Monday, January 16, 2012

TCCL round 5

The team did well to draw the match, as I was unable to hold against National Master David Heurung. The annotated game in a viewer is at the end of the post.

My preparation in the Neo-Grunfeld worked well for me. I still made a few wasted moves and my position eventually fell apart. I made him use up most of his time, though. I did not do too badly, considering it was the first Grunfeld of any kind I have played in my life (against a human, I did some sparring against Fritz, but I will talk about that in a post soon)

The Neo-Grunfeld splits into three lines, and the annotated games I could find were in one we did not play: the "solid" variation after 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.O-O c5 6.d4 d5

Neo Grunfeld solid variation
If Black does not support his d-pawn with c6, White can allow Black the option to take on c4, or can play as I did end up in the last variation. Once again, I ended up outside my opening book by move 10, but it was entirely my fault. (or the fault of not enough time learning this new opening for me.) My 10th move allowed him to easily equalize, and though he later made an inaccuracy that would have allowed me to regain a slight edge, I missed something important on my 21st move.

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. Nc3 Nb6

Here white has two main ideas. 9.d5 is aggressive and pushes black around, and my choice this time 9.e3 which solidifies d4 and tries to preserve the center pawns. The drawback is that the dark square bishop is blocked in for a while, but as is often the case with the queenside bishop, it is not yet clear where it should go.

 9. e3 a5 10. Na4?! White's knight on c3 is better than Black's on b6. I should not have used tempo to trade a better piece for a worse piece. Also, here is where I leave my "book". Black played what I expected up to move 9, and I forgot what I should have played 10. b3 here. e5 (10... a4 11. Nxa4 Nxa4 12. bxa4 Be6 13. Rb1 Ra7 14. Qc2 Qc8 15. Ba3) 11. Ba3 Re8 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nd4 c6 14. Qc2 Nd5 15. Nxd5 cxd5 16. Bb2 Be6 17. Rac1 Rc8 18. Qd2 $14) (10.Qe2 Bg4 11. h3 Be6 12. Rd1 Nb4 13. Nd2 Qc8 14. Kh2 Rd8 15. Nde4 c6 16. b3 N4d5 17. Bb2 a4 18. Nxd5 Bxd5 19. Nc5 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 a3 21. Bc3 Nd5 22. Be1 b6 23.Na4 Qb7 24. Rac1) (10. Re1 a4 11. d5 Nb4 12. e4 a3 13. Qe2 c6 14. Rd1 cxd5 15.Rb1 d4 16. Nb5 e5 17. bxa3 Nc6 18. Bg5 f6 19. Bd2 Be6 20. Bb4 Rf7 21. Bc5 Na4 22. Bb4 Rd7 23. Qd2 Nb6 24. Bf1 Nxb4 {Juhasz,K (2268)-Nanu,C (2535) Val Thorens 2009 0-1 (53)})

10... Nxa4 11. Qxa4 Bd7 Black kicks my queen around for the next few moves. 12. Qc4 Be6 13. Qe2 Qc8 a very nice multipurpose move. The queen and bishop battery sets up to trade off light square bishops and the queen clears d8 for a rook to control the d-file. 14. Ng5 hinders Black's Q+B battery with the idea of repositioning the knight to c5 or c3. Bg4 15. f3 Bd7 leaves all of his options open 16. Bd2 I thought I had a spare move, but...
after 16.Bd2
16...e5! which is the thematic pawn break in the Neo-Grunfeld when Black has a Nc6. 17. d5 Ne7 18. Qc4 c6 19. d6 Nf5 20. Ne4 Rd8?!  (Keeping the balance was 20... Qb8 21. Qd3 c5 =)
after 20...Rd8
21. g4? throws the chance away. Black does not really want to leave his knight on f5, so there is no need to push it off. White needs the tempo to support the d-pawn with 21. Qc5 Be6 22. Bxa5 and a modest advantage for white.

21... Be6 22. Qc5 Nxd6 23. Nxd6 Bf8 24. Bxa5 Rxd6 25. Bb4 (25. Qxe5 ?? drops the bishop to Rd5) 25... Qd7 26. Qxe5 Rd5
after 26...Rd5
27. Qc3? does not leave the Bb4 enough freedom. In particular c3 is likely to be the best square for the bishop. The last chance to make is a struggle was 27. Qe4 f5 28. gxf5 Bxf5 29. Qf4 Ra4 30. a3 c5 31. b3 Ra6 32. Bc3 with a small advantage to Black.

27... c5  and the white queenside pawns will fall in order to preserve the bishop 28. Ba5 Qb5  29. Bc7 Bg7 30. Qc2 Qxb2 31. Qxb2 Bxb2 32. Rab1 Rd2 33. Rf2 Rxf2 34. Kxf2 Rxa2 35. Kg3 Bb3 36. Bb6 (36. f4 c4 37. Bd5 b5) 36... c4 37. f4 c3 38. Bd4 Bc2 39. Rf1 39... Bd3 0-1

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