Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MAC June Swiss

On Saturday June 18, Prospect 1st Board Robert Moskwa and I played in a four round G60 in Elgin run by the McHenry Area Chess Association.  I managed to give back 20 of the rating points I picked up at the Chicago Open by failing to find the winning move in the first round against 1766 rated Tim Ailes.

As Robert pointed out on the way home,  46.Nxe6! Ke7 47.Ra6 wins.  Unfortunately, I thought that I would just drop the d-pawn because I didn't notice that the Black bishop was hanging.  So I played 46.Rxd4 which lost painfully to 46...f5!  I followed this up with a loss to Expert Larry Cohen.

Robert, on the other hand, had another fine performance.  After a first round bye and a loss to 1959 rated Joe Cima, he finished with wins against 1798 rated Caleb Larsen and 1904 rated Chris Baumgartner.  This gained him another 57 points to bring his rating to 1830 after only 22 USCF rated games.  After I returned to tournament chess in 1996, it took me 80 games to reach that point.

I did have the consolation of beating the 69th highest rated eleven-year old in the country, Haoyang Yu,  when he tried to control the center with his pawns while neglecting his development.  Haoyang opened with 1.d4 and I played the Nimzo-Indian Defense 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4.   White played the Classical variation 4.Qc2 which is currently the most popular approach among grandmasters.  After, 4...0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 b6, he had achieved his goal of obtaining the bishop pair without weakening his pawn structure.

The problem for White is that his only developed piece is his queen, and he is still several moves away from castling.  The most usual move here is to get on with development with 7.Bg5, but my opponent continued making pawn moves with 7.e3 Bb7 8. f3?! c5 9. d4?! cxd4 10.Qxd4 Nc6 11.Qd1.

White's pawns don't look bad, but after having played eleven moves, all his pieces are sitting on their original squares. Naturally, It is time for Black to open up the position.  11...d5 12.cxd5 exd5 13. Bd3 Nxe4! when White cannot play 14.Bxe4 due to 14...Bh4+.  After 14.Nf3, I was able to use my superior development to win a second pawn and trade down to an easily won ending.

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