Monday, December 31, 2007

North American Open Part Three: Delusions of Grandeur

I had played Eugene Yanayt a few months ago in the New England Masters. Before that game, some people (I can't remember precisely who, but let's say Dave and Josh Friedel and probably Elliott Liu and possibly others) were explaining to me that Eugene's nickname is Zen Master, because he's completely focused and undistractable, and that even if I appeared at the board wearing a bikini, he would not bat an eyelash. Notice that I was not considering doing this. But somehow it had come up because Elliott's next opponent had a strange obsession with water, so there was some distraction/amusement scheme in the works that involved multiple towels and trips to the shower. It never actually happened, any of this.

I lost that game also but it was an interesting Bogo Indian. So I was surprised when Zen M played 1. c4.

(180) Yanayt,Eugene - Vicary,Elizabeth [A30]
North American Open Las Vegas (3), 27.12.2007
1.c4 c5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 e6
5.Nc2? How strange.
5... Qb6 After the game, Alex mentioned that point of playing Qb6 is to make the knight on d4 move, so it's stupid to play it after 5. Nc2. I somehow had convinced myself that my idea was to play Qb6 and Bc5, making white play e3 before getting out the Bc1, but that's just an insane fantasy on my part since the queen is vunerable on b6 to Nc3-a4 and white can just play e3 and then e4 later or something.

6.Nc3 Nf6 [If I play 6...Bc5 first he just goes 7.Ne4]
7.Rb1 Bc5


8...d5 was my other idea. I get lots of compensation if he takes the pawn: 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.Qxd5? Be6 12.Qe4 0–0 13.Bd3 g6 14.b3 Bf5 15.Qc4 Ne5.

But he can play the same idea as in the game: 9. b4 and now I have to grovel with 9...Be7 10.c5 Qc7 I don't really know how to assess this, since I refuse to turn on Fritz and Dave hasn't told me what to think yet. I didn't see it during the game because I missed his idea of taking on b4 completely. If I try to take with 9...Nxb4 10.Nxb4 Bxb4 11.Bd2 Qc5 12.Rxb4 Qxb4 13.Nxd5, it's the same as in the game only worse. So why didn't I play 8...d5? I just figured I'd castle first and then play it.

Notice that 8...a5 is ugly for me: 9.Na4 Qa7 (9...Bb4+ 10.Nxb4 Qxb4+ 11.Bd2 Qe7 12.Nb6) 10.Nxc5 Qxc5 11.b3 and I have big problems on dark squares.

9.b4 Nxb4

10.Nxb4 Bxb4

11.Bd2 Qc5

At this moment Jesse Kraai walked past. He glanced at my position, visibly winced, and gave me a pitying look. Of course, I had no idea what was going on, but it was now apparent to me that I ought to be very concerned.

12.Rxb4! Qxb4

13.Nd5 Nxd5

All the lines are ugly, but one typical one goes 13...Qa3 14.Bb4 Qxa2 15.Nxf6+ gxf6 16.Qg4+ Kh8 17.Bxf8 Qb1+ 18.Ke2 Qc2+ 19.Kf3

The best try is 13...Qd6 14.Bb4 Qe5 15.Bc3 Qg5 16.h4 Qh6 17.Nxf6+ gxf6 18.Rh3 and now something like 18...e5 allows 19.Qd6 ... oh whatever... he has multiple ways to win...

14.Bxb4 Nxb4
and let's just stop here and say white didn't have too many problems converting.

On to round four, where I am paired with Rodelay Medina, who I vaguely recall knowing from many years ago.

Medina,Rodelay - Vicary,Elizabeth [B22]
North American Open Las Vegas, 31.12.2007
1.e4 c5
2.d4 cxd4
3.c3 Nf6
4.e5 Nd5
5.Qxd4 e6
6.Nf3 Nc6
7.Qe4 f5
8.exf6 Nxf6

So far I'm very happy, still in the realm of knowing what I'm supposed to be doing and not having to do any difficult (as we know, almost impossible for me) original thinking. But here I mess up.

Of course I remember immediately after this move that the bishop is supposed to be on d6 so my king has the e7 square

The correct line goes 9...d5 10.Bd3 Bd6 11.Bg5 (11.Bg6+ Ke7 12.Bc2 h6 13.Bg6 Bd7) 11...Kf7 12.0–0 h6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qxf6+ gxf6]

10.Bd3 0–0


I expected 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bxf6 when I was going to play Rxf6.

"What? Why not 12...Bxf6!?" -- this is Alex and Todd laughing at me afterwards: "What are you afraid of?? One check? Hahahhaha. I WANT him to put his queen on h7. HAHHAHAHA" Now, I don't want you to think I'm complaining here. Obviously any chessplayer would kill to be able to show their games to a strong player(s) whenever they want and I'm incredibly lucky etc., but man, you sure do have to get used to feeling like the stupidest person in the room basically all the time.

13.Qe4 g6 This was my intention but it's bad, or at least it's scary (13...d5 Is very good for black also, same attitude as in the last line) 14.Qe3 Qf8 15.h4 alright, I caved and turned on Fritz, who says it's good. Whatever. Fritz doesn't understand what it's like.


Alex was advocating 11....e5 based on the following variation 12.g5 e4 13.gxf6 Bxf6 14.Ng5 h6 15.Qxe4 Re8 but look what Fritz finds: 16.Bc4+! Kh8 17.Nf7+ Kg8 18.Nxd8+. Craziness.

12.g5 d5
13.Bxe4 dxe4
14.Qxe4 Qd5

Now I thought I was being hot shit with Qd5, mostly because I had seen it when I played Ne4, but really his king is so weak that I should keep queens on and play e5 instead: 14...e5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Qxe5 and I have lots of great ideas: 16...Qb6 (16...Qd3; 16...Bh3) 17.0–0 Bh3]

15.Qxd5 exd5
16.Nd4 Ne5
17.0–0 Bh3

17...Nd3 This just wins a pawn. I saw it in the game, but somehow it did not fit in with my self-important desire to punish my opponent for attacking me so unreasonably.

18.Re1 Nd3

So here I faced a big choice. The great tragedy is that I saw this beautiful line: 19...Nxf2 20.Rxe7 Ne4 21.Nd2 Rf2 22.N4f3 Rf8 23.Rxe4 Rg2+ 24.Kh1 dxe4 25.Nxe4 Rxf3, mating, but I chickened out of playing it. Why did I chicken out? I think the truthful answer is that I couldn't see anything after 22... Rf8 but I felt like I might be missing a good move for white. On top of that, I liked the line I played and thought it was safer.

Now the reality is that there is a hole in the above line, but there is also a big improvement for black before the hole. White saves himself with 22. Rxe4 Rg2+ 23. Kh1 dxe4 24. Nc4! However, 20... Nd3 instead of 20...Ne4 is completely winning.

Another pseudo attractive line was 19...Bxg5 20.Rxd3 Bxc1 21.Rxh3 Bxb2 but after 22.Nb3 Rae8 23.Kf1 Bxa1 24.Nxa1 I just didn't see why he couldn't get his knights out.
19. ...Nxc1
20.Rxh3 Bxg5
21.Na3 Rae8
22.Kf1 Rf6
23.Rf3 Ref8

So by now I'm in my normal absurd time pressure and my moves cease making any sense.

24.Kg2 Bd2
25.Nac2 Rg6+
26.Kf1 Rgf6
27.Rxf6 Rxf6
28.Nb3 Nd3 [28...Nxb3 29.axb3 a6 30.Rd1 Bf4=]
29.Ke2 Nxb2
30.Nxd2 1-0

Oh goodness. I was starting to feel like maybe it wasn't a huge tragedy, and I was playing myself into shape. Then I lost the next game, and was getting beat by Christian Tanaka when I slimed him. That will be coming up in the next post. Very chess heavy, I'm being these days, no? I'm sure it's what my readers read my blog for, right?


Anonymous said...

Well done (and thanks) for posting these last few posts with your games. I enjoy reading in-depth stuff like this from people more like my own strength than the really top guys. Can't be bad for your chess, either, being willing to hang some analysis out there on the inter-tubes. Please keep going.

In the Medina game, you've missed out Black's 19th move. I guess it's 19...Nxc1 from the follow-up.

Anonymous said...

In your Medina game, isn't 9...e5! the best move - at least it's the only move that stops 10.Bd3 and is supposed to be better for Black.

Unknown said...

Just wanted to say that I find your writing extremely charming for its humor, self-deprecation, and directness. I know the blogposts here are about seven years old, but they hold up smartly. Thanks!