Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Improving during the tournament

I am sure that this article will be welcomed by some of my readers that I have a contact with, as I know that they like the openings.
It is also an article about my games form Manhem Chess Week, and their GM tournament, as I promised right after the tournament.
I already published one game from the tournament, and now I am going to write about my two games against GM Tiger Hillarp Persson, and IM Victor Nithander.
The both players played the same variation against me.
I managed to improve on my play, but not with an opening novelty.

Hillarp Persson Tiger E2529 - Bejtovic Jasmin E2392

I am now talking about round number two, and my game against winner of the tournament.
First of all, I have to mention that the opening strategy in the closed tournaments is not the same thing as the opening strategy in the open tournaments.
In the closed groups with black pieces you need to have some solid openings without too much risk, as a draw with a black pieces is almost always the good result.
In the open tournaments, often we need to win our games with black too.
My trademark in the last couple of years is Maroczy Bind in the Sicilian Defense (or in The King´s Indian Defence).
Tiger did not expect me to play it against him, when he played trough an King´s Indian move order as he saw that I lost my two last games against two GM-s in this line...

"One with the short surname, and one with the long surname" 

....Tiger said....but I can remember only my defeat against Hungarian GM Papp in Sarajevo. I assume that he is the guy with the short surname.
What has GM Hoi and IM Bae to say about this?

Back to the position on the diagram.
According to Peter Haine Nielsen, in Maroczy Bind white can do the best by not allowing the exchange of one pair of minor pieces.
He wrote that in the first edition of Experts vs. Sicilian.
However, his original intention is to avoid The Gurgenidze Variation of Maroczy Bind by playing 7.Nc2 which is on seventh move, not ninth.
In theory, the positions with four or one pair of minor pieces should favor White, while Black should be OK in the positions with two or three pairs of minor pieces.
This is the theory, but we all know that the practise is something else.

Tiger played:


I played this position three or four times in my practise.
As far as I can recall it, I never lost the game in it.
I never played the main line here, but one of my plans was to learn the main line just in case when I do not need to play for a win.
I played a move which I analysed during the spring 2013, and I could always justified it in the practise.


Tiger answered:

10. Kh1!

I never faced this move.
The idea is very simple. Before opening his cards with his setup in the centre, he moves his king from the dangerous diagonal.
In many variations black counterplay is connected with b7-b5 and the check on b6 can be very useful (White will play f2-f3 or f2-f4 sooner or later).
This is what I call the novelty.
I am not sure about theoretical value of this prophylactic move, but it´s practical value is huge.
I was stacked with my wish to play solid and with a wish to sacrifice a pawn somehow (with b7-b5 after some preparatory moves) for , as both of us thought, not sufficient compensation.

Very quick I found my self in a passive position.
Later on in the game I got some chances, but I never got full balance.
He won the game just before move 40.

Nithander Victor E2437 - Bejtovic Jasmin E2392

We are now discussing the game from fourth round.
I played against IM from Gothenburg, which means the home player.
I already played against him in the same variation, and made a draw in 2010 if I remember correctly.
After that, in 2012 he played something else in his game with White pieces against me.
I assumed that after not so successful opening in that game, Victor would try again with this variation in Marocy Bind.
I guessed right, and we got the same position as in the game against Tiger.
It is important to show for the other players in the closed group that the weak spot in one of the main openings in my repertoire was just an temporary.
I think that I succeeded in that.

I played:


...entering the main line.
After some normal moves we got the following position:

As my knight was very quick on it´s way to d4, White was forced to exchange one minor piece.
It just shows that 9.Nc2 is not the critical test for Maroczy bind.
All of you who like it, continue to do so, and play it as far as you can, but I am telling you the truth.

White main move here is 16. Be3.
After that we can continue with the theory a bit but I will not relive what was my intention here.
Victor was not the best prepared and he played:

16. Bd3?

It allowed me to play:


with a strong initiative.

He fought well, and after a series of more or less good moves from the both sides I managed to win the pawn but he got some compensation for it.
In the time trouble we reached the following position:

What I did in this tournament is the whole bunch of excuse moves....based on general principles in the situations when I actually saw the tactical ideas which was a bit risky but could give me much more....
This position is not an exception.
I played:


Anticipating inevitable...

28. hxg6, fxg6

I wanted to have my rook on the f file.
My idea was connected with Rf4 or something like that.
He reacted well with:

29. Nb5, Nxb5
30. Bxb5 

...and I have no advantage at all.
I am pawn up, but there are no real pawn breaks, and I can not improve my position.
In fact I can be in danger because of the open position of my king.
I played:


and offered a draw.
He accepted.
He can already play 31. Rxg6+ with a draw, which I showed him in post-analysis.

What I could play instead?


Somehow I considered this move, but looked at it superficially.
I did not liked idea to draw my rook long from the king position.
However, by pining his pieces on the first rank, I could defend my king indirectly.
My advantage is close to winning according to my silicon friend.

I will continue with my games from Gothenburg in my next articles....

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