Friday, 14 October 2016

My analysis of Tin - Hakimifard, Baku 2016 - A tremendous fighting game from our very young debutant.

For a change, I've decided to analyse a game between Tin Ruiqi, (Jingyao's younger sister) and the Iranian board 3, Hakimifard. Even though Ruiqi was outrated by over 400 points, she put up a great fight and was very close to holding her opponent to a very creditable draw. Unfortunately, after over 6 hours and 125 moves, she went down in flames. Still the game is quite instructive and I should mention that the Iranian coach was very impressed with Ruiqi's fighting spirit.


A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Olympiad Women 2016"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2016.09.03"] [Round "2.14"] [White "Tin, Ruiqi"] [Black "Hakimifard, G."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "1892"] [BlackElo "2308"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "250"] [EventDate "2016.09.02"] [EventType "team"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [SourceTitle "The Week in Chess 1139"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2016.09.05"] [WhiteTeam "Singapore"] [BlackTeam "Iran"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SIN"] [BlackTeamCountry "IRI"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. d4 Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd6 7. O-O Nge7 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Nb3 Bd6 11. h3 Bf5 12. Be3 Bg6 13. Qd2 Qc7 14. Rad1 Rad8 15. Nbd4 {White has gotten a standard French Tarrasch/c3 Sicilian IQP position and she is slightly better. Generally in these positions, the e7 knight is a lot better on the f6 square where it eyes the e4 square and it doesn't get in the way of its counterpart on c6. Still, there is a lot of play in the position.} Na5 16. b3 Nac6 17. Bd3 a6 18. Bxg6 Nxg6 $6 {Strangely allowing White's next move.} 19. Nf5 Nce5 20. N3d4 ({I do not really see an immediate refutation if White goes} 20. Qxd5 $5 {, plucking a pawn.} Bb4 (20... Qxc3 $4 21. Nxd6 $18) 21. Qe4 Bxc3 (21... Qxc3 22. Nxe5 Qxe5 23. Qxb4 (23. Nh6+ $5) 23... Qxf5 24. Qxb7 $16) 22. Rc1 {and Black is caught in an unpleasant pin. }) 20... Rfe8 21. Nxd6 $1 {Each exchange increases White's advantage and Ruiqi has an additional idea as shown in the next few moves.} Qxd6 22. Rfe1 f6 23. f4 $1 Nc6 24. f5 $1 Nf8 25. Bf4 Qd7 26. g4 $1 {I like White's handling of the middlegame so far. Black's f8 knight is a very poor beast and White has a straightforward plan of playing in the centre by doubling rooks, or prepare an attack with g4-g5. White was also not afraid of throwing her kingside pawns forward even though this exposes her king somewhat. At the same time, it is also extremely important to consider black's potential counterplay from the position and it is clear that her only chance lies in putting a piece on the e4 square. White has to be careful and prevent this at any cost.} Ne5 27. Kg2 { A safe move, but not especially essential. Also, the King might be safer on h2 or h1, allowing White to use the g-file for her rooks at some point.} (27. Re3 $1 {, seems strong. White can continue with Rde1, or Qf2-g3, attacking Black's stronghold on the e5 square. At the same time, it is also nice to provide additional cover on the f3-square, further ruling out any potential cheapos.}) 27... b5 28. Re2 {A good solid move.} ({The direct} 28. g5 $1 {also looks very good.} Nc6 (28... Nf7 29. gxf6 gxf6 30. Rg1 {with a big attack.}) 29. Rxe8 Rxe8 (29... Qxe8 30. Re1 Qd7 31. Ne6 Re8 32. Nc5 Qf7 33. Rxe8 Qxe8 34. Qxd5+ $18) 30. Nxc6 Qxc6 31. Qxd5+ Qxd5+ 32. Rxd5 Re2+ 33. Kf3 Rxa2 34. Rd8 $1 {wins the knight. Still, I can understand the reluctance to weaker her king even further as these lines were not that easy to calculate.}) 28... Qb7 29. Rde1 Nfd7 { Here, alarm bells should already be ringing. The knight is heading for e4!} 30. Kg3 $2 {I believe Ruiqi had overlooked the danger to her position. As happens very often in chess, 1 bad move could turn the position around drastically.} ({ White would have liked to go} 30. Ne6 $2 {but it is clear now that the King is on a bad square after} d4+ $1) ({Perhaps, White was forced to go} 30. g5 $1 { when} Nc5 31. Bxe5 fxe5 32. Rxe5 Ne4 33. Qf4 Rxe5 34. Qxe5 $16 Nxg5 $2 35. f6 Ne4 36. fxg7 $18 {wins.}) 30... Nc5 31. Kg2 {I believe the next few moves were time trouble induced.} Ne4 32. Qe3 Rc8 33. Rc2 Re7 34. Kh2 Rec7 (34... b4 $5 35. cxb4 $2 Rxc2+ 36. Nxc2 Rc7 37. Re2 $2 Rc3 $1 $19) 35. Rec1 Qb6 36. Kg2 Qa5 37. b4 $6 ({Don't give away more squares especially in time trouble if you can help it!} 37. Ne2 $1 {Defending passively and preparing Ng3 when the opportunity arises is good.}) 37... Qb6 38. Kh2 Nc4 (38... Qxd4 $3 {is a beautiful shot.} 39. cxd4 Rxc2+ 40. Rxc2 Rxc2+ 41. Kg1 Rc3 42. Qe2 Nf3+ 43. Kf1 g5 (43... Nxd4 $2 44. Qd1) 44. fxg6 hxg6 {and White is hopelessly tied up.}) 39. Qd3 Re7 40. Re2 Rd7 41. Ne6 Qb7 42. Rd1 Nb6 43. Rc2 Na4 44. Rdc1 Rc4 45. Be3 Qb8+ (45... Naxc3) 46. Bf4 Qc8 47. Bd2 Qc6 48. Be1 Re7 49. Nd4 Qd6+ 50. Kg2 Rec7 51. Ne2 Qe5 52. Bg3 Nxg3 53. Qxg3 Qe4+ 54. Qf3 Kf7 55. Kf2 g6 56. fxg6+ hxg6 57. Qxe4 dxe4 58. Ke3 Rc8 59. a3 f5 60. gxf5 gxf5 61. Kf4 Kf6 {The dust has settled and after missing several wins earlier, Black is now only a little better. White's king is very well placed, blocking the connected passed pawns and the weak a6 pawn promises White sufficient counterplay.} 62. Rd1 Nxc3 63. Nxc3 {A natural but inaccurate move.} ({The difficult} 63. Rd6+ $1 Ke7 64. Ke5 $11 {is very strong. Keeping both rooks enhances White's counterplay and Black can no longer hold on to both central passed pawns.}) 63... Rxc3 64. Rxc3 Rxc3 65. Rd6+ Ke7 66. Rxa6 Rf3+ 67. Ke5 Kf7 68. Kd4 Rd3+ 69. Ke5 e3 70. Kxf5 Rd5+ $2 (70... Rd7 $3 {with the idea} 71. Rf6+ Ke8 $1 {would have won cleanly. Now, White has a lifeline and she went for it.}) 71. Ke4 e2 72. Kxd5 e1=Q 73. Kc5 Qe5+ 74. Kb6 Ke6 75. Ra5 Qb8+ 76. Kc5 Ke5 77. Kc6 Qe8+ 78. Kc5 Qb8 79. Kc6 Qe8+ 80. Kc5 Qd7 81. Kb6 Kd4 82. Rxb5 Qd8+ 83. Kb7 Qd7+ 84. Kb6 Qd6+ 85. Kb7 Kc4 86. Ra5 {We've finally arrived at the most instructive part of the game. A few fundamental things that we can quickly establish: 1) h3 pawn would be lost sooner or later; 2) White's rook has to remain on the a5 square where it is safely protected and guards the critical a3 pawn; 3) In order to win, Black has to force White's King into the corner, placing White in zugzwang and forcing the rook to leave its anchor on a5. Ben and I were following the game live in our hotel room and we were initially not able to achieve point 3. However, it is now quite clear that Black can place the White king in a series of small zugzwangs and then it is only a matter of time before the rook is forced to leave the a5 square. Ben then pointed out that White can always go Ra6, and goes back to a5 everytime the king is placed in zugzwang. He is right of course, and the position is drawn.} Qd7+ 87. Kb6 Kb3 88. h4 Qd6+ 89. Kb7 Qe7+ 90. Kb6 Qxh4 91. Kc6 Qf6+ 92. Kc7 Qe7+ 93. Kc6 Qe6+ 94. Kc7 Qc4+ 95. Kb6 ( 95. Kb7 Qf7+ (95... Qd4 96. Kc7 Qg7+ 97. Kc6 (97. Kb6 Qd7 $1 98. Ra6 $1) 97... Qf6+ 98. Kc7 Qe7+ 99. Kc6 Qd8 100. Kb7 Qd7+ 101. Kb8 Qc6) 96. Kc8 Qf8+ 97. Kc7 Qe8 98. Kb6 ({For the sake of argument,} 98. b5 {also draws but with very little time, I would be nervous to push any of these pawns as they might all disappear in a jiffy!} Kc4 99. b6 {and there is no way to win the a5 rook.}) 98... Qd7 99. Ra6 Qc8 100. Ra5 Qb8+ 101. Kc6 Kc4 102. Rc5+ Kd4 103. Ra5 { and Black has not made any progress.}) 95... Qc8 {Zugzwang! Now White has a critical decision to make and in time trouble, it is perfectly understandable that she made the wrong choice here.} 96. Ka7 $2 (96. Ra6 $1 {is the only move, and Black has no way of making progress. For example,} Qb8+ 97. Kc6 Kc4 98. Ra5 $11) (96. Ra7 $2 Qb8+ 97. Rb7 Qd6+ $19 {Black gets all the pawns eventually.}) (96. Kb5 Qc7 $1 {Another zugzwang!} 97. Ra6 Qb7+ 98. Rb6 Qd5+ $19) (96. b5 Qd8+ 97. Ka6 Kc4 98. b6 (98. Ra4+ Kc5) 98... Qa8# {is a pictureresque mate}) 96... Qc7+ 97. Ka8 Qb6 $1 {Point 3 achieved and now there is no respite.} 98. Ra7 Kc4 99. Ra5 Kd4 100. Ra7 Kd5 101. Rd7+ Kc6 102. Rh7 Qa6+ 103. Kb8 Qxa3 104. Rh6+ Kb5 105. Kb7 Kxb4 106. Rh4+ Kc5 107. Rh5+ Kd6 108. Rh6+ Ke5 109. Rh5+ Kf4 110. Rb5 Qd6 111. Ra5 Ke4 112. Ra4+ Kd5 113. Ra5+ Kc4 114. Ra6 Qd7+ 115. Kb6 Kb4 116. Ra7 Qd6+ 117. Kb7 Kb5 118. Kc8 Qf8+ 119. Kb7 Qd8 120. Ra1 Qe7+ 121. Kc8 Qe8+ 122. Kb7 Qe4+ 123. Kc8 Qc4+ 124. Kb7 Qf7+ 125. Kc8 Qg8+ 0-1

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Analysis of Utegaliyev - Goh from the Baku Olympiad - Life is tough!

***Addendum: The Rook & Bishop vs Rook ending at move 102 was covered specifically by Karsen Muller & Frank Lamprecht on page 301 of Fundamental Chess Endings. My annotations are slightly confusing there. What I meant to say was that in that specific position, the guiding principle is that the White king should stay on e1 and the rook should be ready to block on f1 whenever possible.

And so after 3 tournaments in Europe, I am back home and back to work. It was of course disappointing that I had failed to make my final GM norm but there were also some positives, the most important of which is that I am a lot wiser now and I think I know what to work on moving forward in order to fix the gaping holes in my chess knowledge. I will also have my highest rating to date although in all fairness, 2457 at the age of 33 is hardly impressive and is certainly nothing to shout about.  The truth is that when I'm on a fine streak, making a norm is entirely within the realms of possibility but I lack sufficient knowledge in certain types of position and I did not have the ability to react in unfamilar and strategically or tactically complex games.

In this and the next few posts, I will analyse the games which I felt to be most instructive. Which probably means there will be very few wins since I only have 1 really good result which most who followed the Olympiad might know by now.

The most painful game by far was probably the game against Utegaliyev, a 2513 untitled player from Kazakhstan. Just to provide some context - I had lost my previous game against a 2500 GM from Estonia and it was important for me to bounce back as fast as I could.

The game began well and I managed to outplay my opponent from the opening and was clearly better, if not winning, and blundered in time trouble at a critical juncture. After a topsy turvy middle game where my opponent somehow managed to hang on with very little time left, we reached a bishop and rook vs rook ending and the conclusion to the game was just, well, epic....

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "42nd Baku Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.09.09"] [Round "7"] [White "Utegaliyev Azamat"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C03"] [WhiteElo "2513"] [BlackElo "2444"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "278"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Bd3 c5 5. dxc5 ({In yesterday's Inter-Professional games, IM Terry Toh continued with} 5. Ngf3 Nf6 6. exd5 { which is a quiet alternative to the main lines. Here, I went} exd5 $6 {hoping to enter a similar position to this game but White's specific move order prevented this possibility.} (6... Qxd5 $1 {is the mainline}) 7. dxc5 $1 a5 8. O-O O-O 9. a4 $1 Na6 10. Nb3 Bg4 $6 (10... Nxc5 {is probably fine for Black although its a little dull.}) 11. Be3 {and here, I blundered terribly with} Nd7 $4 12. Bxa6 Rxa6 13. Qxd5 {and White was clearly better in Terry Toh - Goh Wei Ming, Kevin, Inter-Pro Games 2016 although I somehow managed to win eventually. }) 5... Nf6 6. Qe2 O-O 7. Ngf3 a5 8. O-O Na6 9. exd5 {This allows a comfortable IQP for Black.} (9. e5 Nd7 10. c3 Naxc5 11. Bc2 b6 {was analysed in Sax - Goh, 2011 elsewhere on this blog.}) 9... exd5 10. Nb3 ({After the natural} 10. Re1 {, I had remembered John Watson's comment in Play the French 4 that} Re8 $1 {is the move, insisting on taking c5 with the knight and ensuring an active game.}) 10... a4 $1 {In my opinion, words are not able to describe just how important this move is to justify the viability of Black's set-up but I would try.} ({I had reached this position in a previous game with Sergei Tiviakov and was slowly but surely grounded after} 10... Nxc5 $2 11. Be3 Nce4 12. Nbd4 Bc5 13. h3 Re8 14. c3 Qb6 (14... a4 $1 {was probably Black's best chance.}) 15. Rfe1 h6 16. Bb5 Re7 17. a4 $1 $14 {and White had gotten everything he could possibly want from the opening. After the game, I asked the Dutch super GM where I went wrong and he simply replied that in this particular pawn structure, it is very important not to allow White to achieve the set-up with Bb5-a4. In this particular position, it is clear that: 1) Black has no satisfactory way of developing his light square bishop and a move like ...Bd7 is only helping White who generally wants to exchange pieces in an IQP position; 2) Black's typical counterplay on the queenside is absolutely stymied. The b2 pawn is always safe and there is no a5-a4-a3, breaking up the queenside pawn structure. For what it's worth, I will show the rest of the game with light comments.} Qc7 (17... Nd6 18. Qd3 $1 Nxb5 19. Qxb5 Qxb5 20. axb5 $14) (17... Bd7 $6 18. Bxd7 Nxd7 19. Nf5 $1 $14 {illustrates the dangers of leaving the light squares unattended. The traditionally bad French bishop does cover important squares as well.}) 18. Nd2 Bd7 {I didn't see any other way to connect my rooks.} 19. Bxd7 Qxd7 20. N2b3 b6 21. Qb5 Qc7 22. Nf5 Re5 23. Nxc5 Nxc5 24. Nd4 $1 {At this stage, I was already feeling that I was on the way to becoming a victim of yet another of Tivi's positional masterclass.} Rae8 25. b4 $5 Ncd7 26. Qc6 Qxc6 27. Nxc6 R5e6 28. Nd4 Re4 29. bxa5 bxa5 30. Nb3 Nb6 31. Nd2 $1 R4e6 32. Reb1 $1 {Beautiful piece co-ordination. Black could only watch and wait for the execution that is to come.} Nfd7 33. Rb5 Rc8 34. Bd4 $1 $16 Re2 35. Nb3 Re6 36. Rxa5 Ra8 37. Rxa8+ Nxa8 38. Nc5 Nxc5 39. Bxc5 Ra6 40. Kf1 Nc7 41. a5 Nb5 42. Bb4 d4 43. c4 Na7 44. Bc5 Nc6 45. Bb6 Kf8 46. Ke2 Ke7 47. Kd3 Nb4+ 48. Ke4 Ke6 49. Ra4 Nc6 50. Bxd4 f5+ 51. Kd3 g5 52. Bb6 Kd6 53. Kc3 Ne5 54. Ra2 Nd7 55. Kb4 Kc6 56. Re2 {1-0 (56) Tiviakov,S (2644)-Goh,W (2441) Petaling Jaya 2013}) 11. Nbd4 Nxc5 {Now a move like Bb5 no longer makes any sense as it will be loose on that square. Black has fully equalised at this stage and has active counterplay.} 12. h3 (12. Nf5 $2 {looks attractive but I had seen that after} Bxf5 13. Bxf5 a3 $1 14. b3 Nfe4 {followed by ...Re8 and ...Bf6, Black gets very nice counterplay.}) (12. Be3 Nfe4 13. a3 Bf6 14. Rad1 {and here, both} Nd6 ({or} 14... Bd7 {look fine for Black.})) 12... Nfe4 13. Be3 Bf6 14. a3 Re8 15. Bb5 Bd7 16. Rad1 ({The exchange of light square bishops is fine now as after} 16. Bxd7 Qxd7 {, Black has ideas such as ... Ne4-d6-c4, where it cannot be chased away without compromising the White pawn structure.}) 16... Nd6 $1 {An all-purpose and rather thematic move. Black covers all the critical light squares such as b5, c4 and f5, opens up the e-file and allows possibilities such as Nce4.} 17. c3 {I am not certain whether White has seen my next few moves at this point but I would be very surprised if he had allowed me to weaken his pawn structure voluntarily. Having said that, I couldn't see anything better than this natural move.} Bxb5 18. Nxb5 Nf5 $1 $15 {White has no way to avoid ...Nxe3 fe3 which weakens his structure in the kingside substantially. Black's dark square bishop could prove to be an important piece and Black's knight was about to hop to the useful e4 square, eyeing the g3 square.} 19. Nfd4 Nxe3 20. fxe3 Bg5 $6 { A human but inaccurate move.} (20... Ne4 21. Rf3 Be5 $1 $17 {was more to the point}) 21. Nf5 $2 (21. Nc2 $1 {is a surprising defensive resource. White continues with Rf3 and Nbd4 and suddenly White's position is ultra solid.}) 21... Re5 $2 (21... Ne4 $1 {prevents the note to White's next move, and threatens ...g6 followed by ...Ng3.}) 22. Qg4 $2 {This is an exceptionally tempting move as it keeps ideas such as h4 or Nxg7 but in fact Black seizes the advantage by force.} (22. Nbd6 $1 {with the idea} g6 23. Nh6+ $3 Bxh6 24. Nxf7 Bxe3+ 25. Kh1 Qe7 26. Nxe5 Qxe5 27. Rde1 Re8 28. Qf3 $1 {is ridiculously complicated. Black may have won 2 pieces for the rook but I don't see a convenient way for Black to untangle himself.}) 22... Ne4 $1 {I took a long time to find this important move but it was worth it as Black had now seized a clear edge. My immediate threat was ...g6 followed by h5 when White's position simply collapses.} 23. Nbd4 g6 24. h4 gxf5 $1 {It looks ridiculous to open up the g-file but I had calculated that Black holds in all lines.} 25. Rxf5 h5 $1 26. Qf3 Rxf5 27. Nxf5 Bxh4 28. Rf1 Bg5 29. Qxh5 {I had navigated safely through the first set of chaos but now in severe time trouble, I played an absolute howler.} Qb6 $4 ({In a moment of madness, I had thought that after} 29... Ra6 $1 30. Rf3 Rg6 31. Rh3 Bf6 32. Qh7+ Kf8 33. Qh8+ Bxh8 34. Rxh8+ { was mate but of course Black could simply play} Rg8 {and it would have been all over.}) 30. Ne7+ $1 {I would have surely seen this had I given more thought to my previous move. Now White has at least a draw.} Bxe7 31. Qxf7+ Kh8 32. Qh5+ Kg8 33. Qxd5+ Kh8 34. Qxe4 Bf6 35. Rf3 Kg7 36. Qg4+ Kf7 $4 (36... Kf8 $1 37. Qg6 Ra6 38. g4 Qd6 $1 39. g5 Qd1+ 40. Kg2 Qe2+ 41. Rf2 Qg4+ {would have forced a draw.}) 37. Qd7+ $4 {The position is incredibly complex and almost impossible to navigate in time trouble.} (37. Qh5+ $1 Ke7 38. Qh7+ Ke6 39. Rxf6+ $1 $18 {would have won immediately.}) 37... Kg6 $4 (37... Kg8 $1 $11) 38. Rg3+ $4 (38. Qg4+ $1 $18) 38... Bg5 39. Qd3+ Kf6 40. Rf3+ Kg7 41. Qd7+ Kh8 { Time control reached and both players get some time to catch their breath. Incredibly, Black had somehow stayed alive despite the vulnerability of the Black king and 42.Rh3+ can now be met with 42...Bh6. I took a while to come to terms with the position and realised that there is no clear way for White to continue the attack.} 42. Kh1 {White took a long time to make this move and my guess was this was more out of desperation than anything. White probably wasn't able to find anything useful.} Bxe3 43. Qd5 Re8 44. Qd7 Ra8 45. Qd5 { White is content with a draw but I had no intention of finishing the game this early.} Re8 46. Qd7 Rd8 $1 {No draw!} 47. Qxa4 Bh6 48. Rh3 Qe6 $1 {Black's pieces are slowly but surely getting coordinated.} 49. Rh5 Qg6 50. Rh3 Kh7 51. Qf4 Qe6 52. Qh4 Rd2 53. b4 Re2 ({GM Bong suggested} 53... b5 $1 {, locking up White's queenside majority before searching for a concrete breakthrough.}) 54. Kh2 Re4 55. Qh5 Qf6 56. Qf3 Qe5+ {Now both sides were back in time trouble and my opponent showed remarkable resilience not to collapse in this tricky position.} 57. Qg3 Qe6 58. Qc7+ Kg6 59. Qg3+ Rg4 60. Qd3+ Kg7 61. Qd1 Qe5+ 62. g3 Re4 {I felt I was almost winning here but annoyingly, White continued to find only moves. I have to say I was very impressed with my opponent's resourcefulness.} 63. Qd7+ Kg6 64. Qd3 $1 Qf5 65. Kg2 $1 Be3 66. Qc2 Bg5 67. Rh1 $1 {I somehow managed to get myself in a mess down the b1-g6 diagonal and Black was now forced to change queens.} Re3 68. Qxf5+ Kxf5 69. Rh7 {The infamous rook bishop vs rook ending!} Rxc3 70. Rxb7 Rxa3 71. Kh3 Bf6 72. Rb8 Rb3 73. b5 Be5 74. Rf8+ Ke4 75. Rg8 Rxb5 76. Kh4 Kf5 77. g4+ $6 {This doesn't throw away the draw but it makes life more difficult.} ({It was better to keep the pawn on g3 when I was not sure how I could even win the pawn successfully. } 77. Kh3) 77... Kf6 78. Rf8+ Kg6 79. Rf5 Bf6+ 80. Kg3 Rb4 81. Kf3 Bg5 82. Kg3 Rb3+ 83. Rf3 Bh4+ 84. Kg2 Rb2+ 85. Kh3 Be7 86. Rd3 Kg5 87. Rd5+ Kf4 88. Rf5+ Ke4 89. Rf1 Rb3+ 90. Kg2 Bd6 91. Re1+ Kf4 92. Rf1+ Kxg4 {This is of course a drawn ending but I didn't play 5.5 hours with the intention of giving away easy draws. There is no need to give any specific details on how to play this endgame as my opponent actually managed to demonstrate the 2 theoretical drawing methods. This will be clearer in the coming moves.} 93. Rf2 Bc5 94. Rf7 Rb2+ 95. Kf1 Be3 96. Ke1 Bf4 97. Rd7 Kf3 98. Kd1 Rh2 99. Rd3+ Be3 100. Rd8 Rg2 101. Rd7 Ke4 102. Ke1 Bd4 {We have reached the first critical position and here, the guiding principle is that the defending side should move his king towards the corner with the square with the opposite color of the bishop. In this case, White should keep his king on e1 and be ready to block with his rook on f1.} 103. Kf1 $4 {A huge huge error and a great opportunity for me to finally finish the game off. Unfortunately, I did not grasp this lifeline....} (103. Rf7 {, or other rook moves would have been drawn.}) 103... Rf2+ $1 104. Ke1 Ke3 105. Rd8 (105. Rxd4 Rh2 {was a little trap but one I did not expect my opponent to fall into.}) 105... Rf3 106. Kd1 Kd3 107. Ke1 Rg3 $4 {Yet another time trouble howler.} ({I had not realised that White was virtually in zugzwang here and he had to keep his rook on the d-file to prevent ...Bc3+ and mate. Hence, the simple} 107... Rf7 108. Rd6 ({or} 108. Rd5 Re7+ 109. Kd1 Rg7 $19) 108... Rg7 $1 {would have forced instant resignation.}) 108. Rf8 $1 Rg1+ 109. Rf1 Rg2 110. Rf8 Rg7 111. Rf5 Ra7 112. Kf1 Rg7 113. Ke1 Ke3 114. Kd1 Rg2 115. Rf8 Kd3 116. Ke1 Rg1+ 117. Rf1 Rg8 118. Rf7 Be3 119. Rd7+ Ke4 120. Ke2 Rg2+ 121. Kd1 Ra2 122. Rd8 $4 ({As mentioned earlier, it is important to keep the king on the e1 square.} 122. Ke1 $1) 122... Bd4 123. Ke1 Ke3 $4 {Throwing away the win a 2nd time.} (123... Kd3 $1 124. Kf1 Rf2+ 125. Ke1 Rf7 { transposes to the win above.}) 124. Kf1 Rf2+ 125. Kg1 Rd2 126. Rf8 Be5 127. Re8 Kf4 128. Kf1 Ra2 129. Rf8+ Ke4 130. Rf2 Ra1+ 131. Kg2 Bd4 132. Re2+ Be3 133. Kg3 Ra8 134. Rg2 Rg8+ 135. Kh3 {The Cochrane, or 7th rank defence is the most straight forward way to defend this ending and here I was finally resigned to the draw.} Bg5 136. Kg3 Bf4+ 137. Kh3 Ra8 138. Kg4 Rg8+ 139. Kh3 Rxg2 1/2-1/2

After the game, I was completely exhausted but while waiting for the bus to bring me back to the hotel, I suddenly had an epiphany of some sort. Of course, I had seen a particular game (live!) 8 years ago at the Dresden Olympiad and marvelled at the technique that Black demonstrated in that game:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Dresden ol (Men) 38th"] [Site "Dresden"] [Date "2008.11.17"] [Round "5"] [White "Leko, Peter"] [Black "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B42"] [WhiteElo "2747"] [BlackElo "2786"] [Annotator "KGWm8"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/7R/6k1/6b1/8/r7/6K1 w - - 0 119"] [PlyCount "18"] [EventDate "2008.11.13"] [EventType "team-swiss"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "GER"] [SourceTitle "CBM 128"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2009.01.28"] [WhiteTeam "Hungary"] [BlackTeam "Ukraine"] [WhiteTeamCountry "HUN"] [BlackTeamCountry "UKR"] 119. Rh2 $1 {The Cochrane or 7th rank defence!} Ra1+ 120. Kf2 Kf4 121. Rh8 Ra2+ 122. Ke1 Re2+ 123. Kf1 Kg3 124. Rd8 $4 ({This position is actually very similar to my game and it was easy for me to find} 124. Rf8 $3 Re3 125. Kg1 $1 {which would have held.}) 124... Re3 125. Rg8 {This is mre or less the same position as my game and Chucky demonstrated the win nicely.} Re7 $1 126. Rg5 Rh7 $1 127. Ke1 Rd7 $1 0-1

Yep, chess is a really cruel, cruel game....

Sunday, 18 September 2016

My analysis of Maze - Goh, Helsingor 2016

A highly critical game that I needed to at least make a draw to keep my GM norm chances alive. Ultimately, I was overpowered by my strong opponent but the game was very complex and I had good chances at certain points in the game. Enjoy!

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Xtracon Chess Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.30"] [Round "9"] [White "Sebastien Maze"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2435"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "109"] {This was an extremely important game in the tournament as a win would mean a GM norm and a draw followed by a win in the last round would have given me very good chances for a 10 game norm. Just like any other sport, it is important to come to a chess game and focus all your energy on the game but if there's a good time to really use everything in the tank, this would be it. Unfortunately, I started my pre-game preparation by doing something I really shouldn't have done - I played in the festival's blitz tournament the night before! The tournament ended around midnight and I was completely exhausted at the end. I could have put the 3-4 hrs to good use by checking my lines and catch a good night sleep. I tried to justify my decision by thinking that I should play the blitz despite the importance of the next day's game as I have already paid the entry fees. This was irrational and I was merely trying to come up with excuses to make myself feel better on making a bad decision. The result may or may not have been different but the blitz definitely broke my momentum somewhat and I heavily regretted playing it especially after this game.} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 $6 {As already mentioned, a win would grant me a 9 game GM norm, and that a draw in this round, followed by a win in the last round might also be sufficient for a 10 game norm. As such, given that a win is not particular vital at this point, I understood the importance of playing solidly especially when I knew that my opponent would probably play seriously for the win. In this respect, it can be argued that the French Winawer, an opening known for its huge complexity and aggressiveness is not the best opening choice for this particular round. It is therefore quite important to be flexible in your opening preparation especially when you may need to face very strong opposition. You should always have a very solid line and a line where you can play for a win although that normally comes in exchange for some risk. In my opinion, this flexibility in your repertoire is even more important when you are having the Black pieces.} 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 {This particular move order is played to avoid some of White's options.} ({For instance,} 6... Qc7 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. Bd3 {is a line that is not that dangerous but it requires a fair amount of study.}) (6... Qa5 {is probably a more "solid" line that I mentioned earlier and it has recently become very fashionable mainly thanks to the efforts of GM Kovalenko who has scored many wins with it recently.}) 7. h4 $1 {My opponent played this very quickly and has obviously prepped this. I smelt a rat but decided to continue with the mainline in my notes anyway.} (7. Qg4 cxd4 8. Qxg7 ({Comparing with my note to Black's 6th,} 8. Bd3 {can now be met with} Qa5 $1 {although there are complications there that have to be worked out. The young Indian star Parimajan Negi had recommended this approach in his 1.e4 GM Repertoire series.} ) 8... Rg8 9. Qxh7 Qc7 {is the traditional Winawer Poisoned Pawn, one of my favourite openings of all time. In round 4, my game with Daniel Naroditsky continued} 10. Ne2 Nbc6 11. f4 dxc3 {and now, the young American talent continued with the trendy} 12. h4 $5 {and had very good chances to obtain a significant opening edge. The game eventually ended in a wild draw.}) 7... Nbc6 {A slightly different move order that was designed to confuse. I had already played 2 games with this move and it was slightly naive of me to repeat the line despite knowing that my opponent must have prepped seriously against this. On the other hand, I didn't have a back-up to what I usually play and this cost me dearly in this game.} ({After what transpired in the game, perhaps the classical move order with} 7... Qa5 8. Bd2 Qa4 {should be considered.} 9. h5 { and now, a recent game of the French expert Emmanuel Berg continued} b6 (9... h6 $5) 10. h6 gxh6 11. Nf3 Ba6 12. Bxa6 Nxa6 13. Bxh6 cxd4 14. Nxd4 (14. cxd4 Rc8 15. Rc1 Rg8 {is fine for Black according to Berg.}) 14... Rc8 15. Qf3 Nc5 16. Bg7 Rg8 17. Rxh7 {and now in Smirin,I (2644)-Berg,E (2549) Minsk 2014,} Nc6 $3 $17 {with the idea of defending f7 with ...Rc7 if the need arises gives Black a significant advantage.}) 8. h5 $1 ({After the innocuous} 8. Nf3 {,} f6 $1 $132 {leads to interesting play where I believe Black is able to generate a fair amount of counterplay. This has been analysed in Steel - Goh, Istanbul Olympiad 2012 elsewhere on the blog.}) 8... Qa5 9. Bd2 cxd4 $6 {Again, naively following a previous game of mine and continuing to walk into my opponent's prep. Against a 2600+ GM who is known to be well versed with high level engines, this is almost a suicidal approach. However, I was unable to find a satisfactory alternative and if White indeeds gets an opening edge by force, the entire move order with 7...Nbc6?! may no longer be playable.} (9... Qa4 10. h6 gxh6 {is a line although I think} 11. Rb1 $1 {gives White some initiative.}) ({I was also not entirely satisfied with Black's position after} 9... h6 10. Qg4 Nf5 11. Bd3 O-O 12. Nf3 {when Black seems to be passively placed.}) (9... Bd7 {is the old mainline that was favored by the famous French expert, Germany's Wolfgang Uhlmann.}) 10. cxd4 Qa4 11. h6 $1 {White continues to blitz out the opening moves. Here, I was starting to feel more and more intimidated.} ({The famous stem game Kasparov - Anand continued} 11. Nf3 Nxd4 12. Bd3 { but this line has been largely diffused recently.}) ({The position arising after} 11. c3 Qxd1+ 12. Rxd1 h6 {is also known to be completely fine for Black despite White's having the bishop pair as Black would gain sufficient counterplay down the c-file and playing on the light squares with ...Bd7, ... Na5 & ...Rc8.}) 11... Qxd4 12. Nf3 Qe4+ 13. Be2 Nxe5 14. Bc3 $1 {The principled option.} ({Both} 14. Kf1 Nxf3 15. Bxf3 Qc4+ 16. Be2 Qd4 {and}) (14. hxg7 Rg8 15. Kf1 Nxf3 16. Bxf3 Qd4 {are fine for Black.}) 14... f6 15. hxg7 ({ A recent game of mine that was in the database continued} 15. Nxe5 fxe5 16. Qd2 $2 g6 $1 {and Black was much better although I eventually suffered a horribly painful defeat. This was covered in another article elsewhere on this blog. This fact that this game is on the database has not slipped my mind and at this juncture, I was certain that I was walking into some high level opening preparation. In such sharp lines, it is entirely possible to lose immediately from the opening with deep analysis and I became worried.}) 15... Rg8 16. Qd2 $1 $146 {The big novelty that my opponent had prepped.} ({The mainline in my notes continued} 16. Nxe5 fxe5 17. Qd3 Qxd3 18. Bxd3 d4 19. Bb4 Rxg7 20. Rxh7 Rxh7 21. Bxh7 {and in ½-½ (62) Miton,K (2383)-Shabalov,A (2620) Stratton Mountain 1999, White has sufficient compensation for the pawn deficit in view of his powerful bishops.}) 16... Rxg7 17. O-O-O $1 {Energetic follow up from my opponent. White is a couple of pawns down so he had to continue his active play and not allow Black to consolidate his forcces easily. Specifically, it was essential for him to stop Black from castling long.} ({For example,} 17. Nxe5 fxe5 18. f3 Qf5 19. Bd3 Qf6 20. Rh6 (20. Bxh7 $6 {gives Black time to do what he wants with} Bd7 21. Rh6 Qf8 $1 {with the idea} 22. Bxe5 Rxg2 $1) 20... Ng6 {followed by ...Bd7}) 17... N7c6 {Played after 30 mins of thought. Black's idea was simply to strengthen e5, and at some point, ...Rc7 may be a possibility.} ({My opponent had analysed} 17... Bd7 18. Nxe5 fxe5 19. Bh5+ $1) ({and} 17... N7g6 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. Bh5+ $1 {both leading to a large edge for White. There is no need to go into any deep variations here but it just goes to show how detailed my opponent's preparation was. Fortunately, my opponent had not analysed the move played in the game.}) {At this point, my opponent had 1 hr 35 mins on the clock while I was already down to 55 mins. This is a significant time advantage and also in practical terms, I had already invested too much energy just to stay alive from the opening. In this respect, it is clear that White's opening choice was a tremendous success.} 18. Nxe5 {The first independent move that my opponent had to make and he immediately makes an inaccuracy! Still, the position remained very tricky and complex.} ({ As my good friends on a particular Facebook group chat soon discovered,} 18. Nd4 $3 {is an incredibly strong move. The point is to immediately weaken the e5 knight indirectly, and at the same time, open up the possibility of nasty Bh5 checks, creating ideas of f3 or f4, followed by Rde1. For example,} Nxd4 19. Bxd4 Rxg2 20. Rde1 Qf5 21. Rh5 $1 {is already almost close to winning for White. With this in mind, it can be said that the entire line may well be lost and Black can do better by investigating the options at move 9 or 7 (but not the first move. The French is a great opening!).}) 18... fxe5 19. Qh6 { Strong practical chess. White introduces a series of nasty threats into the position.} Re7 $1 {The most solid, defensive move.} ({I rejected} 19... Qxg2 { simply because of} 20. Rdg1 $1 Qxg1+ 21. Rxg1 Rxg1+ 22. Kb2 {as White has at least a perpetual check and that it would be extremely difficult to fend off White's powerful pieces. In a practical game, there is no need to calculate further - this conclusion should already be enough reason for you to hunt for alternatives.}) ({I also considered} 19... Rxg2 {but again, I did not see any sense in opening up another avenue for White to continue the attack. In particular, I did not like Black after} 20. Qf6 $1 Qf4+ 21. Qxf4 exf4 22. Rxh7 {. Black may have some kind of a defence here but it is clear that it would take many moves before Black manages to coordinate his queenside.}) 20. Bh5+ Kd7 21. Rhe1 Qf4+ $1 {Not the engine's first choice, but I felt this was the most practical move.} ({The machine suggested} 21... Qf5 {and claims that Black can ride out the storm but it is obvious that Black would be subjected to a lot of pressure after the simple} 22. Re3 $5 d4 (22... Qf4 23. Qxf4 exf4 24. Ree1) 23. Kb1 $5 {. I really wanted to get rid of the queens even at the expense of some material.}) 22. Qxf4 exf4 23. Bf6 {winning the exchange but Black has decent compensation as we shall soon see.} Kd6 24. Bxe7+ Nxe7 25. c4 Bd7 26. cxd5 Nxd5 $2 {Played without hesitation, bearing in mind that I was already experiencing mild time trouble at this point.} ({Thomas Luther pointed out that the dynamic} 26... e5 $1 {would have been very strong. White's d5-pawn shields the Black king perfectly and Black's plans are simple enough. Go for ...Nf5-d4, or ...Rg8 and ...Bf5 and White almost invariably loses the d5 pawn. Some sample lines:} 27. Kb2 (27. Rh1 Rg8 28. Bf3 Bf5 $44) (27. Bf3 Bf5 ) 27... Rg8 28. Bf3 Bg4 29. Rh1 Bxf3 30. gxf3 Nf5 31. Rxh7 Rg2 32. Rd2 Nd4 33. Rxb7 Nxf3 {and Black has sufficient counterplay. In many of these lines, White can very easily find himself in a lot of trouble with a couple of imprecise moves which makes this variation even more appealing.}) 27. Bf3 {Now, White has an edge as all his pieces now make a lot of sense and he has a simple plan of ganging up on the h-pawn before continuing the squeeze.} Rc8+ {I wanted to defend my h-pawn from the c7 square.} (27... Bc6 28. Rh1 {would transpose to the note on White's 29th after} Rc8 29. Kb2) 28. Kb2 Bc6 $5 {This sets a little "trick".} 29. Rxe6+ $6 {Walking into the trap although White should have still gained an edge after it!} (29. Rh1 $1 {with the idea} Rc7 30. Rh4 { was considerably stronger.}) 29... Kxe6 30. Bg4+ Ke5 31. Bxc8 Nb6 $1 32. Bh3 Nc4+ {The point. White loses the a3 pawn almost by force and this was the end of my calculation. However, I had missed a very important detail.} 33. Kc3 (33. Kb3 Ba4+ $1 {was what I was praying for and Black even turns the tables!}) (33. Ka2 Bd5 {leaves the White king in an inactive position and my opponent made the correct decision to choose activity over material.}) 33... Nxa3 34. Re1+ $6 {White decides logically, to go for my h-pawn without waiting.} ({Here, I froze when I saw White could have played} 34. Bd7 $1 {which would have posed a lot more questions for Black to solve. For instance,} Nb5+ (34... Bxg2 35. Kb3 {, trapping the knight was the whole point although here Black could have gone} h5 36. Kxa3 h4 37. Rd3 {and the amazing move} b6 $3 {, continuing the fight according to the computer! I did not analyse this too deeply as I am certain that White would be winning with normal moves.}) 35. Kb4 Nd4 36. Bxc6 Nxc6+ 37. Kc5 Ke4 38. Rd7 Ne5 39. f3+ Nxf3 40. Re7+ $1 (40. gxf3+ Kxf3 41. Kd4 h5 42. Rh7 {was also winning but there was no need to analyse the resulting pawn vs rook endings with Re7+.})) 34... Kd6 {The next few moves do not require any comments.} 35. Re6+ Kc5 36. Re5+ Kd6 37. Rh5 b5 38. Rxh7 a5 39. Rh6+ Kc5 { Black has clear compensation with his connected passies on the queenside and was already very close to a draw at this juncture.} 40. Rh5+ Kd6 $2 { Unfortunately, I made an inaccuracy on the infamous 40th move. I was obsessed with keeping my pawns that I had not even considered the other king move.} ({ The paradoxical} 40... Kb6 $3 {, moving away from the defence of the f4 pawn was very strong. The point is that the Black king would help to support the passed pawns and it would be very difficult for White to make any kind of progress. For example,} 41. Rf5 b4+ 42. Kb2 Nc4+ 43. Kb3 Nd6 $1 44. Rxf4 Bd5+ 45. Kb2 Kc5 {(Black's pieces are coordinating beautifully)} 46. Bd7 {(stopping ...a4)} Nc4+ 47. Ka1 Nb6 48. Be8 Bxg2 {and Black should hold this comfortably. Again, the quality of the remaining pieces on the board matter a lot more than material itself.}) 41. Kd3 $1 {A nice move, almost putting Black in zugzwang.} Bd5 ({Black has to be careful not to push his queenside pawns too fast as he would risk losing them one after the other.} 41... a4 $2 42. Kc3 Nc4 43. Kb4 { and White soon collects the pawns.}) 42. Rh6+ Kc5 43. Rh5 Kd6 {A repetition of moves that did not in any way means that White was ready to offer a draw. This is simply a demonstration of power during the game and is a common technique among strong players. One shouldn't overdo it though, for instance, repeating moves in your opponent's time trouble and giving him extra time and moves to reach the time control. At this point, White found the only move to test Black in this position.} 44. Bg4 $1 {An extremely high class move. White only has 2 remaining pawns and he did not shy away from giving away one of them. White's threat was obviously Bf3 and I did not spend too much time over my next decision.} Bxg2 ({As it turns out, White had a very difficult win after} 44... b4 $5 45. Bf3 Bxf3 46. gxf3 a4 47. Rf5 $3 {Another paradoxical move.} ({ After the forcing sequence,} 47. Ra5 b3 48. Kc3 Nb1+ 49. Kb2 Nd2 50. Rxa4 Ke5 51. Rb4 Nxf3 52. Rxb3 (52. Kxb3 Ng1 $1 53. Kc2 Nh3 54. f3 Ng1 55. Rb3 Kd4 56. Kd2 Nh3) 52... Nd2 {, Black has arrived at a theoretical draw. This was not so easy to determine over the board but Thomas Luther promptly took out his old copy of Encyclopedia of Chess Endings and pointed out that this sort of endgame was already analyzed by Averbakh in 1962!} 53. Rc3 Ne4 54. Rc2 Kf5 $11 (54... f3 55. Kc1 Kf4 56. Kd1 Kf5 57. Ke1 Kf4 58. Rc8 Kf5 59. Rf8+ Kg4 60. Rf7 Ng5 61. Rf6 Ne4 62. Rf8) 55. Kb3 Kg4 (55... Kg5)) 47... b3 48. Kc3 Nb1+ 49. Kb2 Nd2 50. Rxf4 {and now without the f-pawn, Black has no more chances left.}) 45. Kd4 $1 {Threatening the powerful threat of Rh6+. Black's reply was almost forced.} Nc2+ 46. Kc3 Na3 47. Kb3 {To my horror, I realised I was about to lose my precious queenside pawns. During the game, I remembered feeling very disappointed and that my position was already lost here. Not so! Chess is a game full of wondrous possibilities and it is important to fight till the bitter death, even when all hope appears to have gone.} Nc4 (47... Nb1 48. Rxb5 Bd5+ 49. Kb2 Nd2 50. Kc3 Ne4+ 51. Kd4 Bc6 52. Rb6 $1 Ng5 $3 53. Ra6 a4 { also retained some drawing chances.}) 48. Rxb5 Ne5 $2 ({I had actually seen the little trick} 48... a4+ $3 {but I had brushed this possibility off after calculating} 49. Kc3 a3 50. Rb4 {, thinking that I would probably lose the a-pawn very quickly. However, after} Bd5 51. Be2 a2 $1 52. Ra4 Ne5 53. Kb2 f3 $1 {, Black would have saved his position by going after the f2-pawn. This would have been the cleanest way to force an immediate draw with no complications or deviations along the way.}) 49. Bf5 $1 {A good square for the bishop, covering both the g4 and d3 squares.} a4+ 50. Kc3 Bc6 (50... Bd5 51. Ra5 Bb3 {was a possible defence but it was clear that White retains very good winning chances.}) 51. Ra5 Be8 $2 {Collapsing in time trouble but Black's position was already very difficult.} 52. Be4 Ng4 53. f3 Ne5 54. Ra6+ Kd7 55. Kd4 1-0

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Official Statement

On 7th May 2016, I had published an article that details my issues with the current executive committee of the SCF. 

Subsequent to the publication, I was approached by various members of the Exco, including the current SCF President, Leonard Lau. We have had many discussions since and many of the issues highlighted have been addressed. As such, I am happy to retract my statement and I will continue to play for the country in future team events.

Wei Ming

4th June 2016

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Lessons from Kecskemet / Book Review: The Chess Manual of Avoidable Mistakes by Romain Edouard - PART 1

I am finally home after a 3 week stint in Kecskemet and I thought that since I'm obviously still suffering from severe jet lag, I might as well write something about my games and my general thoughts about the 2 tournaments. Concurrently, I am gonna take a slightly unusual approach to this article and also give a brief review of the "The Chess Manual of Avoidable Mistakes" ("TCMAM") by the French Grandmaster Romain Edouard, Thinkers Publishing, 2014.  I had bought this, and the accompanying test volume on the last day of the event. How I wish I had read this little gem of a book before the tournaments and not on the plane home! But more on this in a while....

Kecskemet may not be the most widely known city on a global scale but the Chess in Kecskemet (organised by Tamas Erdelyi) and First Saturday (organised by Nagy Laszlo) tournaments are pretty well known in the chess community. I believe there are no other tournaments in the world that are quite like these series, tournaments that give ambitious chess players the chance to make IM or GM norms in back to back events on a monthly basis. As such, it is quite possible for an ambitious player to stay in Hungary for a 6 month period and compete in 10-12 IM or GM norm tournaments. I myself have successfully played in both First Saturday and Kecskemet, making my final IM norm in the former (2007) and my first GM norm (2011) in the latter.

However, at the risk of appearing defensive, this does not in anyway mean that these events are "norm factories" or the quality of play is any lower than open tournaments. While the rostered GMs may not be the most motivated ones in the world, they are experienced and solid and defeating them to make the requisite score is anything but easy. Those that were successful, especially in making Grandmaster norms, typically displayed a combination of exceptional form and some luck. In my case, it was more to do with luck than anything else but that's another story.....

Those interested in the round by round results and the general outcome of my tournaments can access them here and here but rather than going through the events round by round, I would be showing the 2 most instructive games that I felt I've learnt a lot from in this post. Funnily enough, these examples would have been perfect in TCMAM and I felt I could totally relate to the advice that the French GM had wrote.

The first chapter of the book was titled "Objectivity throughout a chess game". Some of the problems that Edouard wrote are that "A problem that we have to face is that we very often miss simple defensive moves when we are under pressure....." and that "sometimes we do not believe that we'll be able to calculate everything until the end and do not even give it a try." He went on to give several examples of his own games and the thought processes behind the moves he played, cleverly linking the errors he made with the concepts and rules that he was explaining.

The second chapter was titled "General reasons for blundering" and the writer discusses 5 situations where blunders occur the most. The writer wrote that "one of the biggest cause for blundering is psychological reaction after a shock" and that he had observed that many chess players were not able to play correctly or objectively anymore after something abnormal happened during a game. After giving a few examples of such scenarios, he then wrote that "after missing something important or after blundering, it is very human to get fatalist or angry with yourself. This is childish and not the right time for it. If you make a mistake, it is not a reason to make one or several more...." and that as a rule, "the general philosophy to follow during a game is that you should never look behind and that you should always force the opponent to be as precise as possible." Perhaps, the following critical game is a perfect illustration of what the author was trying to say:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Kecskemet GM Tournament"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.01.16"] [Round "6"] [White "Attila Groszpeter"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2444"] [BlackElo "2430"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "59"] {Before this round, I had a score of 3.5/5 and I needed a score of 3 out of the next 4 games in order to secure my final GM norm. With 3 blacks in the next 4 games, securing such a score is easier said than done and I was forced to play the most aggressive and risky lines.} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 { The French Winawer is one of the lines where Black can play fully for the win if White chooses the most principled variations. Fortunately, I was aware that my opponent, a solid and very experienced Grandmaster always chooses the absolute mainlines and I was therefore assured of a full blooded fight.} 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. h4 $5 {This move, one that my opponent had never played and had prepared specially for this game, came as a nasty surprise. I had checked several lines of the Winawer but had carelessly omitted the h4 lines in my preparation. Fortunately, I had played and won a very important game in the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad which I already analysed elsewhere on this blog.} Nbc6 8. h5 (8. Nf3 f6 $1 {was played in Steel - Goh, Istanbul 2012 as mentioned in the above note.}) 8... cxd4 9. cxd4 Qa5+ 10. Bd2 Qa4 11. h6 $5 { This is rare.} (11. Nf3 Nxd4 12. Bd3 Nef5 13. Kf1 {is the mainline.}) 11... Qxd4 {I was obviously on my own from this juncture as I was not able to remember any of my old preparation.} 12. Nf3 Qe4+ 13. Be2 Nxe5 14. Bc3 f6 15. Nxe5 fxe5 16. Qd2 $2 {Over-ambitious.} ({I had calculated that} 16. hxg7 $1 Rg8 17. Qd3 Qxd3 18. Bxd3 d4 19. Bb2 Rxg7 20. Rxh7 Rxh7 21. Bxh7 $11 {was White's best option and this was quickly verified with the engine.}) 16... g6 {This stablises Black's position on the kingside and asks White where the compensation for the missing 2 pawns is. Now, my opponent went for a direct approach which was easily parried} 17. Qg5 $2 (17. f3 Qf5 18. Bd3 Qf6 19. Qe2 $1 {This forces} d4 {after which} 20. Bd2 Bd7 21. O-O {gives White decent compensation in view of the bishop pair, strong light square control and Black's weak and doubled e-pawns.}) 17... Nc6 {I had seen that 18.Qf6 now is useless due to 18...Rg8! and Black covers all the critical entry points. Black has a clearly preferable position and I was just 2 moves away from consolidating my position with ..0-0 and Bd7 for instance. I started allowing myself to "drift", congratulated myself for a job well done and even started thinking about my opening choice for the next round. What I should have done is to remain focused, identify any potential threats and finish the game accurately before thinking about anything else. After a long think, my opponent went} 18. Rh3 $5 {....with the threat of 19.Re3, or so it seems. With a time advantage of 40 minutes to 3 minutes, I had more than sufficient time to check this position carefully but instead only took 4 minutes to play the horrendous} d4 $4 {, completely overlooking White's key idea in this previous move.} ({Of course, the easy} 18... O-O $19 19. Re3 (19. Bb4 Rf5) 19... Qf4 $1 (19... Qxc2 $1 20. Bxe5 Rf5 $1 {was also pretty convincing.}) 20. Qxf4 exf4 21. Rd3 b6 $19 {would have won quite easily.}) 19. Rf3 $1 {I had completely forgot this simple but terribly strong manoeuvre and it is safe to say that I had never felt as shocked and devastated after a single move. White's idea of Qg5-f6-f7 was simple and yet so effective that I had immediately rendered my position as "hopeless". I spent the next 30 minutes (in complete and utter misery) checking some lines superficially and wallowing in self pity, and kicking myself for not playing 18...0-0. I was literally in total despair and at some stage was even on the verge of tears. Of course, had I read Edouard's book before the round, I would have read one of his rules which states that " should never look behind and that you should always force your opponent to be as precise as possible. The situation had changed badly? Adapt yourself. Play according to the new position and to the new parameters... .."} b6 $4 {The second and decisive blunder.} ({I had seen that after} 19... Rf8 20. Rxf8+ Kxf8 21. Qf6+ Ke8 22. Qh8+ (22. Bd2 $1 b6 23. f3 Qf5 24. Qh8+ Qf8 25. Qxh7 Qf7 26. Qh8+ Qf8 27. Qxf8+ Kxf8 28. Bd3 Kf7 29. Kf2 {was the computer's first choice and this was rather difficult illogical to see from a human point of view.}) 22... Kd7 23. Qxh7+ (23. Bd2 b6 24. Qxh7+ Kd6 {[%cal Gc8a6]} 25. Kf1 Qxc2 {is extremely unclear.}) 23... Kd6 24. Qg8 ({An incredibly beautiful line could be seen after} 24. O-O-O Qxe2 25. Qg8 Kc7 $3 26. h7 Rb8 $3 27. h8=Q Bd7 $1 $14 {with a skewer on the last rank against 2 queens. This could quite likely be the only game in history that Black gets to skewer 2 queens on the last rank with the developing move, ...Bd7!}) 24... dxc3 25. h7 Nd4 26. Kf1 Qxe2+ 27. Kg1 {, there is no way for Black to stop White from promoting a second queen after which he would completely annihilate the Black king. Of course, had I not felt so sorry for myself, I might have seen the improbable} Nf3+ $3 {which continues the fight.} 28. Kh1 (28. gxf3 Qxf3 29. Qd8+ Bd7 30. Qxa8 Qg4+ {and White could not prevent the perpetual.}) 28... Ne1 $1 {and here, White has a choice:} 29. Qf8+ (29. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 30. Kh2 Qxf2 31. h8=Q Qf4+ 32. Kh3 Qf5+ 33. g4 Qf1+ 34. Kh4 Qf2+ 35. Kg5 Qf4+ 36. Kxg6 Qxg4+ 37. Kf7 (37. Kh6) 37... Qf5+ 38. Qf6 b6 $1 {and Black should hold this.}) 29... Kc7 (29... Kc6 30. Kg1 Qe4 31. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 32. Kh2 b6 33. Qe8+ Kb7 34. h8=Q $18) 30. Kg1 Nf3+ $3 31. gxf3 Bd7 $1 32. Qxa8 Qxf3 33. Qb8+ $3 Kxb8 34. h8=Q+ Kc7 35. Qxe5+ Kc8 $14 {and White retains some winning chances.}) 20. Qf6 Ba6 21. Qxh8+ Kd7 22. Qg7+ Kd6 23. Rd3 (23. Re3 {was more brutal but there are many ways to skin a cat.}) 23... Bxd3 24. cxd3 Qxg2 25. Bd2 e4 26. Bf4+ e5 27. Qf6+ Kd5 28. Rc1 Rc8 29. Rxc6 $1 {A nice finish with aplomb.} Qh1+ 30. Bf1 1-0

After checking the game thoroughly, I was certain that playing 19...Rf8 would have given me excellent chances of holding the game in view of my opponent's significant time trouble and this would have been possible had I been more mentally resilient and had not given up when I faced an internal crisis of some sort after 19.Rf3. Losing is always a painful experience but losing after outplaying a strong Grandmaster with the black pieces in an absolutely critical tournament was especially painful. Nevetheless, this was a meaningful lesson for me to learn and if anything, it had further strengthened my resolve more than ever to continue pursuing the GM title. Afterall, if you want an easy life, do not play chess competitively.

 Part 2 will be published in a few days and would feature an extremely interesting game against the Russian Grandmaster Alexander Fominyh.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Conclusion to the (long overdue!) report on the Olympiad

Tromso Rounds 1-3
Tromso Rounds 4-5
Tromso Rounds 6-8

While playing a couple of training games with Russian FIDE Master Andrey Terekhov, the dude reminded me that my Olympiad report was inconclusive and there are still a few rounds that were not covered. I immediately cooked up some random excuse (no time to write, too tired etc) but the truth is that the remaining few rounds, particularly rounds 9 and 10 were extremely painful as I quite literally threw away any last ditch attempt for a GM norm. But well, here goes anyway....

In round 9, we faced a young Indonesian team led by their, by now, undisputed number 1 GM Megaranto Susanto. Games
[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.11"] [Round "9"] [White "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Black "Farid Firman Syah"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C55"] [WhiteElo "2433"] [BlackElo "2400"] [Annotator "Goh,Wei Ming, Kevin"] [PlyCount "92"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 {The Italian has worked well for me so far and I didn't see a need to find another opening against 1...e5. However, that came to haunt me in the Qatar Masters when I lost 3 painful games with it.....} Nf6 4. d3 (4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3 {is another fashionable line that I have played from time to time.}) 4... Be7 (4... Bc5 { is the other big main move here.}) 5. O-O O-O 6. Bb3 d6 7. c3 Be6 ({My blog had also covered an important game that continued} 7... h6 8. Nbd2 Nh7 9. Nc4 Bg4 {½-½ (64) Goh Wei Ming, Kevin (2426)-Harikrishna Pentala (2693) Asian Nations Cup 2012.}) 8. Nbd2 Qd7 ({A common question that I've asked myself many times is what happens if Black exchanges the important light square bishop. A rather vague and general middlegame theory is that the side with less space should be trying to exchange pieces in order to gain more room for manoeuvring. However, what is equally important is determining the right piece to exchange. Here, exchange on b3 helps White to gain a tempo (by attacking b7) , increase his control over the important d5 square, and gives White the easy plan of re-routing the knight to the e3 square and playing for d3-d4.} 8... Bxb3 9. Qxb3 Qc8 10. Nc4 Nd8 $5 {[%cal Gd8e6,Gc7c6]} 11. Ne3 Ne6 12. Nf5 Re8 13. Ng5 {with a nagging initiative.}) (8... d5 {is also perfectly viable but White retains play on the light squares after} 9. Re1 dxe4 10. dxe4 Qd7 11. Qe2 ) 9. Re1 Kh8 $6 {Black appears to be struggling for ideas although it is hard to suggest anything constructive.} ({Perhaps, the computer suggestion of} 9... a5 {, beginning some kind of queenside operation makes sense.}) 10. d4 exd4 11. Nxd4 $6 {A rather counter-intuitive move.} ({Of course,} 11. cxd4 {is natural and a better move. White should keep pieces in view of his space advantage.}) 11... Nxd4 12. cxd4 d5 $2 {Rather cooperative play by Black.} (12... c6 {, retaining some control over d5 and e5 is more sensible.}) 13. e5 Ng8 14. Bc2 { Now, if White ever manages to play f4 and g4, Black would be in serious trouble.} Bg4 15. f3 Bh5 16. Nf1 Rae8 ({I had also intended} 16... c5 17. dxc5 Bxc5+ 18. Be3 d4 19. Bf2 {with a pleasant edge.}) 17. g4 Bg6 18. Ng3 Bb4 (18... c5 19. Be3 c4 $5) 19. Bxg6 hxg6 20. Rf1 {Here, I was already feeling rather confident of my position. The plan to play f4-f5 is a simple and natural plan and I hadn't seen how Black could defend against this plan. Unfortunately, I had already spent a lot of time to reach this position and that would cost me tremendously.} f6 21. f4 fxe5 22. dxe5 Bc5+ 23. Kg2 g5 $2 {Black basically gets a lost position after this.} 24. f5 (24. Ne4 $1 Be7 25. f5 {is probably even more effective.}) 24... Rxe5 25. Bxg5 Nh6 26. Bf4 Ree8 27. Qf3 Bd6 28. Rae1 $2 {This move is played completely against the spirit of the position. White should be trying to attack and attack fast!!} (28. Bxd6 $1 Qxd6 29. g5 Nf7 30. Qh5+ Kg8 31. f6 {would have inspired resignation. There is no way to defend against White's surging attack.} Qe5) 28... Bxf4 29. Qxf4 Kg8 $2 (29... Rxe1 30. Rxe1 d4 {was Black's best chance.}) 30. Rxe8 Rxe8 31. h3 $4 { Sometimes, we all make decisions that we fail to comprehend during the aftermath. This is one of those.} ({I had seen the very strong and logical} 31. g5 Nf7 32. g6 Nh6 33. f6 {which again wins on the spot. How I failed to play this out remains an unsolved mystery to date.}) 31... d4 32. g5 Nf7 33. g6 Nh6 34. Kh2 $2 {The final blunder that throws away a direct win.} (34. f6 $1 Qc6+ 35. Kh2 Qc2+ 36. Rf2 Qxg6 37. Qxc7 $3 {continues to give Black problems to solve. That last move in the sequence was particularly hard to find for me personally.}) 34... Qd6 35. Qxd6 cxd6 36. Rd1 (36. f6 gxf6 37. Rxf6 d5 38. Rd6 Re5) 36... Re5 37. Rxd4 Nxf5 38. Nxf5 Rxf5 39. Rxd6 Kf8 40. Kg3 Rg5+ 41. Kf4 Rg2 42. Rd7 Rxb2 43. h4 Rxa2 44. Rf7+ Kg8 45. Rxb7 Ra4+ 46. Kf5 Ra5+ 1/2-1/2
The match eventually ended 2-2 after wins are traded on board 3 and 4.

In Round 10, we were paired against the formidable Peruvian team which boasts 2600 GMs on all 4 boards. Before the round, Qian Yun, Jingyao and I all boast chances to make norm results but we all required to get a result in this critical match. For me personally, a win would clinch the norm, while a draw would give me another chance to make the norm in the final round. Of course, a win with Black against a strong 2630 was anything but easy but I did get rather decent chances to complicate the position: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)
[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.12"] [Round "10"] [White "Emilio Cordova"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2629"] [BlackElo "2433"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rn1qr1k1/1p3p1p/p1pb1np1/P2p4/NPPP2b1/1Q2PB2/1B1N2PP/2R2RK1 b - - 0 17"] [PlyCount "48"] {I had played reasonable from an innocuous opening and had managed to obtain a dynamic position which suited my needs just fine. However, I again failed to appreciate the spirit of the position. Here, I played} 17... Nbd7 $2 {which is a normal developmental move but again, I should have played something more direct and try to pose immediate problems for White to solve.} ({With this in mind, I should have at least tried to calculate} 17... Qc7 18. h3 Bh2+ 19. Kh1 Nh5 $1 {Here, White has the resource} 20. Rf2 $1 (20. Bxg4 Ng3+ 21. Kxh2 Nxf1+ $19) 20... Bg3 21. Bxg4 (21. Re2 $2 Bxf3 22. Nxf3 dxc4 23. Rxc4 Nd7 {is fine for Black.}) (21. Rff1 Bh2 22. Rf2 Bg3 {repeats}) 21... Bxf2 22. Bxh5 Bxe3 $1 23. Re1 Nd7 $1 24. Rxe3 Qf4 {with a complex position.}) 18. h3 Bf5 19. cxd5 cxd5 20. Nc5 Nxc5 21. dxc5 Be5 22. Bxe5 Rxe5 23. c6 bxc6 (23... Qe7 24. cxb7 Qxb7) 24. Rxc6 Qe7 25. Qc3 {The position is roughly equal here, with the weaknesses on e3 and a6 cancelling out each other. However, White's position is slightly the more pleasant in view of his control over the c-file which at this point is more important and also the slightly weakened Black kingside. Black had to tread with extreme caution to maintain equilibrum and I was sadly not up to the task.} Re6 $2 (25... Ne8 $1 {, threatening to capture on e3 was best. Here,} 26. Qc5 (26. Kf2 Nd6 {is dangerous for White.}) 26... Bd3 27. Qxe7 Rxe7 28. Rfc1 Bb5 29. Rb6 Rxe3 30. Bxd5 Rd8 {and Black has solved most of his problems.}) 26. Rxe6 Qxe6 27. Nb3 $1 {From here, it is excruciating pain all the way to the finish.....} Re8 28. Nc5 Qd6 (28... Qxe3+ 29. Qxe3 Rxe3 30. Rd1 Bc8 31. Bxd5) 29. Qd4 Ne4 $2 30. Bxe4 Bxe4 31. Qf6 Qc7 32. Nxa6 Qa7 33. Nc5 Rb8 34. h4 h5 35. Qe5 Bf5 36. Rxf5 gxf5 37. Nd7 Rd8 38. Nf6+ Kf8 39. Nxh5 d4 40. Qh8+ Ke7 41. Qf6+ 1-0
We were smashed 4 to nothing against the South American powerhouse, arguably a well deserved result in view of how superior our opponents were in all aspects of the game.

The final round was all about trying to secure a good ranking and we duly secured a 3-1 victory against Cyprus, with Qianyun and Jing Yao again delivering the goods. I personally finished with 6/10 and a decent 2500 TPR. It could have been a lot better of course, and I was hovering around the 2600 TPR mark until the final few rounds. It was of course disappointing to have come so close to my final GM norm but given how inactive I was the entire year and the number of games where I fell into severe time trouble, the result was entirely satisfactory and in a way predictable. This also meant that I would have to continue waiting for my final GM norm though.

I had played in many team events and I could safely say that this particular team had the best chemistry and team spirit throughout. Leslie was an incredible captain and really took care of every single non-playing aspect and I am personally very grateful for his leadership. All in all, despite the slightly anti climatic finish to the event, the team played well above expectations and I think we put up a good show for the local community.

Funnily enough, the one prize I won from the Olympiad was an all expenses paid trip to Qatar to take part in the Qatar Masters Open. I didn't score too well from that event but I did play some interesting games and I will put up my analysis due time....

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Jarred Neubronner sweeps the 6th NTU IIICC title by Junior Tay

The 6th NTU Inter-Institutional Invitational championships had 29 participants from local tertiary institutions participating from 23-24th May 2015 and it was held at the Sports and Recreation Centre.

NTU's FM Jarred Neubronner won the event with one round to spare after chalking up 6 wins in a row.

Republic Polytechnic's Hu Yang (left), playing a Sveshnikov against NTU's FM Jarred Neubronner (right)
However, his team-mate, 2nd seeded Ng Shi Hao, (who had earned a FIDE rating of 2037 following his 6th placing at the Grand Asian Chess Challenge 2015) did not find the going that smooth sailing.
NTU's Ng Shi Hao (left)

Republic Polytechnic's Hu Yang dealt him a loss with an impressive controlled squeeze. He did however, beat fellow Johor state player, Melvin Chin of Singapore Polytechnic to help keep NTU way ahead of the other challengers in the team stakes. 

Melvin however, kept his chances alive with a fierce tactical sequence in the King's Indian 4 pawn attack over Hu Yang, and eventually clinched the bronze medal.

Singapore Polytechic's Melvin Chin (left)

After Round 6, Jarred and Shi Hao (5/6) were in clear 1st and 2nd positions. Hence, quick draws with their nearest challengers Melvin and Hein Zin (Singapore Polytechnic) in the final round ensured them the individual gold and silver medals as well as the team champion's title for NTU. 

Final top results - 7 rounds swiss
1st FM Jarred Neubronner 6.5
2nd Ng Shi Hao 5.5
3rd-5th Melvin Chin, Dennis Wongso and Peng Junyuan 5
6th-8th Hu Zhen, Hein Zin and Sharon Teo 4.5

1st NTU
2nd Republic Polytechnic
3rd Singapore Polytechnic

Games Section

[Event "NTU Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.05.26"] [Round "?"] [White "Dennis Wongso"] [Black "FM Jarred Neubronner"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B30"] [Annotator "Junior Tay"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c4 {Taking Jarred out of his theory. This move had been played successfully by GMs Yermolinsky, Arkell and Oll. If permitted, White will play d2-d4 next, with a Maroczy Bind type structure.} e5 {No bind. Now, instead, Jarred opts for a Botvinnik system structure, where the c5,d6,e5 structure accords Black the flexibility to play both ....b5 and ...f5 breaks while clamping on the d4-square. White's Nf3 is not flexibly placed, as a result. However, Black cedes the d5-square.} 4. d3 Nc6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Nd5 h6 ( 6... Bg7 7. h4 h6 8. h5 g5 9. Be2 Nge7 10. Ne3 a6 11. Nd2 Nd4 12. Bg4 Be6 13. Rb1 b5 14. b3 O-O 15. Bb2 Qd7 16. Ndf1 Nc2+ 17. Qxc2 Bxg4 18. Nxg4 Qxg4 19. Ne3 Qd7 20. Bc3 b4 21. Bb2 {Ivanov,I (2495)-Masculo,J (2225)/USA 1/2-1/2 (35)}) ({ Unthinkable is} 6... Nge7 $4 7. Nf6#) 7. a3 a5 {Not giving White a free hand on the queenside. White will need to give up the a-file if he intends to push b2-b4 through.} 8. Rb1 Bg7 9. Bd2 (9. b4 axb4 10. axb4 b6 $11) 9... a4 $6 { This pawn is kind of loose.} 10. Be2 $6 ({White can win the a4-pawn with} 10. Nc3 {though Black gets some compensation after} Nd4 11. Nxd4 cxd4 12. Nxa4 Bd7 13. b3 b5 14. cxb5 Bxb5) 10... Nge7 11. b4 axb3 12. Rxb3 Nxd5 13. cxd5 Ne7 14. h3 O-O 15. Qc1 Kh7 16. Nh2 ({After} 16. g4 {, Black can simply play} f5 {, not fearing} 17. gxf5 gxf5 18. Rg1 Ng6 {when White doesn't have enough firepower to attack the black king.}) 16... f5 17. f4 $2 {Too loosening. Jarred is quick to exploit the weakness of e4.} (17. Nf1 {with the idea of Ne3 is better.}) 17... fxe4 18. dxe4 exf4 19. Bxf4 Ra4 $1 $19 {The stinger. This is a good example of how a rook can hit from the rank (other than the usual 2nd/7th rank press).} 20. Bf3 $2 {Missing Jarred's idea.} ({Since there's no good way to save the e-pawn, White might as well use it to put pressure on g6 with} 20. O-O Rxe4 21. Bd3) 20... Nxd5 $1 {The e-pawn is pinned down as the Bf4 hangs after pawn is deflected.} 21. Bxd6 (21. exd5 Raxf4 $19) 21... Qxd6 22. exd5 Qg3+ 23. Kf1 Re4 {Black's extra pawn and huge lead in development give him winning chances. Jarred noted that he did not find the most efficient way of finishing this off though.} 24. Ng4 Bxg4 (24... b6 $1 25. Nf2 Ba6+ 26. Kg1 Bd4 27. Qd2 Re2 $1) 25. hxg4 Rxg4 26. Qd2 h5 27. Rd3 (27. Rh3 Qd6 28. Kg1 Bd4+ 29. Kh1 Rg3 $19) 27... c4 28. Re3 Rd4 (28... Bd4 $5 {is also very strong.}) 29. Qe1 Qg5 30. Kg1 Rd3 $5 {The computer does not like this move but I feel that it shows the depth of calculation Jarred had engaged in.} 31. Rxd3 cxd3 32. Qe4 {The d3-pawn seems to be lost since White threatens the dardstardly Rxh5, banking on the pin of the g6-pawn. Jarred thus unleashed the deflecting} Bd4+ $3 {, nullifying the h-file pressure totally and rendering the h1-rook a useless piece.} 33. Qxd4 Rxf3 {White cannot resist further.} 34. Kh2 Rf4 (34... Qg3+ 35. Kg1 Rf4 {is IM Terry Toh's preferred sequence, leading to a kill after} 36. Qc5 (36. Qc3 Qf2+ 37. Kh2 Rh4#) 36... Qe1+ 37. Kh2 Rh4#) 35. Qc3 Rh4+ (35... Rh4+ 36. Kg1 Qe3+ 37. Kf1 Rxh1#) 0-1

[Event "NTU Open Rd 6"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.05.24"] [Round "?"] [White "Hu Zhen"] [Black "Melvin Chin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E77"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f4 O-O 6. Nf3 c5 7. d5 e6 8. dxe6 { This relatively rare trade has been played by Ponomariov and especially Moskalenko. Of course, most Kaspy followers would remember the Christiansen-Kasparov game.} ({Incidentally, we had a brief session before that round and he wanted to test his KID. And coincidentally, I tried the 4 Pawns attack too.} 8. Be2 exd5 9. e5 dxe5 (9... Ng4 $6 10. cxd5 dxe5 11. h3 e4 12. hxg4 exf3 13. gxf3 Re8 14. f5 $1 {Vaisser,A (2385)-Kasparov,G (2630)/ Moscow 1981}) 10. fxe5 Ng4 ({The simplest way out is} 10... Ne4 $1 11. cxd5 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bg4 13. O-O Bxf3 14. Rxf3 Nd7 15. e6 Ne5 16. exf7+ Kh8 17. Rf1 Rxf7 18. Bf4 c4 19. Bxe5 Rxf1+ 20. Qxf1 Bxe5 21. Bxc4 Qd6 22. g3 {1/2-1/2 Kaidanov,G (2405)-Vasiukov,E (2480)/Moscow 1986}) 11. Bg5 Qa5 12. cxd5 Nxe5 13. O-O Nxf3+ 14. Bxf3 Bf5 15. Be7 Re8 16. d6 Nc6 17. Nd5 Rac8 $6 18. Bg4 $1 $16 { Jr Tay-Melvin Chin, Training 2015.}) 8... Bxe6 (8... fxe6 9. Bd3 Nc6 10. O-O Nd4 11. Ng5 e5 12. f5 h6 13. Nh3 gxf5 14. exf5 b5 15. Be3 bxc4 16. Bxc4+ Kh8 17. Bxd4 cxd4 18. Nd5 Ba6 19. Nxf6 Bxc4 20. Nh5 Bxf1 21. Qg4 Qd7 22. Rxf1 d3 23. Qf3 d2 24. g4 Rac8 25. Qd3 Qa4 26. Nf2 Qd4 27. Qxd4 exd4 28. Nf4 Rfe8 29. Ne6 Rc1 30. Nd1 Bf6 31. Kf2 Bg5 32. Ke2 Rc5 33. Kd3 Re5 34. Nxg5 hxg5 35. Rf2 Re4 36. h3 Re3+ 37. Kxd4 R8e4+ 38. Kd5 Re2 39. Rf3 Re1 40. f6 Rf4 {0-1 Christiansen,L (2575)-Kasparov,G (2675)/Moscow 1982}) 9. Be2 $6 (9. Bd3 {is the principled continuation. defending the e4-pawn and with f4-f5 ideas in the future.} Nc6 10. O-O Na5 $1 11. Qe2 Re8 $11 {Turov,M (2634)-Berg,E (2608)/ Maastricht 2011}) 9... Nc6 10. O-O Bg4 (10... Re8 11. h3 Nd4 12. Bd3 Bd7 13. Re1 Bc6 14. Rb1 a6 15. Be3 Nxe4 $1 16. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 17. Nxd4 Nxc3 18. bxc3 cxd4 19. cxd4 Qf6 20. Rxe8+ Rxe8 21. d5 Bd7 22. Rxb7 $4 Qd4+ 23. Kh1 $4 Bf5 24. Rb3 Re3 {0-1 Genov,P (2425)-Minasian,A (2540)/Berlin 1996}) 11. Kh1 $146 {An unnecessary loss of a tempo.} (11. Be3 Re8 12. Bd3 (12. h3 Nxe4 $1) 12... Nb4 13. h3 Bf5 $1 $15) (11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nd4 $11 {Saralegui Cassan,M-Curi,G/ Uruguay 1987/1/2-1/2 (27)}) (11. Bd3 Nd4 $11) 11... Re8 12. Qd3 $4 (12. Bd3 { admitting the folly of her 9th move is still better.}) ({or} 12. h3 Bd7 13. Bd3 $15) 12... Nb4 $3 {A fascinating continuation. This looks like a wasted tempi, as the knight might end up going back to c6 after a2-a3. However Black goes on a deep forcing sequence which exploits White's lack of development and weakened pawn centre.} ({Personally, I would have played} 12... Qe7 {to win the e-pawn simply.}) 13. Qb1 d5 $3 {Very pleased with Melvin. Before the game, he was quite tentative about playing this Chinese opponent who had bashed the NTU No 2 player yesterday. I told him to play his forte, tactical and combinative play, noting that he gives me more trouble in training simul or blitz sessions with tactical play than positional fights. He mentioned that he remembered what I said during the game and thus played for tactical complications.} 14. cxd5 (14. Nxd5 $4 Nxe4 {and Black's powerful developmental lead will tell soon enough.} 15. Ne3 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Qd4 17. g3 Rad8 {with ... Nd3 to follow.}) 14... Nfxd5 $6 {Although this isn't totally accurate, it suits him to a T. The point is, he feels like a fish in the water in tactical complications..} ({I saw} 14... Nxe4 $3 15. Nxe4 Qxd5 {with a won position. One particularly beautiful variation is} 16. Nc3 Bxc3 17. bxc3 Rxe2 18. cxb4 Bxf3 $1 19. gxf3 Qh5 {with mate to follow.}) 15. Nxd5 ({The point is} 15. exd5 $4 Bf5 {wins the queen.}) 15... Nxd5 16. Rd1 $6 {White thought she got Melvin with this pin. However, Melvin saw a little further.} ({Both sides missed} 16. Bb5 $1 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Nb4 18. Bxe8 Qxe8 $14 {[%csl Gd3][%cal Ge8b5] and Black has some compensation for the exchange.}) 16... Qa5 $1 $11 17. Rxd5 $2 { Falling into a deep trick!} (17. h3 $1 Bxf3 18. Bxf3 Ne7 {is probably best with an unclear position.}) 17... Bxf3 {Threatening back rank mate.} 18. Bd2 { White was relying on this to rescue her extra piece. Black has a nice retort} ( {Most definitely not} 18. gxf3 Qe1+ 19. Kg2 Qxe2+) ({or} 18. Bxf3 Qe1#) 18... Bxe4 $1 {The whole point of the combination, Black wins a pawn after the massive exchanges..} 19. Qxe4 $2 ({Better is} 19. Bxa5 $5 Bxb1 20. Bb5 Be4 21. Rd2 Re7 {though Black remains a solid pawn up.}) 19... Rxe4 20. Bxa5 Rxe2 21. Bc3 Bxc3 22. bxc3 Rae8 23. h3 b6 24. f5 Kg7 25. fxg6 hxg6 26. Rd7 R8e7 27. Rad1 $2 Re1+ 28. Rxe1 Rxd7 29. Re2 Kf6 30. Kg1 b5 31. Rb2 Rb7 32. Kf2 Ke5 33. Ke3 Kd5 34. a4 b4 35. cxb4 Rxb4 36. Rf2 f5 {and Black later won the ending.} 0-1