Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Week Till Doeberl So...

So I'd better get cracking with some work. It's terrible weather in Melbourne anyway, so I can actually probably get some analysis and preparation together before I play next week. I finished the Melbourne Chess Club Championship with a draw against IM Ari Dale which is a good result for me even if the game wasn't brilliant. Both of us made errors of judgement in the game which need to be worked on.

Ari had sort of misplayed the middle game up to this point and I felt that I had equal chances with black especially as white's b-pawn is weak. My next move was not good, though, and worse than the move was a thinking process error that I've noticed in my games. I have been seeing some threats for my opponent, and then taking the same threat for granted in future moves. This happened to me earlier in the tournament against Svetozar Stojic, where I blundered a pawn to a move I'd considered earlier in the game. Here, I had been vigilant of my opponent's check on h7 until this move, when I played 24..Ne6? Ari gave me some respect by taking a couple of minutes to take on h7, where I can't capture the bishop as it leave my d5 pawn unguarded, so I had to play 25.Bxh7+ Kh8 when I thought I am just a pawn down.

Funnily enough, this materialistic view of the resulting position is incorrect, and black is not that much worse because of the weakness of white's queen side, and black's excellent protected passed c-pawn. The game became a bit affected by time considerations until Ari did me a favour back again. Ari had made good on his extra pawn building his king side majority and gaining a sizeable advantage until we reached this position.

I had just played ..Qa2 and Ari whipped out the tempting 40.Qg6 [probably 40.Qxa2 followed by Kf4 was white's best, and good enough to win] and I found an equalising check blocking the queen's defence of the b1 rook. 40..Ne4+. I thought it prudent to offer a draw in that position as after taking the knight white can force it anyway with Qe8-h5-e8 and, of course, Ari accepted. Ari Dale was already the MCC Champion before this round, so a big congratulations to him. I'm sure he has many Championship wins ahead of him.

It means I go to Doeberl next week with a good result under my belt, even if the play and thinking was not convincing. At least that means I won't be overconfident before my first game. And who I will play is a complete mystery. I am currently sat in the top half of the event, but I would expect there to be a number of players taking byes in the first round. If this is the case, then I may get the chance to play a strong Grand Master. Last time I played, my first round opponent was Romanian GM Gergely Szabo (2553 at the time) so hopefully I'll get another crack at a GM this time round.

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