This game had a shorter time control than the other games this tournament because I was playing on the two-day schedule.
I think I've ruined my opponent's pawn structure, but he manages to save the draw with a well-played endgame.
This move is "dull" and "creates too few problems for Black," according to GM Joe Gallagher. "All openings are sound below master level." -- William Lombardy
While my knight wasn't terribly strong on g3, I don't know if it has anywhere better to go.
23... cxd6 restores Black's pawn structure
26. Nf4, increasing pressure on the pinned piece, is probably better.
I'm so worried about the Black bishop that I refuse the gift at h4?
Draw agreed 1/2-1/2
When Black can take out White's central pawns in a French Advance, it's usually enough for the win.
25. Be5 is strong.
30. Rxb4 Rxb4 31. Rxc3 at least gives White a pawn for the Exchange, although the game is probably lost by this point anyway.
31... c1=Q wins the Exchange, but "When you see a good move, wait, look for a better one"
Now 32... c1=Q wins a full rook, but "When you see a good move, wait, look for a better one"
White resigns. 33. Ka2 Rxb2# 0-1
A miscalculated sacrifice, or just a blunder? Either way, it loses.
With 4. Nc3 this is a playable move, but here it just loses a piece.
17. Ng6+ wins the Exchange
18. Nd6+ forking king and bishop
This will isolate two of White's pawns, but a lot of pieces get traded off with White still up a piece.
23. Bxe6 fxe6 24. Ng4 dxc3 25. bxc3 Rxd1+ 26. Rxd1 Rc7 27. Ne3 b5 28. a3 b4 29. Kb2 Rb7 30. cxb4 cxb4 31. Nc4 bxa3+ 32. Kxa3 Rd7? 33. Rxd7+ Kxd7 34. Kb3 Ke7 35. Kc3 Kf6 36. Kd4 g6 37. Ke4 h5 38. h4 a6 39. Kf4 Ke7 40. Kg5 Kf7
Can I use my knight to take Black's g-pawn and still make it back in time to stop the a-pawn? Yes, I decided, after double and triple and quadruple-checking my calculation.
41. Ne5+ Kg7 42. Nxg6 a5 43. Ne5 a4 44. Nc4 Kf7 45. Kxh5 Kg7 46. Kg5 e5 47. Kf5 e4 48. Kxe4 a3 49. Nxa3 Kh6 50. g4 Kg6 51. Kf4 Kg7 52. h5 Kh6 53. Kf5 Kg7 54. g5 Kh7 55. Kf6 Kh8 56. Kf7 Kh7 57. g6+ Kh8 58. g7+
Black resigns 1-0
A small mistake towards the end leaves me with an inactive bishop and a draw.
Looking to reach a QGD sort of position. However, White plays:
Well, no need to let White's soon-to-be-fianchettoed bishop have too much reign along the diagonal.
I didn't want to allow 14. a5 with tempo, leading to 15. a6, plus my knight wasn't going to be very active on b6 anyway.
Depriving the White knight of good squares
Now that the knight can't go to f6, this is the start of a planned journey to d6, from where the knight will have several options.
Putting the bad bishop outside the pawn chain--it will be moving to the hole at b5.
Allows White to isolate my pawn, and gives him an open file. Better, I think, is 24... dxe4 25. Bxe4 and then either 25... Nd6 or 25... f4!?
From here on this bishop is just a glorified pawn.
I might have had something here with 33... Qe4
Draw by repetition 1/2-1/2
Now one option is 2. e4 with the White side of a French. Not my favorite, but since I play the French as Black I at least know the basics. The other is 2. c4, where I'd be very happy with 2... d5 and a QGD, but not happy with 2... f5 and a Dutch.
This move order avoids the Staunton gambit, 1. d4 f5 2. e4, which in fact is what I usually play against the Dutch. I'm not too familiar with the main lines of the Dutch.
Not quite sure what I was thinking here--perhaps getting rid of my bad bishop?--but 7. a3 may be better.
I figured I'd like to know which way Black would take back before deciding where to develop my bishop.
Yes, I see that I'm castling into quite a bit of pressure, but I don't like castling queenside or leaving my king in the center any better.
Black wants to stick a pawn at f3 where he'll have mating threats at g2, but I don't see anything I can't defend against. "The refutation of a sacrifice begins by accepting it."
An eventual ... Qh3 will be met with Qf1
I can let black have the b1-h7 diagonal here. But when your opponent has sacrificed material, you should always keep in mind the possibility of giving the material back in order to relieve pressure, which is what I chose to do here.
I'm not in any immediate danger now, but I can't just sit quietly while Black proceeds. How can I create some counterplay? Oh! I can generate a passed pawn.
Now I can get rid of that annoying pawn at f3, and with tempo no less, so I don't even have to give up my passed pawn.
35... Ke7 is not much better, due to 36. Qa3+ Kf7 37. Qxa7. Chessmaster recommends 35... Qc6
36. Re1 wins easily
36... Qe6 is necessary here.
38. Qh4+ is faster, but mate is forced either way.
Black resigns 1-0
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