Where Experts Go Wrong... Part 4

May 24, 2009, 1:48 PM |

Hi everyone, this is the example of a game versus a time pressure addict. The annotations were too long to fit into chess.com's game presenter, so I have left the PGN file for any interested readers to grab. Also, I would like to thank my coach Dennis (DM in annoations) for his important contributions.




Plaxton,David (2032) - Whissell,Mavros (2067) [D45]


Toronto PcW Open 1 King Street West, Toronto (5), 19.04.2009

[Whissell, M.]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3

After the game, David said he wasn't too sure about the theory of this line. Nevertheless he picks a very sharp opening choice should I have replied 3...dxc4.


3...Nf6 Is the more usual move order. 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 Would transpose. MW


White declines a great deal of active continuations with this move. Now his dark-squared bishop will be locked away, yet White has performed remarkably well with the dreaded Slow-Slav.

4...Nf6 5.Nf3

So we have a slow-Slav, but Black has barricaded his bishop within his pawn chain...


This move scores terrible in the upper echelons (2300+) of chess and it is a wonder as to why. The most likely reason is that this is a passive position for the bishop in comparison to d6.

5...Nbd7 when Black's dark-squared bishop will often end up on d6. DM 6.Qc2 (6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 is the beginning of one mainline. MW; 6.Be2 Bd6) 6...Bd6 DM


From here the White bishop does not influence the all-important e4 square.

6.b3! Would play to take advantage of Black's odd move order, now the bishop cannot go to either of d6 or b4 or it would lose a tempo, and White would be up a whole move in a mainline! MW

6...Nbd7 7.0–0 0–0 8.b3

8.Qc2 is most accurate now (DM), taking away any Dutch-style plans with ...Ne4 followed by ...f5. If Black continues as in the game with 8...a6 , then 9.e4 dxe4 (9...dxc4 10.Bxc4 b5 11.Bd3 h6 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.a4² DM) 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Nf6 12.Qh4 gives White an edge and some attacking prospects. DM


8...b6 has been played in this position before.; 8...Ne4 DM


'?!' It's not badly motivated, but I don't like surrendering squares on my side of the board.DM


This move would probably mean little if White had played Bd3 earlier on. Now Black has a chance to unravel his cramped pieces.

9...a5; 9...b6 DM


10.Qc2 is more sensible. DM

10...Bd6 11.Nc3 Bb4 12.Na2

Quite honestly I would have been happy with a draw at this point, which my opponent believed was "chicken". However playing Black against an equal strength opponent in an even position probably says a draw is just fine.

12...Bd6 13.Bb2 Ne4

The move that I kept harassing the knight to move out of the way for happens.

14.Ne5!? Qc7 15.f4

White should at least get the free tempo with 15.f3! Nef6 (15...Ng5?? 16.h4 Is a problem. MW) 16.f4 DM 16...Ne4 And now we have the same position and White has gained a move over the text. MW

15...a5 16.c5?!

I can't say I like this move, as it locks away White's dark-squared bishop for a long time.

16...Bxe5 17.fxe5 f6 18.Bd3!

18.exf6 Ndxf6 19.Nc3 DM suggests the line 19...Nxc3 20.Bxc3 b6 21.cxb6 Qxb6 22.Qd2 Ne4 23.Rxf8+ Kxf8 24.Qc2 Kg8 25.Rc1 Bd7=; 18.Bg4 f5 19.Bf3 Is a tempo slower if White really wants to remove the knight, but such things are quite a bit less important in this currently closed position. MW


18...fxe5? 19.Rxf8+ Nxf8 (19...Kxf8 DM 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Qg4! Nf6 22.Rf1 Ke8 23.Rxf6! gxf6 24.Qg8+ Ke7 25.Qxh7+ Kd8 26.Qg8+ Kd7 27.Qf7+ Kd8 28.Qxf6+ Qe7 29.Qxe5±) 20.Bxe4 dxe4 (20...exd4? 21.Bd3 dxe3 22.Qh5+- DM) 21.dxe5 Is a gigantic mess, where White, if anyone, is better. DM; 18...b6?! '!' Keeps tension, but allows White to tear things to shreds. DM 19.Bxe4 (19.cxb6 DM 19...Qxb6„) 19...dxe4 20.exf6 Nxf6 21.cxb6 Qxb6² This position seems a bit better for White in the long run, who can count on his superior pawn structure for something. MW

19.Bxe4 dxe4

Pretty much forced. The alternative is to have White bomb in quickly on the Kingside while Black is ill-developed.

19...fxe4? 20.Qg4 Rxf1+ (20...Nb8?? 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Rf1+ Kg8 23.Qf4) 21.Rxf1 Nf8±


White plays prophylactically against the threat of ...b6, but this will ensure that his bad bishop stays bad for a long time.

[20.b4 b6 21.Qb3 Re8 22.Rxf5 bxc5 23.Nc3 Rb8 24.b5 cxb5 25.Rf2 bxa4 26.Qxa4 cxd4 27.Qxd4÷ DM]

20...Rd8 21.Qc2 Nf8 22.Qc4 Kh8 23.Ba3

Hyper-prophylaxis against ...b6, I guess. I don't much like it. DM

23...Bd7 24.Nc3 Ng6

Aiming for the d5 square (I hope). DM

24...Be8?? Is a move I almost played before quickly realizing that the knight on f8 is unprotected. 25.Nxe4+-

25.Rf2 Rg8

My plan was to redevelop and start a kingside advance, which perhaps White was better prepared for.

25...Ne7= 26.-- Nd5 DM

26.Rcf1 Qd8

It was probably better to just bring the rooks over first and then do the bishop manoeuvre.

26...Raf8 Was something I also considered. MW

27.Ne2 Qc8

27...Ne7 If you're going for a kingside pileup, then 27...Qg5 looks reasonable. DM


28.Nf4 Nf8! 29.g3! Be8 30.h4 Bf7 31.Qe2 Qe8= And this position seems very locked in place. MW

28...Be8 29.h4 Nf8

29...Ne7 30.Nf4 Nd5 31.Nxd5 cxd5 (31...exd5 32.Qe2 Bd7 is playable too. DM)

30.Nf4 Bf7

30...g5?? 31.hxg5 Rxg5 32.Rg2 Qd7 33.Kf2! White will make use of the open file much faster than Black's uncoordinated pieces. MW

31.Qe2 Qd8 32.h5 Qg5!?

'?!' DM After the game I thought this move was stupid, as it was a simple one move threat easily answered and misplacing the Black Queen. In fact White has to misplace his rook as well, so it may not be so bad! MW

32...h6? At first I thought this move was better, but it turns out that White's presence of rooks on the f-file might make it worse! 33.g4 Nh7 34.gxf5 exf5 35.Ng6+ Bxg6 36.hxg6 Ng5 37.Rxf5 Nf3+ 38.R1xf3 exf3 39.Qxf3 This seems a favourable variation as White now leads with his rook and has already removed the fpawn. 39...Qe7 40.e4 Raf8 41.Bc1²; 32...g6 DM 33.hxg6 (33.Rh2 g5 34.Ng2 h6 35.g4 Qd5 36.Qc4=) 33...Nxg6 34.Rg2 (34.Kh1 Nxf4 35.gxf4 Rg3 36.Rh2 Qg8µ) 34...Nxf4 35.Rxf4 Qd5 (35...Qg5 36.Rh4 Rg7 37.Bc1 Rag8 38.Rh3=) 36.Qc4 Bh5 and at worst Black has the better half of equality.

33.Rg2 Qe7

'?!' 33...Qh6 DM


Pointless. Moving the bishop to avoid ...b6 tricks might be worthwhile, but White clearly ought to move it to b2. DM

34.g4 White should strike, though it looks like this will transpose to the game after 34...h6 DM: 'if White plays 35.Bc1. It looks better to play' 35.gxf5 (35.Bb2 (DM) instead, though, intimating at some possible d5 tricks someday, prising open the long diagonal.) 35...exf5 Activates Black's bishop. DM; 34.Bb2 DM]

34...h6! 35.g4 Nh7 36.Ng6+?!

36.gxf5 is more accurate. 36...exf5 37.Ng6+ Bxg6 38.hxg6 Ng5 39.Rxf5 Nf3+ 40.Rxf3 exf3 41.Qxf3÷ is more dangerous for Black than for White. DM]

36...Bxg6 37.hxg6 Ng5 38.gxf5 Nf3+?!

Analysis bears out that this move is not as good as the alternative 38...Raf8! MW

38...Raf8! DM's suggestion. After all, Black does have the superior minor piece in this position, why is he in such a rush to exchange it? 39.f6 gxf6 40.Qh5 Kg7 41.exf6+ Rxf6µ And now, if only White's bishop were on b2! DM

39.Rxf3 exf3 40.Qxf3 exf5 41.Qh3?

'?' DM After he had made time control, Plaxton took almost 40 minutes for this move, which has the not so subtle idea of cheap-os revolving around his bishop capturing on h6. MW

41.Qxf5 DM 41...Qh4 42.Bd2 (42.Rh2 Qe1+ 43.Qf1 Qc3! Was what I had calculated to be Black's only active continuation, and it is quite nice. 44.e4?? is no longer possible. 44...Qxd4+ 45.Kh1–+ MW) 42...Raf8 43.Qg4± White doesn't have to mate Black with some sort of sac on h6. As long as he can keep Black from hurting him, his pawn mass and the fact that he'll be playing the ending with an extra king gives him a nice advantage. DM


A simple and good defensive manoeuvre, Black protects f5, gives the Black king breathing room, and is ready to answer an e4 push with f4! blocking out the pesky bishop.


'?' White goes downhill quickly, but the fundamental error came on move 41. He simply lost the thread there, hoping to blow you up instead of gradually constricting you. DM

42.e4 is shut down by 42...f4 MW 43.Qg4 But then DM adds 43...Qd8 44.Rd2 b6 45.Ba3 Qe7 46.Ra2 Qd8 47.Rd2 Qe7= is a silly line that illustrates two things. First, that if White plays sensibly Black still has to be careful; second, that White has to suffer because he didn't take your f-pawn when he had the chance. DM

42...Kg8 43.Be1 Rfe8?

'?' DM. With the simple idea of putting my Queen on e6 and removing anymore of this funny business.

43...Qe6! 'µ' DM 44.e4 Rad8 45.Bxa5 Rxd4µ Is an idea I missed. MW

44.Bh4 '?' DM

44.Qxf5 and we're back where we were a few moves ago. DM

44...Qe6 45.Bg5??

White is rather too much in love with the Bxh6 idea, but ironically it's not so bad here! DM Here White had about 2minutes and 30 seconds to complete the game, while I had a whole half hour. Therefore I took a good deal of time after each move calculating the best response. MW


So much for the big attack.

45...Qd7!³ DM


This does not really create as many serious problems for Black as playing 46.Rxg5 (see variation) MW [46.Rxg5 Rac8! DM (46...Rab8 is nothing special. DM 47.Kg2 DM (47.Qh7+ Kf8 48.Qh8+ Ke7 Transposes to our variations listed below, but again Black has a great deal of chance for error here.) 47...b6 What else? 48.Qh7+ Kf8 49.Qh8+ Ke7 50.Qxg7+ Kd8 51.Qa7=) 47.Qh5! Much better than patzer sees a check on h7, gives a check on h7. 47...Kf8 48.Rxf5+ Ke7 49.Rf7+ Kd8 50.Qh4+ (50.Qh7 Rc7 51.Qxg7 Qg4+ 52.Kf2 Rxf7+ 53.Qxf7 Qd7–+) 50...Re7 51.Rxg7 Rcc7 52.Kf2 Qxb3 53.Kf3 Qd5+ 54.Kf4 Qe6 55.Qg5 Rcd7 56.Rh7 Kc7 57.Rxe7 Rxe7 58.Qf6 Kd7 (58...Qd7?? 59.Qd6+! Kc8 60.Qxd7+ Kxd7 61.Kf5 Ke8 62.e4+- DM) 59.Kg5 Re8 60.Qf7+ Qe7+ 61.Qf6 Rf8 62.Qxe7+ Kxe7 63.g7 Rf1! 64.g8N+ Ke6 65.Nf6–+ MW

46...Kf8 47.Rh2??

Now it's over. DM

White could have made his attack much more challenging than this. MW

47.Rxg5! Is a much more challenging affair. Now Black has two good defensive moves which he must be able to find to navigate out of this mess. 47...Rab8! Would have been hard, but not impossible to find.

a) 47...Qg8?? 48.Rxf5+! Ke7 49.Rf7+ Kd8 50.Qh4+ Kc8 51.Qf4 '+-' Black is not just lost, he's dead lost here. There's nothing to be done about e6 - at least nothing good to be done about it. DM

b) 47...Ke7?? 48.Qxg7+ Kd8 49.Qxb7 Rc8 Is very awkward. MW 50.g7 DM continues the line 50...Rg8 51.Kf1 and it's not at all clear that Black can unravel to use his extra rook (granted White has four pawns for it). DM

c) 47...Rac8! DM 48.Qh8+ Ke7 49.Qxg7+ Kd8 50.Qxb7 Rg8 51.Kf2 Qe7 52.Qb6+ Kd7 53.Rg3 Qe6 54.g7 Rb8 55.Qa7+ Kc8 56.Qxa5 (56.Qa6+ Rb7 57.Qa8+ Kc7 58.Qf8 Rxb3 59.Qd6+ Qxd6 60.cxd6+ Kd7µ) 56...Qxb3 57.Qa6+ Kc7 58.Rg6 Qc2+ 59.Qe2 Qb1 60.Rg1 Qb3 61.Qd2 Rb4–+ This line was provided by DM, but I think it is quite difficult as a practical try. Simpler is to just defend the b-pawn with 47....Rab8 MW; 48.Qh8+ Ke7 49.Qxg7+ Kd8 50.Qf6+ Kd7–+ 51.Rxf5 Qxf6 52.exf6 Rg8 53.g7 Ke6 54.Rf4 Rbf8 and the pawns fall. MW

47...Qxb3 48.Qh8+ Qg8

A nice defensive move which my opponent missed in his lengthy calculations. I remembered it from my game with McTavish in 2004, when I was the one who was surprised by a backwards defensive Queen move.

49.Qh3 Ke7 50.Qxf5 Qe6 51.Qxg5+ Kd7 52.Rh7 Rg8 53.Qf6

And now with less than a minute, my opponent offered a draw. I couldn't help but laugh.


It took me five minutes, but I had plenty of time on my clock and was looking at the many checks on the White King I could have performed.

54.exf6 Ke6 55.f7 Rgf8 56.Rxg7 Kf6

White is all out of tricks and the game is over.