Tata Chess Round 1 - play for a draw?

Tata Chess Round 1 - play for a draw?

Mar 13, 2016, 1:49 AM |

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Wijk aan Zee, Tata Steel chess tournament 2016.

This tournament, with its rich history of great chess champions, is ready to kick off. Of course there is a GM-group, and with participants like Carlsen, So, Giri, Hou and Caruana, we will be in for a treat. The live coverage of Chess24 will be great, and I reckon Svidler and Gustafsson will have great commentary to go along with the games.

1900-group at Tata

I play in the Tata Chess amateur nine-round event, group 4. Everyone in this group is rated around 1900, so my idea is to play for a win, by slowly increase the tension during the game, searching for that one chance to improve my position and gain a notable advantage. However, some players in my group dropped some rating points over the last year, so I am warned that some fierce battles are up ahead.

What to aim for

My opponent in the first round afterwards told me that he played this line (see game) to improve his drawing chances. I can absolutely understand this idea, and perhaps he is spot on. Yet I reckon that playing for a win is the slightly better attitude, especially against a stronger opponent. Chances of losing against a stronger opponent are significantly higher that scoring a point, so why not start your game guns blazing? Or is that not the smart approach? If you have any thoughts about this, just leave them underneath.

Chess learning points

For me, the most important aspects of the game are the following:

1. Is 8...,Qd8 preferable to 8...,Qa5? If anyone can explain this, I look forward to a reply.

2. After 14...,Qg5 my queen has a passive position. I should have considered Qc2 with equality;

3. 40...,Qe4! solidifies the position, and keeps the tension on the board while keeping a solid advantage. I played Qb3 without even considering Qe4. Too hasty...

Recap of the game

In the end I was lucky that my opponent did not see 43.h3! with equality, and I managed to win the game. A bit of luck to start off with, but let's hope fortune is with the bold.

Replay the match

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