Round 4 of Eastern Class and I have 1.5 points out of 3.0 possible. I am pretty sure I will skip the 5th round because my chess roommate (Mark Kaprielian, President of MetroWest CC) was hinting... get home early and all that. I am paired with Henry Olynick, a blind player from NY, White Plains I believe. I later find out he is there with two other of his local club players. They are all very nice folks. The only reason I bring up that he is blind is that I've seen him play before, but never really understood the protocol. To be honest, at first I thought maybe it would be a lot of extra work, but that wasn't the case. He was a great chess opponent, a true gentleman, and explained everything up front and made the protocol very easy. All in all I found no real difference in play with anyone else at our class level. He was able to maintain the chess tension on the board quite well, but at a certain point he slipped. But don't we all? For a good example of me slipping, see my 3rd round game (previous post).
I have White, 1.e4, and he plays 1...c5. Sicilian, excellent, I get to try out a Grnad Prix attack for the first time ever. This is a Lev Alburt recommendation. Of course I don't know it to any depth, I deviate early, and get into a slightly awkward position that somehow I figured out how to hold and maintain tension.
2.Nc3 e6 3.f4 (at least I remembered this - LOL) 3...e6 (one of three reasonable replies), 4.exd5, wrong. 4.Nf3 is called for but I didn't understand how to deal with Black's center so I was afraid to play it even though I suspected I needed to play it. 4.exd5 trying to simplify. 4...exd4 5.d4 fighting for the center, 5...c4 6.Be2 g6 and the position clarifies. 7.Nf3 and we have a roughly equal position. It felt roughly equal during the game although I knew somthing was not quite right about the pawn structure. In this game I am determined to make great lemonade so I analyzed to figure out what squares and lines I needed, tension to create, catalog the tactical possibilities, and so on. 7...Nc6 8.O-O White is castled, and Black isn't. I go into a big think. 8...Bg7. Expected.
White is thinking about a Queen/Bishop battery on the dark squares to take out Black's Bishop, possible pawn push along the f-file, how to cover weaknesses along the e-file and so on. 9.Be3 Nge7 10.Qd2 O-O 11. Rae1 Re8 12.Bd1 a6 13.Ne5 and now WHite feels like he is slowly consolidating the position, perhaps getting slivers of advantages here and there. Nothing big though. 13...Nf5 14.Bf2 maintain pressure.
Up to this point I was eyeing the d5 pawn. One of the typical plans against a pawn wedge (White's part of the wedge is a combination of pieces and pawns) is to hit the most backward pawn. Currently it's covered by the Queen. Also, if White's Knight is exchanged, the f4 pawn will recapture opening the f-file where White can bear down on the newly backward f7 pawn...
And then 14...Qc7?? and Black cracks. He wants to put more pressure on White's Knight, maybe even think about vague threats to the h2 pawn, but he takes his eye off of the d5 pawn. 15.Nxd5+- and the tactical possibilities increase dramatically. 15...Qd8 16.Nxc6 bxc6 doubling pawns and setting up for the next tactical volley, deflection. The Queen is currently guarding the c7 square (classic attack square for the opposing Knight). However by capturing the Rook on e8 with check, the Queen can be deflected. 17.Rxe8+ Qxe8 18.Nc7 and Black is frustrated that there are more material losses to come. 18...Qd8 19.Nxa8 Be6 20.c3. Let Black use another move recapturing the Knight, in the meantime strengthen the center and clarify the position.
20...Qxa8 21.Re1 Qd8 22.Bf3 Ne7 23.Rd1, White is eager to create a Queen/Rook battery although 23.Bh4 (suggested by Houdini) may be quicker. White uses Bh4 in the next move. 23...a5 (no more good moves?) 24.Bh4 now Black is increasingly hamstrung.
24...f6 more weakening of Black's position, blocking his dark Bishop, and allowing more tactics, a deflection, followed by a fork. 25.Bxc6! (deflection) Nxc6 26. d5 (fork) and Black loses more position. 26...g5 27.Bf2 and Black has to decide what to give up 27...Bxd5 28.Qxd5+ more tactics, forcing the exchange of Queens after Black is already down serious material.
Game over. The rest is, as they say, technique.