Wednesday 10 October 2012

Analysis of the Elitserien games - Part 1/3

I shall use an opportunity to show my games from Elitserien and to show some of my theoretical thoughts in practise.
I will not analyze my games (for the blog purpose) on the conventional way.
This can be found everywhere. I shall just try to share some of my thought (in connections with my articles about improvement in chess) and my games from Elitserien will be a material for this.
This doesn´t mean that I thought like this during the games, and for those who want just to see the games I will provide it in usual form in chess viewer.

Hector Jonny E2534 - Bejtovic Jasmin E2387

First of all, I need to say something about my opponent. Hector is well known Swedish Grandmaster with attacking style of play. He seeks an initiative in every game and is very consequent player.
I think that he has two very strong points in his play (among the others) and some weaknesses as well.
He is extraordinary strong in small transformations in the positions. He can adapt quickly to the new circumstances on the board and he often wins by using this strategy (I don´t know is this subconscious or not).
The second think is his technique in the positions with rooks in the endgame.
He is especially strong in four rooks endgames, and I could feel this during the game.
He has some weaknesses, even if I with lower playing strength compare to him, don´t know how to put this work in my favor during the games.
One think is that his strategic play is not deep enough (he is much more concrete player and doesn´t pay attention on the bigger picture), and second can be sometimes luck of spotting the details.
You can see this in his game against IM Jens Ove Nielsen when he lost drawish opposite-color bishop endgame.
However, against me he played very well.

He opened with unusual variation in The Sicilian Defense where he tried to play d3-d4 (make a slight transformation in the dynamic in the position) in the best possible moment.
In this position I could play for the control of dark squares in the center with:
forcing him on:
9. h3, Bxf3
10. Qxf3, Nd4
11. Qd1, b5
or 11...Nd7
He would have been a slightly better but nothing serious.
I played:
 After couple of preparatory moves we reached following position:

If I don´t react properly, his next move can be e4-e5.
I would like to play b5-b4, but in the case of a3xb4 I would like to be able to take a5xb4 which is not possible right now.
That´s why I postponed my a5 followed by b4 plan, and played:
...and of course he played
11. d4
Nothing of this was surprise for either of us.
He understood that my play with a5-b4 is much more dangerous than his hypothetical attack on the kingside, and decided to transform to the open-sicilian structure, where my queenside is slightly weak. This is typical point of his style.
We exchanged everything on d4.

I could equlize here with:
15. Qxb6, Nxb6!
but I was unsure if
16. Nxb5, Na4
is enough for me.
Analysis shows that Black is at least not worse.
I played:
...even if I knew that he will play
15. b4, axb4
16. axb4
We got very interesting pawn structure which I will describe in details, but before that I should say that my next move was also mistake:
16...Bb7 ?!
but this time he trusted me and played neutral move
17. Rfe1 ?!
There was just better:
18. Nxb5, Ba6
19. c4, Bxb5
20. cxb5, Rxb5
21. Bc4, Qb6
22. Qxb6, Rxb6
23. b5 (Diagram)

During the game I thought that this would be comfortable equal position, but I analyzed it in depth with Michael de Verdier and we draw conclusion that White is slightly better.
Black has good control on the dark squares but he stands passive and White can improve his position further.

And, yes Michael de Verdier will write an article about chess on Malta (as he promised in April 2012) and article is now in  the second phase, moved from the conceptual to  the planning phase.

Back to the game! I will now show the diagram when I took interesting strategic decision.

I just played:
This changed the pawn structure and the nature of future play.
I have to say that he should probably play e4-e5 if I didn´t play it by myself and I already wanted to play e7-e5 when I moved my knight back to f6.
All right, everything what I said was more or less in connection with the actual game, but what I want to explain next is pure understanding of the structure on the diagram.
I will use the few diagrams just to illustrate better my thoughts.
Of course, I didn´t think in this way during the game as it is very unpractical, but understanding of this type of the position helped me to choose right moves during the game.

<-- Pawn structure on the conflict part of the board

Pawn structure on the whole table -->

On the left side we have a diagram with pawn structure in the center and on the queenside.
This is important as pawn structure on the queen side and center is in the conflict area.
As we can see, it is mainly symmetrical.
Both sides have one backward pawn and the pressure along d-file can be compensate by the pressure along c-line.
For Black it can be useful to play pure rook endgame as than it could quickly transpose to a draw.
The main question is which pawn is weaker, black´s pawn on b5 or white´s pawn on e4.
If we look at the diagram on the right side we can see that White can support his pawn on e4 with f2-f3.
This means that a pawn on b5 is weaker and that Black has a slightly worse pawn structure.
As an activity of the minor pieces is in the big part determinate by pawn structure it is important to look at this position from that point of view.

Here is obvious that both of Black minor pieces attacks white pawn on e4 and in this case it can be said that e-pawn is as weak as b-pawn. If White supports this pawn with f2-f3 he would weaken all dark squares on the kingside.
It would be possible to play Nf6-h5 immediately taking advantage of this (It is worth to notice that White would like to have his h-pawn on h2 in this case!).
Black bishop on c6 protects b-pawn and controls weak square in front of backward pawn on d6, so it is placed quite all right.
For Black would be nice to exchange his bishop for white knight and then organize the pressure along c-line.
All this suggest that Black is quite good placed but there are two very important details which have to be considered.
The bishop on c6 closes c-file which is the main line for black counterplay and the white c-pawn is on c2 (not on c3) and is very well protected by the bishop on b3.
The white pieces are in the contact with very important square d5, while the black pieces are nowhere near to control important square c4.
It means that White´s minor pieces have aggressive positions compared to Black´s minor pieces.
The problem is more complex with all major pieces on the board.
It is worth to notice that a-file doesn´t have as important role as one could thought.

Back to the game....

We reached this position which was maximum what White could do.
Earlier in the game, Hector tried to organize something with f2-f4 break but faced with the good defense he switched his focus on the d-file.
After the game he thought that he has advantage here and that his next move was mistake.
I respect his opinion as he is better player than me, but I don´t see what he can do in order to improve his position and to avoid to give me additional play.
I can play just Qa8 (pressuring on e4) Qa7 and I don´t see any plan for him.
If he tries with R1d2 (with idea of Qd1) I can just check him on a1 and either exchange queens or go back on a7(a8). If we exchange queens than I would transfer my king to e7 and organize my play on the c or a file.
According to me, he does the best, and just exchanged everything on the d5.

We reached this position in the time trouble.
My counterplay on the c-file compensate for the slight defect in the pawn structure.
Here I could immediately make a draw by:
He cannot avoid simplifications.
Instead, I played:
Which is not bad but this increases my chances to make a mistake.
34. Qa5
Exactly that happened.
34...Rcd7 ?
The time trouble is not an excuse for such an error.
I am very passive right now and one more inaccurate move gave him the big advantage.
Despite my active play after the time trouble he reached winning position around move 60.

At the end of story, the small tactics works in favor of side with advantage even if I could do nothing to stop this.
I played:
...and my pawn on f6 is lost.
He took it and the game was basically over.
If I played
60...Kg6 ?
He could force a mate with:
61. Rxf6+, Kxf6
62. Qa6+
...and I could only give up my two major pieces on b6 and c6 to prolong a mate for two moves.

That was it in the first round and for those who are just interested to see a game, there is always a pgn viewer.

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