Middlegame in Veresov
Before my semifinal against Albin I predicted him to choose black wich would give him the spot in the final if the game went to a draw. This is the Öland Master rules, the lowrated player chooses coulor and black win if its a draw. Before I had some trouble with my usuall white game against Albin and checked briefly in my opening books and found an interesting game between J.Hector-A.Fridh, Swedish Championship 1986. I have tried this before against Anders Larsson in 2013 nut didnt do it right but got away with a draw (see "Bad Veresov against my nemesis").
1.Nc3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bg5 Bf5 4.f3 Nbd7 5.Qd2 h6 6.Bh4 e6 7.e3 And as Cyrus Lakdawala wrote in the book "a ferocious opening repertoire", "Wisely showing restraint. One of the key skills a Veresover must develop is to know when to play e4 and when to hold it back."
I knew he would eagerly swap pieces and wanted to keep all aboard and make make game hard to handle. Hes a famous time consumer in the past and if we would go for a long game I could have a time advantage. This was my secondary goal and the primary was to force e4 and take care of business!
This was my inspiration for the game if he would go for Bf5 and he sure did...
1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 h6 4.Bh4 Bf5 5.f3 Nbd7 6.Qd2 c6 And here he avoided e6 and I had to improvice a bit in the spirit of Hectors game.
I had in my mind to go for a early push against his position and spent some extra minutes before I went on with 7.g4 Bh7 8.Bg3 (aiming at e5) e6 9.Nh3?! (h4 first would have been better) Nb6 10.e3 (b3 might be good to, but I didnt want to weakening the queenside). And now we are moore like it I thought! I have more move options and e4 hangs in the air but Nb6 threatens Nc4 so e3 was needed.
Hector did play Nge2 but I left that in order to let the Bf1 a chance to get out on f1-a6 diagonal. Game went on with 10.- Bd6 11. 0-0-0 Qc7 12.Bxd6 Qxd6
13. g5 Nfd7 14.gxh6 gxh6 15. e4! finaly it was time for the e4 push with tempo due to the threath on h6. Its anyhow critical If I miss to wrap up this because an endgame with my pawns weakened would have been bad! I then had to use my forces with care and provoke him.
So in order to save h6 he moved 15.- Bg6 16. Nf4 0-0-0 17.Bd3 is the right square for the bishop now 17.- e5 18. Nxg6 fxg6 19. exd5 exd4?! better would have been Nxd5 and I dont see how I would have come on top.... 20. dxc6 Qxc6 , bxc6 might work better but my game is getting stronger move by move and in my next move 21. Nb5! Albin began to use his time ferociously!
As I had hoped he consumed more then 60 minutes to complete his next 5 moves. 21. - Qd5 22. Nxa7+ Kb8 23. Nb5 Ne5 24. Qa5 Nxd3 25. Rxd3 and I was hoping for grabbind pawn on d4 and then going for a won endgame. But but Albin was going for a combo and next move will be the end of my blog about this game 25.- Nc4? a questionmark yes inded it is master Yoda!
So who ever I would ask after this game on how to play now as white the answer is.... But in the game I started to feel afraid over blacks counterchanses but that was a ghost in a tired head. White should play 26. Qc7+ and win material Ka8 27. Rxd4 Qxb5 28. Rxd8+ Rxd8 29. Qxd8 Ka7 30. Qd4+ the move I missed I was afraid over matethreath on b2 but with queen on d4 and all is covered!
So I went on with 26. Qa7+ Kc8 27. Nxd4 Qg5+ 28. Kb1 Qe5 29. Rhd1 Rhe8 and ohyeah I spotted mate on e1 after black play Qxd4 Rxd4 Rxd4 Re1+ and mate after Rd1 Rxd1 . Safety first 30.Qa4 Nb6 and 31. Qb5 with trading one of ours rooks and queens. Had an endgame win mostly cause of blacks lack of time!