Reed-Taggert -- (1-0) -- Eastern Class 2012 -- Round 2

Mar 11, 2012, 8:41 PM |

Round 2 Eastern Class, and I get White agin, and my opponent plays Caro-Cann! This time I use the opening recommended by Lev Alburt, the Exchange Variation. I stay in book 5 moves before my opponent strays. I should mention my opponent looked familiar so I asked him where he plays chess. He mentioned he used to play at MetroWest CC, my home Club. But it was a long drive for him (an hour), so he cut back, and just plays the occassional tournament, such as Eastern Class. 

By White's 11th move, White has an active position, a bit more development, yet has to be aware of latent threats to his Queen along the c-file (hence 11.a3 to prevent ...Nb4. With the exchange of Queens on move 12 all the punch is gone from Black's position. Now WHite hunkers down and looks for any small advantages to collect. By move 16, White is consolidating control over the e-file, and the b1 to h7 diagonal. Black is a bit cramped. However, Black is not in any specific danger. 

With 17.h3 White begins to nudge Black into a worse position. Black has to either sac a Bishop, trade for a Knight, or accept doubled f-pawns. BBlack goes for doubled f-pawns, which also opens the e-file, which White has been working on controlling for a while. 19.Re2 and White is threatening to double Rooks on the e-file. At this point Black immediately launches into what appears to be a premature all out attack on the Kingside. Nonetheless WHite finds time for 21.Rae1. Black continues to press (can't stop now), and by 24...f5 is "all in". However, the e5 square is attacked four times by White, and only defended twice, so with 25.Ne5+, White uses control of the e-file in general, and e5 square in particular to start invading the Black position. Black continues to press and with 26...Rg8 the attack looks menacing, but it will fizzle before hitting paydirt.

27.Ng3, double attack on two pawns. Tough choices ahead for Black 27...g4, why not take another pawn, 28.Nxf5. 27...gxh3+3 - yes let Black take a pawn with check, but then what? Black's pawn cover is close to exhausted, and White's pieces are encroaching...

29.Kh1 - oops! Should have been 29.Kh2... Oh well, press on. Black thinks he is taking advantage of White's mistake with 29...Rg2? But this doesn't work, the Rook just gets cut off with 30.Bg2, now what? Advance the King with 30...Kf6, but the pressure on the e-file is too much. 31.Nxe7. 31...Rxg3, Black cracks under pressure, and his position caves in.

A full point. I am thrilled I could keep my act together for two games in a row. But my elation would not last long...