Tough Games!

IM dpruess
Feb 17, 2009, 3:39 PM |
Yesterday, I blogged about some of my thoughts upon returning to the People's Tournament after a long absence. On the second day, my games were more interesting, so today, I'm basically just going to share them with you. I'm including some of my thoughts and some variations, but I have obviously not analyzed all these games at home yet, so none of this is definitive; it is only intended to give some sense of what I think about during my games.
I should say, I had a good time playing in this tournament. I enjoyed watching my students playing, and making a really good effort. I also enjoyed getting in for a couple games of bughouse with them. I don't remember exactly, but Qijie and Andrew Li beat me at least once. Hurray Tongue out I wish we had more time to play.
So without further ado, here is my third round game. In this position, I thought quite a while about what to do. My instinct, before conscious thought could even kick in, was to support my pawns with Kc3. When I started thinking, I began to wonder what black would do next if I left the tension. And it occurred to me that their most likely development scheme was b6, supporting the c5 point; Bb7 defending e4, and making it harder for me to play f3; then O-O putting their king in the part of the board where I had the least chances to open a file for my rooks; then Rac8. And then it hit me-- not only is my Bf1 a fairly poor piece, which I did not really want to move because e2 is such a modest square, but if I brought it all the way around to a4, it would be a super nuisance to black! I think this is quite a strong idea for white (the idea reminds me of the Roots of Positional Understanding Chess Mentor Lessons I've been gradually working through by IM Silman. Could that already be helping? I was just getting a feel for the software, I hadn't even considered it might help!):

After that intense struggle, which lasted quite a while, I had an interesting last round game as well. In this one I am black, but my opponent's opening did not work out at all, and when we join the action around move 20, black is already capturing an extra pawn, though white will have some compensation. Which pawn should I take:

I hope you enjoyed the games. I sure had fun playing them. Chess can be pretty cool.