Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

9/5/08 - Monkey Off My Back!

After 11 unsuccessful tries, I finally cracked the win column in the US Chess League (once again this year sponsored by Poker Stars) on Wednesday night. I really experienced the highs and lows of chess this week. On Sunday night I was in a funk after letting the Tennessee state championship slip through my fingers. On Wednesday it was pure joy winning to give the Tempo an upset draw against the Seattle Sluggers, who had dominated our previous meetings. Today, it was a bit back down to earth as I got totally jobbed out of 2nd place in the Game of Week voting.

I don't really have a problem with the decision to make Bhat-Tate the first place game, but the Becerra-Charbonneau game was totally overrated in my opinion. Both Greg Shahade and Jonathan Hilton had my game second and that one 3rd, but Arun Sharma placed it second while relegating mine all the way to 5th!! While Julio played a fine game, which could be a textbook example of exploiting a weak square, it was mostly due to the fact that Pascal put up no resistance whatsoever. Becerra didn't have to find any difficult moves the whole game and as the judges pointed out even Black's resignation was too early, especially in a team event. Arun's assessment of my game was basically that I was worse the whole way and got lucky when he blundered in time pressure. I hope my notes will show that to be a very superficial assessment.

I wasn't expecting to play this week, but was pressed into emergency service on Board 2 as neither Ehlvest or Burnett was available to play. I had Black against FM Slava Mikhailuk. 1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. g3 e5 4. Bg2 d6 5. d3 Nc6 6. Rb1 a5 7. a3 Nf6 8. b4 axb4 9. axb4 O-O 10. b5 Ne7 11. Nf3 h6 12. O-O Be6 13. Bb2 Qd7 14. Ra1 Bh3 15. e4 Bxg2 The first move outside of book, but he had played very slowly and I already had a huge time advantage. Vaganian-Volke continued along similar lines, but Black first surrendered the a-file with 15... Rxa1 16. Qxa1 I think if Black is going to cede the a-file a better method is 15... Rab8 hoping that the rook can later participate in kingside operations 16. Kxg2 Nh5 17. Rxa8 I got a bit frustrated here. The official score will show that my opponent spent 2:20 here, but it was more like 10 minutes, as he disconnected twice. I was awarded 1 minute for each disconnection, but it is still a very sore spot with the Tempo that in our very first match in the USCL we were forced to go to the phones after our connection was lost twice. There was at least one other time when his clock wasn't running. It makes it very distracting to play when those sorts of things are happening. Also, I would have preferred to have time deducted from his clock as he got to study the position the entire time while I still had more than the starting time on my clock. 17... Rxa8 18. Ne1 f5 19. f3 c6 20. Nc2 d5 21. Nb4 d4 22. Na4 Nc8 23. Qb3 Bf8 24. Ra1 fxe4 25. dxe4 This seems a bit double-edged since Black gets a protected passer. However, White gets a great blockading square on d3 for a knight. The alternative capture 25. fxe4 allows Black to probably draw at once with 25... Nf4+ since 26. gxf4 Qg4+ 27. Kf2 Qxf4+ 28. Ke1 Qe3+ 29. Kd1 Bxb4 30. Qxb4 Qxd3+ 31. Kc1 Qxe4 looks quite dangerous for White. Or Black could try for more with the immediate 25... Qg4 25... Qe8 Not 25... c5?? 26. Nxc5 +/- 26. Rc1 Since White will probably need more than one open line on the queenside, he probably should have taken his last chance to play 26. c5+ followed by 27. bxc6 26... c5 It looks a bit antipositional to allow the knight into d5 (and this probably helped hypnotize the judges as Becerra won effortlessly with his Nd5) but Black easily plays around this knight which hits on air. The other White pieces are now extremely limited in scope so Black has plenty of time to reorganize his pieces. 27. Nd5 Qd8 28. b6 otherwise Black will play b6 himself, but now the b6-pawn becomes a target itself 28... Nf6 29. Ba3 Nd7 The attempt to free the position tactically fails 29... Nxd5 30. cxd5 (30. exd5 Qg5 31. Rc2 Qe3) 30... c4 31. Rxc4 Bxa3 32. d6! Kh8 33. Qxa3 Nxb6 34. Nxb6 Rxa3 35. Rc8 and White wins. 30. Qb5 Kh8 sidestepping the threatened Qxd7. I was trying to win the b-pawn without giving up the c-pawn, but perhaps I could have grabbed the b-pawn here since 30... Ncxb6 31. Naxb6 Nxb6 32. Bxc5 (32. Ra1 is better) runs into 32... Ra2+ 33. Kg1 Nxd5 34. cxd5 Qg5 with a winning attack 31. Rb1 Nd6 32. Qb3 Rc8 33. Nb2 Rc6 34. Nd3 Nc8 35. Qb5 Ncxb6 Around here it was obvious that the score in the match was going to be 2-1 in Seattle's favor, so I knew it was all up to me. 36. Qa5 Be7 37. Nxe7 The first step in the wrong direction 37. Rb5 Nxc4 38. Qxd8+ Bxd8 39. Rxb7 Rd6 40. Bxc5 Nxc5 41. Nxc5 Ne3+ 42. Nxe3 dxe3 looks about equal 37... Qxe7 38. Nxc5? Another equal ending arises after 38. Bxc5 Nxc5 39. Nxc5 Qxc5 40. Qxc5 Rxc5 41. Rxb6 Rxc4 but he was probably lured by the opposition of Ba3 on the diagonal with the black queen 38... Nxc4 39. Qa8+ Qf8 40. Qxb7 This loses, but in pretty bad time pressure he obviously didn't want to play 40. Qxf8+ Nxf8 and Black should prevail with his extra pawn. I took some time here as Black has a lot of choices and pieces are hanging all over the place. Finally I found the idea with ...Rd2+ at the end and played 40... Ne3+ My original intention when playing Nxc4 had been 40... Nxa3 hitting Rb1 and Nc5, but he has a couple of ways to escape 41. Qxc6 Nxc5 (41... Qxc5?? 42. Rb8+) 42. Rb8 (42. Ra1 or 42. Rc1 is met by 42...Nb3) 42...Qxb8 43. Qf6+ with perpetual check or 41. Nxd7 Rc2+ 42. Kh3 Qxf3 43. Qb8+ and again White gives perpetual check 41. Kf2 Rf6 White seems to escape again after 41... Rxc5 42. Qxd7 (42. Bxc5 Qxc5 is a much better version of the previous Q+2N vs. Q+R ending for Black since White has no perpetual) 42... Rc2+ 43. Ke1 Qg8 threatening Re2+ 44. Qb5 and now it looks like Black has nothing better than a repetition with 44...Ng2+ 45. Kd1 (45. Kf1 Qc4+) 45...Ne3+ 42. Nxd7 Allowing a beautiful finish, but there is no defense 42... Rxf3+ 43. Ke2 Rf2+ 44. Kd3 Rd2+!

White resigns as 45. Kxd2 Qf2+ and 46...Qc2#. [0:1]

I had a fairly exciting game in Round 1, as the Tempo went down 1-3 versus the Carolina Cobras. I had Black on Board 3 against FM Ron Simpson, and after a tactical middle game, we reached a fairly level position, but all the major pieces still remained on the board. In the time scramble I got my queen caught offsides and was totally busted. Somehow, I managed to escape into a drawn ending the exchange down, but there were still some pitfalls and a stepped right onto a landmine after 76. Rb3

76...Bd4? I thought it would be best to give my bishop maximal options on the diagonal, but this is a loser because it allows the White rook time to reach the 4th rank with tempo. Instead, the only way to draw is the paradoxical 76... Ba1! then on 77. Rb4 Black has time for 77...Kg7 77. g4? Returning the favor, White wins with 77. Rb4! Bf2 (77...Ba1 78. g4 or 77...Bc3 78. Rc4 Bb2 79. g4 are similar) 78. g4 hxg4 79. Rxg4 Kh7 80. Kf6 Kh6 81. Rxg6+ Kh5 82. Rg2 Bxh4+ 83. Kf5 Be7 84. Rh2+ Bh4 85. Rh1 and Black is in zugzwang. 77... hxg4 78. Rb4 Bc3 79. Rxg4 79. Rc4!? is a winning attempt hoping for 79... Bb2? 80. Rxg4+- but 79... Be1 80. Rxg4 (80. Kf6 Bxh4+ 81. Kxg6 Kf8=) 80... Kh7 81. Kf7 (81. Kf6 Kh6 82. Rxg6+ Kh5 83. Rg1 Bc3+ =) 81... Kh6 82. Rxg6+ Kh5 holds the draw 79... Kh7 80. Kf7 Kh6 81. Rxg6+ Kh5 82. Rc6 Be1 83. Kf6 Kxh4 84. Kf5 Kg3 85. Ke4 Kg2 86. Rg6+ Kf2 87. Kd3 Bb4 88. Rf6+ Kg2 89. Rb6 Bc5 90. Rb5 [1/2:1/2]