One Third IM-Black is King Part 2

GM KaydenTroff

Here it is!!!  The conclusion you all have been waiting forSmile.  For those of you who may not have caught Part 1, here is the link:

Seventh game I played Michael Casella as White.  I knew I needed 6.5 points to get my norm.  Going into this game, I had 4.5 with 3 games left.  Considering that two of those games were an IM and a very high rated player whose both USCF and FIDE were well above mine, I felt like this was an important game for me to win.  Khachiyan and I had gone and prepped for him in the other room.  Khachiyan was there for the broadcast for the tournament.  We prepped for this line that he played against me last time I played him and I had seen that he played it against Joel Banawa when he played him.  Then he played a different line against me.  I played it correctly until we got to this one point, in which I was convinced there was a better line than just the simple do this and be slightly better.  I thought for a long time and thought I saw this good idea.  Unfortunately it wasn’t very good at all.  Khachiyan called it almost illegal, because it was so… bad.  After that it was just game over.  I found out later that what I decided not to play because I was convinced I had something better was the best line.  Don’t you hate that?!

4/4 with Black, .5/3 with White.  Already I see something seriously wrong with this.

Last day two more games to go!!  I need 2 wins to get my IM Norm.  I was playing IM Tim Taylor as Black eighth round and Roman Yankovsky as White last round. 

Eighth game I am playing IM Tim Taylor as Black.  (Yes it is repetitive, but I have to keep up with my beginning intro of each game, or it will just look weird).  It looked like he was going to play e4 against me, and so I prepared for that.  Finally someone actually went into what I expected!  Of course he was almost 30 minutes late (I’m not sure why), but it did affect him later in the game.  We got into the standard position and then he played something that was ok but just stepping away from what should be his plan.  I continued to play a regular way since there seemed nothing wrong with it and he played a few more ok moves, but not the correct idea.  Then he found a very creative and interesting idea.  He sacrificed his pawn and brought his Rook up; it looked like he wanted to bring his Rook to the Kingside after a breakthrough in the center.  I brought my Knight back preparing for some breakthrough since that is what he appeared to be prepping for.  He did break through sacrificing another pawn, this one though I didn’t think he had enough compensation for.  He attacked me and I had to be careful, but I slowly started getting my pieces ready to push him back and be able to take advantage of my +2 pawns.  There was one point I almost made a move to force him to trade Queens quickly.  I thought about it for a little bit and was like “wait a second that drops the exchange.”  So instead I brought my Rook up releasing my Queen from having to protect the mate threat.  He moved his Rook back to free his Queen, but it gave me chances for bringing my Knight in at some point.  I threatened his pawn by moving my Queen over and by now he is starting to get low on time.  He protected his pawn and now I brought my Knight in threatening his Queen.  He threatened my Knight, I pushed my pawn threatening his Bishop, protecting my Knight, and threatening to win the exchange by tactics.  He moved his Bishop back and I checked him with my Knight.  He took my Knight and I took his Rook, because his pawn was pinned to his King.  Now I’m up two pawns the exchange and he is lower on time.  After a few more moves, I forked his Rook and pawn and he took my pawn only to be forked again, but this time his Rook and Bishop.  After that he resigned.

5/5 with Black—a perfect score!!, .5/3 with White… I have to win one game as White or this would be very wrong.

Ninth and final round I am playing Roman Yankovsky as White.  Roman had the clear lead after winning 7 games in a row after a first round loss.  He had already secured his third and final IM Norm, but he needed to beat me so his FIDE would go above 2400 and he could become an IM.  And I needed the win for my norm and as white!!  As Ankit said, “The fireworks will be flying for the final round.”  I thought about offering to trade him colors!! J  While I was preparing, David Pruess came over and asked if we (My mom and I) knew anywhere for him to get some food and regenerate his energy.  My mom told him that we didn’t because downtown LA is a business district so most things close on Sunday.  My mom offered him some trail mix, and he said that that was perfect.  He offered then to help prepare me for my next game.  So we went and prepared.  Naturally this was really nice, but one thing to take into consideration is that David was in third and I was in second.  So he is risking a chance at $300 if I win.  Because $300 was the prize for second.  So "Thank You David!"

Unfortunately, Roman didn’t go into what we prepared, but of the two lines I thought he might play I knew one pretty well and then studied the other one.  So he played into the one of the two I knew and felt better about.  We played on for a while in theory and then he said I played into theory for a couple more moves, but in the file on the opening I had, it recommended something else.  But what I played was okay.   There were two very important parts to this game!!   Part of this game was playing well, and the other was to keep a straight face since we were both nervous.   I saw that he was showing it a bit so I tried to keep a straight face to make him more nervous.  Truth be told, I was way nervous, but I always liked it when my opponent looked nervous and it helped me feel more confident.  So anyway, Roman sacrificed a pawn which I decided that I could keep which may not have been the best, but in a position where we are both unsure I felt like keeping the material might be good.  I tried to trade Queens and he went into this crazy sacrifice which after all the smoke cleared I was down a pawn, but Rybka says it was about equal.  By this point I figured win or lose this is the kind of game I want for a last game and having stuff on the line for both of us.  Just exciting!!!  But if I win, I wouldn’t mindJ.  He checked me with his Queen, which I was actually worried about this move before I took his pawn, but I saw that interposing with my Rook looked very good; threatening to fork his Queen and a mate threat and also bringing my Queen up threatening his Knight.  He pushed his pawn stopping the fork, but after I brought my Queen up it was either give me your Knight or Rook.  He threatened my Rook, but I took his Knight check and continued to check his King until it was out to e5!  Then I saw that I could just take his pawn, and after he takes my Rook (which he did do) I check him with my Bishop.  He takes my Bishop with his Queen.  I take his Queen with my Knight.  He takes my Knight with his King.  So now he has a piece and a Rook for a Queen, but after I checked him with my Queen, it was again piece (in this case it was a Bishop) or Rook.  He resigned after that.   I had won!!  I got my first IM norm and secured 2nd place in the tournament!!

David Pruess also won!  Sorry Joel, but I would have had to have felt guilty if David spent his prep time helping me and lost when my opponent didn’t even go into what we prepared.

5/5 with Black, 1.5/4 with White, what can I say…? Black is AWESOME!!!  I will say though that I felt a strong need to redeem White in this tournament, and getting a win again the tournament leader who had won 7 in a row and was having an amazing tournament, and who was also a lot higher rated than me, was a good way to do it!!

Here is my final game: