Saturday, October 16, 2010

Time Matters!

Being paired to play against the very strong, yet untitled(!) Jorge Sammour-Hasbun on Week 8 of the US Chess League 2010 was both a challenge and an opportunity for me. Jorge resume is awesome (Dos Hermanas, anyone?) and his exploits in the chess board are well known. Mine? Don’t bother. Arriving late also did not bode well for me. But play we must, so here we go …

Sammour-Hasbun,Jorge (2603) - Agner,Carlito (2251) [E86]
USCL Carolina vs Boston Internet Chess Club (8), 13.10.2010

1.d4 (1:29:53)

I was expecting 1.e4. Luckily, before leaving home, I thought, what if he opens 1.d4? So I hastily looked in at and found that Jorge likes the Saemisch treatment of the King’s Indian Defense. I remembered the famous Karpov-Kasparov, Linares 1993 game when all the White pieces ended in the back-rank at one point, so I looked it up and that became my inspiration. My main idea for the game was to make it complicated enough so that chances for mistakes are ever present. I also decided to include the times on the notation to show the effect of it to our play. So we blitzed out the following moves …

1. … Nf6 (1:24:11)

The time deficit of 5 minutes was due to me being late.

2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0

6.Nge2 (1:29:28) Here, I thought, not 6. Be3? Maybe he was trying to do some transposition, so ..

6. … Nbd7 (1:24:17) After a minute and 25 seconds look.

7.Be3 (1:27:32) Ahh .. here we go, back to the path.

7. … e5 (1:24:33) I have more time than I started!

8.Qd2 (1:19:51) It took Jorge 8 minutes for this move. This is still theory so, I wondered what the hold up was.

8. …c6 (1:23:10) A minute think to make sure still on track.

9.0-0-0 (1:19:29) Ok, no Karpov-Kasparov Linares, 1993, as White played 9. Rd1 on that game.

9. …a6 (1:22:39).

10.Kb1? (33:29)

The question mark is for the time spent on the move. This took 46 minutes and 30 seconds! I don’t know what was going on. One thing was that, I was making my moves pretty fast up to this point because I was still in my little preparation, so I think, and this is a guess, Jorge must be thinking I had something prepared specially for him at this juncture. But, really, I just wanted to get out of the opening with a playable middle game!

10. …b5 (1:10:39). I took a 12 minute think here to decide what to do after 10. … b5.

In a game where castling is on opposite sides, the game is a race to the King! So, Forward, March! This is still part of the standard line I looked up.

11.Nc1 (32:53)

As expected. Now I had to decide what to do next.

11. … b4 (1:05:06) I spent six minutes here. This was not an easy decision, but a practical one. After 11. Nc1, White is now ready to take on e5 again (dxe5) and if Nxe5 as planned, simply take on d6 as the c4 is not hanging anymore. I looked at Qe7, Re8, and Rb8, but considered all three as not active enough for black. In Shirov-Kasparov, Dortmund, 1992, Kasparov went 11. …exd4 12. Bxd4 Re8 13. Bxf6 Qxf6 14. Qxd6 Qxd6 15. Rxd6 Ne5, with a nice pressure on the queenside. 11. … exd4 is the most popular line.

12.Na4 (29:47) Three minutes given up here. The other option is 12. N3e2 Qc7 13. Nb3 exd4 14. Bxd4 Ne5 with a roughly equal game.

12. …exd4 (1:02:00)

Three minutes spent here. With the c3 knight out of the way, I wanted to get a clear diagonal for my g7 bishop.

13.Bxd4 Qa5 14.b3

Another line here is

Now, I have the open a1-h8 diagonal. Question is, with the white bishop at d4, can I get control of it? But first things first, so …

14. ….Bb7 (54:22) Six minutes used. Developing and threatening to open the center with d5.

15.c5! (11:59)

Seventeen precious minutes used. Getting critical on time. I thought this was a good move. White sacrifices a pawn to get a good post for the white-squared bishop, and it also stops my plan dead on its tracks.

15. …Nxc5 (50:12) Four minutes used. Asking White the question, which piece to trade?

16.Bxc5 (10:02) Another 2 minutes used up.

16. … dxc5 17.Bc4

Here I paused to re-assess the situation. White has finally the developed the bishop, but it costed him a pawn and the guardian of that LONG DIAGONAL. I thought here, black must be okay. Now how to proceed? Okay, take the open file …

17. …Rad8 (49:04). As the sequence was forced beforehand, I already planned 17. … Rad8, thus I used up only 1 minute and 46 seconds for this move.

Proving the richness of the position, my friend Fritz here finds 17. … Nd5! 18. exd5 cxd5 19. Bxd5 Rad8 with a complicated game ending to equal after 20. Bxf7 Kf7 21. Qf4 Bf6 22. Qc4 Kg7 23. Qxc5 Qxc5 24. Nxc5 Bc8 25. N1d3 Bf5 .


White is finding the most active continuations now. He threatens to take on c5 and the knight at a4 is suddenly a menace at c5.

18. …Nd7 (44:32) Five minutes spent here. The other option I thought about was 18. … Nd5 19. exd5 cxd5 20. Bxd5 but I could not find the continuation after this. Fritz later showed 20. … h6! 21. Bxf7 Kxf7 22. Qxc5 Nxc5 23. Nxc5 Bc8 with an equal evaluation.

19.Nd3 (6:16) Three minutes used up. The time is getting critical and the position is still complicated.

19. … Bc8 (38:15)

I used 6:47 here to redeploy my bishop stuck on the queenside. A funny looking position for my Bishop and Rook, both are looking at the shiny backside of my Knight. I did not have a nice feeling of my game at this point.

20.h4 (2:39)! Four minutes and seven seconds used. Very critical on the time! My thought here is that ‘Here he comes. And my pieces are still stuck in the muddy queenside!’.

20. … Qc7 (32:33) Six minutes used. Time to regroup in aid of the king! I cannot push the queen out with h6, as he simply takes on g6.

21.h5 (1:10)! 1:59 used. How long can he keep this up?

21. …gxh5?? (26:52). With enough time, I blundered. 21. … h6! 22. Qg6 Kh8! and black is ok.

22.Qxh5 (0:36) Thirty six seconds left for him. The time-pressure now made him miss 22. Rxh5! Which Fritzie evaluated as winning for White.

23. …h6 23.Naxc5 Nxc5 24.Nxc5

And here Black missed 24. Qxc5 with advantage, again, due to the time pressure.

24. …Qf4 (25:20). I had seen 24. … Qf4 earlier so I did not bother to check again. 24… Rd1 25. Rd1, Qg3! and Black can claim a little advantage.

25.Nd3 (0:54). Using the increment, White is able to increase his time available.

25. … Qe3? (24:25) Again, to the time pressure, I made this move after 1 minute and 25 seconds deliberation. 25. … Qf6 26. e5 Qf5 27. Kc1 c5 28. Qf5 Bc5 Black is still in the game.


26. Ne5! Be6 27 Be6 fxe6 28 Qg6 +-

26. …Qd4 (20:54).

Four minutes used after realizing I should have played 25. …Qf6 instead.

27.e5 (1:23) And White is winning already.

27. …Qc3 (18:39) I was not happy with my position here. 27. … a5 and Black has to find 28. f4 with still a winning edge.

28.Rc1 Qd4 (14:13). Another four minutes wasted in disgust. 28. … Qd2 29. Rc2 Qg5 30. Qg5 hg5 ends up with White still having the advantage. I rejected it offhand as I wanted to keep the Queens on the board to keep my chances alive.

29.Nxb4 (2:16). Playing mainly the increment in the five moves, White was able to increase his available time to 2 minutes and 16 seconds! Also winning for white is 29. Re4 Qb6 30. Nxb4.

29. …Qf4 (14:20) Played quickly. This led to 30.Nxc6? (1:58). Having given himself some time, White took a breather and made the most obvious move. But this gives away the winning advantage. He had to find 30. g3! Bf5 31. Nc2 Bc2 32. Rc2 Qg3 33. Qh1 Kh8 with a complicated game but still the advantage toWhite.

30. … Bf5! (6:49)

Eight minutes spent finding this only move to get back to equality!

31.Kb2 (2:06) Qd2+ (3:09) Four minutes used up. We are now both in time pressure! Also possible is 31. … Bxe5 leading to the same line next.

32.Ka3 (2:08) Bxe5!

(1:55) The exclamation is for the surprise and aesthetic value. I liked this move. Pieces are hanging everywhere. But with exact play, this is just good for equality.

33.Rxe5? (0:37). Cracking in time pressure. White took 2:01 minutes. The correct move is 33. Qxf5 which leads to perpetual after 33. … Qb2 34. Ka4 Qa2 35. Kb4 Qd2 36. Ka4.

33. …Qxc1+ (2:04).

34.Ka4 (0:45) Bd7 (2:24). Now black is claiming a slight advantage.

35.Qg6+ (0:49)

35. Rc5 and black is still claiming a slight advantage after 35. … Qf4.

35. …Kh8 36.Qf6+ (1:05) Kg8 (2:39).

36. … Kh7 37. Rh5 Bc6 38. Qc6 with a roughly equal game. Black is the exchange up but his pawns are not so good.

37.Bxf7+?? (1:19). Just a total blunder. 37. Qg6 Kh8 38. Qf6 and I had to find Kh7 in my own time pressure.

Also , 37. Rh5! Bc6+ 38. Qc6+ Kg7 39. Rh4 with rough equality again.

But as been said before, the player who makes the second to the last mistake wins!

37. …Rxf7 (3:08)

38.Qxd8+ (0:56) Kg7 (2:50)

39.Ka5 (0:48) Qxc6 (2:27)

And Black is a piece up, with no chances for perpetual for White.

40.f4 (0:38) Qc3+ (0:54)

41.Kb6 (0:35) Qb4+ (1:00)

Leading to checkmate so …


Carlito Agner

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Drawback concept almost produced a brilliant game!

This game really tested me. My opponent, IM Julio Sadorra, is a very strong IM with two GM norms. My preparation indicated that he excelled in complicated positions. So I steered away from 1.e4 and played 1.c4. I was hoping to see Julio repeat the opening moves from his game against Warren Harper. But no such luck.

Julio lived up to my expectations with regard to playing style. We entered complications quickly and I was unable to rest. Each move felt like a game ending combination was about to happen.

The internal struggle for me was exhausting. Chess principles, the Drawback concept, and my intuition were just not in harmony. Let us look at the game:

The opening moves were played quickly which indicated we were both happy.
(To see the game, click here)

1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5 5.d4 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Qc2 Nc6 8.Rd1 Nb4

I felt comfortable when black began to attack my queen with 8…Nb4, because I believed that my forces would be pulled forward and I would get the better of the maneuvers. My optimistic view may sound crazy and during the post game analysis my team found my confidence to be extremely funny. The jokes were continuous. Teammates Craig Jones and Jonathan Schroer said; ”Ron you’re a whole rook down and you think your winning?” more laughs. My team was exhausted and at first glance the position does look a little suspect.

9.Qb3 dxc4 10.Qxc4 b5 11.Qxb5 Nc2 12.Nc3 Nxa1

OK, look at the position below and try to find a good move for black. Problematic isn’t it. I concluded that I can’t be worse because the knight is trapped and materially speaking once I capture the knight I will have more than enough compensation. But why capture the knight? Surely there must be better. What do you think?

13. dxc5
Black to move

However, bad habits die hard. Playing down a rook did take a toll on my nerves but what really started to affect me were my desires. I wanted everything; the knight on a1, the rook on a8, promoting my pawns, etc… I could feel the strain from calculating line after line. I simply couldn’t relax and let the drawback concept guide me.

13…Qc7 and the drawback was clear that the Queen on c7 was going to allow my Bishop to develop with Tempo. But I didn’t want to give up my beautiful passed c-pawn. Emotionally I just didn’t want that to be the reality and thus the beginning of my inability to listen to the position. My desires were simply getting out of control.

OK 14.b4 was me satisfying my desire to hold my pawn but after 14…Nc2 the edge may belong to black. I am not convinced and my confidence centered on my belief that the knight was trapped on c2 with no way out. My hope was that my pawns would just prove to be too much.

14….a5 and White is back in the driver’s seat.

Ok, 15.Bf4 and the drawback to the Queen on c7 becomes a reality.

15....Qa7 The Q goes to a7 and my mind is filled with ideas.

Calculations, calculations, what is the drawback of Qa7? My knight can go to c6 and fork the queen and the Bishop on e7!

I must be winning and my emotions are going wild, but I need to work out the details.I am now breaking down and I just can’t keep analyzing all the lines.

16. Nd4 and all of my pieces are working. The knight on a1 is trapped and I am hitting the rook on a8, my pawn is advancing along the c-file and my position is looking sweet.

Wouldn't you agree?

16.Nd4 , Black to move

16…Bd7 and the drawback is obvious, my pawn simply advances to c6 with tempo.

Now look at what I missed after

17.c6 Bc8 18.c7 Bd7

Just take a moment and ask yourself what is the drawback to this move. Keep in mind some of the other drawbacks previously mentioned leading to the position below.

Wow! I am simply shocked that the answer to the drawback of 18…Bd7 is simply its existence on the square. The Bishop can be taken and just look at what could have happened!

19 Qd7!! Nd7 20. Nc6 ab4! (if black tries to move his queen Ne7 and Ba8 just wins ) 21. Na7 Ra7 22.Nb5! and black has to play like a 3100 rated computer to keep from losing.
( 22... Rxa2 23. Rxd7 g5 24. Bd2 Nb3 25. Be3 Ra1+ 26. Bf1 Na5 27. Rxe7 b3 28. Bd4 Rd1 29. Rd7 Nc6 30. e3 b2 31. Na3 Nxd4 32. exd4 Rc1 33. Kg2 Kg7 34. Ba6 g4 35. Bb7 Kf6 36. h4 gxh3+ 37. Kxh3 Rg8 =)

The discipline to seek the “Drawback” on each move is the key. In the above position I simply didn’t look for the drawback because of my previous calculations. I had concluded that after 18.c7 that Bd7 could be met with Bc6 satisfactorily. Reevaluating the moves just didn’t happen. My calculations followed the line: 19.Bc6 axb4 20.Bxd7 bxc3 21.Nc6 Qc5 22.Nxe7+ Qxc7 23.c8 (Q) Rfxc8 24.Bxc8 Rxc8 25.Rxa1 with a very playable game.

But the text somehow looked better to me. I was wrong and the game played out in black’s favor.

I learned a valuable lesson with this misstep:

Check for the drawback on each move!!

The actual game continued: 19.Bc6 axb4 20.Na4 Qxa4 21.Qxa4 Rxa4 22.Bxd7 Nxd7 23.Nc6 Bf6 24.Rxd7 Rxa2 25.Bd6 Re8 26.Bxb4 Rc2

Once my opponent worked out the details and captured my a-pawn with 24…Rxa2 My hopes appeared to be gone. 27.Be7 and it is just not enough. I did manage to get a Queen and at first glance it looks like I am back into the game.

Bxe7 28.Rd8 Bxd8 29.c8Q Rf8

Move 30.Qd7 and I am just mentally exhausted. My time is very low and my opponent is just much better. After a few tricks Julio finds the thread and ends my resistance nicely.

In all I enjoyed this game and if I had found 19.Qxd7! Oh what a beautiful game.

Simpson,Ron (2330) - Sadorra,Julio (2471)
USCL Dallas vs Carolina, 9/27/2010

1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5 5.d4 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Qc2 Nc6 8.Rd1 Nb4 9.Qb3 dxc4 10.Qxc4 b5 11.Qxb5 Nc2 12.Nc3 Nxa1 13.dxc5 Qc7 14.b4 a5 15.Bf4 Qa7 16.Nd4 Bd7 17.c6 Bc8 18.c7 Bd7 19.Bc6 axb4 20.Na4 Qxa4 21.Qxa4 Rxa4 22.Bxd7 Nxd7 23.Nc6 Bf6 24.Rxd7 Rxa2 25.Bd6 Re8 26.Bxb4 Rc2 27.Be7 Bxe7 28.Rd8 Bxd8 29.c8Q Rf8 30.Qd7 Bf6 31.e4 Bc3 32.Qd6 Ra8 33.Qd7 Rf8 34.Qd6 g6 35.Qd3 Ra8 36.e5 Be1 37.Ne7+ Kf8 38.Qf3 Bxf2+ 39.Kf1 Rb8 40.Qf6 Rb1+ 41.Kg2 Bg1+ 42.Kh3 Rxh2+ 43.Kg4 h5+ White resigns 0-1

Ron Simpson