Second tournament match: a draw (1.5/2)
yesterday night I played my second game in the XXVII Internacional Vila de Sant Boi, which finished in a draw after we both had our chances in a game that had a positional fight at first, then a tactical flash that finished in a major simplification and then an ending where I had some advantage but in which it was difficult to make further progress.
My opponent was a very young player from Viladecans, Guillermo Torrubia, and we had the opportunity of reviewing the game together after the end.
If in the first game I ran out of openings knowledge very soon in this game it was dramatic. The very first white move kicked me off from that road. White gives all space and initiative to black, and I choose which structure I want to build. As Guillermo told me later, he loves positional playing and he's more confortable with this kind of games.
As I checked at home, the position after 10. e4 had been reached in my games database up to six times. Four times black played dxe4 and two times Bh7. I didn't want to give away control of e4 and c4 by playing dxe4 so I planned to delay the opening of h1-a8 diagonal with the pin.
But althought he had not been played it's not a bad move, and actually Stockfish ranks it as the best one at 20 moves depth, and that's the reason I've marked it as interesting (!?).
Middlegame and tactical flash
In the middlegame I tried an unsound series of moves with the goal of changing my queenside knight for white dark bishop, getting the bishop pair and a better position at queenside.
I miscalculated the moves. White, on his side, missed the right continuation and allowed me to succeed in my goal. Then, I feared too much the h1-a8 diagonal that gived up that advantage and kept a nearly trapped knight instead.
Finally, my knights cannot be taken but they cannot move, neither. That's the reason I marked Nd1 as a weak move. It allows me to simplify the situation and bring the surviving knight into the game again.
In the ending, my goal is blocking d file with Nd4, block queenside pawns at light squares with a5, put my rook at e file to block white king to move to queenside and bring my king into the scene.
Although I succeeded in such goals, at the end I do not find any way to make a further progress, so we agreed a draw.
But there was a way: f5! (both at 32th and 33th move). I was giving too much importance to the fact of keeping my pawns at dark squares so I didn't take such a move into consideration, but it allows my king to be a lot more active. Of course the game would have likely ended in a draw, but I had lot more chances than my opponent, who had to play the passive side in this game. For example:
Anyway it was a good game and a good way to celebrate my 44th birthday.
See you next week!