Friday, June 17, 2011

chess swings and roundabouts

My chess results have been quite erratic of late. Currently I'm playing interclub in South Australia for the Modbury Club. I'm busy so for preparation all I really do is go through some tactical exercises in the Combinational Motifs book by M. Blokh, beforehand.

Last Tuesday I played against the new State Champion, Goran Srdic, and lost.

We did a quick post mortem after the game and Goran revealed that he thought his position was always good. I had played a risky move 16 which enabled him to cleverly win the exchange. Nevertheless, he had weak pawns and I had the 2 bishops so I thought I was still doing ok. His move 28 looked strong but I had thought of a brilliant reply, which I played. I thought he would have to give up his queen but he didn't. My attack petered out and he won the endgame easily.

This game stayed in my head, particularly the position after move 31. I recaptured his knight so I wouldn't fall too far behind on material. I was short of time. Eventually, a better move came to me without even setting up the position. It looked like I was winning now. How exasperating!

I setup the position to confirm my mental analysis and I'm pretty sure I'm correct. I could have won this game as a brilliancy against the new State Champ. Oh Damn! Here is the game.

White: Bill Kerr
Black: Goran Srdic
1. Nf3 d5
2. g3 Nf6
3. Bg2 Bf5
4. d3 c6
5. O-O h6
6. Nc3 e6
7. Nfd2!
I saw this maneuver in an online GM game a while back and liked it. White's e4 cannot be prevented and his pieces are well co-ordinated
7. __ Be7
8. e4 Bh7
9. Qe2
Black is now reluctant to develop his QN at d7 since then e5 from white would force his other night back to g8. So he decides to expand on the queenside instead.
9 __ a5
10. Kh1 Na6
Preparing f4. Since black has played __ a5 I didn't think he was planning to castle on the queenside so I'm going to attack him on the king side or centre.
11. f4 Nd7
12. exd!
Black has delayed castling and is vulnerable on the K file
12 __ cxd
13. f5! Bxf5
14. Nxd5 exd5
15. Rxf5 O-O
Initially, it looks like white will win the QP but that doesn't work out because black has a strong reply in __ Nb4. After thinking for 15 minutes I played a risky move.
16. Nf3?!
Possibly 16. c3 immediately is better
16. __ Bf6!
17. c3 Re8
18. Qf1 g6!
Winning the exchange
19. Rxd5 Nc7
20. Rd6 Qe7!
I was half expecting __ Nb5 here with a possible draw by repetition. (21. Rd5 Nc7 etc.) but Goran has seen further ahead than me this time
21. Bf4 g5
22. Ra-e1 Ne6
I had missed this move during my move 19 calculations
23. Rdxe6 fxe6
24. Bd2
Nevertheless, I have one pawn for the exchange and his pawns are weak and his king position is shaky. I thought the position was even but Goran thought he was winning.
24. __ Qd6
25. d4 e5
26. dxe Bxe5
This removes an important defender for the black king. But if he takes with the knight then 27. Nd4 is awkward
27. Nxe5 Nxe5
It would have been smarter if I withdrawn the B to c1 on move 24. Now I would have had more options.
28. Be3 Nd3
I saw this coming and initially it looked strong. But then I realised I could exploit the vulnerable position of the black king, with a great move!
29. c4!?
Probably 29. Re2 is good too. But this roll of the dice was worth it!
29. __ Nxe1
30. Bd5+
At this point I thought Goran would give up his queen and thought that would end in a draw by white implementing a perpetual check. 30 __ Qxd5 31. cxd5 Rxe3 32. Qf6 Ra-e8 (anything else looks too risky) and white has perpetual check. But Goran still thought he was winning.
30. __ Kh8
31. Bd4+ Re5
This is where I missed the win. I played the obvious 32. Qxe1 which gave black time to organise his defence. After 32 __ Ra-e8 33. Qe4?! Qf6! 34. h4 Kg7 35. Qg4 Kh7 black went on to win easily.

White missed a brilliant thirty second move which would have forced a win. Can you see it?