Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sudden battle for the first place - Part one

Bejtovic - McNab
It is time to write some lines about events on the chessboard.
This time I can be satisfied with overall presentation.
My performance in Glasgow was the best in 2012. 
However, this did not came as surprise for me, as I felt already after Bosnian Team Championship on Jahorina, that my form is going up.
It really did not happened something special in Glasgow. I just avoided making these blunders which followed me during 2012. One more thing was very important, and that is that I won all my games against lower rated opponents which usually is a guaranty of good result.
Chess rapport from Glasgow will be a little different from my previous rapports, when I provide critical positions from all my games.
This time I will write something about every game, but a focus will be on my game against Scottish Grandmaster Colin McNab.
Before discussion about games, I would like to present some statistical informations.
For the seventh time in a row, I got one more black pieces. What that means one could see that every player who shared a first place had 5-4 in advantage of white pieces, and that in crucial game for the first place I played black. 
My rating performance is hard to calculate because I played one game against opponent without Elo rating (but worth 2125 in Scottish), and two more opponents were more than 400 points bellow me, so that significantly lowered my average rating in the tournament.
However, even with these factors, my performance was about 2435, but for norm (and rating calculation) purpose, it is much higher. Let´s say that I had 2530 for norm purpose before the last round (I never calculated after the last round).
At the end I had 6 out of 9 points, and was one point behind five players who shared the first place. It is worth to notice that I played against three of them.
Together with Michael and two more players we shared a first price for the rating group up to 2400 points.
I played against 3 GM in the tournament, scoring 2 out of 3.
Besides them, I played against two IM (rated 2499 and 2511), one FM, and three lower rated opponents.
Let´s look how went a games:

Round one - Low quality, but interesting decisions
Mitchell Robert (Scottish 2125) - Bejtovic Jasmin 2385

I experienced some problems in the opening, but due to my opponents cautious play I got better position. Approaching time trouble I noticed that his counterplay may result in a draw, so I took a brave decision to sacrifice an exchange. Somewhere in the time trouble I managed to convert the game in easily winning queen endgame. I missed some better continuations in the time trouble, but I adopted to time control without increment, which was useful from practical point of view. I can´t say that my play was with high quality, but some decisions were brave and promising for second round.

Round two - Fight to the end
Bejtovic Jasmin 2385 - Nikolov Momchil 2556

I got promising position in the beginning, but somewhere  around move 16-21 I missed the best continuation and in order to complicate matters I sacrificed an exchange one more time.
He defended very well and almost got big material advantage in the endgame. I played hard and posted him problems all the time. After the time trouble we got position where we both were forced to repeat moves.

Round three - Mutual attacks on king´s position
Giulian Rosemary 1985* - Bejtovic Jasmin 2385

In round three I played against Scottish Woman National Team player. Again, something went wrong in the opening and I was forced to fight hard in order to make some conterplay.
I was successful and my attack soon became to strong for her to hold.
I won my second black game in a row.

Round four - Disaster on all fronts
Bejtovic Jasmin 2385 - Barnaure Vlad-Victor 2511

Against Romanian International Master (with quite a high rating) I made a mistake early in the opening. My position was without any prospects, and he soon achieved the big advantage.
In time trouble I managed to get some chances but I missed the best continuation and I got very bad rook endgame which was beyond reparation. Deserved victory for my opponent.

Round five - The third black victory in the row
Magee Ronan 1985* - Bejtovic Jasmin 2385

I played against Irish junior player, and I got position with symmetrical pawn structure something which I knew it that players of his profile would not play good. I completely outplayed him when all of sudden something went wrong  (again in time trouble) and things were fishy.
He missed one opportunity to get back into the game, and after time trouble it was a question of technique.

Round six - The new Scottish Champion in a very nervous game 
Bejtovic Jasmin 2385 - Aagaard Jacob 2510

It was a very similar as our previous game (you can find one part of that game in Jacob´s new book Grandmaster vs. Amateur , I was than 2010 in a role of  an amateur). Both of us were surprised in the opening and very soon we have unbalanced position. I sacrificed couple of pawns just to see that I don´t have full compensation. He played cautiously and I got a bit more than a full compensation, in the matter of fact I could win a pawn. After we both missed our opportunities we decided to  not push our luck any more and we took a draw. I was slightly better in the final position.

Round seven - Something like a free round
Swan Ian 2259 - Bejtovic Jasmin 2385

I played my favourite Maroczy Bind, and in the standard position my opponent made the standard mistake. Instead of defending bad position he decided to sacrifice an exchange and around time trouble he got some chances. I controlled the game very well and won it in the nice style.

Round eight - Fortress or not ?
Bejtovic Jasmin 2385 - McNab Colin 2445

This was by far the most interesting game out of my games from chess point of view.
I got some advantage in the opening, and managed to keep it whole way to the endgame.
We exchanged the last pair of rooks on c7 and got position on the diagram.
Fortress or not?
White is on move, and a question for readers is:
Is this position fortress (a draw) or not?
Colin McNab is recognised as endgame expert but he did not managed to hold this position.
In the last few days I spent much time trying to figure out is it possible to hold this position.
I drew my conclusions but it may not be final word about this position.
I should remained you that computer programs can not help you here as computer programs don´t understand concept of fortress and are generally weak in endgames. 
I will publish my conclusions in the next article.

Round nine - The battle for first place
Hawkins Jonathan 2499 - Bejtovic Jasmin 2385

All of the sudden, I got a chance to play for the first place in the tournament (or at least to share a first place). It is my destiny in 2012 that I have to play with black pieces.
This time I did not experience any problems, as my opponent played a very uncritical variation. The main problem was, how to sharpen play so I can get my chance (it is much easier to do with white pieces).
In one moment he lost one tempo and I got some initiative.
The problem was that I than overestimated my position and he managed to avoid all my , let´s put it that way, positional tricks.
When I should just play on with equal chances I suddenly collapsed and he got a pawn and the better position. I tried with a piece sacrifice which could lead to a draw, but he decided to decline it and it was all over.
Of course that I am not satisfied with the game in the last round, but it was a nice feeling that I am there again and that I am playing again for the victories in  tournaments.


  1. Anders Johansson22 July 2012 at 16:14

    Looking forward to your comments on the endgame vs McNab.

  2. By pure guessing. Is it fortress or not?

  3. Anders Johansson23 July 2012 at 01:30

    My guess is that there is no fortress.

    White has too many plans and while Black may be able to face each plan he or she probably won't be able to face the combined threats of the different plans.

    So my guess is that there might be a problem of 'traffic jam' in the Black position.

    I also feel there should be a definite answer to the interesting question posed, but the workload is quite significant. Botvinnik (or Dvoretsky) would probably explain in in one simple sentence. Personally I'm looking forward to what Bejtovic has to say :)