Round 5-7

Round 5

I was paired against GM Mareco with White in this round. I knew that my opponent plays the Nimzo Indian and so I had to make a choice. I decided to go for something solid and different very early on. I was hoping to stop the bleeding of the White pieces.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.02.12”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Mareco, S.”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “40”]
[EventDate “2011.02.08”]
[SourceDate “2011.02.08”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. Bd3 Nc6 8.
Ne2 b6 9. e4 Ne8 10. O-O Ba6 11. f4 f5 12. Ng3 g6 13. Be3 cxd4 14. cxd4 d5 15.
cxd5 Bxd3 16. Qxd3 fxe4 17. Qxe4 Qxd5 18. Qxd5 exd5 19. Rac1 Ne7 20. Bd2 Rf7
1/2-1/2
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. Bd3 Nc6 8.
Ne2 b6 9. e4

I decided to experiment with this line. My opponent came prepared and played the most critical line of the variation, deviating from his previous game. 9… Ne8 Black meets the attack with a retreat. The most important thing to note is that Black intends to play f5 later, after which White’s two bishops will not be such a hot commodity. 10. O-O Ba6 11. f4 White intends to expand with e5 or f5 next, after which life for Black will not be so easy. 11… f5! The greedy 11… Na5 is met with 12. f5 with a dangerous attack. Black’s move fixes the pawn structure and shows the vulnerability of bishops in a closed position. White’s dark squared bishop lacks potential squares. The bishops will have trouble finding air. 12. Ng3 g6 13. Be3 cxd4!? an interesting move that opens up the position and gives it some clarity. 14. cxd4 d5 Black wants to isolate the White dark squared bishop and then take advantage of its lack of activity.

White needs to find some breathing room for his soon to be only remaining bishop. 15. cxd5 Bxd3 16. Qxd3 fxe4 17. Qxe4 17. Nxe4 Qxd5 does not solve the problem of the bishop but gives White some play in the center and a potential break with d5 and play against the e6 pawn. At this point, I decided to exchange queens and follow it up with a future f5 break, which will give my bishop breathing room 17… Qxd5 18. Qxd5 exd5  19. Rac1

19… Ne7?! 19…Rc8 20.f5 Nd6 would keep White on his toes but the position is still about equal. 20. Bd2 Rf7 Black offered a draw in this position, which I accepted after some thought. There is a dynamic balance. Neither side can push for a win too hard.
1/2-1/2

I was satisfied with stopping the bleeding with the White pieces. Not much action in this game. I was hoping that a semi rest day in the middle of the tournament would help me finish the trip on a positive note.

Round 6

Only in Aeroflot will one be paired against GM Motylev, rated 2687, while sitting at 50%. I knew that this game would be a tough one. My Berlin would take a real test.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.02.13”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Motylev, A.”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “61”]
[EventDate “2011.02.08”]
[SourceDate “2011.02.08”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. Bxc6 bxc6 7. Nxe5 d5 8.
d4 Bb6 9. O-O dxe4 10. Bg5 Qd5 11. Nd2 Nd7 12. Nxd7 Bxd7 13. Be3 f5 14. g3 f4
15. Bxf4 Bh3 16. Qb3 Bxf1 17. Rxf1 Kh8 18. Be3 Rab8 19. Qc4 a5 20. Qa4 c5 21.
dxc5 Bxc5 22. Qxa5 Rf5 23. Qxc7 Rxb2 24. Qc8+ Bf8 25. c4 Qf7 26. Nxe4 Re5 27.
Nd6 Qe7 28. Bd4 Ree2 29. Nf5 Qb4 30. Bxg7+ Kg8 31. Qd7 1-0

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. Bxc6 bxc6 7. Nxe5 d5 8.
d4 Bb6 9. O-O

9… dxe4 9…Nxe4!? was played in Kurnosov-Volokitin last year and offered Black good play. 10. Bg5 Qd5 11. Nd2 Nd7 11…Ng4!? was interesting as 12.c4 Nxf2 produces a position with complete chaos and 12.Nxg4 Qxg5 results in something close to equality. 12. Nxd7 Bxd7 13. Be3 f5 14. g3

I spend some time in this position. The only problem in my position is the bishop on b6. 14… c5 is answered with 15. dxc5 Bxc5 16. Nxe4, where Black will fight long and hard for the draw while being down a pawn. 14… f4!? I decided to sacrifice the pawn and force my opponent to make some hard decisions.  15. Bxf4 Bh3 White is forced to give up the exchange as 16.Re1 is punished with a strong attack that follows after 16…e3. 16. Qb3 Bxf1 17. Rxf1 Kh8 18. Be3 We have arrived at a critical position. It’s clear that my bishop is still not getting out in the near future. I have a rook for a knight and a pawn. I also have some problems with my pawn structure. White is not risking much in this position but might not be better. 18… Rab8 19. Qc4 a5 20. Qa4 c5! The crucial test. My bishop comes alive but I have to part with my a-pawn. 21. dxc5 Bxc5 22. Qxa5

Black has two choices: Rfd8 or Rf5. I chose the wrong one with some faulty calculations. 22… Rf5? After this move, my position become very difficult. 22… Rfd8! equalizes after 23.Bxc5 e3! (24.Nb3 loses to 24…e2) 24. fxe4 Qxd2 25.b4 Ra8 26.Qxc7 Rxa2 27.Qxd8 Qxd8 28.Rf8 Qxf8 29.Bxf8 Rc2, leading to an endgame that should be drawn. 23. Qxc7 Rxb2 24. Qc8+ Bf8 25. c4 Qf7 26. Nxe4 Re5 White is converting his big advantage with precision.

27. Nd6! Also threatening to play Bd4. Black’s position is lost. 27… Qe7 28. Bd4 Ree2 29. Nf5 Qb4 30. Bxg7+ Kg8 31. Qd7 1-0

An interesting game. It was a tough battle which I lost with one bad move. I am pleased with my energetic play by first sacrificing the pawn on f4 and then playing c5 at the right time. The only problem was my 22nd move. I feel like I was not able to compete in my first two losses. I had put up better resistance in this game. It is not a good tendency to lose to all players rated substantially higher rated than me though.

Round 7

I was paired against GM Mekhitarian, rated 2528, with White in this round. I was hoping to get back to 50%. We went into a line which is experiencing a theoretical debate at this time.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.02.14”]
[Round “7”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Mekhitarian, K.”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “D80”]
[PlyCount “48”]
[EventDate “2011.02.08”]
[SourceDate “2011.02.08”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. Be2
b5 9. Qb3 c5 10. dxc5 Be6 11. Qc2 Nbd7 12. Be3 Rc8 13. Rd1 b4 14. Nd5 Bxd5 15.
exd5 Nxc5 16. O-O a5 17. Bb5 Nce4 18. Bc6 Nd6 19. Qe2 Nf5 20. Rfe1 Qc7 21. Rc1
Ng4 22. Bc5 Nd4 23. Bxd4 Bxd4 24. Rf1 Bf6 1/2-1/2

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. Be2
b5 9. Qb3 c5 10. dxc5 Be6 11. Qc2 Nbd7 12. Be3 Rc8 13. Rd1 b4 14. Nd5 Bxd5 15.
exd5 Nxc5 16. O-O

Kasimdzhanov-Rodshtein occurred at the same tournament with the same position on the board. Black’s two attempts at equality include the text move as well as 16… Nce4. 16… a5 17. Bb5!? An interesting idea. White attempts to put his bishop on c4 in order to contain Black’s pieces. 17… Nce4 18. Bc6 Nd6

19. Qe2 19.Bf4 is an interesting alternative. 19… Nf5 20. Rfe1? Too slow. 20.Ne5 Qc7 21.f4 would have attempted to get Black’s pieces in a positional bind. 20… Qc7 Suddenly, Black’s pieces come out. e6 and Ng4 are possible threats. 21. Rc1

21… Ng4! I had underestimated the strength of this move. Black want to take on e3 while also looking at h2 with Nh4 following as an interesting try at an attack. 22. Bc5 Nd4 We had both underestimated how unclear the position would be after 22… Nh4 23.Bxe7 Nxf3 24.Qxf3 Qxh2 25.Kf1 Bxb2 26.Rcd1. It can only be said that both sides will be playing the resulting position for a win. 23. Bxd4 Bxd4 24. Rf1 Bf6

1/2-1/2 We agreed to a draw with an equal position on the board. White does not have an advantage because Black’s knight manages to come back into the game through e5. 25.Rfe1 would be answered with 25…Bd4!.

Another short game with White. My moves appeared to lack energy. A lot of “slow” moves on my part. The last two rounds would be crucial ones. I was not very pleased to be sitting at -1.

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