Tuesday 18 March 2014

Do not underestimate defencive resources!

Today, I will try to write about interesting chess subject, but in a way that I want to include some recent tournaments that I played (not only my games!).
After an intense playing period I entered a training phase, and I can conclude that my results somehow went down, in 2014. It is quite strange to say that, as I played really good in Cannes but Elo does not lie!
A slight disappointment in Stockholm in Rilton Cup, and very strange results in Elitserien tells for it self. Chess is very hard sport and it is very hard to maintain high level without some drops in performance. I had very successful last year ( by my top achievements in 2013, it is by far the most successful year in my life) and I think that part of the reason for that lays in my decision, at the end of 2012, to get rid of "the takers", the people who just takes a lot of energy in endless circle of complainants, incompetence, and Schadenfreud as the Germans say.

One of the positions, which I want to share with the readers is the position on the diagram on the left.
It is not the position from my game, but from the game:

GM Peralta Fernando E2613 - IM Kopylov Michael 2458

This game was played in the sixth round. I remember that I was looking at this game couple of times during the middlegame, as I finished a bit earlier that day.
One of the two Spanish friends that I shared an apartment during the tournament, IM Jose Camacho Collados, came to me, and whispered that I should look at the position after the move 40.
After the tournament, Jose, his friend Mario, my opponent from the eight round GM Alsina Leal Daniel, Fernando Peralta and me went to the Irish pub to look at the game Atletico Madrid- Real Madrid, but as it is very usual for chessplayers, it turned out that we put the chess board on the table and start to look at some positions.
Peralta explained what actually happened!
He was pressing all the game, and just before time control he managed to break trough.
In move 40, in the position with his queen on c8 and Black´s king on h7, he tried to calculate how to stop Bd4+. His first thought was to put the queen on c1, and he calculated couple of lines, when he noticed that he has less then 10 seconds left on the clock.
He decided to throw one check on g8 and work out victory after the time control.
How wrong was he!
White is queen up (well for the bishop), Black has his bishop on b5 under attack, Black can not move his bishop from g7 because of mate on g6, White is protecting d4 and White is protecting g2.

Yes, everything is quite nice in theory, but what to do against the threat Bd4+ with mate on h2 or on back rank?
The question is if White can manage to draw the game!
After some 20 minutes of deep calculation, Peralta found the solution (only to draw)...

41. Kh1!, Rh2+
42. Kg1, Rhe2
43. Kh1!


Let´s move on to my game from Swedish Elitserien....

I played against Swedish GM, Ralf Åkesson (known for his lost game against Garry Kasparov in their junior days).
The game was played four days after I came home from Cannes, and I thought that I accumulated enough energy to put all my efforts and try to win that game.
The opening was quite successful, as I employed quite interesting setup in Taimanov Sicilian and I sacrificed exchange for one pawn and positional compensation.

In principle, my position was clearly preferable, as in this position I could take a draw if I wanted, by playing:

23. Qh5  attacking his pawn on b5 and after exchange on b4 I can take perpetual on h7-h8-h5. There is nothing he can do about it.

23. Bc1!

My move is clearly better. I attacked d7, and it can not be defended my Rd8 because of Rd3 with terrible threat of Rg3.
In the case of Rc7 I would get some extra options with Qh5 (check on e8 in some variations).

He played:


In this position I could simply put my bishop on g6, play g3 and after Qh5 he is more or less forced to give an exchange back. I would stay with a clear pawn up.
I decided to force the matters:

24. Rxd5, Rxc2
25. Bxc2, exd5

We reached this position.
The computer engine showed some advantage for White, but nothing substantial.
The position is very complicated, and what is very interesting, not of forcing nature!
I am sure that with the right plan, and the right combination of moves in this position, Black´s task to defend would be almost impossible.
I played:

26. Qd7  ....and he answered with an only move:

All this was calculated by me when I played Bc1.
I played rather quickly:

27. Bb3

What I actually missed is:


I answered:

28. Bd2, b4

In this position there is more then one way to take a draw.
I can exchange on b4, sacrifice the bishop there, and take a draw on c8-e8-h8.
Very promising possibility is to play Ba4 after previous exchange on b4. White attacks without any risk, and Black has to find only moves.
However, I went:

29. a4?

For my opponent, the worst is over!
His position is still unstable, but the immediate danger is over.

Later on, things started to be even more interesting.
He made a mistake by taking on h4.
Now, his bishop is in the risk of staying out of play.
I played:

34. g5?

If I played 34. Be3! Instead, I do not see how Black can defend his position.
34...Qe4+ 35. Ka2 and what to do in order to stop activation of all White pieces. Computer shows some strange lines in which White is better but Black is still holding, but in practical terms, this is just winning for White.
After i missed my chance, the game was in balance again.
If you thought that the excitement is over, than you should see what happened next.

We reached this position, and I had one minute to make my last move before time control.
I panicked and trowed my queen on h5.

40. Qh5??

This is already very tragic episode.
I had two choices here:

40. Qa6 just draws!
My threat is Qd6+ (and it protects my bishop on d2), and he is forced to play 40...Qb6 41. Qd3, Qd4 42. Qa6 with the repetition.

The second choice is maybe even better.
40. Qd1!  as he is not able to play 40...Be3? (41. Bxe3, Qxe3 42. Qxd5+-).
My next move is probably Qc1 or Qc2. Computer engine gives an evaluation of 0.00  but I am sure that it is much harder to play with Black.

Anyway, after my blunder he just took my bishop:


I gave some checks, but it was far from enough.
This was not easy to swallow, as we lost the match with 4,5-3,5 and I was not rewarded for my efforts. My feeling is that i was the only player who played that game!

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