... c5 and be quite happy.


20...b5!? or ?!

Sadly not the best move, but fun. It tries to get me the d5 square, which is of course a beautiful thing, but it's also insanely loosening. I played it mainly out of fear-- I felt like she would play c5 and my bishop would be shut out of the game and she'd do some rook lift and checkmate me. But that's silly because I can simply play ...a6 whenever I want to, which I did not consider. Rybka just wants to play 20... Nf6 or 20... Bd6.

I knew 21. Qa6 was her best response, and was looking at variations like 21.Qa6 bxc4 22.Ne5 Bd6 (not the awful 22...c5? 23.dxc5 Qxe5 24.Rd8+ Qb8 25.Qc6#) 23.Nxc6.

My first thought here was that I was doing ok after 23... Rc8, but then realized that hangs to 24. Nxa7. Then I started considering the weird 23...c3 or the boring 23...Nf6, but ended up thinking "no." That's all, just "no."

At the point where she moved, I was deciding to play 21...Qb7 instead, and which leads to 22.Qxb7+ Kxb7 23.cxb5 cxb5

and (I thought) 24. Ne5. I didn't trust my lack of development in this position, notice that my pieces are so awkward that I can't even kick the knight with 24... f6 because of 25. Ng6 Rg8 26. g4! But maybe I can give up f7 and be ok. Rybka suggests the even-more-accurate opening of the position with 24.d5!

back to reality....
21.Qc2 bxc4
22.Qxc4 Bd6
23.Rd3 Nf6
24.Ne5 Rc8

I was torn between 25.. c5 and 25... Nd5 here. I think I had maybe 20 minutes to her 3 or 4, and I didn't want to spend too much time, because I play terribly when I'm low on time. I figured she would answer 25... c5 with 26. Rc3, so I play Nd5 to stop that first, but the hungry computer thinks 25... c5 immediately just wins another pawn: 25...c5! 26.Rc3 Nd5 27.Rc4 (27.Rc2? Nb4) 27...Nb4 28.Qa4 Bxe5 29.dxe5 Qxe5

26.Bd2 Bb4 wow, rybka seems to think this move throws away my advantage. Anyone understand why? It wants me to simply take the knight and trade queens 26...Bxe5 27.dxe5 c5 28.Ba5 Qb7 29.Qxb7+ Kxb7. I guess I'm in a good knight-bad bishop ending with an extra pawn?

27.Qc4 Rybka really likes 27.a3 --- I'm thinking maybe the point is that by playing a3 and forcing me to take the bishop, white's rook gets to the c file safely if I play ...c5: 27...Bxd2+ 28.Rxd2= c5 29.Rc2

28.Kd1 f6 I was also thinking about trying to play ...Nb6 and ... c4 somehow, but it wasn't quite working: after 28...Nb6 29.Qc2 c4 30.Rf3, hitting f7, is annoying.

29.Nf3 Qb7

This opens up my rook on her queen, and touches f3 and maybe, in my dreams, h1

30.Rb3 cxd4
31.Qxd4 e5

There are some cute tricks: 32.Qe4?? Nc3+! or 32.Qd3? e4 33.Qd4 (33. Qxe4?? Nc3+) exf3 34.Bxb4 Nxb4 35.Rxb4 Qc6

32.Qg4 a5 32...Qc6! is better and probably my most real chance to win this game, but after 33.Bxb4 Qc2+ 34.Ke1 I just didn't see 34... Rc4

33.a3 Qc6
34.axb4 Qc2+
35.Ke1 f5

Of course, I hadn't seen that my rook on c8 would hang if I took on b3 instead. So stupid! I went as far as clicking on the queen and hovering it over b3 (I was playing on the computer at this point). It didn't occur to me at the time, but after the game I wondered if I had some touch move responsibility there. If I did, then sorry to Tsagaan and Baltimore!

36.Qg6 Qxb3
37.Qa6+ Kb8
38.Qb5+ Ka7
39.Qxa5+ Kb7
40.Qb5+ Ka8 I wasn't thinking clearly here. I initially had intended 40...Nb6, but was panicked by something. It's all a horrific blur.

41.Qa6+ Kb8
42.Qb5+ Ka7

desperation.. I already thought I was lost and was about to flag, but the computer think's it's just a draw after 43...Qa2 44.Nc6+ Ka8

44.Be3+ Ka8 it's polite to play to mate when it's easy, right?
45.Qa5+ Kb8
46.Qb6+ Ka8
47.Qa7# 1–0

I was somewhat upset to lose this, mostly because I felt so stupid, like I can play openings and early, quiet middlegames, but as soon as anything becomes complicated, I fall apart. It's like I have a healthy little baby, and then I stab it to death. over and over again.

But then I got home and both the computer and Greg said it was an ok game, and it's funny how much this made me re-imagine it.

team star: Andrei Zaremba

board two: Yury Lapshun

our kind host, and my fellow fourth board and fellow blogger, Shaun Smith

Dmitry Shneider makes his first move, resolutely.

Andrei: happy he won again.

a picture I forgot to include from last post: USCL Commissioner Greg and his girlfriend Susan in the park


Anonymous said...

Don't ever call yourself a choker! Downer words like that have a way of worming their way into your mind and infecting your thinking. I thought you had her there for while. Go get em next time!

gurdonark said...

The great thing about playing the Caro-Kann is it's always amazing how relatively placid-looking positions can hide spectacular wins or devastating losses within them, like little puzzle-mysteries.

mark ginsburg said...

in a rising stars vs experience match, GM Stellwagen blitzed off a zillion moves vs. GM Bareev in a classical Caro, hung h5 pawn on purpose, and got an advantage.

In this game, white also hung h5. trying to emulate stellwagen?

Anonymous said...

The caro doesn't really seem suited to someone who 'screws up when it gets complicated'. White always gets some annoyingly aggressive attack that is near-fatal, but precise play seems to magically deflect. I think you should play a defense that leads to positions _you_ understand and feel comfortable with.

Brian Lafferty said...

I think you're too down on yourself. A frustrating game for you in many ways, but you played and did your best.

That Pawn b5 move was a cringer, but so what. Even then you can back to create a good position for yourself.

Keep your chin up.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

well, but chess isn't exactly suited to someone who screws up when it gets complicated, right? but I think it may be too late to start my career as a checkers blogger. :(

what I really need is a magical opening that always wins. let me know if you find one.

Brian Lafferty said...

Here are some magical openings for you.

As White:

As Black against e4:

As Black against d4:


You'll win every time as long as your opponent makes the next to last blunder. :-)

Brian Channeling Tartakower Lafferty

Anonymous said...

Were there alternatives to 27... c5? Played at that moment, it looks a bit loosening. Especially since Black seems compelled to follow with ...e5 and ...a5, 2 definitely loosening moves.

I think it's not only that the position got complicated, but that Black's position got suddenly flimsy over the course of those few moves- exposed king and unprotected pieces.

Tom Panelas said...

Getting one's "knight back from the outer boroughs" -- I like that, being a Queens native.

At least it wasn't out in the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

Play the Petroff or Marshall. Annoy white.