I just played a very entertaining game that defintely seems worth sharing. I'm in St. Louis for a GM norm tournament, and even though it's going pretty horrendously, I'm trying to take it in stride. So, back to the game...my opponennt was a young Grandmaster named Denes Boros with a rating close to 2500. The game lasted 126 moves and although I spent about 70 of those moves defending a bad position, there were plenty of chances for both sides with some very interesting and study-worthy positions at certain points.
The game started out as a symmetrical, Tarrasch-type position with an Isolated Queen Pawn - IQP. White's bishop on e2 in the opening isn't as actively placed as a lot of the main line Tarrasch setups for White with the bishop on g2. Due to this fact, it seems like Black is generally pretty OK in this setup.
Take some time in the above position to see if you can work out a good continuation for Black. If you find Nxe3! than you are doing better than me because I played Nxf2 almost instantly. Not a very good decision on my part. When you see a good move, look for a better one! Not only that, but you should always consider every capture or threat in the position. Seems simple, but so easy to forget! After 17...Nxe3, the most likely continuation would be 18. fxe3 18...Bxe3+ 19. Kh1 and 19...Nh5 with a strong attack that would most likely result in the win of two exchanges. The balance of material would be strange but ultimately I think in Black's favor, since he will most likely end up with an extra pawn as well.
After the missed opportunity, I still retained the better chances but psychologically I knew I had missed a good opportunity and lost concentration. My opponent did a lot of things well for the next 60 moves or so. He defended a worse position and then struck when I made a mistake. He earned a better position and made me suffer for the next 3 hours defending an unpleasant position. His bishop pair was very strong in the open position and with fixed pawns he had no risk to try lots of maneuvres without declaring himself. He put a lot of pressure on me and at several points there were clear wins for him. It looks like he is just shuffling his pieces around but in a timed game it's not easy to defend constant threats for 60 moves and it's likely your opponent will eventually crack the position, which is exactly what happened to me.
Let's see if you can find the easiest win in this position. White has a dominating position, but finding a clear end to the game is not so easy, especially under approaching time pressure. White's easiest solution is just to play Bg7! with a mating net around my King. His threats of Ne7 and Bg4 force me to sacrifice material, and ultimately the game. Luckily for me he didn't play this and we eventually reached a very complicated endgame with imbalanced but equal material.
After about 6 hours of play we finally reached a position that looked winning for me at first, but White has a defense. Can you see what it is?
White's only option is to play Nf1 but it is plenty good enough to draw. After capturing his Knight there is no way for me to make progress. Anywhere I move my rook will result in losing the f2 pawn, and I have no choice but to sacrifice my Rook for the two remaining pawns. A truly entertaining game! I will post the entire game now. It probably would have been nice to have it from the start but I don't like letting people look through the game for the answers to the puzzles. :) If you are interested, here you go.
I recommend you go through the game if you have a chance. The opening is useful, especially the endgame maneuvering done by my opponent. The end is exciting, with each of us racing to break through where we want to promote. I'm happy to help analyze any variations if you're interested. Hope you enjoy it more than I did when I was playing!