Friday, 31 December 2010

Malmö Open 2010

The week end before Christmas (i.e. usually around the 17th-19th of December) is Malmö Open time. This is the only bigger tournament around here that is still being held - unless you count the Sigeman Tournament and the usual invited GMs battling it out. But chess is a bit like sex, it doesn't really matter how bad you are at it, it's still more enjoyable partaking than merely observing...

Malmö Open is also the closest a Swedish chess player gets to an Iron Man contest. It starts on the Friday evening at 8 pm, when most contestants have barely returned from work before it's time to show up in person at 7 to not be removed from the starting list. Then wait for an hour, and then play round 1 - the first of four 1 hour each games.

Round 2 starts at 9 am, and after two more games of speed chess, it's time for the first of three games with 2 hours each. Rounds 6 & 7 are played on the Sunday, when your back is aching and your brain is tired of chess.

I had a reasonably good tournament this year, finishing on 5 of 7. Both losses were against the GMs who ended up sharing 2nd place, and since only four GMs played this year one could say it was a bit unfortunate to run into two of them...

In round four (i.e. the last speed game) I got Hector on board 1. I usually get to play him and lose in this tm, but most often it occurs in round 5.

To my surprise I got an advantage quite easily with the King's Gambit, but failed to find the best moves to prove it. Here's some of it:

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Nge2 d6 6.a3 Bxc3 7.Nxc3 Bg4 8.Be2 Bxe2 9.Qxe2 Nc6 10.d3 g5 11.g3

(By the way, the natural 11.h4!? works according to my engine, e.g: 11...Nd4 12.Qf2 c5 13.hxg5 Ng4 14.Qxf4 Nxc2+ 15.Kf1!? Nxa1 16.Qxg4 Nb3 17.Bf4 Qd7 18.Qg3 0-0-0 19.Rh6+/= and the pressure on d6 gives white good compensation, in combination with more active pieces. But I can't claim to even have been close to considering 15.Kf1 during the game...


11...Nd4 12.Qf2 c5 13.gxf4 Qd7 14.fxg5! is the critical move, but 14.h3 might have been the sensible move, considering the limited time and stronger opponent...

14...Ng4 15.Qg2 0-0-0 16.Bf4 (this is another good time for the sensible 16.h3) 16...h6 17.gxh6! 

 [in the game I played 17.h3? and after 17...hxg5 18.0-0-0 gxf4 19.Qxg4 f3 things went downhill quite fast...]

17...Rdg8 18.0-0-0 Diagram  I saw that this would lead to a lost exchange after Ne3, which is how I ended up choosing 17.h3? instead. However...

18...Ne3 (But, I was already 15 minutes behind on the clock, so in practice he would probably have won anyway.)

[18...Nxh6 Afterwards, before hurrying off to prepare for the next round, Jonny said he would've played this, instead of allowing the Q-sac. 19.Bg3 and White has a clear advantage due to the extra pawn, but in practice Black can still hope to win, especially if he's a GM with a few hundred extra rating points...]

19.Qxg8+! [19.Qd2!? Nxd1 20.Rxd1 is almost as good according to the engine, and easier to play for a carbon based life form; d6 is weak, and Nd5, Kb1, Qa5 seem to get White's pieces into position. 20...b6 21.Nd5 Qe6 22.h4 f5 23.Bg5 Kb8 24.Kb1 Rf8 25.c3 Nc6 26.Nf4+/=]  

19...Rxg8 20.Bxe3+/- with a clear advantage. In corr white would probably just be winning here. A few sample lines: 20...Rg2 [20...Qh3 21.Nd5] 21.h3 Qe6 [21...Rxc2+?? 22.Kb1 Rg2 23.h7+- Qd8 24.Rdg1 Rg6 25.Rxg6 fxg6 26.Bxd4 cxd4 27.Nd5 Qh8 28.Rc1+ Kd8 (28...Kb8 29.Ne7) 29.Rc7+-] 22.Nd5+/-

And for those who want to test their tactical vision, here's a few positions from my other games in the tournament:

 ...Nb5 has just been played, and now White missed a strong idea.


Black to move.

 Black has just played Re4-a4, what to do as white?

My GM opponent in the last round has just played ...b6?! which looked strong during the game, but it seems I missed a chance to equalise here.

Here White is in dire straits, but during the game I assumed that Black had missed that 1.Rxd4 exd4 2.Qxd4 Nxb3 white can hit back on a7. Actually, he said he had missed it, but a strong player is often lucky because he sees his chances, and it turns out that "regaining the pawn" on d4 is actually losing for white (though the alternatives also loses), but it's actually kind of pretty!

It doesn't really matter how White captures on a7, as both captures run into different refutations.

 Qxa7 Qe5!
29.Rb1 (29.Ra2 Nc1-+) 29...Nd2 30.Rd1 Qxb2 31.Qd7 Nxe4! 32.Qxe8 Qxf2+ 33.Kh1 Qe2!-+)

 In the game Rxa7 Qb8 and Qa4 was played:

which runs into

...Bc5! and now it doesn't matter if the rook goes to d7 or a6, Black will clear the c5-square with ...Bxf2+ Kxf2 and ...Nc5 resulting in a rather easy technical win an exchange up.

White to move and win.

Here 46.Nxd6 looked so obviously winning, but Black has 46...Kg7! 47.Ne8+ [the point is that 47.Nxf7? Rxf7 48.Bxf7 runs into 48...Bd6+] 47...Kg8? [47...Kh6 48.Kg3 Kg5 =] 48.Rb7 +-

What white should play in the diagram is: 46.Kg3! g5 and now 47.Nxd6! Kg7 48.Ne8+ Kg6 (48...Kh6 49.Rb6+-) 49.Rb6 h6 50.d6+-

I won't bother giving the solutions to the other ones, if you can't find the solutions yourself, your friendly chess engine will! :)

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