Rounds 7-9

Round 7

I was paired against GM Perez Rodriguez, rated 2483 in this round. At this point of the tournament I started estimating how many points I needed to qualify to the World Cup. The top 6 spots qualify, and Bruzon has already qualified. I assumed that 7/9 would result in a long tie-break while 7.5 gets in easily. This felt like a must-win. That would explain my choice of opening.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.04.23”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Perez Rodriguez, Lui M”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “107”]
[EventDate “2011.04.19”]
[SourceDate “2011.04.23”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 h6 8. h3 e5
9. Bd2 dxc4 10. Bxc4 b5 11. Bb3 exd4 12. exd4 b4 13. Na4 O-O 14. Bxh6 Qe7+ 15.
Kf1 Qe4 16. Qxe4 Nxe4 17. Be3 Bb7 18. Kg2 c5 19. Rhd1 Rac8 20. Rac1 cxd4 21.
Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Rxd4 Ne5 23. Bd5 Bxd5 24. Rxd5 Nc4 25. Bxa7 Ra8 26. Nb6 Nxb6 27.
Bxb6 Rxa2 28. Bd4 f6 29. Nh4 Ra6 30. Nf5 Bf8 31. Rd8 Ng5 32. Be3 Ne6 33. Rd2 g6
34. Nh4 g5 35. Nf5 Bc5 36. Kf3 Bxe3 37. Kxe3 Ra1 38. Rd6 Rb1 39. Ke4 Kf7 40.
Rd2 Nc5+ 41. Kd5 Na4 42. Nd6+ Kg6 43. Nc4 Rc1 44. Re2 Rb1 45. Kc6 f5 46. Kb5
Rxb2 47. Rxb2 Nxb2 48. Nxb2 fxg4 49. hxg4 Kf6 50. Nd3 b3 51. Kc4 b2 52. Nxb2
Ke5 53. Nd3+ Ke4 54. Ne1 1-0

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 h6 8. h3 e5 9. Bd2

I played the very aggressive Shirov Attack in the Meran. Black is always a bit nervous about an attack that can ensue on the King-side. 9… dxc4 Black decides to take some of the pressure off of the center. 10. Bxc4 b5 A bit loose. Black retaliates with aggression. This move creates a lot of holes in Black’s position. It also forces Black to play accurately later on.  11. Bb3 11.Bd3 would give White a small edge. My move keeps the Bishop on the diagonal of the f7 pawn, where I can later think about playing g5, to maintain pressure on the pawn with the Knight on g5. 11… exd4? A mistake. Black opens up White’s dark squares Bishop, allowing White another resource in a potential attack. 12. exd4 b4 13. Na4 O-O Black hides his King and forces White into a tough decision.

I thought for about 30min in this position. My top options included 0-0, 0-0-0, and 14. Bxh6!? Suddenly Black finds himself under severe pressure. The first question is whether or not he can take the piece. 14…gxh6 15.Qg6+ Kh8 16.Qxh6+ Kh8 17.0-0! leaves White with an advantage because 18.Ng5 is coming next. The position would still be a complicated one though. 14… Qe7+ 15. Kf1! White’s King is safe on g2. Re1 is an unpleasant threat for Black to face, and so is Qg6. 15… Qe4 Black settles for being down a pawn for the rest of the game. 16. Qxe4 Nxe4 17. Be3 Bb7 18. Kg2 c5 19. Rhd1 Rac8 20. Rac1 cxd4 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Rxd4 White has neutralized Black’s compensation and is now “just” a pawn up. 22… Ne5 23. Bd5 Bxd5 24. Rxd5 Nc4 25. Bxa7 Ra8 26. Nb6 Nxb6 27. Bxb6 Rxa2 28. Bd4 Far in advance, I had missed 28.Rd4 Ra6! which gives Black new hope. 28… f6 It’s important to re-evaluate the situation after drastic changes. A lot has changed recently. White is still up a pawn but winning is not that easy because the b2 pawn is a potential target for later. 29. Nh4 Ra6 30. Nf5 Bf8 31. Rd8 Ng5 I decided to bring the rook back to home base and start improving the position of my King.32. Be3 Ne6 33. Rd2 g6 34. Nh4 g5 35. Nf5 Bc5 36. Kf3 Bxe3 37. Kxe3 Ra1 38. Rd6 Rb1 39. Ke4 Kf7 40. Rd2 Nc5+? I haven’t been playing all that well for the last 10 moves or so. Some of my advantage has evaporated but I still have my extra pawn. Black’s last move, the often critical 40th move, takes the Knight on a journey to find itself in trouble on a4.  Time to activate that King. 41. Kd5! Na4 42. Nd6+ Kg6 42…Ke7 43.Nc4 Kd7 would have offered stronger resistance. 43. Nc4 Rc1

Once again, big changes in the position called for a deep think. 44. Re2! 42.Rd3 is bad due to 42…Rxc4! 43.Kxc4 Nxb2+, where Black will certainly not lose the pawn endgame. The text intends to play Re3-b3-b4. Black’s Knight is trapped on a4, I just need to attack it with caution. 44… Rb1 Black stops the rook’s maneuver. 45. Kc6 The King can capture the Knight as well. White is now easily winning. 45… f5 46. Kb5 Rxb2 47. Rxb2 Nxb2 48. Nxb2 fxg4 49. hxg4 Kf6 50. Nd3 b3 51. Kc4 b2 52. Nxb2 Ke5 53. Nd3+ Ke4 54. Ne1 1-0 White will play f3 next.  Black resigned.

An important game to get back on track with the White pieces and to get into a tie for first. This game lasted over five hours, with another game to follow less than two hours after the end of this one.

Round 8

Once again, there was no time for preparation. I just focused on getting some energy by resting between games. I was to play GM De La Paz Perdomo, rated 2473 this evening. My opponent had quickly drawn his morning game against Bruzon.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.04.23”]
[Round “?”]
[White “De la Paz”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “82”]
[EventDate “2011.04.19”]
[SourceDate “2011.04.23”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. c4
c6 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Bf5 12. a4 Nd7 13. Re1 h6 14. Ba3 Bxa3
15. Rxa3 Re8 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. Ra2 Qf8 18. Re2 Re8 19. a5 b5 20. axb6 Nxb6 21.
Bb3 Nd5 22. Rxe8 Qxe8 23. Ne5 f6 24. Nf3 Qe4 25. h3 Kh7 26. Bxd5 cxd5 27. Kh2
a5 28. Qa1 Qf4+ 29. Kg1 Bxh3 30. gxh3 Qxf3 31. Qxa5 h5 32. Qc5 Kg6 33. Qc8 Kg5
34. c4 Qd1+ 35. Kg2 Qxd4 36. c5 Qe4+ 37. Kg1 d4 38. c6 d3 39. Qd7 Kf4 40. Qxg7
Qxc6 41. Qg3+ Kf5 1/2-1/2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. c4 c6 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Bf5 12. a4 Nd7 13. Re1 h6 14. Ba3 Bxa3 15. Rxa3

I have focused my attention on neutralizing the White pieces. 15… Re8 Fighting for the control of the e-file. 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. Ra2 Qf8 Planning to exchange the second pair of rooks on the e-file next. 18. Re2 Re8 19. a5 Nothing too exciting has happened in the game so far, and it has looked like I am just trying to force a draw with the exchange of pieces. I changed gears. My main goal now was to create as many problems as possible for White. 19… b5 20. axb6 Nxb6 20…axb6 is more focused on equalizing. 21. Bb3 Nd5 Blocking the White Bishop and forcing the issue with the c-pawn. 22. Rxe8 Qxe8 23. Ne5! White “defends” the c-pawn by making other threats. 23…Nxc3 loses to 24.Qf3. The Knight is ideally placed on e5.

23… f6 I thought for a long time about this move. Weakening with this move is very committing. Life against the Knight on e5 is not easy though. This forces White to choose a square for his Knight. 24. Nf3? 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Qf3 Be6 26.c4 Nb4 27.d5 Nxd5 28.cxd5 Qc1+ 29.Bd1 Qd2! (threatening mate and attacking the pawn) leaves Black up a pawn after the capturing of the d-pawn. 24.Nc4 would have been more unpleasant for Black. 24… Qe4! Black takes over the initiative. 25. h3 Kh7 26. Bxd5 cxd5 27. Kh2? 27.Qa1 is bad due to 27…Bxh3! Necessary was 27.Nd2, in an attempt to bring the Knight closer to the a-pawn.

27… a5? 27…Qc2! was close to winning for Black. White can’t exchange queens because he will then be unable to catch Black’s a-pawn. 28.Qe1 a5 would leave White little hopes. 28.Qa1!? Qxf2 29.Qxa7 Be4 30.Qd7 Qe3 wins a pawn, while 30…h5 gives Black total domination. A missed opportunity that I would not get again in this game. 28. Qa1! I had underestimated this move. 28… Qf4+ 29. Kg1 Bxh3 30. gxh3 Qxf3 31. Qxa5 Black is the only one who can play for a win in this endgame, but winning chances are quite slim. 31… h5!? Taking on h3 and c3 will lead to a perpetual due to Qe4+ and Qe8+. The text clears up some space for the King. 32. Qc5 Kg6 33. Qc8 Kg5 34. c4! The only move with the Black King coming in fast. 34… Qd1+ 34…dxc4 35.Qxc4 Qxh3 36.d5 leaves Black up a pawn but facing a strong passed d-pawn. 35. Kg2 Qxd4 36. c5! Of course. The passed pawns neutralize each other. 36… Qe4+ 37. Kg1 d4 38. c6 d3 39. Qd7 Kf4 40. Qxg7 Qxc6 41. Qg3+ Kf5 1/2-1/2

A missed opportunity. I could have been going into the last round in clear first place. Instead, there was an eight way tie for first. This was a very long day for me. I played for a total of 10 hours.

Round 9

I got a good pairing for the last round. I was to play IM Barrientos, rated 2499. I came to Toluca to qualify to the World Cup. Things have changed. Qualifying for the World Cup was still important. But I was also in a position to win the Continental Championships. Opportunity of a lifetime. I’m sure my opponent felt the same way.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.04.24”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Barrientos”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “87”]
[EventDate “2011.04.19”]
[SourceDate “2011.04.24”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8.
e3 Qc7 9. Ne2 Bf5 10. Nf4 g5 11. Nd3 Nbd7 12. Be2 c4 13. Nf2 Rg8 14. O-O O-O-O
15. e4 dxe4 16. fxe4 Bxe4 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Qc2 Ndf6 19. Rb1 Rg6 20. Rb4 Kb8
21. Rxc4 Qd6 22. Bf3 Qe6 23. Rb4 Nd6 24. c4 Rc8 25. Qb3 Rc7 26. c5 Qxb3 27.
Rxb3 Nf5 28. Bb2 Nh4 29. Be2 Ne4 30. Re3 f5 31. g3 b6 32. Bd3 bxc5 33. gxh4
gxh4+ 34. Kh1 Rb6 35. Rxf5 Rxb2 36. Rf8+ Kb7 37. Bxe4+ Ka6 38. Rf6+ Ka5 39. Rf5
Kb6 40. dxc5+ Rxc5 41. Rxc5 Kxc5 42. Bxh7 Rb7 43. Bf5 Rf7 44. Rf3 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 Going back to the f3 Nimzo for the last round game. It was an interesting choice. It also threw my opponent off of preparation. 4… d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 Qc7 9. Ne2 Bf5 10. Nf4 g5 11. Nd3 Nbd7 12. Be2 c4 13. Nf2 Rg8 14. O-O O-O-O

I had been aiming for this position. White has a plan of eventually playing e4. Black intends to stop e4 and attempt an attack on the king-side.  15. e4! Sacrificing the pawn for strong compensation. Suddenly, my pieces are in sync.  15… dxe4 16. fxe4 Bxe4 16…Nxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.Rxf7 gives White an edge. 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Qc2! A very calm move. Black is forced to decide how to defend the Knight on e4. Black’s Knights are lacking good squares while White’s Bishops are about to come out. 18… Ndf6 18…Nd6 19.a4 followed by Ba3 is strong for White. 19. Rb1 Rg6?! An interesting idea which also creates some problems for me. The immediate 19…Kb8 20.Rb4 Rc8 looked more opportunistic for Black. With the text, Black threatens Rh6 and has his own ideas of an attack. 20. Rb4 Kb8 21. Rxc4 Qd6 22. Bf3! White has a clear advantage now. The rook on g6 is completely misplaced. 22…Rh6 23.g3 gives Black no hope of an attack. 22… Qe6 23. Rb4 Nd6 24. c4! The most logical continuation, trying to push the Black pieces as far back as possible. 24… Rc8

This was another crucial position. White has a lot of ways to play. Qb1, Qb2, Qb3 and c5 are all options.25. Qb3!? The simplest continuation. White intends to play c5 next, exchange queens, and win due to Black’s lack of piece coordination. 25… Rc7 26. c5 Qxb3 27. Rxb3 Nf5 28. Bb2 White is not up any material but is close to winning due to the domination of the position. 28… Nh4 The more logical 28…Ne7 fails to 29.d5! after which comes 30.Be5. 29. Be2 29.Bd1 achieves the same. Similar situation as in the 7th round. Black’s Knight is trapped at the corner of the board, this time on h4 (and not a4). 29… Ne4 30. Re3 f5 31. g3 b6 Black attempts to stir up some complication after losing the piece. It’s important to put out the fire before taking the piece to reduce complications. 32. Bd3 bxc5 33. gxh4 gxh4+ 34. Kh1 Rb6 I thought for some time here. I knew that I was close. Just needed to make a few accurate moves. 35. Rxf5! Rxb2 36. Rf8+ Kb7 37. Bxe4+ Ka6 38. Rf6+ Ka5 39. Rf5 Preparing to force the exchange of a pair of rooks to simplify my task. 39… Kb6 40. dxc5+ Rxc5 41. Rxc5 Kxc5 42. Bxh7 Rb7 43. Bf5 Rf7 44. Rf3 1-0


This game was my best of the tournament. I’m proud to have performed well when it counted most. This result left me with a great feeling. I qualified for the World Cup and finished tied for first at the Pan American Championships. The result meant a lot to me. The final standings from the official site.

Rank Name Flags Score Fed. M/F BH SB Rating TPR W-We Mutual PS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 GM Bruzon Batista, Lazaro 7.5 CUB M 55.0 44.5 2668 2751 +0.88 0.0 39.5 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1
2 GM Bluvshtein, Mark 7.5 CAN M 51.0 41.5 2589 2675 +0.82 0.0 38.0 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1
3 GM Vescovi, Giovanni 7.5 BRA M 54.0 44.75 2634 2726 +1.06 0.0 37.5 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1
4 GM Quesada Perez, Yuniesky 7.5 CUB M 52.0 45.0 2620 2848 +1.45 0.0 34.5 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1
5 GM Cori, Jorge 7.0 PER M 52.0 39.0 2485 2638 +1.87 . 36.5 1 1 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1
6 GM Corrales Jimenez, Fidel 7.0 CUB M 51.5 39.75 2597 2603 +0.17 . 34.5 1 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 1
7 IM Ortiz Suarez, Isan 7.0 CUB M 46.5 35.25 2543 2531 -0.02 . 33.5 ½ 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 1 1
8 GM De La Paz Perdomo, Frank 6.5 CUB M 54.5 35.75 2473 2600 +1.73 . 39.0 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0
9 GM Lafuente, Pablo 6.5 ARG M 55.5 37.25 2572 2621 +0.73 . 38.5 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 0 1 0
10 GM Friedel, Joshua E 6.5 USA M 54.0 36.75 2529 2598 +0.97 . 38.0 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0
11 IM Barrientos, Sergio E 6.5 COL M 53.5 35.25 2499 2578 +1.12 . 37.5 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 0
12 GM Perez Rodriguez, Luis Manu 6.5 CUB M 47.0 30.5 2483 2533 +0.80 . 36.0 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 ½
13 FM Quesada Perez, Yasser 6.5 CUB M 48.5 32.5 2421 2557 +1.75 . 34.0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1
14 GM Gonzalez Zamora, Juan Carl DF 6.5 MEX M 50.5 35.75 2545 2473 -0.61 . 33.5 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1
15 GM Nogueiras, Jesus 6.5 CUB M 49.0 33.75 2566 2520 -0.32 . 33.0 1 1 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½
16 GM Cordova, Emilio 6.5 PER M 48.5 34.5 2562 2471 -0.74 . 31.5 1 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1
17 Santarius, Erik F 6.5 USA M 45.0 31.75 2274 2501 +2.71 . 31.5 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1
18 GM Gonzalez Garcia, Jose 6.0 MEX M 49.5 29.75 2511 2485 -0.14 . 35.0 1 1 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 0
19 GM Felgaer, Ruben 6.0 ARG M 50.0 30.5 2577 2527 -0.45 . 34.5 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 0 ½
20 GM Abreu Delgado, Aryam 6.0 CUB M 50.0 31.0 2485 2527 +0.64 . 34.5 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0

Good results are temporary and are enjoyed for only some time. I always want to do better at the next tournament.

The next post will focus on photos from the event.

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