Question: White just played 25.bxc6, overlooking the response 25...a5. Is he going to lose the pawn on c6?
Robert Moskwa and I have played dozens of casual games, but we have never played a serious game at a long time control. We finally got our chance Saturday when we were paired against each other in the last round of a G90 tournament at the North Shore Chess Center in Skokie. The tournament director asked if I minded being paired against my student, but I figured that with the way Robert is improving, this might be the best shot I would ever get against him.
Knowing how well he calculates in complex positions, I hadn't planned on being particularly aggressive even though I had the white pieces. Robert wasn't in an aggressive mood either after winning a very long game in the previous round. Since I had won prettily easily in the previous round, I had plenty of energy, but if he had played his usual defense to 1.c4, I think it might have been a fairly short draw. However, for some reason Robert chose to play the Symmetrical Variation with ...c5. Although this tends to be the most drawish response to the English, I knew that Robert wouldn't be as familiar with the positions as I was particularly since I had been looking over it recently after a strong player played the line against me in a CICL match last month.
Even with the loss, Robert kept his rating in expert range at 2002. I tacked on eighteen points to 2022. Robert's next chance to get his rating ahead of mine will come at the Denker qualifier at the end of the month.