Week 7 Recap: against New England
Unfortunately our crashing win against North Carolina last week didn’t turn into a winning streak and in turn we got crashed .5 – 3.5 against New England. So now this leaves us in third place in the Pacific division, which will make our match against 2nd place Seattle next week even more crucial. I thought we were matched pretty evenly against New England and some of the games were pretty complicated, but alas that didn’t prove to be fruitful. Below are my thoughts on the games:
This game followed a long theoretical line that is common for this Opening. I thought after exchanging everything in the center, only black could be better. The knight has a nice outpost on d5 and White’s c1 bishop doesn’t have anywhere to go. Black chose not to press and things were liquidated quickly after.
To me, this was the most interesting game of the match and I actually liked Andranik’s chances. The Fianchetto line, known for being one of the quieter lines in the KID, became pretty complicated after Black sacrificed a piece for 3 pawns. Even with the pair of the bishops, it’s not easy for White to prove anything, so instead of diving into the analysis of the position, I’ll just post the diagram below because I think it’s an interesting position for training games for anyone interested. Try playing both sides and see what you can come up with.
White played the early b4 in the English Opening, which apparently has been tried several times by GM Akopian. I really don’t like placing the knight on a3, where it has no future. Better would have been just playing a3 and letting that a4 pawn become a target in the future. Black managed to get play on the king side and weaken White’s king, while White had to waste time bringing that a3 knight back into the game. Black’s 24…Bc6 was a little strange and I’m not sure why he’d give away the d5 square like that. After that, White slowly started out playing Black and even got a winning position. 48. Rb2! Transferring the rook to the c file looks winning for White. 50. Kh2 would have led to a perpetual, but I think at this point we were already in a must win situation and Larry felt the need to take unnecessary chances, which unfortunately didn’t pay off.
Apparently, the whole taking on h5 line is all theory, but to me it looks highly suspicious for Black. The computer suggests 19…0-0-0, but it just looks kinda suicidal for Black, though I’m not sure if more so than leaving the king in the center. Eventually Black gave up an exchange and it just looked winning for White, but he missed an opportunity after 36…Bc4 37. Rc2 Ba2 38. Bb4 and the intermediate Bb3!. After that, White didn’t give Black any more opportunities and won a pretty clean game.