Sunday, March 27, 2011

ACIS Notes 007 -- Eastern Class Tournament 2011 -- Round 1

CCA Eastern Class 2011 Round 1
This tournament is 5 rounds, starting Friday night for round 1. I took the day off so my roommate and I arrived with plenty of time, ate early,no stress and so on. I am re-energized this year to actually make progress in my chess, as opposed to "dithering around" as the media recently likes to describe such behavior.

White opened 1.d4 as per usual. With Blacks reply 1...b5 I knew my opponent liked "off beat" openings, and mentally went on alert for traps. This preoccupation with traps held White back. It took a while to feel comfortable with the tensions enough to start asserting my plans. Key points in the game:

  • 6...Be7 -- After this move White is searching for a plan, but gets overly concerned about the Black Bishop on b7. This restrains White from pursuing the Black King, who delayed castling until it was too late.
  • 10...Qc7 -- White really needs to pursue the Black King by restraining the King from castling Queenside, then opening the center. Instead White tries to get a Kingside attack going. The issue is(a)  that Black could simply castle Queenside then what?, and; (b) in order to coordinate the Knights, White goes through an awkward maneuvering and it isn't until much later that the Knights become useful. In the meantime, a Fritz analysis keeps telling White (six times!) that he needs to consider the simple d5 push...
  • 14...Qf8? -- White clumsily pushed the Black Queen back to an unproductive square. Then, White finally realized that he needs to create some Queenside action in order to give Black multiple problems to solve, and plays 15.a4.
  • 17...Bc8 -- White has spent a lot of effort to displace the Black light square Bishop from the long diagonal. Now White feels bold enough to try 18.d5 and open up the position to go after the Black King.
  • 19...Bb7 -- Now White has to continue the plan of pursuing the Black King. Does he push 20.d6, or try to crack open the Black King defenses with 20.dxe6? Or some other move? 20.d6 will restrain the Black dark square Bishop (good). 20.dxe6 begins to chip away at the Black King defense, but is there something quicker? Fritz suggests 20.cxb4, but I'm not sure why this is good. The engine doesn't reveal an immediate tactic, so there is something positional that I do not understand.
  • 29...Rxg6 -- After missed tactics on both sides, and a rushed exchange of Queens on White's part, we have a position where Black has a huge weakness on the d7 square, White has a Rook on the d-file, and two Knights trained on d6 in front of the d7-pawn. White initiates operations against the last defense of the Black King with 30.Ncd6.
  • 33...cxb4 -- White can choose to maintain or increase the tension if he wishes. Fritz recommends 34.a5 to maintain tension, while Goldowsky ("ChessWriter") recommends 34.h4. White played 34.Nxe7 releasing the tension, likely lengthening the game.
  • 35...a5 -- Allowing White to exchange Bishops with 36.Bb5, and the rest of the game is inevitable.