Wednesday, March 19, 2008

chess: Fedja Zulfic - Kerr

I'm currently playing in the South Australian state championships. This game is against promising junior, Fedja Zulfic. Fedja is white, I am black.

I thought my position here was good, due to my well placed bishop, white's minor pieces are not well co-ordinated and his queen is awkwardly placed. However, white continued:
16. Ne1!
preparing to challenge black well placed bishop
16 ____ e5
17. Bd3 e4
18. Bc2 b5
19. a3
I still thought my position was good and I could now develop a powerful attack on the queenside. However, I failed to look at the position with fresh eyes, overlooking that white has quite a powerful threat now that his bishop is repositioned
19___ a5?
Mechanical play, 19 ___ Kg7! is essential here
20. f3!
Very strong, threatening to open the long diagonal for white's queen, which up until now has been locked out of the play
20. ___ Rfe8
21. fxe dxe
The white queen now has a killer diagonal
22. hxg hxg
23. Rh3!
I think this is sounder than 23. Rh6!? Kg2 24.RxB+ KxB
23 ____ Kg7
24. Rgh1 f5!?
White is exerting great pressure now, 24 ___ Re7 might offer more resistance here
25. gxf5 Bxf5

Fedja now produces a powerful sacrificial combination
26. Nxe4! Rxe4
27. Rh7+! BxR
28. RxB+ KxR
White has sacrificed both rooks but he will recover a rook and piece in return
29. QxN+

This is a very interesting position.

In the game black played 29___ Kh8 and quickly lost after 30. BxR Qh6 31. Qxc7 which wins another piece and the game 31 ___ g4 32. Bxc6 Qxe3+ 33. Kd1 and wins

However, if black plays instead 29 ___ Kh6! it is harder for white to win. The move that looks riskier is a better chance. This was a failure to look ahead - it wasn't too hard to see that 29___ Kh8 would lose fairly easily.

30.Bxe4 Rh8 (forced) 31. Nf3! g4!

White now has various possibilities 31. Ne5, 31. Nh4, 31. BxN, the best seems to be:

31. Ne5! NxN 32. dxe5 Qb6 and now 33. Kc2! and the threat of e6 seems to win the game for white. It took me quite a while to find this winning line for white.

Well played, Fedja. What I learnt from this game is the need to re-evaluate each new position afresh, not to become caught up too much in earlier thinking. Hence chess is a good antidote against dogmatic thinking.


Peter Rock said...

Is this an open tournament or did you have to qualify to play in it?

Bill Kerr said...

hi peter,

There is a reserves tournament (candidates) so I had to quality, through my rating.

More details at