Some annotated games

Some annotated games

Oct 31, 2009, 6:10 PM |

Well, these are some games that I annotated to teach some of the guys I'm trying to help.  Pretty good for the 1000-1600 range.  The annotations are too long to be put in a board though. Obviously since it's for lower rated players there are some simplifications, such as the very first annotation.


Latham,Andrew (987) - Schieber,Daniel (643)
D32: Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch Defense.
K–12 National Championship, Round 1
April 18, 2008

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 This is the Tarrasch defense.  It's kind of questionable for black.  White usually comes out better, but black does get to avoid opening complications and get a simple position.  The problem is that black has an isolated pawn in most lines that is often weak.  4.dxc5 Bxc5 5.cxd5 Nf6 6.Bg5 Now why didn't I just take the second pawn?  The answer is that after 6. dxe6 Qxd1+ 7. Nxd1 Bxe6 black has three pieces developed while white has none.  Not only that but the center is open and white hasn't grabbed any of it.  So black has a lot of play for the pawn, probably too much.  So I didn't take it.  exd5 7.e3 White would like to win black's weak d-pawn here.  The immediate Bxf6 Qxf6 Qxd5 doesn't work because then black can play Qxf2+ and white is practically lost.  While material is even his king will be dragged out into the center and attacked.  So I played e3, so that the bishop is no longer pointing at f2 and the d-pawn is again hanging.  d4 Black siezes the opportunity to get rid of his weak pawn and simply create an open position.  He still has some small problems, such as his pinned knight, but the game should be roughly equal.  8.Bxf6?? This is not good because now white gives up one of his advantages, the pin on the knight.  He also gives black the bishop pair when the board is completely open, which is very bad.  Not only that, but black's most threatening piece is his dark squared bishop, and by giving up his own dark-squared bishop white can no longer oppose it and might have more difficulty covering the same squares that it does.  For example, the bishop could later have retreated to h4 to provide more cover for the f2 pawn.  This trade also creates tactical problems in that the queen is now hitting the f2 square and the e3 pawn, which was covering it from the bishop, is probably about to come off.  I don't remember what my plan was in playing this move but it was probably a bad one. Qxf6 9.exd4 Qxd4? Giving up a lot of initiative.  By recapturing with the bishop black would have forced white to defend f2.  The only good way to do that is with the queen (Not Na3?? when fater Bxa3! black wins the knight since the f2 square is again threatened) and moving this piece does not help white in his development.  So black would have had a large developmental edge and an attack while white's king was stuck in the center.  Now white can trade off the queens and the position is almost equal.  10.Qxd4 Bxd4 11.Bb5+ Taking the opportunity to develop the bishop for free (with check).  Notice how white still has to move all his kingside pieces before he can castle while black can castle right away. Nc6 12.Nge2 Black would like to take the knight with check, creating a weak pawn on the c-file, which black can then attack.  Giving up the bishop pair gives up one of his biggest advantages but it is worth it to have a clear target to attack that white will have trouble defending.  The a-pawn would also be weak as well.  White would be well advised to NOT do the same thing with black's c6-knight because he only has one bishop, and he wants to keep it because in such an open position not having any bishops is not a good thing.  White played Nge2 to threaten the bishop, develop the knight and prepare to castle, and also prepare to recapture with the knight if black takes on c3, so that the pawn structure remains solid. Bxc3+?! Black would have been better off just pulling the bishop back, since now this trade doesn't really get him much.  He is also helping white move his e2 knight to a better square. 13.Nxc3 Bd7 14.0–0 0–0 15.Rad1! White is a little better now.  Black doesn't want to move the bishop because then after Rfe1 white would have complete control of the center, for example after 15...Bf5 16. Rfe1 Rfe8 17. f3 Kf8 18. Rxe8+ Rxe8 19. Kf2 black's knight is pinned and his rook isn't doing anything because it can't go anywhere good on the file.  On the other hand white's pieces are very active and dangerous.  The only other option then for black is to defend the bishop and bring a rook to the center to oppose the one already there, but then the knight is pinned and white has a very threatening position.  Rad8 16.h3 White would like to make both of his rooks as active as possible but doing this might involve moving them both off of the back rank.  Since he doesn't want to have to keep worrying about a back rank mate he plays h3 so that his king has somewhere to go if a rook checks.  Note that g3? would be worse because after Bh3 white's king still can't go anywhere and now the bishop is very strong and controls a lot. a6 17.Ba4 b5 Black decides that the best way to try to make his position better is to get rid of the pin on the knight by force.  The problem is that this leaves the a-pawn weak and attackable, as is often the case when pins are removed in such a manner. 18.Bb3 Rfe8? Black decides to try to control the center with his rooks.  The problem is that his pieces are more of liabilities than threats.  He also misses a good plan for white. 19.Rd2? White has the right idea - double on the d-file to pin the bishop to the rook.  Black would ideally be forced to defend with Re7 when his pieces would be all tied up and white can then try other things like attack f7 or a6.  The problem with Rd2 is that black can just move his bishop.  After 19. Rd6! black can't move the bishop because then the knight would be hanging.  Be6 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Bxe6 fxe6 Now black has a weak isolated pawn that white can attack.  That is two weak pawns so white has a good plan.  The problem is that black is threatening to take white's seventh rank.  By playing Re1 white threatens the weak pawn and also can come to e2 if the rook goes to d2.  22.Re1 b4? Now the black rook can take d2.  It couldn't before because after 22...Rd2?? 23. Rxe6 black's knight is hanging to he can't play Rxb2.  The knight has to move, and after going to d4 (to try to stop white from playing Re2 and protecting the seventh rank) white can take the a-pawn and protect his own a-pawn so he stays a pawn up.  With the move played black hopes to stop white's plan by making his knight move.  The problem is that the b-pawn is weak now.  23.Ne4!  This is the strongest square for the knight, protecting d2 from invasion. Rd4? Black hopes to go to play Rc4 next and get the seventh rank that way.  White could try to prevent this by playing b3, but he has a much better move. 24.Nc5! Now black must lose one of his weak pawns. Rd2 25.Rxe6 Nd4 As before, white wins the pawn with tempo because he threatens black's knight.  Now white should just take the a-pawn and go on to win.  Instead I tried for a trick that doesn't work.  I don't know what I was thinking.  26.Rd6?? My idea was to play Ne6 and win his knight or at least get pieces off of the board.  Unfortunately, black has a way of escaping the knight-to-rook pin.  In fact, he has three ways. Ne2+?! This wins an exchange, but Nf3+ would have accomplished the same thing while also forcing white to double his pawns. 27.Kf1 Rxd6 28.Kxe2 a5 29.Nb3 When you are down significant material (significant enough to be completely lost) and you know that you are just completely screwed, there areare two plans of action.  The first, if you have lots of pieces at your disposal, is to go for a no-expenses-spared attack on the opponent's king.  That was obviously not possible here because I only had one piece.  The other option is to try as many tricky ways to win material as possible, giving your opponent as many opportunities to make mistakes as you can.  Find every tricky resource you can think of, especially those involving passed pawns.  You can also try, if the material deficit is not TOO serious, to trade down as much material as possible to reach a theoretical draw.  I tried to do that here. a4 30.Nc5 Now one pawn comes off for both sides.  Knight vs. Rook is a draw, so black has to keep pawns on the board.  If I can get the pawns on the queenside off then it will be much much more difficult for black to win this game. a3 31.bxa3 bxa3 32.Nd3 My plan was to use my knight to create a bridge for my king to get through to the a-pawn, get rid of that pawn, and then come back over to the kingside.  It was very slow but the only thing I could think of since otherwise there is no way to force off the a-pawn.  Kf7 33.Kd2 Ke6 34.Kc3 Kf5 35.Ne1 Ke5 36.Nc2 Ke4 37.Kb3 Rb6+ 38.Kxa3 I have accomplished the first of my goals but black's active king is a real problem. Kd5 39.Nb4+?? Kd4?? Black missed an opportunity to win here with 39...Kc4 40. Nc2 Kc3 threatening both the knight and checkmate with Ra6#.  After black missed this opportunity to win I got a little more confidence.  Although material is technically even white is worse because black's rook can go onto the kingside and take white's pawns while white can not defend them. 40.Kb3 Kc5 41.a3 Rb7 42.Kc3 Rd7 43.Nd3+ Here my opponent offered a draw and I quickly accepted. ½–½

Varner,Curtis (784) - Latham,Andrew (987)
B11: Caro-Kann, Two Knights Defense
K–12 National Championship Atlanta, Round 2
April 18, 2008

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Bg4 These are the first few moves of the Two Knights Variation of the Caro-Kann defence.  Black can usually create a very solid centre and get easy development, but usually he has to trade the bishop on g4 for a knight to avoid it getting kicked around while he's trying to develop.  Other than that black is very comfortable here. 4.Be2 e6 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 dxe4 Removing the central tension.  White would had had more things to think about if black had not traded pawns, such as an idea of pushing the pawn supported by pushing d4.  Now black is apparently down in development, but his pawn centre is so difficult to break through that it's not really a problem, especially since white's bishop on f3 isn't doing him much good at all.  Notice how the pawns on c6 and b7 create a solid block that it runs into.  Light squared bishops are not very good in this position since there is nothing for them to attack, which is part of the reason black got rid of his - it would have been trapped outside his pawn centre since his structure is based on blocking the light squares. 7.Nxe4 Nd7 Black's idea is to just trade off pieces here.  His pawn structure is better so the more pieces come off the better.  8.d3 Ngf6 9.Bg5?! The pin on the knight doesn't accomplish anything for white here because black can break it immediately and the knight is defended with so many pieces that attacking it won't get white anywhere.  A much better move would have been Bf4 hitting the weak dark squares, although this will probably not get white anything either since after 9...Nxe4 10. Bxe4 Nf6 black will be able to play Bd6 and get the dark squared bishops off as well. Be7 10.0–0 Nxe4 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.dxe4 0–0 And black is slightly better.  He has a knight for a bishop, but his knight is better because, as mentioned above, white's bishop has no attacking prospects whereas black's knight can go where-ever it wants.  Black's first idea is to take control of the open d-file.  He is already closer to this goal than white because he has moved his queen out of the way while white hasn't.  Note that an immediate 12...Rd8 looks good, threatening a revealed attack on the queen and taking the file immediately, but after 13. Qd4! white is hitting both of black's pawns.  He will win one of them, and the revealed attack doesn't do anything.  13.Re1 White would like to try to push his e-pawn, since his bishop is kind of trapped behind it right now.  Then he could move the bishop and push f4 and try to attack the kingside.   Rfd8 Taking the d-file while at the same time tactically preventing the e5 push.  White can not push the pawn because after Nxe5 he can not recapture the knight with the rook because his queen is under attack. 14.c3? Possibly trying to prevent Qb4.  Much better would have been Qd4! when again black's revealed attack does not get him anything while Ne5 is prevented and the queen can go to c3 where it is very comfortable. Ne5! Now black stops e5 in its tracks, with tempo no less.  White has to move his queen somewhere now.  15.Qb3? This gives up the seventh rank, which would be bad already, but it also allows black to create a devastating pair of doubled pawns that are very weak.  White was going to get doubled pawns regardless, but he could have had a different pair under much more favorable circumstances by playing 15. Qe2!.  Now after 15...Qf6 16. Bg4 Nxg4 17. hxg4 (not 17. Qxg4? Rd2 and black is hitting both b2 and f2 - the only defense is Re2, when black can double rooks down the d-file) white has kept the d2 square safe from invasion for now and can support both of the weak pawns with the move f3 when black has some trouble making progress. Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Now the g-file is open and the f3 pawn is very weak.  b6?! Securing the b-pawn in preparation for the upcoming attack on the king; however, Rd3 instantly would have won the f3 pawn. 17.e5?? The only defense was to try to recapture the d-file immediately with Rad1, although after Qg5+ Kf1 white's position is still very bad.  This pawn push only creates another weakness. Qg5+ 18.Kf1 Rd5 Attacking the very weak e5 pawn.  Better, however, would have been 18...Qf5! when white will lose either his f- or his h-pawn, which are guarding his king so they are more important to take than the e-pawn.  After the forced 19. Kg2, Rd3 wins the f-pawn (20. Re3 Qg5+) and the h-pawn will fall too and white might even get checkmated.  19.f4 Qh4 Black wanted to go after the h-pawn so that white's king would be stuck in the center.  Taking the f-pawn first, however, was probably preferable.  There is no hurry for black. 20.Rad1 Not the best move, but it's lost anyway.  Qxh3+ 21.Kg1 Qg4+ 22.Kf1 Rad8! Making sure that black keeps control of the d-file before grabbing any more pawns.  23.Rxd5 Rxd5 24.c4 Rd8 Black would have been a little better just grabbing the d-file immediately, but since the position is won in any case I felt it was better to not take any unnecessary risks (notice the weak back rank). 25.f3 Now is it mate in 5 - Qh3+ Kf2 Qh2+ Kf1 Rd2 Re2 Qxe2+ Kg1 Qg2#.  Qh3+ 26.Kg1 Rd2 27.Re2 Rxe2 28.Qd1 Qg2# 0–1


Latham,Andrew (1191) - Finkelstein,Michael (1386)
D52: Queen's Gambit Declined
Missouri Open, Round 3
September 20, 2008

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 These first couple of moves characterize the Semi-Slav defense to the Queen's Gambit.  Black usually does not take the c-pawn since that is trading a center pawn for an outside pawn, and black can not hold onto it because white has many ways to get it back.  5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 White preferred to develop his bishop before playing this move.  Otherwise it would have been locked in by the pawn. Be7 7.cxd5 exd5 Now we have reached the Carlsbad pawn structure.  White will try to create pawn weaknesses on the queenside and attack those.  Black, on the other hand, will try to attack white's king.  Piece exchanges favor white, since with more pieces off black has difficulty creating a mating attack while white has an easier time attacking weak pawns. 8.Bd3 Nb6? White is going to push his pawns over here, so black's knight will just get driven away with tempo.  The correct plan is to castle first, then move the rook to e8 and the knight to f8 so it can go to g6 and help in the attack on the king.  9.0–0 0–0 10.Qc2! Developing the queen so that the rooks can come over and help white push his pawns.  At the same time, this also threatens Bxf6 Bxf6 Bxh7+.  h6 11.Bh4 Bg4 12.Ne5 Be6 13.Nf3? Wasting time, the knight was fine on e5.  Qc7? Allows white to play Bg3, when it is controlling a lot of crucial squares on the queenside, such as c7 and b8.  This wastes a tempo since white was probably going to play Bg3 anyway.  The only way to not lose time by moving the queen again is to play Bd6, when another pair of pieces come off, which helps white. 14.Bg3 Bd6 15.Bxd6 Qxd6 16.Rfb1 Preparing to start pushing the a- and b- pawns.  The idea is to hit the c-pawn with b5, opening the b-file and making a weak pawn, while will either be the b-pawn (after cxb5 Rxb5) or the c-pawn (after bxc6 if black doesn't trade) which white can attack with his rooks.  The a-pawn may need to be pushed to support the b-pawn's advance to b5 if black plays a6 to prevent it. Bg4 17.Ne5 Nbd7 18.Nxd7 Trading the knight for the bishop would be nice but the knights might pose a threat to white's kingside, plus he would lose a move by playing g3.  This way he can either prevent the need to play g3 altogether by defending against black's threat, or he can at least get in another move before playing g3. Bxd7 19.b4? White knew that Ng4 was coming and would have been better off preventing it with h3 before playing b4. Ng4 20.g3 h5 Black declares his intention to open the h-file to aid in the attack on white's king.  21.Bh7+! If the h-file is going to be open, it will be useful to have black's king sitting on it!  Kh8 22.Bf5 The light squares are weak so white would be very happy to get the light squared bishops off the board.  Rfe8 23.Bxd7 Qxd7 Now that there are less pieces on the board, white should be able to easily survive black's nearly nonexistant kingside attack, and then take advantage of his queenside plan.  24.b5 Kg2 here would be a premature attempt at finishing off the defense after h4 b5 h3+!.  Not only that, but black also threatens Rxe3 fxe3 Nxe3+. Qe7 25.Rb3?! More accurate would be bxc6 bxc6 first, to make sure that the c-pawn is weak before preparing to attack it.  Now black could have organized a decent defense with Rac8 bxc6 Rxc6. h4? Black is still playing aggressively, he needs to defend against the queenside threats.  h4 does not lead to a successful attack. 26.bxc6 bxc6 27.Rab1 Threatening to invade the seventh rank with Rb7.  Notice how weak the c-pawn and a-pawn have become. hxg3? Opening the h-file is a bad decision.  Black's king is weaker than white's. 28.hxg3 Qg5 29.Kg2 White's position is solid and un-assailable.  Now black has two problems he needs to defend against:  The invasion on the queenside and an attack on his king up the h-file. Rxe3?? This tactic almost works.  White can not capture the rook due to Nxe3+, winning the queen.  But if either the queen or the king could be moved away, the rook could be captured.  The only problem is how to do it without letting the rook escape back with the pawn.  Fortunately white created a solution earlier, on move 21. 30.Rh1+ Kg8 31.Qh7+! Surprise!  The queen escapes, and now after fxe3 there is no fork. Kf8 32.fxe3  Now black is down a rook and his king is on the run.  His only hope is to try to find checkmate or at least perpetual check against the white king.  Nxe3+  33.Kf3 Qf6+ 34.Ke2 White doesn't care about the knight - his material advantage is enough that he doesn't need more to win.  He would rather get his king to safety by making sure that black doesn't get any more checks.  Now there is a lull in the checking and white has time to reorganize and consolidate his material. Ke7 35.Kxe3 White didn't want to play this before because he was afraid of the rook check on e8.  Now he's fine with taking it.  Kd6 36.Qh4 White has calculated that this is the best defensive move.  Black's checks do not get him anything.  Re8+ 37.Kd2 Qf2+ 38.Kc1 Qe3+ 39.Kb2 Qf2+ 40.Ka3 Kc7 41.Qf4+! With the queens off of the board there is absolutely no danger to white at all.  Now he can win simply without black causing any complications with his queen. Qxf4 42.gxf4 f6 43.Na4 Re4 44.Rh7 Rxf4 45.Rxg7+ Kd6 46.Rd3 Rf1 47.Nc5 The black king has no escape and white will mate on the next move.  1–0

Latham,Andrew (1552) - Kopler,Drake (101)
D07: Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
New Year Bash, Round 1
January 2, 2009

 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 This move is not very good in the Queen's Gambit Declined, or really in any d-pawn opening.  When the d-pawns are symmetrical in the center, players want to try to try to open the c-file by pushing c5 or c4 when the c-pawn comes off.  By playing Nc6 black not only deprives himself of this useful plan, but he also turns his own c-pawn into a target.  When white gets the c-file, he will be able to point a rook at c7, and he also has the option of developing his bishop to f4 to hit it again.  The knight on c6 does not really target anything, so it is not helping very much, but it is doing a lot of harm by weakening the c7 pawn, which would be able to protect itself if it could push to c6. 3.Nf3 White sees that after any exchange of the central pawns his d4 pawn will be threatened, so he defends it. Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Bf4 was also a good spot for the bishop.  There's not really any "best" spot, I'm just developing my pieces.  Bb4 Not really threatening anything.  White is not worried about the doubled pawns because he knows the c4 pawn will not be staying on the board for very long. 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qe8? There wasn't really any reason to play this move.  It breaks the pin, but in an unfavorable way.  Now white goes ahead and creates a few weak pawns. 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.cxd5 exd5 Black's d5 pawn is weak, his f6 pawn is weak, and his king's position is wide open.  He doesn't even get the two bishops in return, because he gave up his own bishop earlier with the pointless take on c3.  11.0–0 Bg4 12.h3 Be6 13.Qc2 Threatening Bxh7+ and also preparing to push c4, break open the c-file, and attack the weak pawns on c7 and b7.  After c4 dxc4 Bxc4 Bxc4 Qxc4 white can easily hit the c and b pawns with his rooks and push d5 to scare off the knight.  The weak f6 pawn will also be a liability for black, plus after pushing d5 the check on g5 might come in useful for various tactics. b5?? Completely hangs a pawn. 14.Bxb5 Rb8 15.Bd3 Now we are back where we were before, except white is up a pawn.  Black has the b-file, but white can easily take it himself because both of his rooks can get to b1 while his queen protects it.  Black can also get major pieces to b8 but he can't hold the file with his queen because a rook can scare her off.  Black doesn't have time now to solidify his control of the b-file because there is, again, an immediate threat of Bxh7+.  Black doesn't see that.  Bd7?? Loses another pawn. 16.Bxh7+ Kh8 Now not only is he down two pawns, but black's king is extremely weak.  17.Bd3 White can't just leave the bishop dangling there because then his queen would not be able to move.  So he has two squares to bring it back to, d3 and f5.  d3 is preferable because he wants to keep pieces on the board since he now has ideas of attacking the king - when you are attacking the king, the more pieces you have the better.  Na5 18.Rfb1 White takes care of things on the queenside first before going over to the kingside.  Bb5 Black finds a way to get some pieces off and limit the threat to his king.  White is happy to accept, though, because he gets complete control of the b-file out of this.  19.Bxb5 Rxb5 20.Rxb5 Qxb5 21.Rb1 Qc6 Black's pieces are scattered and uncoordinated.  White has control of the b-file, two extra pawns, and a much better king position.  22.Nd2 White doesn't want black's knight to go to c4 when it would be on a good square and threatening a fork on a3.  Now black would not want to play his knight to c4 because then another pair of pieces would come off, and the more pieces that come off the more white's two pawn advantage makes a difference.  Look at what the position would be like if all the pieces were off - the win would be completely obvious for white and black would have absolutely no chance.  f5?? Hanging another pawn.  White checks that there are no tactics connected to the pawn sacrifice and then takes it.  Now attacking the king is much easier. 23.Qxf5 Rg8? Making the defense of black's king more difficult by taking away the g8 square.  The escape route on f8 doesn't really help because white can check with his rook on b8.   24.Qh5+ Kg7 25.Nf3 White no longer cares about Nc4 - the knight is almost useless on that square with regards to white's attack on the king. Kf8?? This doesn't help black at all becuase of Rb8+ 26.Ne5 White decides to threaten mate in one first and develop his knight to a good square.  After black defends against this with Qe8 (the only move that doesn't lose the queen to a knight fork) white will play Rb8 to win the queen, since Qxb8 is impossible due to Qxf7# Qd6?? Giving up 27.Qxf7# 1–0

Latham,Andrew - Purdy,Elijah
D26: Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical Variation
Ottawa High School, Round 4
February 2, 2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 Black decides to accept the Queen's Gambit.  This is usually not the best idea, since black can never hold onto the pawn and he is giving up some control of the center. 3.e3 The easiest way to get back the pawn Nf6 4.Bxc4 e6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 White is happy to get the dark squared bishop off because he blocked it in with e3.  He was going to have to find a way to push e4 eventually to free it, now he doesn't really have to. Bxd2+ 7.Nbxd2 All of white's pieces are developed and he can play e4 soon to take full control of the center. 0–0 8.0–0 Nc6? As usual, this is a questionable move.  White is going to easily get control of the c-file, and now he can try to hit black's trapped c7 pawn.  9.Rc1 Re8 10.Bb5 Pinning the knight to the rook and also threatening to play Bxc6 bxc6 Rxc6, winning a pawn.  Bd7 11.Nb3?! With the idea of playing Nc5, and then Nxd7 Qxd7 Ne5 when black would be in big trouble.  The problem with this plan is that it requires black to waste two moves, when he can foil that plan immediately.  It was still a good idea but there may have been better places to move the knight. a6 Black gets rid of the pin.  White can't play Ba4 because after b5 his bishop is lost!  12.Bd3 Nb4 Black threatens to exchange the knight for the bishop.  The best move for white would have been to play his bishop back to b1, protecting the a-pawn and preparing to strike back at the loose knight and c-pawn. 13.a3?? Not only just letting black get what he wanted with Nb4, but also missing the following combination, which loses an exchange. Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Bb5! 15.Qc2 Bxf1 16.Kxf1 And white is down an exchange.  Now he is lost but the position is not so desparate yet that a kingside attack is called for.  If white can make his knights very strong by finding great outposts for them he might be able to still play a good game.  Black's queenside pawns are also still weak and he does not have very good control of the center. c6 Now the c-pawn is no longer weak, but white might be able to take advantage of the hole on d6. 17.Nc5 Rb8 18.Re1 With the idea of pushing e4, then e5 and putting a knight on d6. Nd7 19.Nd3 The more pieces white exchanges off, the simpler the position will become and the more pronounced black's material advantage will become.  White wants to keep this as complicated and tough for black as possible, so he preserves his knight.  Qc7 20.Nde5?? I just said that white shouldn't try to exchange off pieces, and now he does.  The fact that he gets his knight to e5 is not important because it can't do a whole lot from that square. Nxe5 21.Nxe5 f6 Driving the knight away from its good square, but now the e-pawn is somewhat weak as well. 22.Nf3 Rbc8 23.Rc1 White has a clever tactical idea - if he can safely play a4 and b5 then after axb5 axb5 black can't play cxb5 because his queen would be hanging.  Then white can play bxc6 bxc6 and the pawn will be weak and attackable. b6? Now white's plan looks even better - bxc6 would not weaken the c-pawn, it would win it! 24.b4 b5? Now white's plan is briefly stopped, but there is a huge hole on c5 that black can't do a thing about.  A knight there would attack the e-pawn that was weakened previously.  Black's king is also somewhat weak.  White now plays for as complicated a position as possible, hoping that he will figure out something his opponent doesn't see. 25.Nd2 Heading to e4 and then c5. e5? 26.d5! Now white has something to get a little excited about.  This move is not objectively good, but white is lose anyway so he is not looking for the absolute best moves, but rather the ones that make the position as complicated as possible.  Now white has not only given his opponent the opportunity to screw up immediately with cxd5, losing a rook, but he also has some ideas of tactics involving black's king and creating a passed pawn, as well as the possibility of invasion up the c- and d-files aided by a knight on c5. Re7? Allowing white to create further difficulties.  There were other better defensive moves.  Notice how white is down in material, but by attacking he has created some more opportunities to comeback.  If white had just sat around and played less actively black would probably have had a much easier time finishing him off. 27.Qb3! Stronger than just creating a passed pawn.  Now there are two pins and tactics threatened all over the place, most immediately d6+ which would win black's queen.  White has achieved his goal of making this game a complicated mess and now black has to untangle his position before he can get back to simply winning with his material advantage. Qd7 Losing a pawn, but protecting against all of white's tricks for the moment.  White is not threatening any tactics, so he just takes the free pawn. 28.Rxc6 A free pawn.  Black can't recapture or he will lose the game.  Now the position is almost even - white is still down material, but his pieces are much more active and black's game is still very difficult due to all the pins and his weak king. Rxc6?? Losing instantly thanks to tactics.  Black needed to move his king out of the pin first, afterwhich white would still have some tactical ideas with the passed pawn but at least the position would be a little easier for black. 29.dxc6+ The revealed check helps white.  Now black's queen is attacked and his king is in check, and there is only one way to stop both of those threats... Qe6 But white has a clever reply.  Can you find it? 30.c7! Yes!  Black can't play Rxc7 because then his queen would be hanging.  He can't play Re8 because then after Qxe6 the rook has to go back to e6 when it no longer protects c8.  The queen can't remove the pin itself with Qxb3 because, most critically, the c8 pawn queens with check. Qxb3 31.c8Q+ Now black can't block the check and protect his queen from recapture at the same time, so he loses his queen!  Kf7 32.Nxb3 By complicating the position and keeping an eye  Re8 33.Qxa6 Ke7 34.Qxb5 Rd8 35.Ke2 h6 36.Nc5 g6 37.Qb7+ Ke8 38.Qg7 g5 39.Qxf6 e4 40.Qe6+ Kf8 41.Nd7+ Kg7 42.Qe7+ Kg6 43.Qf6+ Kh5 44.g4+ Kxg4 45.Ne5+ Kh5 46.Qf5 Rd2+ 47.Kxd2 Kh4 48.Qg4# 1–0

Latham, Andrew - Spisak, Steven
B10:  Caro-Kann, Breyer Variation
KC Cup, Round 5
April 25, 2009

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.d3 Bg4 4.Be2 e6 5.exd5 cxd5 6.Ne5 Bxe2 7.Qxe2 Nc6 8.0-0 Nf6 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.c3 0-0 13.d4 The position has been simplified and black has several advantages while white has none to speak of.  Black has an open b-file and a pawn majority in the center.  White has a weak b-pawn, an undeveloped knight, and no good way to create tension.  Black is able to push c5 to create central tension while white will never be able to push c4 because then the d4-pawn would be terminally weak.  With all these factors in mind, black decided to play Qb6, eyeing the weak b2-pawn and preparing to attack it with Rab8, occupying the open b-file, connecting the rooks, and also making c5 possible. Qb6 14.b3? Na3 was almost certainly necessary.  White is far too underdeveloped now, and his pawn structure is even more weakened. c5! dxc5 is now required to avoid losing a pawn, but then white's queenside pawns will almost certainly fall, as the bishop eyes the diagonal to prevent a c4 push and black can just pile on c3 pawn.  If white ever pushes that pawn, then it will be isolated and very weak after the exchange on c4. 15.Rd1 cxd4 16.Rd3 White attempts to get some sort of development out of losing the pawn.  Rac8 Developing and threatening to win another pawn.  Not only is this a good move, but it sets a trap - if white tries to recapture his lost pawn with cxd4 then after Rc1+ Rd1 Rxd1 Qxd1 Qxd4 he loses an exchange. 17.Qd2 dxc3 18.Nxc3 At this point it would have been better for me to put more pressure on white's confused and disorganized pieces, but there is no solid way to make anything of his lack of organization and the knight was kind of getting on my nerves.  Bxc3 19.Rxc3 h6 20.h3 Rxc3 21.Qxc3 The position has been simplified and now black has to try to find a plan to make a use of his pawn advantage.  There are no real weaknesses in white's position and the position has the potential to get really annoying as white's major pieces become active, immediately by Rc1.  If black could trade off all the major pieces he would have an easily won game but there is no good way to do that now.  The best way to look at positions like this is to say first, is there any concrete way to win purely with my extra material?  The answer is no, there is no possible way right now to simply overwhelm white with sheer force of material.  So then you look at characteristics of the position that don't involve the extra material.  White has no weaknesses, and black's only positional advantage is his pawn majority in the center, especially the passed d-pawn.  With this in mind, black comes up with the plan of trying to push his pawn center forward.  Rd8 22.Qd3 e5 Pawns will be infinitely more successful if they are pushed together.  Single pushed pawns are usually doomed to failure in these kinds of positions, because white will be able to blockade it and then use the king to capture it.  When two pawns are pushed together, however, they can take away blockading squares and protect each other.  23.Re1 e4 24.Qd2 Qe6 25.f3 f5 26.Qa5 Qe7 27.fxe4 fxe4 28.Rd1 d4 29.Qa4 d3 30.Qc4+ Kh8 31.Qc3 Qg5 32.Kf2 e3+ 33.Ke1 Qg3+ And as we can see, white was unable to do anything and black won by simply crushing white with his passed pawns.  The pawn center did not look intimidating at first, but by turning a static feature into an active one with a little preparation, black was able to find a simple win.  0-1

Pattrick, Earney - Latham, Andrew
A03: Bird's Opening
Missouri Open, Round 4
September 21, 2008

I woke up kind of late in the morning and was late to the game, so rushing through the opening I made several mistakes and played very badly.  1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bd3 0-0 6.0-0 b6 7.Qe1 c5 8.c3 Ba6 Quite clearly white's bishop is good, so black would like to exchange it off.  The problem with doing it this way and this early is that that knight is just hanging around out there.  Black needs to be conscious of this. 9.Bxa6 Nxa6 10.Ne5 cxd4 11.exd4 Now take a look at this position.  White is underdeveloped, but his bishop is going to be bad pretty much no matter what.  White's best piece on the board is clearly his knight, and he would like to keep a knight there, so the best way to do this is to play his other knight to f3 and back it up.  Black would like to get rid of the knight, but he can't just exchange it off because they not only would white has a super-strong pawn chain, but his dark squared bishop would be free and white would exchange it off for black's and then attack.  With this in mind, black would like to prepare to scare the knight off with f6 and then push e5 to open the position up.  The problem is, opening up the position is also bad for black because his knight is weak and could be used against him tactically.  So black should get organized, and then find a logical way to kick the knight and get control of the d5 square.  Just pushing f6 is a mediocre plan because black's bishop won't be very good and the e-pawn will be backwards.  Unfortunately, I decided to just drop two pawns instead by not calculating at all.  Nd7?? 12.Nc6 Qc7 13.Nxe7+ Kh8 14.Nxd5 Qd6 15.Ne3 Yep, black is pretty screwed here.  So what is the best way to save a materially lost game?  Drum up tactics and attacking chances.  Just tell yourself, you sacrificed those two pawns for a reason, no matter how bad it was.  You must have gotten something from sacrificing them, even if it is just a more open position.  I started here by trying to create some threats against his knight, which didn't work very well because my position was really bad and my knight on a6 was still lousy.  Rae8 16.Qg3 Re6 17.Nd2 Rfe8 18.Ndc4 Qe7 19.f5 gxf5 20.Nxf5 Qf8 21.Ncd6 Rg6 22.Qd3 Ree6 White's knights are really dominating and black should probably resign, especially since he just hung his knight.  I'm not really sure why he didn't just take the hanging knight and get up a piece and two pawns, I guess he was afraid of Rxd6 when his king position would be weak. 23.Nxf7+ Qxf7 24.Qxa6 Ref6 The only real hope black has in this position lies in the fact that white's queen is out of the way and his bishop is undeveloped.  It is apparent that white's king position is also weak but black can not attack this very well becasue his own position is completely falling apart and white is just going to slam through.  Unfortunately, attacking is really the only option right now to try to avoid defeat, no matter how unlikely that eventuality is.  25.Qc8+ Bf8 This might seem odd, but consider that the bishop clearly has no way to get involved in an attack on the king while the knight may come in useful, and also that knights are generally trickier than bishops and so to try to completely swindle a game a knight might be handier.  26.Ng3 I did not see this during the game and didn't discover it until months later, but Rxf1 actually turns out well for black here after Rxf1 Nxf1 Qf3 Ne3 Qe2 Qxd7 Qe1+ Nf1 Rf6 Bf4 and white is only a little better.  But I did not see that at the time, and thought that trading rooks would just simplify which is what white wanted.  So I had to come up with something absolutely crazy to make the game complicated.  I found the answer in the continuation... Rxg3 27.Rxf6 Rxg2+ 28.Kxg2 Nxf6 Now we see that the knight is useful while the bishop would not be in this position.  White's king has been dragged out and stands waiting to be attacked.  The attack is of course highly unlikely to succeed given black's lack of material, but white is also hindered by his undeveloped bishop, which blocks in his rook.  29.Qh3 Qg6+ I just began checking to try to come up with something.  I thought a lot before every move to see whether I could find any way at all to make the position more complicated.  30.Qg3 Qe4+ 31.Kg1 Bd6!! White can not take because black would perpetual.  Now black's bishop is getting involved and white begins to sense that there is some trouble - the game is still completely won, but his king is open and black has just added another piece to the attack - the formerly useless bishop.  White now has to play extremely accurately - his position is in grave danger.  The only move to keep the winning chances is Qg2.  Notice how black went from being completely and hopelessly lost to putting white on a tightrope, simply because he realized that he had to do something crazy to avoid losing and went all out on the attack without regard for material.  He would lose either way, so he might as well try to let white slip, right?  And white did!  32.Qf2?? Ng4 The black pieces close in on the king!  White now has a completely lost game. 33.Qg2 Another line goes Qf7 Qe1+ Kg2 Qe2+ Kh3 Nf2+ Kg2 Ne4+ Kh3 Qxh2+ Kg4 Qg2+ Qf5 Qf1+ Ke6 Qc4+ winning the queen. Qe1+ 34.Qf1 Bxh2+ 35.Kg2 Qg3+ 36.Kh1 Nf2+ 37.Qxf2 Qxf2 38.Bh6 Bg3 And mate in 2. 0-1