Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

9/28/04 - Leko-Kramnik, Game 3

In today's Game 3, the theoretical discussion in the Petroff's defense continued. The first 15 moves were the same as in Game 1.

16. c4 This is the most common move from the diagram, but Leko was successful with 16. Bd3 (which he awarded a exclamation point in his notes in New In Chess) against Anand at Linares 1993. Perhaps we will see that move make an appearance in game 5. 16...Qe4 17. Be3 Qc2 This looks to be a new move. There have been several high level games that continued 17...Bf6 18. Ra2 preventing Qc2, so Kramnik tries it immediately. 18. d5 Na5 19. Nd4 Qxd1 20. Rexd1 20. Raxd1 seems a bit more natural, but Black doesn't look to have any problems after 20...Bd7 21. Bd2 b6. After the text, Kramnik is able to exploit the fact that Be2 is now unguarded. 20... Bd7 21. Bd2 Bf6 22. Bxa5 Bxd4 23. Rxd4 Rxe2 [½:½] A totally solid performance by Kramnik. I think now that Leko has gotten his feet wet in the match he has to realize that the games can slip by very quickly and start trying to play more sharply. With only 5 Whites left, I expect that he will play the Sicilian Defense in Game 4, but I think that Kramnik might go for the Rossolimo Variation (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5) instead of entering a debate in the Sheveshnikov (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5)

9/26/04 - Kramnik Strikes First

World Champion Vladimir Kramnik got his title defense off to the best possible start on Saturday, defeating Peter Leko with the Black pieces in Game 1. 1. e4 e5 Both players are experts in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, but Kramnik looks to play solidly in the first game 2. Nf3 Nf6 While Kramnik was successful with the Berlin Defense (2...Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6) in his match with Kasparov, he is no stranger to the Petroff's either. 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Nb4 9. Be2 O-O 10. Nc3 Bf5 11. a3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 13. Re1 Re8 14. cxd5 Qxd5 15. Bf4 Rac8 16. h3 An interesting choice. Kramnik introduced 16. h3 into grandmaster practice against Anand at Wijk aan Zee 2003. Anand awarded the move an exclamation mark in his notes in Informant 86 and it was later judged to be the 6th most important novelty of that volume with Arthur Yusupov voting it as the top novelty. So it looks like a theoretical dispute right off the bat.

16... Be4 Anand played 16... Bf6 and drew, but several improvements were found for white. 17. Be3 Na5 18. c4 Nxc4 19. Bxc4 Qxc4 20. Nd2 Qd5 21. Nxe4 Qxe4 22. Bg5 Forcing Black to sacrifice his queen, but from the time used to this point it looked like this was all within Kramnik's home preparation 22...Qxe1+ 23. Qxe1 Bxg5 24. Qa5 Bf6 25. Qxa7 c5 26. Qxb7 Bxd4 27. Ra2 c4 28. Re2 Red8 29. a4 c3 30. Qe4 Bb6 31. Qc2 g6 32. Qb3 Rd6 33. Rc2 Ba5 34. g4 Rd2 35. Kg2 Rcd8 36. Rxc3 Giving back some material to relieve some of the pressure, but this isn't a pleasant ending for White. Black will double his rooks on the a-pawn to win it, then look to give up the 2 rooks for a queen and a pawn for a winning king and pawn ending. 36... Bxc3 37. Qxc3 R2d5 38. Qc6 Ra5 39. Kg3 Rda8 40. h4 R5a6 41. Qc1 Ra5 42. Qh6 Rxa4 43. h5 R4a5 44. Qf4 This is a somewhat strange move. The general rule of thumb in endings is that the defending side should try to exchange pawns, so one would expect 44. hxg6 was necessary to prevent what happens in the game. It is possible that Leko wanted to retain the possibility of h6, but overlooked the small tactical trick that Kramnik now plays 44... g5 45. Qf6 h6! 46. f3 on 46. Qxh6 R8a6 the White queen is trapped. The rest is a matter of technique for Kramnik, White is helpless against the plan to double rooks against the f-pawn. 46... R5a6 47. Qc3 Ra4 48. Qc6 R8a6 49. Qe8+ Kg7 50. Qb5 R4a5 51. Qb4 Rd5 52. Qb3 Rad6 53. Qc4 Rd3 54. Kf2 Ra3 55. Qc5 Ra2+ 56. Kg3 Rf6 57. Qb4 Raa6 58. Kg2 Rf4 59. Qb2+ Raf6 60. Qe5 Rxf3 61. Qa1 Rf1 62. Qc3 R1f2+ 63. Kg3 R2f3+ 64. Qxf3 Rxf3+ 65. Kxf3 Kf6 [0:1]. This is a big hole for Leko to dig out of. The match is only scheduled for 14 games with Kramnik holding draw odds in case of a tie. Kramnik is nearly impossible to beat when he has White and already Leko has only 6 Whites left for himself.

I've started to look at the ending of Q+f+g+h vs. 2R+f+g+h to see if there is a way to hold. The Encyclopedia of Queen Endings only has one example, Gurgenidze-Averbakh, 1961 USSR Championship. There, Averbakh tried a different defensive formation with his pawns, but Gurgenidze showed another way for White to win. Instead of sacrificing the 2 rooks for a queen and a pawn as Kramnik did, he tied the Black queen down with mating threats, advanced his king, then gave up the 2 rooks for just the queen leading to a winning pawn ending because of his more active King. Here is the finale of that game after 38. Rxd4

38...Qb5 39. h4 Qe2 40. R1d2 Qe1+ 41. Kh2 Qe5+ 42. g3 Qe1 43. Kg2 Kh6 44. Rd1 Qe2 45. Rd7 Qc2 46. Kg1 f5 47. Re1 Qc8 48. Ree7 Qh8 49. f4 Qa1+ 50. Kh2 Qb2+ 51. Kh3 Qh8 52. Rb7 Qg8 53. Rf7 Qh8 54. Kg2 Qg8 55. Kf2 Qh8 56. Ke2 Qe8+ 57. Kd2 Qd8+ 58. Kc2 Qc8+ 59. Rbc7 Qh8 60. Kd3 Qd8+ 61. Kc4 Qg8 62. Kc5 Qh8 63. Rh7+ Qxh7 64. Rxh7+ Kxh7 65. Kd5 Kg7 66. Ke6 [1:0] I have found several other examples in the database, but haven't yet had the time to examine them in detail. It looks like a very difficult task for the defender, but some of them have managed to draw. I want to determine if these were because of mistakes by the player with 2 rooks or if there are some theoretically important defensive positions. I'll post a summary when I have reached a conclusion

Game 2 was today and was a fairly quite draw. I was a little surprised that they played on back-to-back days since one of Kasparov's complaints after his loss to Kramnik was the difficulty on playing the back-to-back games. 1. e4 e5 This was sort of a surprise to me. Being a point down, I thought he would try for something sharp in the Sicilian. Perhaps he just wanted to get on the scoreboard first. Or maybe he isn't worried about being down a point at this stage so he sticks with the standard match formula of drawing with Black. 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 Re8 Most common is 9...d6. White could already probe for a repetition with 10. Ng5 Rf8 11. Nf3 10. Nc3 Bb4 11. Ng5 Rf8 12. a3 Bxc3 13. bxc3 Na5 14. Ba2 c5 15. f4 exf4 16. e5 Nd5 17. Bxd5 Qxg5 18. Bxb7 [½:½]

9/24/04 - Limping Towards Reunification

Tommorrow marks the start of the Kramnik-Leko World Championship Match. This has been a long time coming. As a refresher, back in 2002, Leko qualified as the challenger. Also around the same time, the Prague Agreement happened, which called for an absolute world championship match in October 2003. Not much has happened in the meantime. The match Ponomariov-Kasparov which was supposed to provide the other participant in the final match never happened. This summer, Rustam Kasimdzhanov won the controversial FIDE KO tournament in Libya and now the plans are for a Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov match early next year (although I see on the FIDE website that the bidding deadline for that match has been extended). So maybe if we are lucky, by the end of 2005 we will see a match between the winners of Kramnik-Leko and Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov, but I'm not counting on it

At least we are finally going to have a classical world championship match. I make Kramnik the favorite for a couple of reasons. First, he has much more match experience than Leko. The only match I recall Leko playing is a short 6-game match with Khalifman. Kramnik has played matches with Kasparov, Kamsky, Shirov, Lautier, Illescas, Gelfand and Yudasin. The other factor is that he finally got his first win against Leko in a game with classical time controls earlier year at Linares. I think Kramnik will prevail by 2 points in a closely contested match.

One of my regular readers asked me to provide some coverage of the match. I'm not sure what angle I'll take, but I'll try to provide some sort of insight after each game.

9/19/04 - Bereolos-Andrews, 2004 Tennessee Open

Despite the draws on the first two boards in Round 4, no one caught up to the lead group. So we just swapped opponents for the last round: Vest-Burnett on Board 1 and Bereolos-Andrews on Board 2. Unfortunately, Vest got a poor position out of the opening and went down, so this game was for the co-championship. In addition to that motivation, I also didn't want to lose to Todd for a third time in a row. 1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g4!? One of my surprise weapons against the Dutch that I have tried on several occasions. It leads to some very unique positions. It probably wasn't much of a surprise to Todd, though, since I had played it against him in the Boone Open a few months earlier. 3... Nf6 the other choice is of course 3... fxg4 which leads to positions similar to the Sicilian Wing Gambit. 4. gxf5 At Boone, I kept the tension with 4. h3 4... exf5 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Qd3 This move looks a bit strange, but I have found d3 to be a useful square for the queen in this variation. See, for example, my games against Geist and Hoak.6... Ne4 7. Nf3 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Qe7 9. Rg1 Nc6 10. Ng5 d6 11. Bg2 11. Nxe4 fxe4 12. Qg3 O-O 13. Bg5 also gives White an initiative 11... Nf6 11... Nxg5?! 12. Bxg5 Qxg5?? (12... Qd7 13. Qe3+ is also a bit awkward for Black.) 13. Bxc6+ 12. Nh3 12. c5 dxc5 13. Ba3 is a reasonable alternative trying to blast open the position for the bishop pair. My idea was Bg5 followed by Nh3-f4-d5. 12... Na5 13. c5 Switching plans since the position of the Na5 allows me to dissolve the doubled pawns without sacrifice. 13... O-O 13... dxc5? 14. Qb5+ +- 14. cxd6 With my king still in the center, I thought it would be risky to go pawn hunting with 14. Qb5 Nc6 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Qxc6 Rb8 14... Qxd6 I think it is better to play 14... cxd6 controlling e5 and opening the c-file for later counterplay against the c3 pawn. Then, I would probably switch back to my original plan with 15. Bg5 15. Bf4 Qd8 better is 15... Qe7 16. Qg3 Threatening both Bxc7 and Bd5+ and highlighting the problems with 15...Qd8. Also possible was 16. Be5 with a promising attack. 16... Nh5 16... Rf7 17. Ng5 Re7 18. Qh4 h6 19. Nf3 maintains material equality, but gives white a strong attack 17. Bxc7 Nxg3 18. Bxd8 Rxd8 18... Nxe2 19. Bxa5 Nxg1 20. Bd5+ Kh8 21. Nxg1 should be a fairly straightforward win for White 19. hxg3 Be6 20. Nf4 Bf7 21. e3 Rac8 22. Kd2 Rc4 22... Nc4+ 23. Ke2 Na5 24. Rgc1 23. Nd3 Rdc8 24. Rgc1 Ra4 25. Nc5 Ra3 25... Rxa2+ 26. Rxa2 Bxa2 27. Ra1 Rxc5 28. Rxa2 +- 26. Nxb7 Nc4+ 27. Ke1 Nb2 28. Rc2 Na4 29. Nd6 Rcxc3 30. Rxc3 30. Rd2 threatening Nb5 as well as Nxf5 looks very strong. 30... Nxc3 31. Nxf7 The win shouldn't be too difficult here with B vs. N plus an extra passed pawn, but 31. Nxf5 deserved much more consideration than I gave it. 31... Kf8 (31... Rxa2 32. Rc1 Ra3 33. Kd2 Be6 34. Nxg7 Kxg7 35. Rxc3) 32. Nd6 Bxa2 33. Kd2 when the a-pawn isn't dangerous and Black's pieces are awkward. 31... Kxf7 32. Bf1 Ra4 33. Bd3 Kf6 34. a3 g5 I thought he would go for 34... a6 35. Kd2 (35. Bc2 is a safe alternative.) 35... Nb5 36. Bxb5 (36. Kc2 Rxa3 37. Rxa3 Nxa3+ 38. Kb3 Nb5 39. Bxb5 axb5 40. f4! (40. Kb4?? g5 and Black is going to score with a pawn on the kingside.)) 36... axb5 37. Kc3 b4+ 38. Kb3 Rxa3+ 39. Rxa3 bxa3 40. f4! but perhaps he considered these variations and saw the necessity of getting the kingside going first. He could also push the other pawn first 34...h5 in order to avoid having his h- and g-pawns held by my g-pawn as in the game. Then, I would probably have prevented the rook ending with 35. f3 g5 36. Kd2 35. Kd2 White could also play 35. f3 but I thought he had too many weaknesses for the rook ending. 35... Ne4+ 36. Bxe4 fxe4 37. g4 This was the key move in my decision to go into a rook ending. The g-pawn paralyzes Black's kingside and he has to watch out that the h-pawn doesn't become a weakness.

37... Ra6 Preparing for an active defense based on activating the king and attacking the f-pawn with Ra6-f6. 37... Ke6 38. Kc3 Kd5 39. Kb3 Ra6 40. Rc1 looks good for White, too 38. a4 I liked this move. The simplest idea behind it is to push the pawn to a5 so that Rb6+ won't be possible when the White king comes over. 38... Kg6 39. a5 h5 40. gxh5+ Kxh5 41. Kc3 Rc6+ 42. Kb3 Kg4 43. d5 Rf6 44. Ra2 Kf3 45. Kc4 g4 I double checked my calculations one last time to make sure I hadn't missed anything in the queen ending. 46. Kd4 Kg2 47. Kxe4 Rxf2 48. Rxf2+ Kxf2 49. d6 g3 50. d7 g2 51. d8=Q g1=Q 52. Qf6+! The key move that I had foreseen. All the squares White needs to occupy are on the long diagonal. 52... Ke2 going to the g-file allows Qg7+ and going to the first rank allows Qa1+ 53. Qb2+ forcing him to the first rank. [1:0]

So Ron Burnett and myself are the 2004 Tennessee State Co-Champions. It's the 5th time for each of us getting at least a portion of the title. This wasn't the end, however. This year, for the first time, the America's Foundation for Chess in conjunction with the Internet Chess Club announced an online event for the 50 state champions for one qualification spot into the US Championship. So Ron and I squared off in a 10 minute game to determine the representative for this event. The first game ended in a draw. The position was locked, but I could have considered continuing with a roughly 3 minute to 2 minute clock advantage. Instead, we repeated moves. So, we switched colors and went at it again. This time I got a rough position out of the opening. He eventually won a pawn and that proved to be decisive. That was a very disappointing result for me, but I wished Ron luck (actually more like ordered him to qualify) in the online tournament. The first part of it (a 3 0 swiss) was held this weekend, but I haven't found the results anywhere yet. Todd also qualified for that event as this year's Georgia State Champion. So perhaps Tennessee will have 2 representatives in the US Championship this year (Jake Kleiman qualified at the US Open). I think that would be a first. Actually, I'm not sure that Jake won't be the first Tennesseean to ever play in the US Championship. I think you might have to go way back to find one, I don't recall any.

9/17/04 - Burnett-Bereolos, 2004 Tennessee Open

Only the top 4 players survived day one unscathed. The 3 Tennessee masters were joined by Georgia's David Vest. Pairings for round 4 were Burnett-Bereolos and Andrews-Vest 1. d4 Ron's usual opening is 1. e4, which he had played in our 3 previous meetings. 1... Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. Nf3 At this point I remembered him observing my game with Matan, so I decided to go in a radically different direction. 3... d5!? What to say about this move? It probably wasn't that smart of me to leave my repetoire on move 3 of the most important game I've played this year. It's been over 20 years since I played the Black side of any form of Queens Gambit in a tournament game. Of course, I had an idea of what variation I wanted to play on this day. 4. c4 c6 5. Nbd2 which he sidestepped. I was ready to go into the Botvinnik chaos with 5. Nc3 dxc4 but I took solace in the fact that the knight has to be worse on d2 than c3. 5... Nbd7 6. e3 Bd6 It's probably better to play 6... Be7 since with the configuration Bd6 vs. Nd2 an attempt to free the position with dxc4 would be met by Nxc4 hitting the bishop. 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O Qc7?! Here's the problem with playing an opening you are unfamiliar with. You spend a lot of time trying to figure out the nuances over the board and just overlook something obvious. Much better is 8... b6 9. c5 Be7 10. Bf4 Qd8 11. e4 dxe4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Nf6 14. Bc2 Nd5 15. Qd3 g6 16. Bh6 Re8 16... Nb4 17. Qc3 Nxc2 18. Bxf8 Nxa1 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. Rxa1 simplifies things, but Black remains stuck with a horrible bishop. 17. a3 b6 18. Ne5 Qc7 19. b4 a5 20. cxb6 Nxb6 20... Qxb6 21. Nc4 Qc7 22. Nxa5 21. Qf3 Bd6 A critical position.

He went for a forcing variation with 22. Qf6 22. Qxc6 seems to lead to a White advantage with the main variation being 22... Qxc6 23. Nxc6 axb4 24. axb4 Ba6 25. Rfc1 Bb5 when the move 26. Na7! might be hard to find starting from the diagram position, especially since Black has quite a few other options that must be considered. Not as good is 22. Nxc6 Nd5 23. b5 Bd7 (23... Bb7!?; 23... Bxh2+!? 24. Kh1 Bd6) 22... Bf8 23. Bxf8 Rxf8 24. Ng4 h5 25. Qe5 With his time running down, he couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger on the somewhat unclear 25. Nh6+ Kh7 26. Bxg6+ fxg6 27. Qxf8 Bd7 28. Qf7+ Kxh6 29. bxa5 although I think the somewhat exposed nature of Black's king guarantees White should have at least perpetual check. The other way to sacrifice only leads to a draw 25. Bxg6 hxg4 26. Bh7+ Kxh7 27. Qh4+ Kg6 28. Qxg4+ Kf6 29. Qh4+ with perpetual check. 25... Qxe5 26. Nxe5 axb4 27. axb4 Ba6 28. Rfc1 Bb5 29. Be4 Nd5 30. Rab1 Ra4 He thought for awhile here and was keeping an eye on board 2 developments as that game entered its time scramble. After that game ended in a draw he sent the game to equality with 31. Nxc6 31. Bxd5 exd5 doesn't really offer White much either since capturing the pawn backfires 32. Nxc6? Bxc6 33. Rxc6 Rb8 and because of White's back rank, Black will emerge with an extra pawn, for example the somewhat humorous variation 34. b5 Rxb5 35. Rd1 Rxd4 31... Bxc6 32. Rxc6 Rxb4 33. Rxb4 probably my best position of the game, but I decided to save some energy for the final round and accepted his draw offer. The knight is going to be a bit awkward on b4. [½:½]

9/13/04 - Bereolos-Hughes, 2004 Tennessee Open

In the evening round, I had White against James D. Hughes. I give his middle initial because the player who showed up at the board was not the guy I was expecting. As I learned, there are no less than 3 James Hughes in Tennessee. 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. b6 Qxb6 6. Nc3 g6 7. e4 d6 8. a4 a5 9. Bb5+ In the early days of this variation, Shirov had some success with the immediate 9. f4 but the text is the most popular these days. 9... Bd7 10. Nf3 Bg7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. Nc4 Qc7 13. O-O Na6 14. f4 Nb4 15. e5 As in the first round game, I needed to decide if it was correct to immediately push e5 or to prepare it with a move such as 15. h3 There were many variations, but I calculated White was coming out on top and went for it 15... dxe5 16. fxe5 Ng4 17. Bxd7 The immediate 17. e6?? ends things quickly after 17... Qxh2# 17... Qxd7 18. e6 The other possibility is 18. Nb6 Qa7 19. Nxa8 c4+ 20. Kh1 but I thought Black had reasonable compensation for the exchange after 20...Nxe5. (Sacrificing a whole piece instead with 20... Nf2+ 21. Rxf2 Qxf2 22. Nc7 Bxe5 23. N7b5 Qh4 24. g3 Bxg3 isn't as convincing.)

18... fxe6? essential was 18... Bd4+ 19. Qxd4 (19. Kh1? fxe6 turns the tables because of White's weak back rank) 19... cxd4 20. exd7 dxc3 21. d6 (21. bxc3 Nxd5 22. Rd1 Nxc3 23. Ba3 Nxd1 24. Rxd1 also looks reasonable) 21... cxb2 (21... exd6 22. bxc3) 22. Bxb2 exd6 23. Rad1 when I felt the pawn on d7 gave White the edge. 19. Qxg4 Rxf1+ 20. Kxf1 Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Qxd5 22. Be3 Rf8+ 23. Kg1 e5 24. Rd1 Qc6 25. Nxa5 Qc7 26. Qe6+ Kh8 27. Nc6 Bf6 28. Bh6 Rc8 "trapping" the White knight. 29. Qxc8+ simplest, but 29. Nxe7 Bxe7 30. Rd7 leads to a quick mate 29... Qxc8 30. Rd8+ Qxd8 31. Nxd8 c4 32. Bc1 e6 33. Nxe6 Kg8 34. a5 [1:0]

9/12/04 - Prilleltensky-Bereolos, 2004 Tennessee Open

The nice things about playing Friday night are that you can sleep in, and then you are only facing two games on Saturday. I got a good night's sleep then checked on the morning's results. Burnett had played and won. I went to the TCA meeting before the round, but the only really newsworthy item there was that the USCF may still move to Crossville. I had lunch with Matan Prilleltensky and Alex King, so of course got paired with Matan with the Black pieces for round two. I quickly got a bad position in the opening. 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. e3 b6 5. d5!

This move was discovered by Petrosian in 1950. He managed to sit on it for 10 years before springing it on Kozma in the 1960 Olympiad. It has claimed it's fair share of victims over the years including Karpov who lost to Yusupov in this variation in 1989. 5... exd5 perhaps Black's best choice is to just accept the small disadvantage after 5... d6 6. Nc3 This is the way most players (including Petrosian and Yusupov) play here, but to my mind 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Nc3 gives Black less options. 6... Be7 The point of Petrosian's idea is in the variation 6... Bb7 7. Nxd5 Bxd5 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Qxd5 and White keeps his grip on d5 tactically since 9... Qxb2? 10. Rd1 wins after 10... Qb4+ (10... Qc3+ 11. Rd2 Qa1+ 12. Ke2) 11. c3! luring the queen to the c3 square as in the previous note (11. Ke2? Qb5+ and 12...Qc6 defends) 11... Qxc3+ 12. Rd2 Qa1+ 13. Ke2 7. Nxd5 Nxd5 7... Bb7 was Karpov's choice when again White will maintain a permanent light squared grip. 8. Qxd5 Nc6 9. Ne5 9. O-O-O O-O 10. Bb5 Qe8 11. h4 a6 12. Bd3 Ra7 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Bxh7+ 1-0 was a very quick win for White in the game Chatalbashev-Petraki, Greece 2001 9... O-O 10. Nxc6 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Nxc6 dxc6 12. Qxc6 Bb7 13. Qa4 Rfd8 gives Black some definite compensation for his pawn. 10... dxc6 11. Qxd8 He was still worried about my pieces becoming active if he grabbed the pawn, but I think Black has much less compensation in the variation 11. Qxc6 Bd7 ( Black can try to transpose into the previous note with 11... Bb7 but after 12. Qxb7 Bxg5 13. Bd3 it isn't clear that the opposite colored bishops are helping.) 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 since the bishop is much poorer on d7 compared to b7. 11... Bxd8 12. Bxd8 Rxd8 White still has a very minimal advantage here. The endgame resembles the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez except that Black does not have the bishop pair to compensate for his crippled queenside. However, I don't think it is too serious. 13. Bd3 Be6 14. O-O-O Bd5 I wanted him to play e3-e4 to enable my rook to come to d4. 15. e4 Be6 16. Ba6 This move is a bit superficial. White has to take some care that the bishop doesn't get stuck behind enemy lines. 16... Rab8 17. Be2 with a draw offer which I declined since he only had 1 minute left to make it to move 30. A variation illustrating the trouble the bishop can get in is 17. Rxd8+ Rxd8 18. Bb7 Rd6 19. Rd1 Rxd1+ 20. Kxd1 Bd7 (20... Bxa2!?) 21. f4 Kf8 22. Ke2 Ke7 23. e5 Kd8 24. Ba6 b5 25. a4 Kc7 26. a5 Bf5 and White can probably hold, but Black has all the winning chances. 17... Rd4 18. Bf3 Ra4 I decided to play actively in my opponent's time pressure. Solid is 18... f6 followed by bringing the king to the center. 19. a3 b5!? Again Black had many alternatives 19... Kf8, 19... f6 or even returning with 19... Rd4 20. e5 b4?! Consistent with Black's previous moves, but objectively he should bail out here with 20... Bg4 leading to an approximately equal ending. 21. Bxc6 Ra6 22. Bb5 Ra5 23. a4 a6 I threw in this move to avoid 23... g5 24. Rd6?? but that move is simply refuted by 24... Rbxb5 24. Bc6 g5 I felt I had good compensation here, but that seems to be too optimistic. 25. b3 The computer move 25. h4!? seems to give White a clear plus after 25... c4 (25... g4 26. f4 gxf3 27. gxf3 c4 28. f4; 25... h6 26. hxg5 hxg5 27. Rh5) 26. hxg5 Rxe5 27. f4 25... c4 26. bxc4 Bxc4 26... Rxe5 27. Bd5 is not as good for Black 27. Kd2?! During the game I expected 27. Rhe1 b3 when Black shouldn't have any further problems, but again the move 27. h4!? deserves attention. 27... Rc8 28. Bd7 Rc7 29. Ke3?? A terrible time pressure blunder. He should move the bishop when Black has a small advantage, but still much work to do to bring home a full point. 29... Rxe5+ 30. Kf3 making the time control, but in a hopeless position. He resigned before I could play 30...Be2+. [0:1]

9/9/04 - Bereolos-Marsh, 2004 Tennessee Open

Chattanooga is close enough to Knoxville that I could drive down Friday afternoon and play Friday night. About half the field played Friday. I was on Board 2 behind Todd Andrews and also saw that IM Ron Burnett was entered. I was curious to see if Ron would take a half point bye for the first round as he has often done at tournaments this year. The race for the title looked likely to be between the 3 masters. The next several players on the wall chart were all from out of state.

I ended having White in the first round against my clubmate, Matthew Marsh 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e4 Bg7 5. f4 Matthew and I had the 4 Pawns Attack on the board in a couple of games, but I had been on the Black side in both. 5... O-O 6. Nf3 c5 7. d5 Nbd7 I've never really liked this move for Black in this specific position. I think it lacks flexiblity. Since the d6 pawn is no longer defended by the queen, the e6 break becomes more difficult. Black also takes away the option of Bg4. Black can still play in Benko Gambit style with b5, but if that is his plan, he takes away the option of bringing the knight into the game via a6. 8. Be2 b6 8... Re8 9. e5± was Bereolos-Kvit Land of the Sky 2001, but this doesn't seem like much of an improvement. I think advancing the b-pawn one more square is the most reasonable way to play here. 9. O-O Bb7 10. h3 My first serious decision in the game. I also considered 10. Kh1 waiting to see what he would do next and 10. Qe1 which helps support the thematic e4-e5 breakthrough and also gives White the option to start a kingside attack with Qh4. In the end I decided that e5 wasn't going to need any further support and the only thing holding it back might be the fragility of the White center after 10. e5 dxe5 11. fxe5 Ng4, so I decided to take away g4 from his knight. This also gives White the option of a pawn storm with g4, which he decided to radically prevent. 10... h5 The big problem with this move is that after e5-e6, the g6 pawn is seriously weakened. 11. e5 Ne8 11... Nh7 covering the g5 square and giving the queen access to e8 seems a little better, but 12. e6 still gives White an edge. 12. e6 fxe6 13. dxe6 Ndf6 14. Qc2 Nc7 15. Qxg6 Nxe6 16. f5 Nd4 Trying to hunker down on defense looks pretty grim, for example 16... Nc7 17. Bh6 Nce8 18. Ng5 Qd7 19. Ne6 Rf7 20. Bxh5 17. Bh6 Nxf5 I wasn't unhappy to see this move. The f5-pawn was blocking the f-file for the rook and potentially the b1-h7 diagonal for the bishop. There weren't really any good alternatives: 17... Nxf3+ 18. Bxf3 with threats to both g7 and e8; 17... Nxe2+ 18. Nxe2 Rf7 19. Ng5 Qe8 20. Ne6+- 18. Bxg7 Nxg7 19. Ng5 Qe8 19... e5 20. Rxf6 Rxf6 21. Qh7+ Kf8 22. Qh8+ Ke7 23. Qxg7+ and mates

20. Rxf6 winning a piece. Continuing the attack with 20. Qh6 was also strong. 20... Qxg6 20... Rxf6 21. Qh7+ Kf8 22. Qh8# 21. Rxg6 Rf6 22. Rxf6 exf6 23. Nge4 Ne8 24. Bxh5 f5 25. Bxe8 fxe4 26. Bg6 e3 27. Re1 Kg7 28. Be4 Bxe4 29. Nxe4 Re8 30. Nxd6 Re5 31. Rxe3 [1:0]

9/7/04 - Tennessee Open

The Tennessee Open was held over Labor Day weekend in Chattanooga. I was trying to become the only player besides the late David Burris to win the tournament outright 3 years in a row. I didn't quite accomplish that goal, but did end up on top of the 50 player Open section along with IM Ron Burnett. Since I haven't made many posts recently, I'm going to annotate all 5 of my games in full and post them over the next week or so.