Chess Match: Jacob Wagner (1920) vs Don Shennum (2000+) Game 2

Oct 30, 2008, 12:20 PM |

Hello folks!  Here is the second game I played against Don Shennum this wednesday.  The games are all game/90 with 5 second delay which is usual for uscf games...

The game started out as a caro-kan, I sometimes play the exchange variation, and sometimes play the panov-botvinnik attack.  This time I played the exchange variation.  Instead of the main lines with Bg4 Qb3 etc., he played g6.  It's been played against me a few times before.  I thought about it for a while and played Qb3 in order to tie down his bishop to c8.  This seemed like a huge improvement over my previous speed games in this line. 

The real drama came when he played Bf5 and there was a standoff between our 2 bishops.  This is a perfect example of 'maintaining the tension'.  If I were to trade on f5, i lose my position and he gains a knight on f5.  If he trades on d3, he loses his position and develops my queen to d3.  So its the duty of each player to try to increase the pressure overall on the position, forcing a conession from the other player.

I accomplished this by playing pawn to g4.  This forces him to either trade or retreat.  It may seem like I am violating a principle by moving pawns in front of my king.  However, this is not the entire picture.  For starters, I still have a bishop on f4 that is ready to come to g3 and act as a sort of pawn consolidating my king position. 

But more important than that is not to look at my pawns, but his.  How would he invade squares around my king?  None of his pieces are geared towards this area except his queen.  His queen could possibly come to h4, but a little checking tells us that this is fairly harmless and it can do no damage by itself.

So if there are no pieces entering these weak squares, what else can happen?  He could try to break up the position by playing h5, f5, or e5 or any combination of pawn breaks on the kingside.  The thing is I realized that if he were to do any of these things, in fact his king would be far weaker than mine because I am mobilized to take advantage of the weaknesses in HIS side.  For instance, imagine him playing h5.  We exchange pawns and look at his glaring weaknesses.

This is the main reason I was not at all afraid to play g4 for positional reasons and you can see at this point after his concession of the exchange on d3 my pieces are beginning to be better developed and exert more influence on the position. Note that he had knights on a5 or wherever on the queenside that weren't particularly well-placed. 

My plan was basically to continue building up my position, invading key squares, etc.  I think we both knew that he had to try to do something in order to get counterplay.  It's a matter of being able to shut it down at that point.  You can't always control a position the way you want to without allowing the opponent any counterplay at all. 

He did some interesting pawn sacrifices on the queenside, and undermined my pawns with a5.  It was a good try, and actually some kind of winning attempt, but once I realized I could get a pawn to c7 I knew that nothing he could do would change the fact that I had a deadly pawn on c7, supported, and ready to queen.

In the end of the game we were in a time scramble, and I finally stopped recording moves.  He blundered a piece in time pressure and the game was over.

Here is the game: