Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Australasian Masters Round 3

Ok, so I'm actually writing this blog on the Masters a day behind, because the 4th round has finished but I write to get over the game I played which I don't want to analyse in too much depth each evening....I've got to get up at 6.30am! So round 3 of the Masters was a huge personal disappointment for me. I played a game much as I would have liked to and then just made one slack move which threw everything away. I suppose this sort of thing can happen, but it doesn't make it any less painful when it does. Anyway, it was good to see Ian and Cathy Rogers at the tournament and I felt pretty good when Ian praised the way I played the endgame in the first round against Mike Steadman.

Before the round started proper, the postponed game between Solomon and Rujevic was played with a fairly comfortable win for Stephen Solomon. Then, one game started 30 minutes early, between Levi and Teichmann which Erik won after a terrible blunder from Eddy who had built up a pretty impressive position only to give up a rook after hallucinating that his queen was on e3 and could go to h6 with mate, when in fact his queen was on f3.

Round 3 Pairings and Results:
Illingworth-Solomon 0-1
Morris-Cheng Draw
Smirnov-Steadman 1-0
Levi-Teichmann 0-1
Gorka-Rujevic 0-1

Morris-Cheng was an interesting game with James grabbing a pawn early on which allowed Bobby to develop and eventually he won his material back and the game petered out to a draw. I didn't see much of the Smirnov-Steadman game, but apparently Vladimir won a pawn and played a nice temporary sacrifice to simplify the position and then converted. The game between Max Illingworth and Stephen Solomon was the longest of the tournament so far at nearly 100 moves. In the end there was rook knight and pawn against rook bishop and pawn with Solomon having the bishop. After a lot of moves and over 5 hours of play, Max tragically blundered and the game finished a win for Solomon.

In my game I wanted to avoid allowing my opponent direct attacking chances, so perhaps letting him play the King's Indian Defence might not seem a particularly good plan. However it worked and the position became very stodgy with not a lot that either player could do. I exchanged my dark squared bishop for a knight which Mirko thought was bad, but the light squared defence I set up should have been solid enough. However, I blundered with 31.Bd3 losing an exchange and essentially the game. In fact, at that point there was an interesting drawing line that I rejected because I hadn't looked deep enough!

The blunder came in the following position:
Here I played 31.Bd3? and Mirko, who is always very quick to pounce on any tactical chance played 31..Be3+ and after I move my king he played 32..Bd4 winning the rook on c3.
Instead I should have taken the forcing line 31.Nxd6, which I rejected because I lose a piece after 31..Rxc3 32.Rxc3 Rxc3 33.Qxc3 Be3 (a nice zwischenzug) 34.Kh1 Bxf1 and black is a piece up.
However, if only I'd looked deeper then I would have seen that white has a perpetual with 35.Qc8+ Kg7 36.Qd7+ and black must move back to g8 or get mated. I'm sure we also missed stuff earlier on, but that is quite a nice line.

In the post game analysis, Mirko seemed pretty happy with his position and I would happily concede that black had a slight edge, but if white doesn't blunder, then black will have to take some risks to win.

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