Round 6

Today the team was paired against Croatia. Croatia is a solid team, with GMs on all boards. We were out-rated across the board. That’s fine. I felt like I should be trying to play something risky for a win, even though I was playing black against GM Stevic, rated just over 2600. So I chose the Pirc.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.27”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Stevic”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B07”]
[PlyCount “121”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.27”]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bg5 Bg7 5. Qd2 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Nh5 8. O-O-O
Nc6 9. Qe3 e5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Bxe5 Bxe5 12. g3 c6 13. Nf3 Qb6 14. Qd2 Be6 15.
Nxe5 dxe5 16. Qd6 Qa5 17. Rd5 Qd8 18. Qxe5 Qf6 19. Qxf6 Nxf6 20. Rd2 Ke7 21. f4
Rad8 22. Bd3 gxf4 23. gxf4 Rhg8 24. f5 Bc8 25. e5 Nd5 26. Nxd5+ Rxd5 27. Re1
Rg4 28. Rf2 Rdd4 29. b3 b5 30. f6+ Kf8 31. Re3 Be6 32. c3 Rdf4 33. Rxf4 Rxf4
34. Be4 Bd7 35. b4 Ke8 36. Kd2 Kd8 37. Kd3 Kc7 38. Rg3 Be6 39. Rg7 Kd7 40. Bg6
Ke8 41. Rg8+ Kd7 42. Be4 Bf5 43. Bxf5+ Rxf5 44. Ke4 Rh5 45. Rf8 Rh4+ 46. Kf5
Rh5+ 47. Kf4 Ke6 48. Re8+ Kd5 49. Rd8+ Kc4 50. Rd7 Rh4+ 51. Kg3 Rh5 52. Rd4+
Kxc3 53. e6 fxe6 54. f7 Kxd4 55. f8=Q Rg5+ 56. Kh4 Rd5 57. Qxh6 e5 58. Qxc6 e4
59. Kg3 e3 60. Kf4 e2 61. Qe6 1-0

I got into some serious trouble in the opening. It wasn’t pretty. My sense of danger in this opening hasn’t kicked in yet. Hopefully it will, soon.

In the position above, white has the idea of playing Na4-c5. But white can force something much stronger. 16.Qd6! is killer. I saw the move some moves ago, but I simply didn’t realize how bad life would turn out to be for me here. If I reply with 16…Qxf2, 17.Nd5! is crushing. I took a long time and found a way to “only” be down a pawn with 16…Qa5 17.Rd5! Qd8 18.Qxe5 Qf6. I was hoping the pawn structure would create some problems for white to win.

White later started to advance his pawns. I was hoping to get some piece activity as compensation. I was generally short on time but was still showing some good resistance.

It’s easy to make good choices when the bad ones are really bad. 25…Nd7 26.f6! just looks crushing for white. Black’s only chance is to continue 26…Ke6 and go on a goose chase with the king. I decided on 25…Nd5 and actually got some piece activity.

The white f and e-pawns proved to be too much and I lost the game in a rook endgame. My opponent still had to play quite precisely though.

I can’t hope to draw a 2600 player after such a poor opening, and the game was realistically over very early on. Some technique was needed but the result was never in real doubt.

The team did great. Thomas and Nikolay won their games with white against solid 2560 GMs. Leonid was ground down in a position where he had a queen for a rook and bishop, but it was his opponent’s passed pawn that was the real problem.

A great result overall. I wish I would have done better and not let the team down, but that’s a part of team competition. It is important that the other guys get their confidence up. I’ll be fine one way or another.

The girls had a tough pairing against Belarus. They lost 3.5-0.5. Belarus has a very solid team with all titled players. Liza was able to get the only draw on last board.

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