Friday, February 28, 2014

Learning slowly

I was faced this weekend with one of black's best defenses in the Euwe.

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 h6 8.Be3 Nc6 9.a3 Nd5 (diagram)

I played 10.Qd2 after which black was able to remove the pressure with 10.Qd2 Nxe3 11.Qe3 Bf6 12.Ne2 Qe7 and black was better.

After some thought, it is obvious that 10.Nxd5 is better than 10.Qd2 with following lines :

a/ 10...Qxd5 11.0-0 (diagram)

...a1/ 11...0-0 12.c4 (=)
...a2/ 11...b6 12.c4 (+=)
...a3/ 11...Bf6 12.c4 (=)
...a4/ 11...Bd7 12.c4 (+=)
...a5/ 11...f5 12.Qe2 (=)

b/ 10...exd5 11.0-0 (diagram)

...b1/ 11...0-0 12.Qd2 (=)
...b2/ 11...Bg4 12.Qd2 (=)
...b3/ 11...b6 12.Bb5 (++)
...b4/ 11...a6 12.Qd2 (=)
...b5/ 11...Be6 12.b4 (=)

So we see that black has nothing to fear in this line after 10.Nxd5.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tangled Up in Blue.

"".Early one morning the sun was shining, I was lying in bed...." So starts off  the famous Bob Dylan song. That's the feeling I got when I played an ex-Belgian champion yesterday evening. I was playing black, but he surprised my Winawer defense with an ultra sharp line.

Robert Scheurmans - Guido De Bouver
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4
The Winawer, most often leading to very sharp play

4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7  7.Qg4 (diagram)
Leading to the very complicated play

7...Ne7 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 cxd4 (diagram)
The poisoned pawn variation has come on the board. A complicated line where any mistake by either party has disastreous consequences.

The normal move is now 10.Ne2, however my noted opponent played 10.Kd1 (diagram) here ! This is listed as the Euwe-Gligoric variation in the Poisoned pawn.... Wow. After the game, he copnfessed he knows this line quite well - it seems to be a pet line of GM Uhlmann, THE authority on the French defense.

In any case, the odd king move takes away all of black threads and is very hard to handle for black.

The game continued 10...Nbc6 11.Nf3 Nxe5 12.Bf4 Qxc3 13.Nxe5 (diagram)

After some thought, Houdini rates the position as equal. Black gets the exchange, but the black knight is very strong in his e5 outpost.

13...Qxa1+ 14.Bc1
Yet another surprise. I hqd been hoping for 14.Kd2, so i could draw after 14...Kd3+, but 14.Bc1 avoids the draw. By now, I had consumed already more than 1 hour of my allocated 2 hours for 40 moves, so I started to get very unconfortable.

I now played 14...d3, to block the bishop from coming out. 14...Rg8 would have been better says my silicon assistant, but I was afraid of letting the bishop out, becuase this would allow for the h1 rook to come into play quickly.

14...d3 15.Qxf7+ Kd8 16.Qf6 dxc2+ (diagram)

I had expected 17.Kxc2 Qa2+ 18.Bb2 Bd7 19.Nf7+, but my champion-opponent has again a surprise for me.

17.Kd2 !!
The correct move is now either 17...Qb1 or 17...d4, my move is slightly inferior.

17...Qd4+ 18.Bd3 (diagram)
Complicating things even more as 18.Kxc2 Qc5+ 19.Kb1 Bd7 would have given me some breathing space.

I started to get into time trouble here, with 20 minutes to go in this hugely complicated position ( my opponent only took 15 minutes to get here... ). So I made a mistake. I think I played well till now - 18...Qc5 would have defended e7 and d6. But white didnt see how to benefoit from my miostake.

18...Ke8 19.Qf7+ Kd8 20.Re1 Qa4 (diagram)

White could have taken the advantage by 21.Qf6 but played the inferior 21.Ke2, which allowed me 21...Qe8 22.Qxe8 Kxe8 23.Kf1 (diagram).

Objectively, black is better, but the knight on e5 might be well worth a rook. In any case, I lost the game in time trouble.

Wow, what a game. I am glad I had the opportunity to play this aginst this respected opponent - but I was beaten by a bigger gambiteer. Aftre the game, he confessed he had my Blackmar-Diemer gambit book standing in his library next to Diemer's. What an honour !