B02 - Alekhine's Defense, Maroczy Variation
I forgot to mention in my other game that the time control was the unusual G/110+30 seconds. My opponent was a 40-ish gentleman who was rated lower than me, just what I was hoping for. Originally I was paired with a guy who was rated 1900 who was having a crappy tournament. I picked up a King's Gambit book from Chuck's bookstore and also let Kirk in on my little opening secret for this game so I was fired up to play. 1.e4 Nf6! The exclam is not for the quality of the move (I'm sure there are better) but for me actually playing it. I told myself, partially as a tribute to Kirk's excellent site, that I was going to play the Alekhine's at least in my life OTB. 2.d3 I knew it. [This or 2.Nc3 were inevitable] 2...d6? [The question mark is for going against my preparation. I had a miniscule debate with Eric Schiller about the merits of this move on Chessgames.com and he was happy enough with 2.d3 because 2. ...e5 allowed a reversed Philidor. Considering I had just gotten smacked around in 10 moves against the Philidor a couple hours previously you can understand my reasoning against playing 2...e5 . I'm sure it was stronger though] 3.Nf3 g6 4.h3 [Slow, probably 4.g3 was better] 4...c5 Now we have transposed into a Closed Sicilian. I have played positions like this quite often so I was relatively comfortable with it. 5.Be3 Bg7 [Fritz preferred 5...Qb6 making him either weaken his queenside, return his bishop, move his queen or sacrifice a pawn. ] 6.Nbd2 [He had to move either the pawn or the knight as after something like 6.Be2 Nxe4 7.dxe4 Bxb2 8.Nbd2 Bxa1 9.Qxa1 I felt better. Whether that was true or not, I'm not sure] 6...0-0 7.c3 Nc6 8.d4! I underestimated this move, however obvious it was 8...cxd4 9.cxd4 He has the easier position here, as it's tough to find a good square for my bishop and if he gets d5 in where does the knight go. I did some calculatin' and decided to play 9...d5 myself 10.e5 This was the line I was calculating. [Of course 10.exd5 Nxd5 is fine for Black] 10...Ne4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Ng5 [This move did not come into my calculations, surprisingly. I had only looked at 12.Nd2 Nxd4 with a better position] 12...f5? [Of course 12...Qd5 is better. I don't know what I was thinking. Actually that's not true. I know exactly what happened. Mentally I had resigned myself to the fact that (because of the d3-pawn) he could only play Be2.] 13.Bc4+ Kh8 [13...e6 14.Bxe6+ Bxe6 15.Nxe6 Qa5+ looks like it might almost work but after 16.Bd2 what do i do?] 14.Nf7+ Rxf7 15.Bxf7 e6! This move totally saves my bacon. He now has to work to get his bishop out. 16.d5? [Trying to attack my precarious position 16.h4 Qe7 17.Bxg6 hxg6 was better, particularly with his rook still on h1] 16...Nxe5 The only thing I had was his precarious king position. This is the only try at getting an advantage for Black 17.dxe6 Qa5+ 18.Qd2 [18.Kf1 Bxe6 19.Bxe6 Qa6+;
18.Bd2 Nd3+ 19.Kf1 Qa6] 18...Nd3+ 19.Ke2 [19.Kd1 Nxb2+ 20.Ke1 Nd3+ 21.Kd1 Qxd2+ 22.Kxd2 f4 (22...Bxa1 23.e7 Bd7 24.Rxa1 Kg7 25.Bd5 Re8 26.Bxa7 Rxe7) ] 19...Qa6 20.Kf1 Bxe6!? [20...f4 was better, but i thought i had that move whenever I wanted] 21.Bxe6 Qxe6 22.g3 Trying to give room for his king. 22...Nxb2 23.Rb1 Nc4? [I should've grabbed the pawn. But just like 20. ...f4 I thought I could always grab the a-pawn whenever. 23...Qxa2 ] 24.Qe2 Nxe3+ 25.fxe3 [Only imagining that 25.Qxe3 Qxa2 was forced. I made some strange decisions in this game.] 25...b6 26.Rc1 g5!? I realized it was time to get one of my majorities rolling. Maybe it was premature, who knows 27.Qc4 wanting to trade queens off. UNderstandable. I missed the second part of his move though 27...Qe5 28.Qa6 An interesting idea. Threatening checkmate. 28...h5 [Maybe better was 28...Rf8 ;
28...Qxg3 29.Rc8+ Bf8 30.Rxa8 Qf3+ with perpetual] 29.Rc8+ Rxc8 30.Qxc8+ Kh7 31.Ke2
Black to play and lose
31...Qxg3?? Horrible. Obviously better was [31...Qb2+ as i can capture the a-pawn with check, as because of the e-pawn, he can't make any progress with his king and he can't leave the rook 32.Kf1 Qa1+ 33.Kg2 Qxa2+ 34.Kg1 Qa5 looks pretty good to me.] 32.Qxf5+! This was the (obvious) move i missed 32...Kh6? Allowing him to capture the e-pawn with check. Better was [32...Kh8] 33.Qe6+ Kh7 34.Qxe4+ Kh6 35.h4 g4? [35...gxh4 36.Rxh4 (36.Qxh4 Qg2+ 37.Kd1 Qf3+= allows perpetual) 36...Be5 is playable. I'm still up a pawn. I was mentally defeated and I really thought that h4 was a strong move. Now I'm just screwed] 36.Qe6+ Kh7 37.Qf5+ Kh6 38.Qg5+ Kh7 39.Qxh5+ Kg8 40.Qe8+ Kh7 41.Qe4+ Kg8 42.h5 Qe5 43.Qxe5 Bxe5 44.e4 Kh7 45.Rg1 g3= and I offered a draw because I only saw... 46.Kf3 Kh6 but i missed 47.Kg4! [47.Rxg3 and I thought maybe I could sneak out a draw but it looks losing 47...Bxg3 48.Kxg3 Kxh5 49.Kf4 Kg6 50.Ke5 Kf7 51.Kd6 Ke8 52.Kc7 Ke7 53.Kb7 Ke6 54.Kxa7 Ke5 55.Kxb6 Kxe4 56.a4 Kd5 57.a5 Kd6 58.a6] 47...a5 48.Kf5 Bd6 49.e5 and I resigned. That was an interesting game, but I needed to relax after making the blunder. Relaxation is important. I was much too stressed about this tournament. I will try to change that in the future.
I'm probably dropped below 1500 after this tournament. My main problem is that since I've beaten experts I expect to play at that level all the time, which just isn't true. I need to be more consistent, nothing more nothing less. 1-0