Sunday, 31 August 2014

41st World Chess Olympiad Part 2 - Rounds 4 and 5

(Apologies for the late post - it has been a hectic week back at work. Hopefully, the game commentaries are instructive enough to worth waiting for...)

Paired with 4 2600+ Grandmasters, the team eventually decided to field our top 4 players. While we certainly did not expect to get anything from this match, I believe all of us were determined to make our illustrious opponents work very hard to beat us. What transpired was a tremendous team effort which nearly brought us one of our best ever result in an Olympiad:

Round 4: Spain 2.5 - Singapore 1.5

Board 1 was a sleepy Ruy Lopez where Zhang Zhong equalised pretty comfortably against Paco Vallejo.

A game that I liked
[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.05"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Vallejo Pons Francisco"] [Black "Zhang Zhong"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C84"] [WhiteElo "2698"] [BlackElo "2611"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2qrbk1/5pp1/p1np1n1p/1p2p3/3PP3/1P3NNP/1P3PP1/R1BQR1K1 b - - 0 18"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {This position arised after a sleepy looking Ruy Lopez where nothing much was happening in the opening. Here, Zhang Zhong equalised completely with the liberating} 18... d5 $1 {and followed up with a series of highly precise moves: } 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. dxe5 Nxe4 21. Bf4 Qh4 $1 22. Qf3 ({Not} 22. Nxe4 $2 Qxf4 23. Nc3 Bc5 {and Black is better.}) 22... Ng5 ({Zhang Zhong was reluctant to play} 22... g5 {because of} 23. Be3 Nxg3 24. fxg3 Qe4 25. Bf2 $1 Qxf3 26. gxf3 {when he felt that White is better here. However, there are many ways to hold this position and} Rac8 27. Bd4 Bc5 28. Bxc5 Rxc5 29. Rxa6 Rc2 {appears to be the most straightforward way.}) 23. Bxg5 Qxg5 24. Nf5 g6 25. Nd6 Bxd6 26. exd6 Red8 ({Zhang Zhong pointed out} 26... Rxe1+ $2 27. Rxe1 Kg7 28. d7 {would have been very dangerous for White.}) 27. Re7 Qf5 28. Qxf5 gxf5 29. d7 {Played with a draw offer.} Kg7 $1 {No draw! However, Paco Vallejo is not a top player for no reason and he steered the game towards a draw pretty comfortably:} 30. Kf1 Ra7 31. Re5 Raxd7 32. Rxf5 d4 33. Rxa6 d3 34. Ra1 Rc7 35. Rxb5 Rc2 36. Rd1 Rxb2 37. Rb4 Rd6 38. Rg4+ Kf6 39. Rg3 Rxb3 40. Re3 h5 41. g3 1/2-1/2
After the game, Zhang Zhong, with tongue in cheek no doubt, claimed that Paco seemed particularly frustrated during the game and he probably regretted his opening choice starting from 1.e4! Nevertheless, the Spanish superstar would go on to score quite brilliantly for the rest of the tournament... On Board 2, I faced one of Spain's most promising young players: A game that I liked
[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.06"] [Round "4"] [White "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Black "Ivan Salgado Lopez"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B30"] [WhiteElo "2433"] [BlackElo "2620"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 $5 {This variation of the Rossolimo Sicilian is strategically complex and one of the many lines that I feel uncomfortable playing against. I've had a pretty terrible score against this particular line and after this painful loss, will certainly do some work on it.} 4. O-O ({I've tried} 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. d3 {before and was not able to come to terms with the strategical nuances behind this pawn structure. Perhaps, one day I will be able to!}) (4. c3 {is also a very playable line although Black should equalise after} Nge7 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 d5 7. Nc3 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nf5 $1) 4... Nge7 5. d4 { A trendy line that Caruana has played recently.} (5. c3 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Bc2 d5 {is another serious option although Black is known to do pretty well here too.} ) 5... cxd4 6. Nxd4 Qb6 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3 Ng6 9. c4 Be7 {After a few typical opening moves, we have arrived at some sort of a tabiya in this particular variation. White has erected a Macrozy type of structure and his main strategical plan is to play against the offside g6-knight. If he manages to play f2-f4, g2-g3 and h2-h4 early and restrain the g6 knight from activity, he is generally known to be doing very well. Black's main plan is not rocket science, i.e. to play on the dark squares c5, and d4. The d4 square especially is an ideal square for the black knight and Black generally tries to organise the manoeuvre ...c5-c6 and ...Ng6-e5-c6 when he has serious chances of gaining the initiative. Having only looked at this line in the morning, I did not fully appreciate these strategical objectives and allowed Black to achieve his optimal set-up. This is a clear case of unprofessionalism - a serious player would have only played a line that he has studied for at least several hours before an important tournament game and not something that was only looked at for the first time just before the game. Against a 2600+ GM, this is a cardinal sin and although I eventually managed to equalise, the large amount of time I used during the opening phase would lead to my downfall.} 10. Nc3 O-O 11. Qc2 $6 {This looks like a normal move but in fact I have forgotten my preparation.} ({With the above brief discussion in mind,} 11. Rb1 $1 {, with the idea of an early b4 comes to mind. Now,} c5 ({or} 11... Qc7 12. Be3 Rd8 ( 12... Ne5 13. Be2 c5 14. f4 Nc6 15. e5 {followed by Ne4 is also good for White. }) 13. g3 $1 d6 14. f4 c5 15. h4 {and White has managed to stop Black from carrying out his main plan. The engines claim equality here but I reckon most people will find White's position the easier one.}) 12. f4 $1 {sees White achieving one of his aims.}) 11... Qc7 12. Re1 $6 {A demonstration of White's lack of understanding. The rook is better placed on f1 which supports f2-f4.} ( 12. f4 e5 13. f5 Nf4 14. Be3 {is maybe very slightly better for White.}) 12... a6 13. Be3 $6 {Again, White was oblivious to what Black was trying to achieve.} (13. e5 $1 {with the idea} Nxe5 14. Bxh7+ Kh8 15. Re3 $18 {would have cut across Black's plan quite effectively.}) ({Instead, after} 13. e5 $1 d6 {is best, when the position after} 14. exd6 Bxd6 15. g3 f5 16. Bf1 {is dynamically equal.}) 13... c5 14. g3 $2 {This helps Black to add even more punch to his next move.} Ne5 $1 15. Be2 Bb7 16. Rad1 Rad8 {Black knew that the threat was always going to be stronger than the execution and there was no immediate need to play ...Nc6 as yet. With his last 2 moves, he simply improved his previously undeveloped pieces and asked White what his next move was going to be. At this stage, it was clear to me that I stood worse, had much less time and was struggling for a move. After a long think, I came up with the paradoxical idea.} 17. Kg2 $5 {An "in-your-face" move! I'm not afraid to put my king opposite a menacing bishop down the long diagonal!} ({The point is that after} 17. f4 Nc6 18. Bf3 Nd4 19. Bxd4 cxd4 {, White is forced to play} 20. Ne2 {in view of the potential pin down the a7-g1 diagonal. I was afraid of} Bb4 21. Rf1 d5 22. exd5 Bxd5 {but White can still resist with} 23. Bxd5 exd5 24. Nxd4 dxc4 25. Nf3 {when he was only very slightly worse.}) 17... Nc6 (17... f5 18. f4 Ng4 19. Bxg4 fxg4 20. Qe2 {is fine for White.}) 18. f4 d6 19. Bf3 Nd4 $2 {This simplification helped White in many ways. After the game, Ivan felt that this made a lot of sense strategically but in fact, there was no real need to rush.} ({After the game, we looked at} 19... Bf6 20. Ne2 {and we both felt White is doing ok here but my assistant pointed out} Nb4 21. Qb1 d5 $1 { with good chances of extending Black's edge.}) 20. Bxd4 cxd4 21. Rxd4 Bf6 22. Rd3 Qxc4 23. Qd2 Be7 24. Rc1 $1 {And suddenly just like that, White is back in the game! Black may have obtained the bishop pair but White had two well placed rooks and the Black queen is vulnerable to attacks. After the game, Ivan told me that he felt this was a natural continuation and that logically, Black should be slightly better here. What we both mis evaluated was the activity that White could attain with accurate play.} Qb4 25. a3 (25. Rd4 Qa5 26. b4 Qb6 27. a4 {was another reasonable way to proceed but I wanted to keep my queenside more solid.}) 25... Qb6 26. Na4 Qb5 27. Rc7 $1 {You can never argue with a rook on the 7th! Here, I felt I was already out of danger and became incredibly optimistic.} Rfe8 28. Rd4 Ba8 29. Rb4 $2 {Carrying out a deeply flawed tactical operation that would eventually fail because of a miscalculation. Poor stuff.} (29. Qc2 $5 {keeping control of the c-file would have kept things very unclear.}) 29... Qa5 30. Qc3 {Setting up a devilish trap. ..or so I thought.} d5 $3 {And Black walks straight into it! In time trouble, I quickly lashed out with} 31. Rxe7 $2 (31. Rd4 {was a better defence but Black would have been clearly better after} Qxc3 32. bxc3 Bd6 $1 33. Ra7 dxe4 34. Bxe4 e5 $1) 31... Rxe7 32. Rb8 dxe4 $3 {Refuting the entire tactical set-up. Of course, I have overlooked that ...exf3 was check and hence White loses too much material for the queen. Here, there was nothing much to do but to play on aimlessly and waiting to resign...} 33. Qxa5 exf3+ 34. Kf2 Rxb8 35. Nb6 Reb7 36. Nc4 Rb5 37. Qxa6 Bd5 38. Qa4 Rb3 39. h3 h5 40. g4 h4 0-1
On board 3, Qianyun had to defend the black pieces against Miguel Illescas who is something like a legend in Spain, being one of the top 20 players in the world a couple of decades ago. Qianyun, who is pretty aggressive, did not seem the least intimidated and took her illustrious opponent to an outright battle.

The following game is annotated by Qianyun, with light comments from me: A game that I liked
[Event "41st Olympiad Tromso 2014 Open"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.05"] [Round "4"] [White "Illescas Cordoba, Miguel"] [Black "Gong Qianyun"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E52"] [WhiteElo "2618"] [BlackElo "2328"] [Annotator "Qianyun, Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. e3 {An interesting move order, transposing to the Rubenstein variation but not allowing some of Black's options such as the Karpov variation or the Hubner variation. Still, the Fianchetto variation is a very respectable system and its aggressive nature is ideally suited to Qianyun's style.} Bb7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Qc2 (9. Ne2) ({and} 9. Qe2 {are possible alternatives.}) 9... Nbd7 {Wei Ming: In this line of the Rubenstein variation, White typically plays for a knight on e5, followed by f2-f4, cementing his control over the e5 square. As such, when I used to play the Nimzo, I've always prefer to delay the development of my queen's knight, with the idea of playing for ...c5 and ...Nc6, pressuring the d4 pawn and hence deterring the above plan. Of course, Qianyun's move is very playable and has been played many times.} ({Qianyun gives} 9... c5 $5 10. b3 ({Wei Ming:} 10. a3 {, with the idea} Bxc3 11. bxc3 c4 12. Be2 Ne4 13. a4 Re8 {with equality is another possible line.}) 10... Nbd7 11. Bd2 Rc8 12. a3 Bxc3 13. Bxc3 Ne4 $11) 10. a3 Bxc3 {Ceding the bishop pair but gaining light square activity in return.} 11. bxc3 c5 12. Nd2 Re8 13. Rd1 $5 {An extremely deep and mysterious rook move.} (13. a4 c4 14. Be2 Bc6 15. Ba3 Nf8 16. Bb4 Qc7 17. a5 b5 $11) 13... Rc8 14. Qb1 cxd4 {Qianyun gave this a dubious mark but I think Black is fine here anyhow.} (14... Bc6 15. a4 Qc7 16. Bb2 c4 17. Bc2 Nf8 18. Ba3 Ng6 $11) 15. cxd4 Ne4 16. Bb2 $6 ({After} 16. Nxe4 dxe4 17. Bb5 {, I think Black is doing fine after} a6 18. Be2 Re6 $1 {, followed by ...Rg6, ... Nf6 and ...Nd5.}) 16... Qh4 $5 {Displaying aggressive intentions on the queenside...} (16... Ndf6 $11) 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Bb5 Nf6 $1 {Here, the FB chat group literally "exploded" with delight at Qianyun's uncompromising play. 2600 GM? No problem, I try to hack you to bits anyway.} 19. h3 $1 {Not surprisingly, White dodged the bullet.} ({Qianyun demonstrated the following lines:} 19. Bxe8 $2 Ng4 20. Bxf7+ (20. h3 Qxf2+ 21. Kh1 Nxe3 (21... Rc2 $2 22. Bxf7+ $1 (22. Rg1 $4 Qg3 23. hxg4 Qh4#) 22... Kf8 23. Qxc2 Qxc2 24. hxg4 Kxf7 25. Rac1 $11) 22. Rg1 Rxe8 23. Qe1 Qxe1 24. Raxe1 Nc4 $17 {with great compensation.}) 20... Kxf7 21. h3 Qxf2+ 22. Kh1 Nxe3 23. Rg1 Rc2 24. Bc1 Nf5 25. Qb3+ Kf6 26. Qb5 e3 27. Qe5+ Kg5 28. d5 Qf4 $1 29. Qxf4+ Kxf4 30. Rb1 Bxd5 $17) 19... Red8 20. d5 $6 { A sacrifice to open up the dark square bishop - an understandable decision.} ( 20. Rc1 Nd5 21. Be2 f5 22. a4 Qg5 23. Ra3 Bc6 $11) 20... Nxd5 21. Rc1 $6 Nc7 $1 $15 ({During the game, I was wondering about the following:} 21... Nxe3 $6 22. Rxc8 (22. fxe3 $1 Rd2 23. Bf1 {is even stronger.}) 22... Bxc8 23. fxe3 Rd2 24. Bf1 {and whether Black had enough compensation. Qianyun showed the following:} Bxh3 (24... Qf2+ 25. Kh1 Rxb2 26. Qxe4 $16) 25. Qe1 $1 (25. Qc1 Qf2+ 26. Kh2 Qxe3 27. Bc3 Qf4+ 28. Kg1 (28. Kxh3 $4 g5 $1 29. Qe1 (29. g3 Qf5+ 30. g4 Qf3#) 29... Rd6 30. Bg7 g4+ 31. Kh4 Rg6 $19) 28... Qe3+ 29. Kh1 Bxg2+ 30. Bxg2 Qh6+ $11) 25... Qxe1 26. Rxe1 Rxb2 27. gxh3 Rb3 28. Bc4 Rc3 $11 {and a likely draw in view of the reduced material.}) 22. Be5 $6 (22. Be2 Rd2 23. Rc2 Qd8 24. Be5 Ne6 $15) 22... Nxb5 (22... Rd2 $142 $1 23. g3 (23. Bg3 Qf6 24. a4 a5 25. Ra2 Rxa2 26. Qxa2 Nxb5 27. Rxc8+ Bxc8 28. axb5 $15) 23... Qe7 24. Bc3 Rdd8 $15) 23. Qxb5 Qe7 {the rest of the game petered out into a straight forward opposite colored bishop drawn ending:} 24. Rxc8 Rxc8 25. Rd1 Rd8 26. Rxd8+ Qxd8 27. a4 f6 28. Bc7 Qa8 29. Bd6 h6 30. Qd7 Qc8 31. Qe7 Bc6 (31... a6 32. Bc7 b5 33. axb5 axb5 34. Bd6 Bd5 $15) 32. Qxa7 $11 Qd7 33. Qb8+ Kh7 34. Bc7 Bxa4 35. Qxb6 Qc6 36. Qa7 Bb5 37. Kh2 1/2-1/2
A fantastic result for Qianyun!

On Board 4, 14 yr-old Tin faced his strongest opponent to date, 2603 rated Vazquez Igarza Renier. The debutant was certainly not intimidated by the occasion and came very close to a win:

A game that I liked
[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.05"] [Round "4.8"] [White "Tin Jingyao"] [Black "Vazquez Igarza Renier"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2251"] [BlackElo "2603"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qc2 (5. Bg5 {is White's main alternative here.}) (5. e3 {amusingly transposes to Illescas - Gong.}) 5... Bb7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 d6 {This should probably transpose to the Classical Nimzo lines after 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 where White has lost the option of playing the critical lines with Ne2 and f2-f3.} ({Here,} 7... Ne4 8. Qc2 O-O 9. e3 ({or} 9. g3 f5 10. Bg2 c5 $5 11. O-O Nc6) 9... d6 10. Bd3 f5 11. b4 Nd7 12. Bb2 Qe8 13. O-O Qh5 {is a more aggressive treatment which is known to be fine for Black.}) 8. g3 Nbd7 9. Bg2 O-O 10. O-O {White has next to no advantage here but Jingyao has an extremely solid position with no weaknesses. The bishop pair is a nice acquisition and may prove to be very useful.} Be4 11. b4 Qc8 $5 {Interesting concept by Black.} 12. Bb2 Qb7 13. Rfe1 c6 (13... a5 14. b5 c6 $5 {seems like a good way to increase the tension on the queenside.}) 14. Bf1 $1 {This manoeuvre with Rf1-e1, Bg2-f1 and Nf3-d2 is extremely typical in the Queen's Indian. White must not exchange the light square bishop given that the bishop pair is his only trump card. At the same time, White preps the space gaining e2-e4.} d5 15. Nd2 Bg6 16. Bg2 Rac8 17. e4 $1 $14 {With direct, logical and impressively mature play, White has gotten a small but stable opening edge.} dxe4 18. Nxe4 Bxe4 19. Bxe4 b5 (19... Nxe4 20. Rxe4 Rfd8 (20... Nf6 21. d5 $1 { is crushing.}) 21. Rg4 {looks dangerous for Black.}) 20. Bg2 bxc4 21. Qxc4 Nd5 {Black may have gotten a nice knight on the d5 outpost but White was definitely for choice at this juncture.} 22. Qc2 Rfd8 23. Rac1 h6 24. Re2 Qb5 25. Bf1 Qb6 26. Qa4 $1 {Preparing Re2-c2 followed by perhaps, Bd3.} Qb5 27. Qb3 Qb7 28. Qd3 $1 {No repeating of moves! Here, the FB group are all behind the young debutant.} Ra8 {Black had been reduced to utter passivity.} (28... Qb5 $2 {is pointless now due to} 29. Rec2 $1) 29. Rec2 a5 30. bxa5 Rxa5 31. Qd2 $1 { Winning a pawn! True, the extra pawn proved extremely hard to convert but at least the progress made was extremely tangible.} Raa8 32. Rxc6 N7b6 33. Qc2 $2 {After playing flawlessly the entire game, Jingyao made a critical inaccuracy. Fortunately, his opponent did not pounce.} (33. R1c2 $1 {would have maintained White's edge.}) 33... Na4 34. Ba1 Nab6 (34... Qe7 $1 {would have won the a3 pawn immediately. For example,} 35. Qd3 Nab6 36. Bb2 Na4 $1 $11) 35. Qb3 Qa7 36. Rb1 $2 {This loses the a-pawn once and for all.} (36. Bb2 $1 Rdb8 37. Qc2 { , with the idea} Na4 $6 38. Ra6 $1 Qd7 39. Rb1 {would have kept the pawn although admittedly, this line is easier to find with my engine on!}) 36... Rdb8 37. Rc5 Qxa3 38. Qxa3 Rxa3 39. Rcb5 Rc8 {Suddenly, with obvious play against the isolated d4 pawn, Black became the one pressing for the win!} 40. Bb2 Ra2 41. Rc1 Rxc1 42. Bxc1 Ra1 43. Rc5 Ra4 44. Be3 g5 45. h4 gxh4 46. gxh4 Kg7 (46... Nxe3 47. fxe3 Nd5 48. Kf2 Ra2+ 49. Be2 Kg7 {may be unpleasant for White but the ending should still be drawn with precise play.}) 47. Bg2 Nxe3 48. fxe3 Nc4 49. Bc6 1/2-1/2
This was a creditable and yet slightly disappointing result. Despite the rating difference, all the games were very evenly matched and I kicked myself for losing the game and causing the team to lose after managing to overcome a terribly difficult opening.

Still, there's nothing much to do but to get on with it and in Round 5, we were matched up against the Domenican Republic, a relatively unknown opponent to us. We felt fairly confident and the decision was to field young Qing Aun who has so far scored 2/2. Qianyun was given the day off.

Round 5 - Singapore 2 Dominican Republic 2

On Board 1, Zhang Zhong was surprised by his opponent's choice of opening. He had never played the Alekhine defence before and after a few minutes though, Zhang decided on the even more surprising 2.d3! which utterly stumped his opponent. I felt that this was an incredibly smart choice and in some ways, Zhang had not only counter-surprised his opponent but also psychologically destroyed him. The game itself was a bit of a white-wash:
A game that I liked
[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.06"] [Round "5.36"] [White "Zhang Zhong"] [Black "Munoz Santana Jose Lisandro"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B02"] [WhiteElo "2611"] [BlackElo "2438"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. e4 Nf6 {The one opening that Zhang had not prepped for. Not to worry, he had a counter surprise in mind:} 2. d3 $1 {I would have killed to see Zhang's opponent's expression after this move but he had wisely dorned a pair of shades throughout the entire game. Here, Black went into a deep think...} c5 { This transposes to the Big Clamp of the Sicilian. This is not the most principled approach as Black should surely have tried to force equality here.} (2... e5 {was the natural choice, with a reversed Philidor type of position. Surprisingly, Jingyao would come to face a similar position in the tournament.. .}) 3. f4 Nc6 4. Nf3 g6 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O d6 8. h3 c4 $6 {A clear positional error. After this, White was free to play both on the kingside and in the centre. It was vital to retain some form of control over the d4 square.} 9. Nc3 cxd3 10. cxd3 Qb6+ 11. Kh2 e5 $6 {A risky move.} (11... Bd7 12. d4 {may still be slightly better for White though but at least Black is not subjected to an attack yet.}) 12. f5 $1 d5 $2 (12... gxf5 13. Nh4 $1 f4 14. gxf4 {looks terribly scary but at least Black is still in the game.}) 13. fxg6 hxg6 14. exd5 Nb4 15. Nxe5 {Just like that, White won a pawn and had a huge time advantage to boot. The rest of the game would see Zhang Zhong capture piece after piece before forcing his opponent to resign.} Nh5 16. d4 $1 Bf5 $2 17. Rxf5 gxf5 18. Qxh5 Qxd4 19. Nf3 Qf6 20. Nh4 Nc2 21. Bg5 Qe5 22. Bf4 Qf6 23. Nxf5 $1 Rfe8 (23... Nxa1 24. Ne4 Qd8 25. Ng5 $1) 24. Rf1 Re1 25. d6 Rxf1 26. Bxf1 Ne1 27. Nxg7 Kxg7 28. Qe2 Qe6 29. Qxe6 fxe6 30. Be2 1-0
Board 2 was a French Advance variation with 5...Nh6!? where I played over ambitiously and really should have been punished for my extravagant play:

A game that I liked
[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.07"] [Round "5"] [White "Puntier Andalujar William"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C02"] [WhiteElo "2333"] [BlackElo "2433"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Nh6 {This is more or less my pet line against the Advance but I've gotten so many dodgy positions from this that maybe a re-think in terms of opening choice is due!} 6. Bd3 f6 $6 {A dubious but more combative choice. Naturally, I wanted badly to play for a win. } ({I was perfectly aware that} 6... Nf5 {was my prep but didn't like my winning chances after} 7. Bxf5 exf5 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. O-O {when both sides can be happy with his position.}) 7. O-O Nf7 8. Re1 (8. exf6 Qxf6 9. Be3 c4 10. Be2 Rb8 {was the kind of position I was trying to achieve.}) 8... c4 {This was a bit of a lazy move as I wanted to stop White from ever playing c3-c4 himself once and for all.} ({I also considered} 8... fxe5 9. Nxe5 Nfxe5 10. dxe5 g6 11. Nd2 Bg7 12. f4 O-O 13. Nf3 {which also seems better for White.}) 9. Bf1 $2 {A rather strange decision. Perhaps, White was afraid that I would block the b1-h7 diagonal with ...f5?} (9. Bc2 $1 fxe5 10. Nxe5 Ncxe5 11. dxe5 Bc5 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Rxe3 O-O 14. Nd2 $14) 9... fxe5 10. dxe5 g5 $2 {This was terribly over-ambitious. In many lines of the 3...Be7 Tarrasch, Black also tries to win a pawn by similar wins i.e. displacing the f3 knight by ...g5-g4 but here, Black's position is a lot more unstable in comparison. I went through the following lines during the game:} (10... Bc5 11. b3 cxb3 12. axb3 O-O 13. Bf4 $14) (10... b5 11. a4 b4 12. b3 $13) (10... g6 11. b3 cxb3 12. axb3 Bg7 13. Bb5 $1 O-O 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Ba3 Re8 16. Bc5 $14) (10... a6 $1 11. b3 b5 12. a4 Bd7 {may be Black's best option.}) 11. b3 cxb3 12. Nd4 $5 {This completely took me by surprise.} ({White would have obtained a terrifying initiative after the natural} 12. axb3 Bg7 13. Ba3 g4 14. Nd4 Nfxe5 15. Ra2 $1 Kf7 16. Nb5 $40) 12... Bg7 13. Qh5 Ncxe5 ({Not} 13... O-O $4 14. Bd3 $1) 14. Bb5+ ({Here, I spent a lot of thinking about the possible ramifications after} 14. Ba3 b2 $1 15. Bb5+ $1 Bd7 16. Nxe6 {which looked terribly scary. Houdini promptly pointed out} Qf6 $1 17. Nxg7+ Kd8 $3 18. Bxb2 Bg4 $1 19. Rxe5 $1 Nxe5 20. Ne6+ $3 Bxe6 21. Qe2 {and Black is slightly better. A quite incredible variation.}) 14... Kf8 15. axb3 {Here, I was rather optimistic with my position. My plan was to quickly consolidate with ...Qf6, ...a6, and ...Bd7 after which I would have developed most of my pieces and still have an extra pawn! Sounds pretty good? The problem is that White had a lot of activity and a few pawn breaks at his disposal such as f2-f4 and c3-c4 which gave him more than sufficient play for the pawn. In fact, Black had to be very careful to avoid having his centre collapsing like a house of cards.} Qf6 16. Nd2 Ng6 $2 {I was trying to put a knight on f4 and achieve ...e6-e5 but again this was terribly over ambitious.} ({After} 16... Kg8 17. Bb2 a6 {, it is not clear how White can proceed with the attack. Perhaps, he should go} 18. Qe2 h5 19. c4 {with a big fight in the offering. Given the choice, I would certainly prefer White.}) 17. g3 $2 {After his previous aggression, this timid move took me by surprise.} (17. N2f3 $1 { is very strong and after} g4 (17... e5 18. Nxg5 {is good for White.}) ({I was actually planning} 17... Nf4 $4 {but this loses to} 18. Bxf4 gxf4 19. Qxd5 $1) 18. Qxg4 e5 19. Bd7 $1 Bxd7 20. Qxd7 exd4 21. Rxa7 $3 {would have been winning for White.}) 17... e5 18. N2f3 $2 {In such a chaotic position, it is very easy for either side to go wrong.} (18. Nc2 $1 Kg8 19. Ne3 Ne7 $13 {with compensation was a lot better.}) 18... h6 {It felt very good to be able to defend the loose g5 pawn!} 19. c4 $2 {Initiating more complications. However, White had missed his boat and Black was able to repel White's attempts to play for the initiative.} (19. Ra5 $5 {is a creative idea proposed by the machine and indeed, after the retreat of the b5 bishop, it is not easy for Black to defend the d5 pawn.}) 19... Kg8 20. Nc2 d4 {This optically looked counter intuitive, giving away all the light squares like that but if Black manages to get in Bf5 and e5-e4, he will be doing very well.} (20... e4 21. Bb2 Qxb2 22. Qxg6 Qf6 23. Qxf6 Bxf6 24. Nfd4 Nd6 $15) (20... g4 $1 {may be Black's best option, with the idea} 21. Nd2 Ng5 $1 22. cxd5 Qf5 $1) 21. Nb4 (21. Nd2 Bf5 22. Nb4 (22. Ne4 Bxe4 23. Rxe4 Nd6) 22... Nd6 23. Nd5 Qf7) 21... Nd6 $4 {Both players proved themselves unable to handle the random nature of this position in severe time trouble.} (21... g4 $1 22. Nd5 Qf5 23. Qxf5 Bxf5 24. Nd2 a6 { would have been excellent for Black.}) 22. Nd5 Qf7 23. Nb6 $1 {Obviously, I completely overlooked this.} ({I also overlooked} 23. Qxg6 Qxg6 24. Ne7+ Kh7 25. Nxg6 Kxg6 26. Nxe5+ Bxe5 27. Rxe5 Nxb5 28. Rxb5 Rd8 {with a likely draw.}) 23... Rb8 24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Qg4 $2 {Missing his one chance to seize the bull by the horns.} (25. Bd7 $3 {with idea} Rd8 26. Bg4 {is terribly strong. White would have taken control of all the important light squares and would have seized the advantage. Still, this line wasn't easy to see in severe time trouble.}) 25... Rf8 26. Kg2 $4 {My opponent finally made the last mistake and collapsed with seconds remaining.} (26. Ba3 {was best but Black still has the edge after} h5 27. Qh3 (27. Qxg5 Qxf3 28. Qxg6 Qxf2+ 29. Kh1 Rh6 30. Qd3 Rf3 $19) 27... g4 28. Qf1 Nxb5 29. Ng5 Qf5 30. Bxf8 Bxf8 31. cxb5 Qxg5) 26... h5 0-1
Yet another nerve wrecking game and by now, I was starting to feel quite concerned with my time trouble woes. I am generally a slow thinker but 3 time scrambles in 3 games certainly wasn't what I was planning before the tournament.

On Board 3, Jingyao took the White pieces and had to face the Benko gambit, an opening that he should know pretty well given that he spent a few years playing it himself. However, I felt that his understanding was rather superficial and it cost him dearly here:

A game that I liked
[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.06"] [Round "5.34"] [White "Tin Jingyao"] [Black "Abreu Jean Carlos Paul"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A58"] [WhiteElo "2251"] [BlackElo "2286"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2q1rk1/3nppbp/b2p2p1/2pP4/2n5/2N2NP1/PPQ1PPBP/1RBR2K1 w - - 0 14"] [PlyCount "6"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {We have arrived at a theoretical position of the Fianchetto variation of the Benko gambit. Here, Jingyao played the positionally suspect} 14. b3 $2 {and soon found himself in deep trouble.} ({On the Facebook chat, Junior Tay pointed out that the correct move is the strategically sound} 14. Bh3 $1 {, preventing the Black queen from heading to the a5 square. After} Nde5 {,} 15. Ne1 $1 {, White would have maintained control of the position and is primed to knock the e5 knight back with f2-f4.}) 14... Qa5 $1 15. bxc4 Qxc3 16. Qxc3 Bxc3 {Black had obtained a dream Benko position basically and like what Leslie said, the position simply plays itself. Jingyao wasn't able to cope with the pressure and went down in flames.} 0-1
On the last board, Qing Aun obtained a reasonable position from the English opening but after! (15...Bxf5 or 15..Rxf5 was better), his structure became extremely vulnerable. His opponent cleverly applied pressure on the entire board and broke through with a nice queen sacrifice:

A game that I liked
[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.06"] [Round "5.33"] [White "Michelen Rodriguez Victor Isa"] [Black "Lee Qing Aun"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A36"] [WhiteElo "2239"] [BlackElo "1893"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r1r1k1/1p3qb1/p2pb2p/P3pp2/2Pp1P2/BP1P2P1/6BP/1R2QRK1 w - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {Here, White sacrificed his queen with} 23. Bxd6 exf4 24. Bxf4 $1 Bxc4 25. bxc4 Rxe1 26. Rfxe1 {and with threats down the b and e files and 2 raking bishops plus an extremely weak king, Black soon went down in flames.} 1-0
While the draw was slightly disappointing, it certainly wasn't the end of the world and there was still a lot of chess to be played. The next day was a rest day and the team was hyped up to know that we were paired against another all GM team, Bangladesh, in round 6.

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