Round 5- The Experiment

The title is a bit confusing. To make it clearer I will go straight to the game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.08.24”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Leniart”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B09”]
[PlyCount “43”]
[EventDate “2010.08.20”]
[SourceDate “2010.08.24”]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 c5 7. dxc5 Qa5 8. Nd2
Qxc5 9. Nb3 Qb6 10. Qd3 Nc6 11. Be3 Nb4 12. Bxb6 Nxd3+ 13. cxd3 axb6 14. d4 e5
15. fxe5 dxe5 16. d5 Ne8 17. Nd2 Bd7 18. Nc4 Ra6 19. Na3 Ra8 20. Nc4 Ra6 21.
Nd2 Ra8 22. Nc4 1/2-1/2

So… I have never in my life played d6 on move one. I prepared the Pirc as a possible surprise weapon. Since 2004, I have only really been playing the Sicilian and the Petroff.

The experiment was trying this new opening. The intention was clear: throw my opponent of preparation (on move 1!) and get into a position he is not familiar with. The Pirc has other advantages. Everybody plays the Sicilian. So players have experience in the opening. Who the hell plays the Pirc? It is rare to have any playing experience in the opening. It’s a very tricky opening which has many nuances black needs to be familiar with. But if Kramnik started playing it, how bad can it be?

My opponent played 4.f4 which threw me off a bit, but all prep. He played other lines in the past.  The move might be the most ambitious in the position. However, 6.Be2 is clearly not. I thought for a long time about c5. I was virtually banging my head on an imaginary wall trying to figure out what I prepared for this rare move. I came up with c5 and moves for both sides made sense.

The Nc6-b4 maneuver looked quite strong, forcing the elimination of white’s dark squared bishop. After 13 moves, the position was very unclear. White has a strong center, but black has the two bishops.

14…Be6 was interesting, followed by Rfc8 and play on the c-file. This slightly more passive waiting approach might make it hard for white to do anything with the position, by me not forcing anything. With 14…e5, I was really trying to create some problems for my opponent.

My 16th move was a mistake. 16…Bh6 or Ng4 would have led for a very unclear game where I have a lot of activity. 16…Ne8 lands me a in a passive position where I had to repeat moves as seen later. A bit too positional of an approach in a position where I need to play in a more dynamic fashion.

We repeated moves. I had to repeat moves or lose a pawn. My opponent could have continued to play for a win with 20.Bb5. I have the dark squared bishop, which can potentially be strong, but I also have those weak b-pawns. White’s passed d-pawn can also represent a future danger. My opponent took the draw.

This was an experiment. I wanted to see what it’s like to play the Pirc. A third opening to play against e4 might also be an interesting addition to my deck of openings. Now the question is whether it will become a part of my usual repertoire.

I can’t say that I was happy with my play. My 16th move could have landed me in some trouble. I feel like I need to play more for the initiative when the position permits. This generally forces opponents to make hard decisions along the way.

Nothing tragic has happened so far. I can’t say that I am happy with the last two draws, but they are a part of life. It’s hard to win games sometimes. For some reason, opponents don’t just roll over…

Before the round, a photo of me was taken for the Polish version of Wikipedia. Interesting… I asked the guy to also take a picture with my camera while he was at it…

On another note, I have had the pleasure to play every game but one so far beside GM Friso Nijboer, from the Netherlands, since we are seeded 6 and 7 in the tournament. Here is a photo of him during his analysis session.

At this point, we are half-way through the tournament. The result is respectable. Unfortunately, I have had relatively short games so far. I am used to longer games for the most time. It is those long games that can shine the true colors on my return. I’m sure those games are coming…

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2 Responses to Round 5- The Experiment

  1. I think for the first try the result wasn’t bad. You probably played Pirc in blitz games during your preparation, did you play a lot? What was your feeling then and how it compared with this game? I am asking, because I had a similar situation recently when I decided to play Dutch, but lost quite a few blitz games with it and I am not sure now that it is my opening.

    • I played it in blitz before, I wouldn’t say a lot though. I studied the opening as a whole to become more familiar with ideas and variations. I felt pretty comfortable in blitz. More than in the actual game actually. I guess that could be because something was actually on the line though;)

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