This game was played during the new year tournament in Santa Clara. I plan to annotate a few games from that tournament, which, apart from my first round win annotated here, was quite disastrous for me.
This game was a symmetrical English, turning into a Botvinnik formation. My opponent tried to demonstrate that my attempt to occupy the light squares with the funny Nf3-e1-c2-e3 manoevre was too slow, by initiating a dragon like bishop trade on h3, supported by the Q on d7. I found this interesting trading sequence that eliminated his attacking B and N, leaving him with passive minor pieces. However, the position was far from advantageous for either side since the pawns dominated play. Some very tense middlegame pawn play resulted with both sides jockeying for space and squares. Much of white's play was geared towards rendering black's kingside play harmless. After what seemed like successful prevention, black suddenly broke out with a piece sacrifice, but white was lucky enough to have resources to refute it. Time was a major complicating factor in this game. Perhaps because this was the first time white had played this sort of position in a serious game, he had consumed a lot of time in working out the details. The same might be said for black, who was also in some time trouble.