Sunday, March 16, 2014

LCCC’s In-Vince-able Draws Seth Homa in Simul

The public can wait no longer! Here is THE game of the Simultaneous Exhibition given by FM Seth Homa at LCCC back in December of 2013.
Vince was the only one to not lose to Seth – earning a draw as it was Seth that actually played the drawing line. Very nice!
Vince's notes are there. Your scribe's feeble attempt at Fritz analysis is in [  ].

FM Seth Homa vs Vince V – in a simultaneous exhibition against 13 players.
Catalan Opening

1. Nf3    Nf6

I didn't know what to play against Nf3 so I decided to play it safe. I want to keep him guessing as to my plans as long as possible.
2. d4    d5

I'm familiar with this and ok with the Black side of the Queens Gambit Declined.
3. c4    e6
4. g3   

What the heck is this? Not normal QGD. Now what? I don't know the Black side of the Catalan at all!

5. .....    Be7

[Black has a slight advantage after 4. ….dxc4.]

5. Bg2   O-O
6. O-O   Nd7
7. Qc2   .......

My thought was 'that's an odd move.' Why not Nc3? Well, with my knight on d7, I don't have Nb4 and he is eyeing the e4 square. And with the bishop on Bg2, there is pressure on my c6 square if he starts a minority attack.

7.  ......    c6

Now if cxb5 then cxb5 and I'll avoid the minority attack and put a rook on c8 opposite his queen and sneak in a discovered check against it and win the queen. Everything is fine.
8. Nd2   Re8

Hoping to get e5 in to open up my Queen's bishop. So I hope he doesn't play e4 and seriously cramp my queen-side.

9. e4   dxe4
10. Nxe4   Nxe4
11. Qxe4    Bf6
12. Re1   Nb6

At this point I needed to get either a e5 or c5 pawn break and I figured c5 was better because of the pressure along the e-file against my e8 rook, and the e5 break would not be as effective because it is pinned.
[White is the equivalent of +1.2 pawns at this point. Moves like 12. …. c5, h5, h6, Qb6 or Qe7 gave Black more counter play. But then again, counter-playing against a FIDE master may not be such a great idea.]

13. b3    c5?!

Taking advantage of the pin of his d-pawn.
[Move order is important. Now this move is too late and expands White’s lead to 1.5.]

14. Bb2   Qc7
15. Ne5   Bxe5?!

I couldn't live with that knight on e5. But, d6 is looking like a good square for a White rook.
[Better for Black was Nd7. White now is at 2.0!]

16. dxe5   Rb8

Hopefully, allowing the Bc8 to get to d7 and c6. Yeah, right!
17. Qh4 ?!  …..

Oh NO! That is a move I wish he had not made. My danger radar is blaring in my head now!
[A time waster. Rad1 takes the open file. White is now at 1.1.]

17. …   Qe7 ?!

Seth (White) can't attack as well without his queen. I'll suggest a trade.
[Back to 2.0. Should have activated the bishop with Bd7. White should exchange queens and take the d-file.]
18. Qh5?!  ......

He's being stubborn.

18.  ......      Nd7

Heading for f8!
19. Re4  .......

Where is he going with that rook?

19. .......   Nf8
20. Rh4   ........

I figured Be4 is coming next and I have to do something immediately to get my Q-Bishop out to challenge his at g2. I thought b6 and then Bb7 but that is too slow. After b6 he is just going to play Be4 and then I am going to have to move a pawn in front of my King [weakening his defense]. If I move g6, he's going to play Bc1 and then Bg5 and then Bf6 and I am doomed! So, b6 doesn't give him anything to think about and I need to give him something to think about. Something to distract him. So, I decide I'd throw the b-pawn out there to see if he'd take it. If he does, I'm a pawn down, but at least I'll survive a little while longer and maybe stir up trouble on the Queen side.

20. .....    b5?

[Nobody wants the d-file! Rd8 was best as 2.4 is now White’s lead.]

21. cxb5   .......

The distraction worked! I'll play Bb7 now, .....but wait! What if I just take back on b5 with the rook? Do I really need to go a pawn down? Let's see, Rxb5 and what can he do? ......Oh yeah, probably Bc6 winning the exchange. Ok, no Rxb5. Back to the original plan.

21. .......    Bb7
22. Bf1   Red8

Keeping the bishop from going to d3.

23. Rc1?  …..

[Ra4 keeps the lead high instead of it dropping to 1.0. Black now gets some counter play as the rook enters White’s back rank.]

23. …..    Rd2
24. Ba3   Rc8

I'm protecting the c5 pawn indirectly here, intending to take advantage of my Bg7 and the d5/d4 square for a mate threat with the queen and an attack on c5 if he goes for the c5 pawn.
25. Rhc4   Qd7

Come on! Take the pawn. I dare you!
26. Bg2    .......

If. 26. Bxc5, then Rxc5 27. Rxc5, Qd4! If 26. Rxc5, then Qd4!

26. .......    Bxg2
27.  Kxg2   Rxa2
28.  Bxc5   Qxb5
After 28. .....   Qxb5
[White has worked the advantage back up to 1.8. The line 29. Qf3, h6 30. Bd4, Rxc4 31. Rxc4, Nd7 32. Rc8+, Kh7 33. Qe4+, g6  34. Qa8, Nxe5 is suggested by Fritz for White. There is an old chess adage which says “To take is a mistake”. So is the following two moves by White return the game to EVEN!]

29. Bxf8?   Rxf8
30.  Rh4?  Qd3?!

I got my pawn back and my position is solid. I still refuse to move a pawn in front of my king and I like my queen on his side of the board.
[Fritz suggests 30. …. Qd5+ 31. Kg1, h6  32. Rhc4, a5  33. Rd1, Qb5  34. Qf3, Rb2  35. Qe4, Rxb3  36. Qg2, Rb4 and Black is up -.6 instead of +.6 for White with the move played.]

31. Rc3   Qb1
32. Rc1   Qd3
[Seth, Vince is just not going to fall for the rook sac mate.]

33. Rd1   Qg6
34. Qf3   h6

Finally giving my king a flight square.
35. Rf4   Ra5
36. Qc3   Ra2
I wanted to keep my rook on the second rank opposite his king, just for kicks.
[Fritz says 36. …. Qh5 has more sting. But with Seth coming around faster and faster, who has the time for that kind of analysis?]

37. Rd3   Qg5

I have to get my queen out before she gets stuck on the king side.
38. h4  

I thought Rd7 - then h4 was better for Seth, keeping my queen stuck. Then he would have a queen and a rook against my lone rook.

38. ......    Qe7
39. Rdf3?   …..
[Qc6 keeps some advantage for White. Now it is looking like a draw if Vince can hold it together.]

39.  …..   Qb7

Pinning the rook on f3 but the real intention is to get my queen on the a-file and see if I can get her on White's first rank with my rook. That will give him something to think about.
40. b4   Qa6
41. Qd4  .......

He sees what I want to do and he is setting me up.

41.  ......    Ra1
42. b5   ........

This move took me by surprise. He is a tricky player.

42. .......  Qa2

Continuing with my plan.
[Looks scary for both sides but Fritz has it drawn with correct play.]

43. Rxf7   Rxf7
44. Qd8+   Kh7
45. Rxf7   Qb1
46. Rxg7+   Kxg7
47. Qe7+    Kh8
48. Qf8+    Kh7
Great job by Vince V to draw FIDE Master Seth Homa.
Seth Homa was a great guest also!

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