Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Game from Round 3 of the 960 Tourney_072814

Nineteen players were around for the start of Round 3 of our 960 Tournament. Fourteen played in the tournament and five were available for casual games. You can always find a friendly game at LCCC.

The updated 960 standings and round 4 pairings will have to wait until after next week as we had 2 games postponed due to absent players.

This game was the battle between the only 2 undefeated-untied players in the tourney - Ken T (white) and Mike N (black). So you are getting the battle on Board 1! The 960 position is #894 - or from the left hand corner of the board on the white side, the pieces line up a QRKBBNNR.

1.        e4    e5
2.       Ne3    Nf6
3.        b3    d6
4.       Bf3   g6
5.       Ne2   Bc6
6.       Nc3   b6
7.        d6   Ne6
8.       Ncd5   Nd4
Position before White's 9th move.
Here is the diagram after the opening and before the first battle with casualties. Black has a slight lead positionally, but nothing substantial (-.1).

9.       Bc3   Nxf3
10.   gf?  Nxd5

The first major error is made by White. 10. Nxf6, Bxf6 11.  gxf3, Bg5, 12. Kb2 leaves Black with a tiny advantage (-.2) instead of a good size one (-2.4) – according to my computer program - nicknamed FIMO. He has a rating over 3000, so FIMO is no wood pusher.

11.   ed   Bxd5
12.   Bxe5?   Re8?

Errors are coming in pairs. The simple 12. Nxd4 was preferable for White. Now 12.….dxe5, 13. Qxe5, Bxf3, 14. Re1, Rg8 and Black is up a game winning (-4.7) according to FIMO (FIMO is short for Fischer-Morphy- in case you are wondering).

But Black decides to not stay on the offensive and reap the benefits of his stronger opening play. Black can do this by trading down to a win. His seemingly defensive and strong looking “rook to the center file” move allows White time to consolidate a little (-1.8).A lost opportunity by Black for near certain victory.

13.   Bf6    Bxf3?

Black sees the pawn is not going anywhere but doesn’t find anything better. But with the clock running, it’s the safe – easy move. But this is the actually the major difference between a good chess player and a great chess player. 

The simple 13. ….Be6! lets the Queen get out of her corner and take the pawn!  That f3 pawn is so weak it can’t be defended and can’t move as it is pinned to the rook at h1. This strategic error by Black has FIMO drops Black’s advantage from (-2)[equivalent of TWO PAWNS!] to (-.9). So, except for the pawn Black just took, the game is even because White has a better position.

14.   Rg1    Re6?

This is three straight positional blunders by Black. He still is not finding the best way to activate the rest of his army.

We can’t be too hard on him as it was not intuitive or easy to see. But 14. …..Kb7! will allow his rook to enter the game via the e-file. Then Black’s Queen could slide over using the long c8-h3 or d8-h4 diagonals to get in the action. Black was leaving the a8-h1 diagonal for his queen, but that was not nearly as strong as having those options closer to the center, depending on what White would have done.

The Black advantage down to (-.2), which means Black is ‘positionally’ losing by .8, since he is up a pawn material wise.

Now the game is basically even with a matchup of - material strength vs positional strength. Let’s see what happens.

15.   Bxd8   Kxd8
16.   Qh8+?  Ke7

A worthless check that drives the Black King to a square he wants to move to anyway. 16. Qg7 was better, making Black decide his next move. After all, he may not make the best one (-.5).

17.   Qxh7?   Rh8

Now a (-1.9) lead for Black says FIMO – a pawn up – and a better position. Oh, the ebb and flow of the chess game between two evenly matched players in a time crunch!
18.   Qg7   Rxh2  (See? Black gets the pawn back)
19.   Kb2   Qh8
20.   Qxh8   Rxh8
21.   Rg3    ........
Position before Black's 21st move.
This is the key position as time pressure begins for both players.

21. .......       Bb7?!

Instead 21. …..Rf6 was better, attacking White’s weak f-pawn indirectly while protecting the Bishop at a good post. The lead is down to (-1.6) instead of up to a full (-2). Black gives up almost a half a pawn -positionally- with one move - and is not done being charitable.
22.   Kc3   f5
23.    f4    Rh1?
A beginner’s error from , well, NOT a beginner, and someone who knows better!
Black trades a rook that is controlling 1/8 of the board (the entire h-file) for a rook that is doing nothing! Talk about trading a good piece for a bad piece.

Black saw nothing else and moved to save clock time. Better was to use some time and find something better like 23. …….The lead is cut further to (-.8).
24.   Rxh1    Bxh1
25.   Kd4    c5+
26.   Kc4   Bc6
27.    a4?   a6?

Time pressure for both players. 27. ….Kf7 gets out of the check first by the White knight, and makes White now have to worry about both sides of the board after his error (-2.3!). But Black returned the favor with a blunder and FIMO declares the game is nowdead EVEN.
28.   Nd5+  Bxd5
29.   Kxd5   Draw agreed

PS: Readers, if it appears this writer is a little rough on the player playing Black, it's because it is the writer!

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