Blitz draw with Kingfishers
(Beat Reporter: Mark LaRocca)
The Baltimore Kingfishers came ready to play and, coupled with a very lackluster performance by the Blitz, found themselves pushing for a win in the final game to finish, Enkhbat vs Shmelov. Luckily, or possibly unluckily, Denys was able to save the inferior side of a Rook endgame and the game ended in a draw… as , in fact,did all the games of this match… leaving the spectators little to write home about with a Blitz (2 – 2) disappointing match draw.
I call this match disappointing… meaning no disrespect to a tough Baltimore team. Rather, I expected our board 3 and 4 tag team of Vadim and Ilya to provide the umph needed for a Blitz win. As it turned out, they both blew winning positions in a very uncharacteristic fashion. Meanwhile, Denys was suffering, as only Denys can… but, I was always sure of a draw in his game… based solely on the fact that he had removed his hood… one of my keys to judging his positions. Marc, on the other hand, never had to raise a sweat… his opponent played the Pirc… and Marc countered very classically, maintaining an advantage throughout… straight to a pawn up Rook and Bishop of opposite color engame. And what an endgame it was.
I ask for the reader’s indulgence this week, as I will provide only one diagram per game… but, a draw is a draw is a draw… and this match was hardly inspiring… well, on to the first to finish… No Morra Gambit here… but then, Marc’s opponents know better… Let’s take a look…
1.e4 d6 The Pirc... a good surprise choice when your opponent arrives 20 minutes late.
2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2... [6.h3 is the popular choice... limiting Black's light squared Bishop.]
6...c6 7.a4 Nbd7 8.0–0 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Nd2 Qe7 11.Nc4 Nc5 12.Qd6 Qxd6 13.Nxd6 Ne6 14.Rfd1... White has played very classically and achieved an edge. Black now decides to sac a pawn for some freedom.
14...Nd4 15.Bxd4 exd4 16.Rxd4 Nd5 17.Nxd5 Bxd4 18.Ne7+ Kg7 19.Nexc8 Raxc8 20.Nxc8 Rxc8 21.c3 Bf6 White is up a pawn. But, the Bishops of opposite color make this extremely tough to win.
22.Rd1?!... I believe this is an inaccuracy. Why oppose on the open file. Would White want to trade Rooks at this point... I don't think so.
[22.f4 Rd8 23.Kf2 g5 (23...Rd2 24.Rb1 g5 25.Ke3) 24.g3 Be7 with a long game ahead.]
22...Rd8 23.Bd3 Be5 24.g3 g5 25.Kf1 b5 26.axb5 cxb5 27.Ke2 b4 28.cxb4 Bxb2 29.f4 h6 30.Rd2 Bc3 31.Ra2 Bd4 White is still up a pawn. But, I don't see how to make progress. Perhaps trading Rooks should not be rejected. But, then what?
32.Rc2 Bb6 33.Bc4 Rd4 34.Kf3 g4+ 35.Kxg4 Rxe4 36.b5 Rd4 37.Be2 Rd5 38.h4 Rc5 39.Rd2 Rc3 40.h5 Bf2 41.Rd7... offering the pawn and a draw.
[41.Bd3 Be1 42.Rd1 Bf2 43.Kf3 Bb6 44.g4 Kf6 Keeps the pawn... but, I don't think there is a win.]
41...Rxg3+ 42.Kf5 Rc3 ½–½
Boston (0.5 – 0.5)
One draw down and only three to go... This was a long night. Ilya had the win in the bag... an exchange up and hardly a care in the world.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0–0 8.Bb3 e6 9.f3?! Simply allowing ...d5. But, then what is the point of f3?
9...d5= 10.0–0 [10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.0–0 is slightly better for Black.]
10...Qa5 11.Qe1 dxe4 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.fxe4=/+… after this, Black is better.
[13.Nxe4 Qxe1 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.Rfxe1 Bxb2 16.Rab1 Bc3 17.Red1 Ba6 18.Rd7 Black is up a pawn... But, the game is about equal since, in order to hold it, Black will have awkward piece placement for quite a while.]
13...Ng4 14.Bf4 Ba6 15.Rf3 Rad8 16.Na4??... This is a blunder which loses the exchange... and should lose the game.
16...Bd4+ 17.Kh1 Qxe1+ 18.Rxe1 Nf2+ 19.Rxf2 Bxf2 20.Rc1 c5 21.c4 f6 22.Rf1 Bd4 23.Bd2 f5 24.Bh6 Rf7 25.e5 f4 26.Bg5 Rdd7 27.Bf6 Be3 28.Nc3 Bb7 29.Rd1?... White's position was hopeless... so, maybe this doesn't deserve a "?"... Fritz gives it
as -+(9.25). White has no hope... or does he?
29...Rxd1+? Oops! back to –+(5.00)
[29...f3 is mate... or wins major material. 30.Nd5 and resigns (30.h3 Rxd1+) ]
30.Bxd1 Rd7 31.Bg4 Kf7 32.Bf3 Bxf3
This is best... but, Black starts to go wrong from here.
33.gxf3 Rd2 34.Ne4 Rxb2 35.Ng5+ Ke8 36.Nxe6 h6
Black is still winning... but, much better was...
[36...Rxa2 37.Ng5 (37.Nc7+ Kd7) 37...h6 38.Ne4 Kf7 Black is winning easily.]
37.Nc7+ Kf7 38.Bd8 Rb6 39.e6+ Rxe6 40.Nxe6 Kxe6
Black is still a pawn up... but... how to convert? First, create a passed pawn.
41.Bc7 Kd7 This gives a tempo... but, doesn't necessarily lose all winning chances... Let's look at...
[41...g5 42.h4 Kf5 43.hxg5 hxg5 44.Kh2 g4 45.Kg2 (45.fxg4+ Kxg4 46.Kg2 f3+ is out of the question.) 45...g3 Well... there it is... a healthy passed pawn. 46.Bd6 But, now what... Let's try... 46...Ke6 47.Bc7 Bd2 48.Bb8 a6 49.Bc7 Kd7 50.Be5 Kc6 51.Bf6 Ba5 52.Be5 Bc7 53.Bc3 Kb6 54.Kg1 and there is no entry.... I think the game was a draw if played perfectly. But, this is not certain.... maybe the readers can find better.]
42.Ba5 Ke6 43.Bc7 g5 44.Kg2 Bd4 45.h4 Be5 46.Ba5 gxh4 47.Kh3 Bf6 [47...Kf5 48.Kxh4 Kg6 49.Kg4 h5+ 50.Kh4 Bf6+ 51.Kh3 is another way to get a passed pawn... But, Black cannot penetrate.]
48.Bc7 Kf5 Now, Black has two passed pawns... but cannot win.
49.Bd6 Bd4 50.Kxh4 Be3 51.Kh5 a6 [Equal.]
52.Kxh6 Ke6 53.Bb8 Kf5 54.Kh5 Bf2 55.Bd6 Be3 56.Kh6 Bd4 57.Kh5 Bf2 58.Kh6 Bd4 59.Kh5 ½–½
Boston (1 – 1)
Ok, Well... that was special... Now, the pressure was on Vadim... He had to win since Denys seemed quite a bit inferior. No problem... he was in just his kind of position... confusing. Besides... what else could go wrong?... I shouldn't have asked...
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0–0 7.0–0 c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Bf4 Bb7 10.Nbd2 Nh5 11.cxd5?!... This is one of Vadim's mystery moves... the type I don't understand. Standard is doing something with the Bishop...
[11.Be3 or; 11.Bxb8 with a slight edge for White.]
11...Nxf4 12.gxf4 cxd5-/+ [White is worse.]
13.Rfc1 Nc6 14.Qa4 Qd7 15.e3 Rfc8 16.Bf1 a6
16...f6 Stops the White Knight from disturbing any Black plan.
17.Qb3 Qd8 18.Ne5 Na5 19.Qd1 f6 20.Nef3 Qe8–+
Black has a clear edge as his pieces seem more coordinated and his Kingside is safer. But... the game is not easy for either side.
21.Bh3 Bd6 22.Rxc8 Bxc8 23.Rc1 Bd7 24.Nh4 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Qxc8 26.f5…
During the game, I didn't like this move... but, after some brief computer analysis, it seems as good as any.
26...e5?!= This seems to throw away Black's advantage. Better was...
[26...Bb8 waiting to see what White's offside pieces are doing. 27.fxe6 Bxe6 28.Bxe6+ Qxe6 is better for Black.]
27.dxe5 Bxe5 28.Bg2 Bxf5?
Believe it or not, this is a blunderand should lose. Equal was...
[28...Bc6 29.Nb3 Qd7=]
29.Nxf5 Qxf5 And now for our puzzle of the day... find the winning move.
30.Nb3?= Vadim missed it.
30...Bxb2 31.Nxa5 bxa5 32.Qxd5+ ½–½
Boston (1.5 – 1.5)
And now for our final Bloodless death match... and this one we were a bit worried about... Could we actually lose this match?
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Qb3 Qc7 8.Bd2 Nbd7 9.Rc1 Nb6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Be2 Be7 12.h3…
We are out of book here... but, this is no worse for less wear... White has a slight edge.
[12.g3 Rd8 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.Kf1]
12...0–0 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.0–0 Qd6 15.Rfd1 Bd8 16.a4 Bc7 17.g3 Nh5 18.Be1…
Very Kramnik-like... holding on to the Bishops.
18...a5 19.e4 dxe4 20.Nxe4 Qd5 21.Qxd5 Nxd5 22.Nc5 Ra7±
White has a bind and the Bishops.
23.Bf3 Nhf6 24.Rd3 Bd6 25.Rb3 Rb8
[25...Re8 26.Nxb7 Bb4 27.Rxb4 (27.Bxb4 Rxb7 is good for Black.) 27...axb4 28.Nc5 White is slightly better with one pawn for the exchange.]
26.Nd3 Re8 27.Bd2 Kf8 28.Nc5 Re7 29.h4 Bxc5 30.dxc5 Ne4 31.Be1 Nxc5 [31...Re5 32.Kf1 Ndf6=]
32.Bxd5 cxd5 33.Rxc5 Rxe1+ 34.Kg2 Re4
There don't seem to be any winning chances here... expecially for Black. So, probably, he should trade one of the Rooks with ...Re5.
35.Rxd5 Rxa4 36.Re3 Ra8 37.Rd7 Kg8 [37...Re8 38.Rc3 (38.Rxe8+ Kxe8 39.Rxb7 is equal) 38...Rae4 would be less complicated.]
38.Ree7 Rf8 39.Rxb7 Ra2 40.g4 a4 41.Re3 Ra8 42.Rf3 Rf8 43.g5 Ra1 44.Ra3 Rxa3 45.bxa3 Ra8
Looks like a draw from here on out... although White has the better of it for a while.
46.f3 Kf8 47.Kg3 Ra5 48.Kg4 Rc5 49.Rb4 Ra5 50.f4 Ke7 51.Rb8 Rc5 52.Rb4 Ra5 53.h5 gxh5+ 54.Kxh5 Kf8 55.Kg4 g6 56.Kf3 Ke7 57.Ke3 Ke6 58.Ke4 Ra6 59.Rc4 Ra5 60.Rc6+ Ke7 61.Rb6 Rc5 62.Ra6 Rc4+ 63.Ke5 Ke8 64.Ra7 Kf8 65.Ra5 Kg7 66.f5 gxf5 67.Kxf5 Rd4 ½–½
Nobody fell asleep... except for the spectators... I was on my way home before the end of this one.
Boston (2 – 2)
No harm… no foul… no Blood… no mess to clean up. However, the Blitz miss a great opportunity to gain on both New England and Connecticut, who drew their match. Oh well, so things will be a bit harder. So what!... How does that great chess poem go… “Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward…”
Half a win is better than half a loss.
See you there next week…
Tuesday 7:30pm… Blitz vs NY Knights, 59 Shepard st., Cambridge, MA.