Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Twenty-One Entered the NPP Club Championship

Who will be #22? We are looking for one more player to enter to give us an even number of players. One of our players had a busy day the next day and volunteered to take a BYE for the 1st round.

That means that if someone joins the tournament now, they will be given a BYE for the 1st round also. So, the first person to let us know they want to play in the tournament, has a guaranteed spot. So …get in there!

The tournament pairings were done in a Swiss System format. This means the players were listed top to bottom by club rating. Then, a line was drawn in the middle. The top player on the list was paired with the 1st player listed on the bottom half. And the pairings went on from there.

In this format, in the first round, one player is usually a much stronger player than the other. But it all balances out in the later rounds. As the scores come in, the next round has the winners playing the other winners and the people that lost are playing the other people that lost. Eventually, in the latter rounds, people are playing people equal to their own strength. And this is a four round tournament.

Anyway, according to the Tournament Director Ken T., we only had one upset in the first round. The rest of the games went as the ratings said that they would. Well, the truth be known, we came within about 30 seconds of another upset – and a big one!

Our recent tournament winner and your humble writer Mike Nikitin, almost dropped his game against Marcello Milani! And Mike had White! But, when one player loses his concentration in chess, and the other player battles on – turnarounds can happen. This could have been one of those times.

1. e4                e5
2. Nf3              Nc6
3. Nc3             Nf6
4. Bc4              Be7
5  d3                O-O
6. O-O             d6
7. Be3              a6
8. d4                b5
9. Bb3              Bg4
10. d5              Nb5?

Black has played well until this move. He has developed his pieces to stay even with White and castled early. But the last move traps his knight. In addition, the more aggressive move of 11. ….c5, after 11. a3, c5 12. axb4, cxb4 is better for Black than what happened.
White is up the equivalent of (4) pawns. Three for the knight and one for White’s better position. The c5 move instead of what happened only leaves White at (2.5).
After 11. a3

11. a3        ..........


11.  ........        Nxc2?
12. Bxc2          Qc8
13. Bd3            c6
14, Rc1            a5?

The move for Black is still ….c5. This gives white a stronger position and is now up (5.9).

15. dc              Qxc6
16. Nxb5         Qe8?

This grows White’s lead to (7.2), but 16. …Qd7 would have shrunk it to (5.4). Now White has the killer pin of 17. Nc7, but he doesn’t see it.

17. h3?             Bxf3
18. Qxf3          Bd8 (Black saw it)
19. Bg5            d5?
20. Bxf6           Bxf6

After Black’s 19th move and White’s 20th, Black had the awful choice between 20. …gxf6 which blows open his king’s protection. That is why he made the better choice of Bxf6, but it still left Black down (9)! That is the equivalent of White having another queen on the board!

21. Nc7           Qe7
22. Nxa8          Rxa8
23. ed              Bg5?
24. Rc4?!         Rf8

White had killer move 24. d6! (12.5) as both Black’s queen and rook are attacked. After 24. …Qf8, 25. d7, Rd8 26. Qf5, g6 27. Qxg5 it is all but over. But White plays lazy with this big lead and allows Black some chances.

25. Qe4?          f5!

White plays “hope chess”, hoping Black won’t see his mate in one on h7. But this allows Black a little counter striking.

26. Qe1           e4
27. Bb1            Qe5
28. Qxa5          Be7
29. b4?             Bd6
Position after 29. ......Bd6

Make no mistake – Black is way behind in material and position at (8.3). But he does have a mate in one threat now of his own at h2! Black can try hope chess being down so much. Maybe White will be over confident and overlook the threat.

Truth be told – your author did overlook it for about 30 seconds. I was considering b5???, but decided to take one last look to see where Black’s pieces could move.

Ohhhhhh……hello! I’m about to lose this game! So I had to spend another five minutes figuring out how to save myself.

30. g3              h5
31. b5              h4
32. Qc3           Qxd5
33. Rd4            Qe5
34. Qc4+         Kh7
35. Qd5           ……

Once the forced trade of the queens, Black is out of chances.

The lessons here are …..never think your game is won until it’s won….and never ever quit trying!

No comments:

Post a Comment