March Match Internet Chess Club (5), 31.03.2006
D17 - Slav : Czech Variation
I wasn't really into the mood to play, but I needed to be. It reminds me of the quote from Geller - "When a player is not in a good mood and loses it means his technique is not on a high level". i fancy that my technique is at a passable level, but this game shows otherwise 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Nh4!?
But the reason I decided to play (and avoid the Slav Exchange) was this move here. I saw this move in Onischuk-Shirov and thought that it would be a nice try v. the Slav 6...e6 [The strongest theoretical move was 6...Bd7! but I didn't think that (never having seen this before) Kirk would play a retreating move like that. In Kirk's favor, SHirov also played ...e6] 7.Nxf5 exf5 8.e3 Bb4 9.Bxc4 0-0 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Qb3?! [The Onischuk-Shirov game continued 11.Qc2 g6 12.f3 Rc8 13.Rd1 Qe7 14.e4 fxe4 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 16.fxe4 and a plan like this with f3 and trying to get e4 in would have been better for me 16...c5 17.d5 Qd6 18.a5 a6 19.Rf1 Rce8 20.Bh6 Ne5 21.g3 f6 22.Bxf8 Rxf8 23.Rf4 Kg7 24.Kh1 Rf7 25.b3 Qd8 26.Be2 h5 27.Qc1 Bxa5 28.Qxc5 Bc7 29.Rc1 Bd6 30.Qe3 a5 31.Rff1 b6 32.Rfd1 Ba3 33.Rc6 Nxc6 34.dxc6 Qc7 35.Bb5 Qe5 36.Bc4 Re7 37.Qf4 Rc7 38.Bb5 Kf7 39.Rd5 Qxf4 40.gxf4 Ke6 41.f5+ gxf5 42.Rxf5 Bb2 43.Rxh5 Be5 44.Rh8 Kd6 45.Rd8+ Kc5 46.Rd5+ Kb4 47.Ba4 Rh7 48.Kg2 Rxh2+ 49.Kf3 Ka3 50.Rd7 b5 51.Bxb5 Kxb3 52.Rb7 Rh3+ 53.Kg4 Rc3 54.Kf5 a4 55.c7 Rxc7 56.Rxc7 Bxc7 57.Bxa4+ Kxa4 58.Kxf6 ½-½ Even though he got a worse position in the opening/middlegame Shirov's strength showed] 11...a5 12.Ne2?! [Not the best plan. Kirk's idea with ...a5 was to lock up my dark squared bishop. I could have either tried something like 12.Na2 Bd6 13.Qxb7 etc.;
or 12.Qc2 attacking the f-pawn 12...g6 13.b3 (or 13.Bd2 ) ] 12...Nb6 13.Bd3 Ne4 14.Ng3 [One of Fritz's recommendations was 14.f3 Nd6 15.Qc2 Re8 16.e4 but i'm not so sure about it. I guess it's good enough. His bishop is just a big pawn over there] 14...Nxg3 15.hxg3 Now I wanted to come up the h-file and try and checkmate him 15...f4! A creative move allowing *him* to come in and attack me on the kingside and also mobilize his pawns 16.gxf4 I had to take 16...Qh4 17.Qd1 [I was hoping for something like 17.g3 -- 18.Kg2 -- 19.Rh1 but of course 17.g3 is answered by 17. ...Qh3. so i had to work around that] 17...f5! He blocks the diagonal to h7, threatens to double up on the h-file and mate me, and my pieces are still out of play. I was worried about falling into a losing position really quick here. So I decided to try and exchange queens and make my extra pawn count 18.Qf3 Rae8 19.Qg3?! [Fritz preferred 19.Qh3 Qxh3 20.gxh3 I guess my king is good on h2 and I can use the g-file to attack. My move gave equality] 19...Qxg3 20.fxg3 Nd5 21.Bc4 [21.Kf2 was another option. ] 21...Kh8 22.Bxd5? Giving up the bishop pair with no compensation. Actually I did have some compensation...getting rid of his queenside majority and giving him an isolated pawn. I doubt it was worth it though. 22...cxd5 23.Kf2 Rc8 [23...Re4 24.-- Rfe8 may have ben better] 24.b3? Should have been losing. My prior idea of playing b3, Ba3 Bxa3, Rxa3 may have been workable 10 moves ago but not now. This gave his rooks dominance 24...Rc2+ 25.Kf3 Rfc8 26.Ba3 Bxa3? [26...Bd2! and then get a rook to the third rank and it's impossibly tough for me. I know I wouldn' thave been able to defend] 27.Rxa3 Rb2 [27...Re8 working on the e-pawn may have been better. In any case my a3-rook is the worst piece on the board bar none] 28.Rf2 Rcc2 29.Rxc2 Rxc2 30.b4!
I was very happy with this move (hence the diagram), it actually gave me winning chances. He cannot make a passed pawn while I can. Also if he doesn't want to give back the pawns *he* will be the one with the passive rook. 30...axb4 31.Rb3 Rc4 32.g4 g6 33.gxf5 gxf5 34.g4 and the game should take care of itself from here on in. 34...Kg7 35.g5? [I have no idea what I was thinking 35.gxf5 Kf6 36.Kg4 and I'm much better. He will be in zugzwang eventually] 35...b6 36.Kg3 [I wonder if trying to go on the queenside was better. 36.Ke2 ] 36...Kg6 37.Kh4 h6 38.gxh6 Kxh6 39.Rb2 Kg6 40.Kg3 Kh5 41.Rh2+= Kg6 42.Rb2 Game drawn by mutual agreement Not the greatest game by me (my technique needs some work) but I was creatively happy with it, and I got a chance to unleash my opening idea I've been sitting on for two weeks, which for someone with ADD like me, seems like forever ;) March final score - Craig 3½ - Kirk 1½ ½-½