Canadian Open- Overview

# Name Rtng Post Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Tot Prize
1 GM Joel Benjamin 2641 2646 +70 =27 +45 +21 =10 +9 +18 =3 =2 7.0  $4,200.
2 GM Dejan Bojkov 2544 2550 -95 +104 =136 +74 +67 +26 +31 +29 =1 7.0  $4,200.
3 GM Walter Arencibia 2537 2556 +96 +49 =34 +33 +16 +4 =29 =1 =7 7.0  $4,200.
4 IM Leonid Gerzhoy 2647 2645 +113 +37 +13 =10 +15 -3 =14 +21 =9 6.5    $255.
5 GM Mark Bluvshtein 2634 2634 +93 +46 +22 -11 +44 =12 +13 =7 =10 6.5    $255.
6 GM Alexander Shabalov 2618 2613 +71 =47 =39 +48 +25 +20 =10 =12 =13 6.5    $255.
7 GM Eduardas Rozentalis 2614 2619 +136 +106 +44 =29 =20 =11 +16 =5 =3 6.5    $255.
8 IM Nikolay Noritsyn 2597 2594 +72 +48 =16 =14 +88 -13 +25 =10 +30 6.5    $255.
9 GM Vitali Golod 2576 2577 +73 +89 =33 +34 =14 -1 +45 +28 =4 6.5    $255.
10 IM Artiom Samsonkin 2532 2549 +74 +90 +67 =4 =1 +17 =6 =8 =5 6.5    $255.
11 GM Eugene Perelshteyn 2532 2543 +75 +63 +25 +5 -29 =7 =21 =14 +31 6.5    $255.
12 FM Bindi Cheng 2500 2514 +77 +51 -29 +42 +37 =5 +32 =6 =17 6.5    $255.
13 IM Tomas Krnan 2470 2486 +78 +110 -4 +51 +38 +8 -5 +18 =6 6.5    $255.
14 GM Luis Manuel Perez Rodriguez 2467 2488 +114 +52 +17 =8 =9 =19 =4 =11 +35 6.5    $255.
15 IM David Cummings 2459 2461 =56 +115 +47 +50 -4 =40 +48 =19 +41 6.5    $255.
16 FM Shiyam Thavandiran 2447 2461 +57 +66 =8 +27 -3 +43 -7 +46 +29 6.5    $255.

You can find the full final standings here. When it was all said and done, GMs Benjamin, Bojkov and Arencibia tied for first place with 7/9. They were followed by a thirteen way tie for 4th place.

6.5/9 was not a good result for me. Prior to the tournament, I decided to play very sharp/risky chess. I felt like I could play every game, with both colours, for the win. This resulted in a lot of tactical and imbalanced positions. In my fourth round loss, I ran into serious problems after the opening. Just fell apart early on. I did not play that game well. When the position is extremely sharp, the price of every move goes up. The price for mistakes was very high in that one.

In rounds 6 and 8 I let my opponents out alive when the win was close. I let them slip at crucial points just when my advantage was becoming very clear. The killer instinct was missing towards the end. Could not squeeze the points when they were needed most. The 8th round could have ended differently, and with it a different story would be told. This was also true in rounds 3 and 7, even though resilience pulled out those wins in the end. But chess and life are not about “what ifs”. I did not maximize on points and fell half a point short.

You can see lots of photos from the event on the Monroi site.

I’d like to thank the organizing committee for running a great event. During the tournament, I found out that Victoria (BC) will organize next year’s Canadian Open. This is great news. I know a lot of members of their organizing crew and look forward to seeing them take on the challenge. Their CYCCs in 2005 and 2009 were very memorable ones. I was present at both.

It was also a great surprise to find out that the Toronto team is planning on having an annual international tournament in Toronto, called the Toronto International, to continue the tradition of good annul tournaments that started in 2009.

Next on my blog is my own version of “The Decision”. More chess or no chess after the World Cup? As well as why. I promise that I am not going to Miami.

Canadian Open- Part III

Round 7

I was paired against IM Tomas Krnan, rated 2390. Tomas played on the Canadian Olympic Team some years ago but has not been very active outside of Canada due to his studies. Tomas is an aggressive player who likes to attack so I did not mind something of the more “positional” type.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.15”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Krnan”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “96”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.15”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. a4 d6 7. h3 Be6 8. Bxe6
fxe6 9. c3 O-O 10. Re1 d5 11. Nbd2 Bb6 12. b4 d4 13. cxd4 Bxd4 14. Nxd4 Qxd4
15. Nb3 Qd6 16. Be3 b6 17. b5 axb5 18. axb5 Na7 19. d4 Nxb5 20. Qd3 Rxa1 21.
Rxa1 Nxd4 22. Bxd4 exd4 23. Qxd4 Qxd4 24. Nxd4 c5 25. Nc6 Nxe4 26. Rb1 c4 27.
Rxb6 Nxf2 28. Rb4 c3 29. Rc4 Nd1 30. Nd4 Rd8 31. Nxe6 Rd2 32. Rc8+ Kf7 33. Ng5+
Ke7 34. Ne4 Rc2 35. Rc7+ Kf8 36. Rc8+ Kf7 37. Rc7+ Kg6 38. g4 Rc1 39. Kh2 c2
40. Rc6+ Kf7 41. Kg2 Ne3+ 42. Kf2 Rf1+ 43. Kxe3 c1=Q+ 44. Rxc1 Rxc1 45. Kf3 h6
46. Nd6+ Kf6 47. Ne8+ Kg6 48. h4 Rc6 0-1

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. a4 d6 7. h3 Be6 8. Bxe6 fxe6 9. c3 O-O 10. Re1 d5 11. Nbd2 Bb6 12. b4

I played d5 a bit early and e5 could become a weakness soon. I had gone for this position considering my next move. 12… d4!? An attempt to complicate the pawn structure and take control of the d4 square. 13. cxd4 Bxd4 14. Nxd4 Qxd4 15. Nb3 Qd6 This is a crucial position. d3 and b4 are weaknesses, but Black’s doubled e-pawns are not something to be proud of. 16. Be3? 16.Ba3 b5 led to very unclear positions. Now, White is in trouble. 16… b6! Killing White’s Bishop. 17. b5 axb5 18. axb5 Na7 19. d4 Better was 19.Nd2 Qxd3 20.Qb1 Qxb5 21.Ra2, where White has strong pressure on Black’s extra pawns and might just be able to liquidate to a draw. 19… Nxb5 20. Qd3 Rxa1 21. Rxa1 Nxd4 22. Bxd4 exd4 23. Qxd4 Qxd4 24. Nxd4 c5! Trying to force 25.Nxe6 Re8 25. Nc6

I went for this endgame from far away. Black is up a pawn and if he can start pushing those pawns, things will turn out well. White hopes to pressure those pawns with the help of the Rook and Knight. 25… Nxe4 26. Rb1 c4! Passed pawns need to be pushed if possible. 26…Nxf2 is undesirable because of 27.Rf1, where Black needs to sacrifice the Knight on h3. 26…Rxf2 27.Rxb6 h6 was also possible 27. Rxb6 Nxf2?! 27…c3!? 28.Rb4 Nd2 29.Nd4 Rc8 30. Nc2 Ra8 would have been at least as strong as the text 28. Rb4 c3 29. Rc4 Nd1 30. Nd4 Rd8? Taking the wrong route with the Rook. 30…Rb8 31.Nxe6 Rb1 32.Kh2 Kf7 would have given Black a bigger advantage. 31. Nxe6 Rd2 32. Rc8+ Kf7 33. Ng5+ Ke7 34. Ne4 Rc2 I had originally gone for this position, believing that once I get Rc1 and c2 going the win would be easy. 35. Rc7+ Kf8 36. Rc8+ Kf7 37. Rc7+ Kg6 38. g4 Rc1

39. Kh2? The losing move. White should have played 39.Kf1! Ne3+ 40.Ke2 Nd5 41.Rc5 Nf4+ 42.Ke3 Nxh3 43.Rc6+ Kf7 43.Rc7+ Kf8 44.Nxc3, which would have given White good drawing chances. 39… c2 40. Rc6+ Kf7 41. Kg2 Ne3+ 42. Kf2 Rf1+ 43. Kxe3 c1=Q+ 44. Rxc1 Rxc1 The extra exchange is easy to convert. 45. Kf3 h6 46. Nd6+ Kf6 47. Ne8+ Kg6 48. h4 Rc6! Trapping the Knight and finishing the battle immediately. Otherwise, the Rook and King would have to work together to contain the Knight while pushing the White King back. 0-1

A high intensity game. Once again, I felt like I gave my opponent too many chances after getting a winning advantage, almost letting the win slip. This was an important win. Now it’s all about the last two rounds.

Round 8

I was paired against GM Rozentalis, rated 2571 in this round. I have known Eduardas for many years as he comes to Canada every summer. This was my first time on the White side of the board against him. Eduardas is known as a great technician, who excels in maneuvering and endgames. Of course, you don’t roam around 2600 for over 10 years by having serious weaknesses, but everybody has their specialty.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.16”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Rozentalis”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “E20”]
[PlyCount “125”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.16”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bd3
b6 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Qe2 Bb7 11. O-O Qc8 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 Ba6 14. Bxa6 Qxa6
15. Qxa6 Nxa6 16. Bb2 Rac8 17. Rfc1 Ne4 18. Kf1 f6 19. Ke2 Kf7 20. Ne1 Ke7 21.
Nd3 Kd7 22. a4 Rc7 23. Rxc7+ Nxc7 24. f3 Nd6 25. Rc1 Rc8 26. e4 Nce8 27. Rxc8
Kxc8 28. Nf4 Kd7 29. Kd3 b5 30. axb5 Nxb5 31. Kc4 Nbd6+ 32. Kb4 Nc7 33. g4 Nf7
34. Nd3 Ng5 35. Ne1 g6 36. Bc1 Nf7 37. Nd3 Na6+ 38. Ka5 Nb8 39. Be3 Nd6 40.
Nc5+ Ke7 41. Kb4 Nc6+ 42. Kc3 a5 43. Nd3 Kd7 44. h3 Ke7 45. Bf2 Kd7 46. Kb3 f5
47. e5 Nb5 48. Kc4 Nc7 49. Bh4 Nb4 50. Nc5+ Kc6 51. Bd8 fxg4 52. fxg4 Nbd5 53.
Bxc7 Nxc7 54. g5 Kb6 55. Nd7+ Kc6 56. Nf6 a4 57. Kb4 a3 58. Kxa3 Nb5+ 59. Kb4
Nxd4 60. Kc3 Nf3 61. Nxh7 Kd5 62. Nf8 Nxe5 63. Kd2 1/2-1/2

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bd3
b6 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Qe2 Bb7 11. O-O Qc8 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 Ba6 14. Bxa6 Qxa6

My opponent offered me a draw after his last move. In a way, I lost the opening battle. My opponent got the type of a position that he wanted. White’s position might still be a bit more comfortable, but nothing tangible. I did not think about the draw offer very long and tried to create as many problems for my opponent as possible. 15. Qxa6 Nxa6 16. Bb2 Rac8 17. Rfc1 Preparing a route for the King. 17… Ne4 Black prepares f6 followed by a King march. 18. Kf1 f6 19. Ke2 Kf7 20. Ne1 There is not enough poison in the position to try to win after 20.Nd2 and the exchange of Knights. 20… Ke7 21. Nd3 Kd7 22. a4 Rc7 23. Rxc7+ Nxc7 24. f3 Nd6 25. Rc1 Rc8 26. e4 Nce8 27. Rxc8 Kxc8 It was clear to me from far away that it would get to this. Black is rock solid. How to break through? Well, there is no direct way to break through, just need to improve the place of the pieces, one at a time. 28. Nf4 Kd7 29. Kd3 b5 This is a tough position to play for Black as well, as there is no clear plan. My opponent decides to create a passed pawn, but at the price of weakening some squares. 30. axb5 Nxb5 31. Kc4 Nbd6+ 32. Kb4 It’s not clear where the King is going just yet, but it is clear that he might be powerful “around that area”. 32… Nc7 33. g4 A bit loose. 33.Nd3 would have been preferred. I wanted to force some sort of a weakening of the King-side. 33… Nf7 34. Nd3 Ng5 35. Ne1 g6 I finally got that weakening. 36. Bc1 Nf7 37. Nd3 Na6+ 38. Ka5 Nb8 39. Be3 Nd6 What now? I decided to bring the King back. 40. Nc5+ Ke7 41. Kb4 Nc6+ 42. Kc3?! a5?! The text is not a bad move, but Black could have forced a draw with 42…e5 43.d5 Nd4 44.Bxd4 Nb5+ 45.Kd3 Nxd4 46.Ke3, where the game will very soon end in a draw. 43. Nd3 Kd7

I assumed that my opponent will just stay in one place from now on. Once again, I need to focus on baby steps. Cannot try to win this immediately. Can I improve my position in any way? 44. h3! Any way you look at it, my pawn is better placed on h3. No rush. Moves like this can also give an opponent a headache. 44… Ke7 45. Bf2 Kd7 46. Kb3!? Thinking about playing Ka4 next. 46… f5 Pressure is building and Black has trouble staying still. 47. e5!? A practical decision, trying to complicated matters. 47.Nc5+ Ke7 48.gxf5 gxf5 49.Ka4 fxe4 50.fxe4 leaves very little material on the board to try to win. 47… Nb5 48. Kc4 Nc7? White would be unable to find a good plan after 48…Na3+ 49.Kc5 Nc2 49. Bh4 Now White has access to a lot of important squares. 49… Nb4 49…Na6, trying to contain White would have been stronger. 50. Nc5+ Kc6? 50…Ke8, leaving the c6 square for the Bishop would have still been hard to crack.

51. Bd8? I had completely miscalculated the endgame that is to come. 51.Be1! Nbd5 52.Bxa5 would have left White up a pawn with good winning chances. 51…Nba6 52.Nxa6 Nxa6 53.Bxa5 would have also left Black in serious trouble. A missed opportunity. 51… fxg4 52. fxg4 Nbd5 53. Bxc7 Nxc7 54. g5 Kb6 For some reason, I had calculated that White is winning in this endgame. However, there is not even a hint of a win on the horizon. The rest is straightforward. 55. Nd7+ Kc6 56. Nf6 a4 57. Kb4 a3 58. Kxa3 Nb5+ 59. Kb4 Nxd4 60. Kc3 Nf3 61. Nxh7 Kd5 62. Nf8 Nxe5 63. Kd2 1/2-1/2

I played this game well up until the 51st move. Black was forced to deal with a lot of over the board problems and made some mistakes due to this. This one got away.

Round 9

Last round morning games are not great for professional chess players. It’s not about being lazy or liking to sleep in. Chess players get into a routine that helps them perform best at the time of the round. This can include meals, naps, preparation, walks, etc. The early last round has become a tradition in a lot of tournaments. The above is really about something more important than morning rounds. If you are serious about playing chess, then your tournament lasts 24/7, as you do everything you can to perform your best during your game by developing an optimal daily routine. Morning rounds can throw it off.

I was paired against IM Samsonkin, rated 2378, in the final round. I knew that I needed to win to try to catch up to the leaders. I was also informed that Artiom needed a win to get a GM norm so I thought he would play aggressively. Things got interesting early on.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.16”]
[Round “?”]

[White “Samsonkin”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “63”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.16”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Qf3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be6 7. Bf4 Nc6 8.
Qg3 Ne7 9. Nf3 Qd7 10. Nd4 Nf5 11. Nxf5 Bxf5 12. Bd3 Be6 13. O-O-O O-O-O 14.
Kb1 h6 15. Rhf1 Be7 16. Be3 c5 17. Be4 g5 18. Bxd5 Bxd5 19. c4 Qe6 20. cxd5
Rxd5 21. Rxd5 Qxd5 22. Qh3+ Kb8 23. Qh5 Rf8 24. Qxh6 Qxe5 25. Bf2 Qe2 26. Bg3+
Kc8 27. Rc1 Qxg2 28. Re1 Qd5 29. a3 Qd7 30. Qg7 Rd8 31. Qxf7 Bd6 32. Qf6
1/2-1/2

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Qf3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be6 7. Bf4 Nc6 A rare move. 8. Qg3

My opponent’s last move is a novelty. 8… Ne7? A strange move. I had originally intended to play 8…d4! 9.0-0-0 Qd5, where it is White who needs to focus on equalizing. Not sure what I saw to deter me from this. 9. Nf3 Qd7 10. Nd4 Nf5 11. Nxf5 Bxf5 12. Bd3 The last few moves have been very natural. White has more space and more potential for his pieces. White also has more weaknesses. 12… Be6 A very positionally sound move, as this Bishop needs to hold Black’s position together. Black is very solid. 13. O-O-O O-O-O 14. Kb1 h6 A bit slow. On a second look, the more aggressive 14…h5 shows more potential. 15. Rhf1 Be7 16. Be3

16… c5?! Creating weaknesses unnecessarily. 16…Kb8 is more sound. I had underestimated my opponent’s reply. 17. Be4! This move puts Black on his heels, as Bxd5 followed by c4 is a threat. 17…Qc6 18.Bf5 is exactly what White wants-to exchange the light squares Bishops. 17… g5! Good reaction, keeping the position very dynamic. 18. Bxd5 Bxd5 19. c4 Qe6 A part of me wanted to play 19…Bxc4 20.Rxd7 Rxd7 and sacrifice the Queen. However, there was a consensus within me that I would have to fight hard and only in the hopes of a draw in what would follow. 20. cxd5 Rxd5 21. Rxd5 Qxd5 This has all been forced. Now the position is very dynamic but still close to equal. 22. Qh3+ Kb8 23. Qh5 We had both spent a lot of time on 23.Qf5 Qxg2 24.e6 f6 and both thought that it is White who is on the ropes there. 23… Rf8 24. Qxh6 Qxe5 25. Bf2

The moment of truth. 25… Qe2 I should have probably played 25…f5 26.Re1 Qd6, where the position is dead equal. I was playing for more. 26. Bg3+ Kc8 There is nothing pleasant about 26…Ka8 27.Re1 Rd8 28.b3! 27. Rc1 After 27.Re1 Rd8 White needs to find 28.Qh3+ g4 29.Qh6! with an equal endgame. When I went for this position from far away, I thought it would be only me who is playing for a win. As it turns out, the Black King compensates for everything that is bad in White’s camp. 27… Qxg2 28. Re1! Now Black needs to be careful. 28… Qd5 29. a3 Qd7 30. Qg7 Black is all tied up and has to give the pawn back. 31.Qe5 is a deadly threat. 30… Rd8 31. Qxf7? 31.Qe5 Bd6 32.Qxg5 would have given White a slight edge which he can try to convert. 31… Bd6 32. Qf6 1/2-1/2 My opponent offered me a draw which I accepted. Neither side can seriously fight for a win after 32…Bxg3 33.hxg3 Qg4, but it is certainly White who is not risking anything at all here.

I needed to win this last round to tie for first place, which makes the result a disappointing one. I should have taken my chances on the 8th move. After that the fight seemed to balance off. Overall, my opponent played well and didn’t let the position slip in dangerous times.

Next is a review of the tournament as a whole.


Canadian Open- Part II

Round 4

I was paired against GM Perelshteyn, rated 2534. I had played Eugene several times before, but not since either one of us became a GM.

 

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.12”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Perelshteyn”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “83”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.12”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. f4 Bg7 8. Bb5+
Nfd7 9. Nf3 a6 10. Bd3 b5 11. O-O O-O 12. Kh1 Re8 13. a3 c4 14. Bc2 Nc5 15. f5
Nbd7 16. Bg5 Bf6 17. h4 Rb8 18. Qd2 a5 19. Qf4 b4 20. axb4 axb4 21. Na4 Bxg5
22. Nxg5 Qe7 23. Nxc5 Nxc5 24. fxg6 fxg6 25. e5 Rf8 26. exd6 Rxf4 27. dxe7
Rxh4+ 28. Kg1 Bd7 29. Ra5 b3 30. Bxg6 hxg6 31. Rxc5 Re8 32. Rc7 Rxe7 33. d6 Re2
34. Rxd7 Rg4 35. Rd8+ Kg7 36. Rf7+ Kh6 37. Nh3 Rgxg2+ 38. Kf1 g5 39. Nf2 c3 40.
bxc3 Kg6 41. Rff8 b2 42. Rb8 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. f4 Bg7 8. Bb5+ Nfd7 9. Nf3 a6 10. Bd3 b5 11. O-O O-O 12. Kh1 Re8 13. a3 c4 14. Bc2 Nc5 15. f5 Nbd7 16. Bg5 Bf6 17. h4

A sharp Benoni. The position is a theoretical one where White has been scoring well. Judit Polgar played this position on the Black side around the same time as me. Polgar played 17…gxf5 here. 17… Rb8 The more solid 17…Bb7 followed by Qe7 and Rac8/d8 is more solid. It is hard to find a clear plan for Black there, but it is also hard for White to break through. The text plans a5 and b4. I had actually anticipated 18.Nd4 Bxg5 19.Nc6 Qf6, where Black sacrifices the exchange for a pawn but has excellent compensation. 18. Qd2 a5 19. Qf4 b4? Too loose. The brave 19…Bxg5! 20.Nxg5 Ne5 was better than the text, although there is always the somewhat justified fear that I might get mated. 20. axb4 axb4 21. Na4 Bxg5? 21…b3 was necessary as the position is very complicated after 22.Nxc5 bxc2. 22. Nxg5 Black is in serious trouble now. 22… Qe7 23. Nxc5 Nxc5 24. fxg6 fxg6

25. e5! The winning move. White breaks up Black’s position. I tried to go for complications. The rest is really just technique. 25… Rf8 26. exd6 Rxf4 27. dxe7 Rxh4+ 28. Kg1 Bd7 29. Ra5! Not giving Black any chances, since the Knight has no other good squares. 29… b3 30. Bxg6 hxg6 31. Rxc5 Re8

32. Rc7 The most efficient way to conclude the game. 32… Rxe7 33. d6 Re2 33…Rg7 34.Rb7 wins for White. 34. Rxd7 Rg4 35. Rd8+ Kg7 36. Rf7+ Kh6 37. Nh3 Rgxg2+ 38. Kf1 g5 39. Nf2! A standard trick that works well against rooks. 39… c3 40. bxc3 Kg6 41. Rff8 b2 42. Rb8 1-0

This game does not have a lot of annotations because there was not that much of a fight. I lost the game with my 19th and 21st moves and the rest was just good converting by my opponent. A disappointing loss for sure, but it happens when playing for a win in every game and risking a lot. In openings like the Benoni, the price of every move goes up, especially for the Black side. Those two mistakes cost me the game. The game was also somewhat of a representation of form.

Round 5

I was paired against Victor Plotkin, rated 2243 in this round.

 

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.13”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Plotkin”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “87”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.13”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Be7 7. Qc2 Nbd7 8.
Bd3 Nf8 9. Nge2 Ne6 10. Bh4 h6 11. f3 O-O 12. O-O c5 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. dxc5
Nxc5 15. Rad1 Nxd3 16. Qxd3 Be6 17. f4 Bg4 18. Nxd5 Bxb2 19. Rd2 Bf6 20. Qb5
Rb8 21. e4 a6 22. Qb4 Bxe2 23. Rxe2 Re8 24. h3 Be7 25. Qb3 Bc5+ 26. Kh1 b6 27.
Rf3 Kh8 28. Rg3 Bf8 29. e5 Qc8 30. Qc2 Qxc2 31. Rxc2 Bc5 32. Rd3 Red8 33. g4
Rbc8 34. Kg2 Kg8 35. Kf3 Kf8 36. Ke4 Bg1 37. Rdc3 Rxc3 38. Rxc3 Bc5 39. a4 a5
40. Rd3 Ke8 41. f5 Rc8 42. Rc3 Kd7 43. Nxb6+ Bxb6 44. e6+ 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Be7 7. Qc2 Nbd7 8. Bd3 Nf8 9. Nge2 Ne6 10. Bh4 h6 11. f3 O-O 12. O-O

Everything has been quite standard up until now. White slowly prepares e4 while Black either prepares c5 or just stays solid. 12… c5 That’s one way to force the issue. It feels a bit loose though. 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Rad1 Playing strictly against the weak d5 pawn. 15… Nxd3 16. Qxd3 Be6 17. f4!? I had originally intended to play 17.Nf4 but thought that winning would always be very difficult after 17…Be5 18.Nfxd5 Bxc3 19.bxc3 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Qb6 21.Qd4 Rfc8! 17… Bg4 18. Nxd5 Bxb2 19. Rd2 White is slightly better, but Black is very solid. The two Bishops don’t appear to be very strong, but the only good piece I have is my Knight on d5. 19… Bf6 20. Qb5 Rb8 21. e4 a6 22. Qb4 Bxe2 23. Rxe2 Re8 The Bishop is coming to c5 through e7. 24. h3 Be7 25. Qb3 Bc5+ 26. Kh1 b6 27. Rf3? 27.f5!? was very interesting, but it’s hard to weaken those dark squares permanently. My rook lift does not seem all that promising either on a second look. 27… Kh8 28. Rg3 Bf8 29. e5 Now that plan is to bring the Queen to e4. 29… Qc8

White still appears to be slightly better, but there is nothing clear and Black should be able to hold on if little changes. Black has no weaknesses. The Rook on g3 is misplaced. I made a very practical decision. 30. Qc2! My opponent did not have much time on the clock and I knew he would exchange Queen, otherwise I have a good outpost for her on e4. The endgame is a very easy one for White to play. 30… Qxc2 31. Rxc2 Bc5 32. Rd3 The plan is easy, play g3/4 and march the King to e4, guaranteeing an advantage. 32… Red8 33. g4 Rbc8 34. Kg2 Kg8 35. Kf3 Kf8 36. Ke4 Bg1 37. Rdc3 Rxc3 38. Rxc3 Bc5 39. a4! Forcing Black’s next move and increasing the dominance of the Knight over the Bishop. 39… a5 Now time is on White’s side, as Black is not going anywhere. 40. Rd3 Ke8 41. f5 Rc8

42. Rc3 This move was a “half trap” 42… Kd7?? 42…Rd8/Rb8 43.e6 would still be much better for White. 43. Nxb6+! Bxb6 44. e6+ 1-0 White wins the exchange and the battle is over.

I played a decent game here. My opponent fought well. Exchanging Queens was a very practical decision that simplified my task and made my game much easier.

Round 6

I was paired against FM Bindi Cheng, rated 2385 in this round. Congratulations to Bindi for getting the IM Norm at the event!

 

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.14”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Cheng”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “79”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.14”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. d5 e6 4. c4 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. e4 a6 8. h3 b5
9. Bd3 Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bf4 Qb6 12. a3 Nbd7 13. Re1 Nh5 14. Be3 Bb7 15. Rc1
Rac8 16. Qd2 Qd8 17. Bg5 Bf6 18. Bh6 Bg7 19. Bg5 Bf6 20. Bh6 Re8 21. g4 Ng7 22.
Bf4 Ne5 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Be3 Qd7 25. Bf1 Red8 26. a4 b4 27. Nd1 Qxa4 28. Rxc5
Be7 29. Rxc8 Rxc8 30. Bb6 Ne8 31. Ne3 b3 32. Ba5 Nd6 33. f3 Nb5 34. Bxb5 axb5
35. Kh1 Bd6 36. Rg1 b4 37. Nf5 Bc5 38. d6 Bxg1 39. Qh6 gxf5 40. Qg5+ 1/2-1/2

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. d5 e6 4. c4 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. e4 a6 8. h3 b5 9. Bd3 Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bf4 Qb6 12. a3 Nbd7 13. Re1 Nh5 14. Be3 Bb7 15. Rc1 Rac8 16. Qd2 Qd8 17. Bg5 Bf6 18. Bh6 Bg7 19. Bg5 Bf6 20. Bh6

Take or avoid the repetition? If it doesn’t hurt my position “much”, then it’s a simple decision in this scenario. 20… Re8 21. g4 Ng7 22. Bf4 My opponent has been playing fast (and very logical) up until now. I decided to change the structure of the battle. 22… Ne5 22…c4!? was also interesting. My main problem in this position is the Knight on g7, and I was hoping to find a solution to that riddle. 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Be3 Qd7 The plan is to play Red8 and Ne6, or Ne8-d6. 25. Bf1 25.b3! Red8 26.Qe2 would have been precise, as 26…Ne6 is not good after 27.dxe6 Qxd3 28.Qf3. 25… Red8 26. a4 b4 27. Nd1? 27.Nb1 would have been stronger, defending the Queen. The Knight would be awkwardly placed for some time though.

The position has become very complicated. 27… Qxa4?! 27…Ne6! would have been better as the Knight is going to d4 and 28.dxe6 Qxd2 29.Bxd2 Rxd2 30.Bc4 Kf8 31.exf7 Rcd8 would leave White tied up. 28. Rxc5 28.Bg5 would have given White a very strong compensation for the pawn. 28… Be7 29. Rxc8 Rxc8 30. Bb6 Ne8 31. Ne3 b3 A move that my opponent missed, which really complicates the matter. 32. Ba5 Nd6 33. f3? We both managed to miss 33.Qb4! which would have given White an advantage. 33… Nb5 34. Bxb5 axb5 Now it’s only White who might be in trouble 35. Kh1? 35.d6 Bxd6 36.Qxd6 Qxa5 37.Rd1 would have left the position close to equal. 35… Bd6! 35…b4 36. d6! only helps White. Now White’s Bishop is trapped on a5 and it’s hard to find counter play. 36. Rg1 b4 37. Nf5

White is going for an attack which should not work. 37… Bc5? I had calculated 37…Bf8 for a long time but could not find anything simple after 38.Bb6, even though Black’s position is clearly better after 38…Qa6 and 38…Qb5. The text is some sort of a hallucination that removes the last defender from the King.  38. d6 White forces a perpetual. Black has no choice but to take material. 38… Bxg1 39. Qh6 gxf5 40. Qg5+ 1/2-1/2

Disappointing outcome after outplaying my opponent. White fought hard, but Black needed to be more careful on his 37th move. It felt like I let half a point slip here. With 4.5/6 I knew I needed to finish strong.

Canadian Open-Part I

My last tournament in Canada was the Montreal International in 2009, almost two years ago. Most of my university year tournaments were played within Canada during the summer times. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces. A lot of players have certainly improved over this time period.

Playing in Toronto is very different. As a professional chess player, chess has always been separate from “normal life”. Two separate lives. This was always comforting in many ways, since I have always been exposed to more than just chess. While playing in Toronto, the two had to clash. Here’s an example. My girlfriend does not play chess, and she finally got the opportunity to see me at work for the first time. There are stories and then there is the real thing. There was also the element of playing in a familiar place. Toronto is a VERY familiar place.

The Canadian Open has a reputation in the world of chess. GMs who have visited talk and they all give good reviews. The tournament was very professionally organized. The organizing committee took care of all the minor things. I have played a lot of tournaments in the last year in a lot of different atmospheres. The Westin is gorgeous and is located right by the lake. Rounds started on time. There were side events every day. The arbiters were always keeping the playing hall quiet. Yes, they told me to be quiet a few times as well! Everything was very well done.

I came into the tournament as the only player FIDE rated over 2600. The tournament used CFC ratings, so I was formally not the top seed for the event. In the world of international chess, CFC ratings are irrelevant. I was not very happy about being the highest rated player in the tournament. I was asked if I felt extra pressure. Not really. Tournaments are not very exciting for the top seed. You expect to beat everybody with both colours and players could just try to dry the board up with you. The most exciting tournaments are those where everybody is hunting you down with both colours (like the Montreal International in past years). You are always on edge in those situations. Either way, I am always extremely motivated to do my best.

I started off the festivities with a simul the night before the first round, where I went +12, -1 and =1. I will try to get some photos of that by the time I write the final report.

On with the action!

Round 1

I was paired against Frederico Austria, 2105 CFC, in the first round.

I found myself in some trouble after the opening. The position is about equal right now, but the position is easier for Black to play. Qh4 with mating threats is always floating. Ideas with g5 can also look threatening. White is a bit slow on the queen-side.  13. Qe1? 13.Bd2, with ideas involving a4 and Be1 was more appropriate. The text doesn’t pose Black problems. 13… Ndf6 13…a5!? would have caused White some problems. The text is also logical. 14. a4 Qe8 15. Rf3?! The prophylactic 15.h3 would have been more normal. 15… Bd7 16. b5?! Aggressive but dangerous. 16… Ng4! 17. bxc6 bxc6? 17…Bxc6! would have given Black the advantage  18. h3 Nxe5 18…Bxe5? 19.fxe5 Nxc5 20.Bc2! would have left the Black Knight trapped on g4. At some point, White will just pick up that piece. 19. fxe5 g5 20. Rb1 Rb8 21. Rxb8 Qxb8 22. Rf1 Black no longer has the threats of an attack. If White can invade quickly on the b-file, life will be good. 22… Qb3 23. Qd1 Qb8 Without the queens, Black will have little potential. 24. Bd2 Qe8

White has consolidated his position. Now it’s time to break through somewhere. 25. Qe1 Taking on e4 first might have been recommended. The point of this move is simple though, exchange those Bishops and then take advantage of Black’s light-squared Bishop. Get rid of the bad Bishop! 25… Rg6? Retreating. It was important to take on d2 to guarantee that Black will always have a strong dark-squared Bishop. 26. Ba5! White is clearly better now. 26… Bd8 27. Bxd8 Qxd8 28. Bxe4 dxe4 This is what I was aiming for all along, the good Knight against a bad Bishop. 29. Qb4 Rg7 30. Ng3 Be8 31. Rb1 Played too quickly. White still has the advantage after the text, but 31.Qb3! Bf7 32.Rb1 would have won faster. 31… Re7 32. Qb8 Qxb8 33. Rxb8 Kg7 Time is on White’s side. The Knight needs to get to d6 somehow. Black just hopes to not lose any material. 34. Kf2 Bg6 35. Nf1 Bh5 36. Nd2 Bd1 37. a5 Bc2 38. Nc4 Bd3 39. Nd6 h5

When I made my 34th move I was going for this specific position. White is close to winning. Black can’t move. It’s time to finish the deal. 40. Rc8 40. d5 cxd5 41.c6 Ba6 42.c7 would have been faster. The text is also winning easily. 40…Ba6 40…Bb5 41.d5! wins on the spot. 41. Rxc6 Bb7 42. Nxb7 Rxb7 43. Rxe6 The arising endgame is easily winning, just takes a bit of calculation. 43… Rb2+ 44. Kf1 Rb1+ 45. Ke2 Rb2+ 46. Kd1 Rxg2 47. c6 Rg1+ 48. Kc2 Rg2+ 49. Kb3 Rg1 50. d5 Rc1 51. d6 Rxc6 52. d7 1-0

I did not play the opening well, but the later stages of the game were good. If you want to get into playing shape in the beginning of tournaments, it’s good to sweat a bit early on. This is not a recommendation to play the opening badly; just the glass is half full approach.

Round 2

I was paired against Vladimir Birarov, rated 2246, in this round.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.10”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Birarov”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “66”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.10”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O e5 7. Nbd2 Nge7 8. a4
O-O 9. Nc4 h6 10. Nh4 d5 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. c3 Be6 13. a5 Qc7 14. f4 exf4 15.
gxf4 Nde7 16. Be3 Rad8 17. Qc2 Bf6 18. Nf3 Bxc4 19. dxc4 Nxa5 20. Ne5 Nf5 21.
Bc1 Bxe5 22. fxe5 Nxc4 23. Rxf5 gxf5 24. Qxf5 Qxe5 25. Qg4+ Kh7 26. Qxc4 Rd1+
27. Kf2 Qe1+ 28. Kf3 Rxc1 29. Rxa7 Qd1+ 30. Kf4 Qd2+ 31. Kf3 Re1 32. Bf1 Qe3+
33. Kg4 Rg8+ 0-1

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O e5 7. Nbd2 Nge7 8. a4 O-O 9. Nc4 h6 10. Nh4 d5 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. c3 Be6 13. a5 Qc7

The position is imbalanced but probably about equal after 14.Qb3. 14. f4? This makes life easier for Black. 14… exf4 15. gxf4 Nde7?! Black should first play 15…Rad8, as after 16.f5 there is 16…Nxc3 followed by 17…Bxc4. 16. Be3 A pawn sacrifice with 16.f5! was necessary, as White’s pieces then come into the game after Bf4 and White has good compensation for the pawn. 16… Rad8 17. Qc2

White’s position feels very loose. a5 is weak. The Bishop on e5 is bad. There is a Knight on h4. Just not much chemistry. I decided to force the issue in my favour. 17… Bf6 18. Nf3 Bxc4 19. dxc4 Nxa5 Black is up a pawn and White has nothing concrete. White needs to play 20.Nd2 or 20.Ra4 to consolidate. 20. Ne5?! Nf5 21. Bc1 Bxe5 22. fxe5 Nxc4 Black is up two pawns now. White needs to play 23.Qe2 Nxe5 24.Bf4 Rfe8 25.Rxa7, but White still has a big advantage after 25…c4!, with the idea of 26…Qc5+ 23. Rxf5 gxf5 24. Qxf5

Time for the final punch. This requires a good calculation. 24… Qxe5 25. Qg4+ Kh7 26. Qxc4 Rd1+ 27. Kf2 Qe1+ 28. Kf3 Rxc1 Black is now completely winning. The rest is easy.  29. Rxa7 Qd1+ 30. Kf4 Qd2+ 31. Kf3 Re1 32. Bf1 Qe3+ 33. Kg4 Rg8+ 0-1

This was a smooth win. It’s nice to have some of those as well.

Round 3

I was paired against IM Mulyar, rated 2410. We had played three times before over a span of about 9 years, with the score being even. Prepare yourself for a long one.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.11”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Mulyar”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “167”]
[EventDate “2011.07.10”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.11”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8.
Bxc4 O-O 9. O-O a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Bd3 Qc7 12. Bd2 c5 13. Ne4 c4 14. Nxd6 Qxd6
15. Be2 Bb7 16. b3 Rfc8 17. bxc4 bxc4 18. Bc3 Ne4 19. Nd2 Nxc3 20. Qxc3 Nb6 21.
Rab1 Nd5 22. Qc2 Qc6 23. Bf3 a5 24. Qxc4 Qxc4 25. Nxc4 Rxc4 26. Rxb7 Nc3 27.
Ra1 Rac8 28. Kf1 g6 29. Rb2 Na4 30. Rd2 Rc1+ 31. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 32. Ke2 Nc3+ 33.
Kd3 a4 34. e4 a3 35. d5 exd5 36. exd5 Kf8 37. Kd4 Ke7 38. d6+ Kxd6 39. Kc4+ Ke7
40. Kb3 Nb5 41. Be4 Rc8 42. Bd3 Rb8 43. Kb4 Nd4+ 44. Kxa3 Ne6 45. Rb2 Ra8+ 46.
Kb4 Nf4 47. Be4 Rd8 48. Kc3 f5 49. Bb7 Rd3+ 50. Kc4 Ra3 51. g3 Nd3 52. Re2+ Kf6
53. Rc2 h5 54. Bd5 h4 55. gxh4 Ke5 56. Bf7 Kf6 57. Be8 Ne1 58. Re2 Nd3 59. Rd2
Nc1 60. h5 gxh5 61. Bxh5 Nxa2 62. Rc2 Ra4+ 63. Kb3 Rh4 64. Be2 Nb4 65. Rc5 Rxh2
66. Kxb4 Rxf2 67. Bd3 Kg5 68. Kc3 Kg4 69. Kd4 Ra2 70. Rxf5 Ra4+ 71. Ke3 Ra3 72.
Rc5 Rb3 73. Rc6 Ra3 74. Rg6+ Kh5 75. Rg8 Rb3 76. Kd4 Kh4 77. Be4 Rg3 78. Rh8+
Kg5 79. Ke5 Ra3 80. Rg8+ Kh6 81. Rg6+ Kh5 82. Kf4 Ra4 83. Rb6 Rc4 84. Rb7 1-0

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8.
Bxc4 O-O 9. O-O a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Bd3 Qc7 12. Bd2 c5 13. Ne4 c4 14. Nxd6 Qxd6
15. Be2 Bb7 16. b3 Rfc8 17. bxc4 bxc4 17…Be4 has led to a theoretical debate in recent times. This move is a novelty according to my database.

18. Bc3 Ne4 19. Nd2 White attempts to prove that c4 is a weakness, Black hopes it will be a strength. 19… Nxc3 20. Qxc3 Nb6 21. Rab1 Nd5? Black needed to play 21…Rab8 to try to hold onto the c4 pawn. 22. Qc2 Qc6 23. Bf3! Suddenly, Black’s battery is working against him. White has a strong idea of playing Ne4-c5 next. Black is in trouble 23… a5 Black parts with the pawn immediately in an attempt to gain activity. 24. Qxc4 Qxc4 25. Nxc4 Rxc4 26. Rxb7 Nc3

White is up a pawn but Black will have all active pieces soon. The Bishop is also not great on f3. White needs to bring the King to d3, and maybe also bring the rook back from b7. 27. Ra1 Rac8 28. Kf1 g6 29. Rb2 Na4 30. Rd2? This is exactly what Black wanted. 31.Rb5! Rc1+ 32.Rxc1 Rxc1 33.Ke2 Rc2+ 34.Ke1 Rxa2 35.Rxa5 Nc3 36.Rxa2 Nxa2 37.Kd2 Kf8 38.Bb7 leads to a winning position, since Black’s Knight can’t escape. 30… Rc1+! Black activates his pieces and ties up the enemy. 31. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 32. Ke2 Nc3+ 33. Kd3 a4 34. e4 I feared playing Rc2, exchanging the rooks and getting rid of the a-pawns with the belief that the endgame with Bishop and 5 against Knight and 4 would be drawn because the Knight works well in small spaces. I wanted something more straightforward and created a passed pawn. 34… a3 35. d5 exd5 36. exd5 Kf8 37. Kd4 Ke7 38. d6+ Kxd6 39. Kc4+ Ke7 40. Kb3 Nb5 41. Be4 Rc8 42. Bd3 Rb8 43. Kb4 Nd4+ 44. Kxa3 The position has really changed. I still have an extra pawn but my pieces are awkwardly placed. It will always be hard to push the a-pawn from a2. 44… Ne6 45. Rb2 Ra8+ 46. Kb4 Nf4 47. Be4 Rd8 48. Kc3 f5 49. Bb7 Rd3+ 50. Kc4 Ra3 51. g3? 51.Rd2, followed by g3 and Kb4 would have given White a winning advantage. 51… Nd3 52. Re2+ Kf6 53. Rc2 h5 54. Bd5 h4 55. gxh4? 55.Rd2! would have been much stronger, as 55…Nc1 Kd4 completely cuts the Knight out of the game. 55… Ke5

56. Bf7? Going in the wrong direction. 56.Re2+! would have been stronger, as 56…Kf4 57.Rd2 leaves the Knight without any good squares. 56… Kf6 57. Be8 Ne1 58. Re2 Nd3 59. Rd2 Nc1 Without much time left on the clock, I started making more obvious moves. 60. h5 gxh5 61. Bxh5 Nxa2 62. Rc2 Trapping the Knight. 62… Ra4+! Black willingly parts with the Knight in exchange for the active rook. 63. Kb3 Rh4 64. Be2 Nb4 65. Rc5 Conclusively trapping the Knight. 65… Rxh2 66. Kxb4 Rxf2 It’s time for a mode change. I had been better the whole game and “only” managed to get this endgame. This is disappointing but nothing to panic about. The Black pawn does not change anything and will be taken. The R+B VS R endgame is drawn, but not trivially. The strongest of GMs have lost it. I knew that after such a long game it’s very likely that my opponent will falter. I had also won this endgame back in a decisive round of the World Under 18, back in 2005, so I knew what I was doing. First thing is first, time to take that pawn. 67. Bd3 Kg5 68. Kc3 Kg4 69. Kd4 Ra2 70. Rxf5 I marked this move as the one Black needs to count 50 moves from. 70… Ra4+ 71. Ke3 Ra3 72. Rc5 Rb3 73. Rc6 Ra3 74. Rg6+ The King has been pushed back. 74… Kh5 75. Rg8 Rb3 76. Kd4 Kh4 77. Be4 Rg3 78. Rh8+ Kg5 79. Ke5 Ra3 80. Rg8+ Kh6?? The losing move. 80…Kh5 81.Kf4 Ra6 manages to draw (according to Houdini), but only with very precise defense. 81. Rg6+ Kh5 82. Kf4 Ra4 82…Ra5 prolongs the battle but loses in study-like fashion. That could be a problem for the readers to solve! 83. Rb6 Rc4 Loses on the spot. 83…Rd4 84.Rb1 Kh6 85.Rb7 does not save Black. 84. Rb7 1-0

It wasn’t pretty. Sometimes a win is a win and this one was that type of a grind. I didn’t finish the game when I had those chances, and there were several of those rich opportunities. A good and hard fight. Things would certainly get harder from here.

Sundararajan-Henry: GM Scalp

Good games should be appreciated! My good friend Liam Henry played against GM Sundararajan, rated 2491, in the fourth round of the World Open. Liam annotates the game below in-depth, while also presenting a lot of his thoughts during the game. Congratulations to Liam for the great game and thanks for analyzing it for my blog.

Liam introduces a novelty on move 17 and later finishes the game in style! Liam takes it from here.

[Event “World Open”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.??.??”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Kidambi, Sundararajan”]
[Black “Henry, Liam”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “E92”]
[PlyCount “80”]
[EventDate “2011.??.??”]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Ng4 8. Bg5
f6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. O-O-O Qe7 14. h4 g4 15.
Ne1 Nc6 16. Nc2 f5 17. exf5 Nxf5 18. Bd3 Nxg3 19. fxg3 Be6 20. Qe4 Bf5 21. Qe3
e4 22. Be2 Qe6 23. Rhf1 Bh6 24. Rf4 Bxf4 25. gxf4 Rad8 26. Nd5 Rd7 27. Qc3+ Kg8
28. Nce3 Ne7 29. Nxf5 Qxf5 30. Nf6+ Rxf6 31. Rxd7 Qxf4+ 32. Kb1 Nc6 33. c5 e3
34. Rxc7 Nd4 35. Qc4+ Kf8 36. Rc8+ Ke7 37. Bd3 e2 38. Bxe2 Qe4+ 39. Qd3 Rf1+
40. Bxf1 Qe1+ 0-1

{In round 4 of the tournament I had to play GM Kidambi Sundararajan who I knew
is a solid GM. I had a bit more confidence than usual for this game, because
my good friend IM Raja Panjwani had beaten Kidambi at last years World Open in
beautiful style! The pairings went up about 15 mins before the round so I
didn’t have much time to prepare. I knew I was going for the Kings Indian as I
will explain later, so I quickly checked which line he plays against it and it
was mainly the Gligoric variation. Kidambi switches between 11.dxe5 as he
played in the game and 11.d5 so I had to prepare for both. It took be about 30
min to prepare both of the lines, so I ended up coming 15-20mins late
for the game.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 {I kind of predicted he would start this way,
since he must have seen that I mainly play the Gruenfeld Defense nowadays.} g6 3.
Nc3 Bg7 {I had only decided at the last minute to play the Kings Indian
Defense for this tournament which is the first Defense I ever learned against
1.d4, 1.Nf3 and 1.c4. I had given it up around the year 2007 due to getting
horrible positions out of the opening and just not really understanding the
middlegame positions properly. To be honest I had never planned on touching
the opening again with a 10 foot pole. The reason I did decide to play it
though was mainly because of my students. A lot of them asked me to prepare
lines for them in the Kings Indian Defense, and this led me to have a fresh
look at my games in this defense again, and also to look at my old preparation.
I had to look at a lot of recent games in the KID to prepare my students, and
I came across some of Hikaru Nakamura’s games which are just amazing in this
opening! Combine that with the fact that Raja is always showing me his
beautiful games in it as well, it really inspired me to pick it up again, and
give it the fair chance it deserves.} 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Ng4
8. Bg5 f6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. O-O-O Qe7 {All
of this has been played before in the game Motylev-Radjabov, Wijk aan Zee 2007}
14. h4 {This is the move which Kidambi introduced in 2004 in his game against
Rahul Shetty in the Indian Championships I was not very familiar with the idea,
so I decided to have a look at it with Houdini in my preparations, as I
thought that there is no reason why he wouldn’t repeat it since he won the game
} g4 15. Ne1 Nc6 16. Nc2 f5 17. exf5 {Still following Kidambi’s game from the
Indian Championships in 2004. I was aware of the game in my preparations, and
I had prepared an improvement on move 17…}

17… Nxf5 {logical improvement. Black
just wants to bring another piece to control the d4 square and at the same
time can entertain the idea of playing …Nxg3 at some point damaging the
opponent pawn structure. This move also takes some pressure off my …e5 pawn}
(17… Nd4 18. Nxd4 exd4 19. Rxd4 Bxd4 20. Qxd4+ Kg8 21. c5 Rxf5 22. Bc4+ Nf7
23. Nd5 Qd8 24. Re1 c6 25. Ne7+ {1-0 Sundararajan,K-Shetty,R/Visakhapatnam IND
2004 (25).}) 18. Bd3 Nxg3 19. fxg3 Be6 20. Qe4 {after this move I was on my
own, I had only looked at Qb5 in my preparations and not this more logical
move.} Bf5 21. Qe3 (21. Qe1 {was the right move keeping the Queen out of any
tactics with …Bh6 and not allowing my nextmove}) 21… e4! {Played after
about 15 mins thought. I knew there had to be a reason why the computer
suggested Qb5 on move 20 for White and not this move, so that led me to look
for a resource like this in the position, and I found it! e4 is really the key
to the position, since if White can succesfully blockade on that square, he
should be better since my g7 bishop is just miserable. Now Black takes over
the initiative} 22. Be2 {I remember Kidambi instantly made this move. I dont
know if he just trusted that I calculated something, or if he himself saw that
he can’t take. In this position I had a long think. I felt my dark squared
bishop is good, but my light squared bishop is actually miserable, biting on
my e4 pawn. So I was thinking, if I could get my pawn to e3, not only would
both of my bishops be amazing, but also my pawn on e3 will be a real threat in
the position.} (22. Bxe4 {doesn’t work because of} Qf6 23. Kb1 Rae8 {and e4
can’t be defended another time, due to the knight on c3 being pinned, because
of the mate threat on b2} 24. Rhf1 Bxe4 25. Rxf6 Bxc2+ 26. Kxc2 Rxe3 {leaves
Black up a piece}) (22. Nxe4 Rae8 23. Rhe1 Ne5 24. Bf1 Bxe4 25. Qxe4 Qf6 {when
the threat of …Nd3+ or …Nxc4 is too much} 26. Nd4 (26. Kb1 Nc6 {winning
material}) (26. Qd4 Nd3+ 27. Bxd3 (27. Qxd3 Qxb2+ 28. Kd2 Bh6+ {is no better})
27… Qh6+ {winning the Queen}) 26… c5 {winning material}) 22… Qe6 ({after
} 22… Qf6 23. Kb1 Bh6 {I could not calculate the consequences of} 24. Nd5 {
and I felt that this would at least be giving my opponent some play. I thought
it wasn’t necessary, when I can play …Qe6 and not allow him that Houdini
still likes Black after} Bxe3 25. Nxf6 Bf2 26. Nxg4 e3 {but good luck finding
this concept over the board}) 23. Rhf1 {Kidambi was very proud of this
exchange sacrafice after the game, but I am very doubtful of its correctness.
Sure White will have some compensation, but I dont believe its enough for an
exchange. I remember getting very excited during the game that I would be up
an exchange against a GM with Black!} ({I felt} 23. Nd5 {would be useless now
because I have} Qe5 {but he should still go for this. I did not see the
resource} 24. Qa3 {during the game} Bh6+ 25. Nf4 {when its almost a crime to
take the pawn with …Bxf4 and give up my pride an joy of the position}) 23…
Bh6 24. Rf4 Bxf4 {played too quickly, there was no need to take it right away
since there is a big traffic jam on the h6-c1 diagonal. I let me emotions get
the better of me} ({the simple} 24… Rad8 {was better.}) 25. gxf4 Rad8 26. Nd5
Rd7? {Simply a mistake.} ({after} 26… Ne7 27. Nxc7 Rxd1+ 28. Kxd1 Qd7+ 29.
Nd5 {I forgot that my knight was on e7, and I evaluated this position in my
head as winning for White. Im not sure what cause the hallucination, maybe I
couldn’t believe I was beating a GM so easily so figured that consolidating
the position must be hard.}) ({I also considered} 26… h5 {but rejected it
again because of miscalculation} 27. Nxc7 Rxd1+ 28. Kxd1 {I thought White had
more than enough compensation, missing the simple} Qe7 {winning the h4 pawn.})
27. Qc3+ Kg8 28. Nce3 {Here I realized I was in trouble, and started thinking
that I was not even better anymore. I had a long think about how to
consolidate my position}

28… Ne7 ({there is} 28… h5 29. c5 Kh7 30. Bc4 {which is
a variation I saw during the game, but I stopped my calculation here saying
this is too risky, since it allows him to activate his light squared bishop,
but if I calculated further, I would have seen he has no threat} Kg6 {since}
31. Nxc7 Rxd1+ 32. Kxd1 (32. Nxd1 {allows the familiar trick} Qe7) 32… Qd7+
33. Ncd5 Qg7 {consolidates everything}) 29. Nxf5 Qxf5 30. Nf6+ Rxf6 31. Rxd7
Qxf4+ {This is the variation I saw when playing 28…Ne7, and I figured that I
will give him back the exchange, but I will still be up a pawn so I still
should be slightly better. I did not sense that my opponent’s compensation
actually gives him full equality.} 32. Kb1 Nc6 33. c5 {Kidambi was very low on
time in this position, 5mins and under if I remember correctly, and I had
about 15min.} e3 {a very scary move to meet in time trouble, since he has to
watch out for Back rank mate tricks, as well as his rook on d7 hanging by …
Qf5+, added with the passed pawn on e3.} 34. Rxc7 {Kidambi blunders under
pressure, but the move does look very logical because after 34…Qxc7 there is
35.Qxf6, but he missed my next move} (34. a3 {making sure his king is nice in
safe in time trouble was the best}) 34… Nd4 {After playing this move I was
pretty sure I was going to win. I didn’t see any defence for my opponent to my
onslaught of threats} 35. Qc4+ (35. Bc4+ Kf8 36. Rc8+ Ke7 37. Bd3 (37. a3 e2
38. Ka2 {was the best try according to Houdini, but not easy to find with
2mins on your clock}) 37… Qf1+ 38. Bxf1 Rxf1+ 39. Qc1 e2 {winning}) 35… Kf8
36. Rc8+ (36. Rxh7 Qe4+ 37. Ka1 (37. Bd3 Rf1+ 38. Qc1 Qxd3+ {mating}) 37…
Nc2+ 38. Kb1 Na3+ {winning}) 36… Ke7 37. Bd3 e2 38. Bxe2 {I almost didn’t
see my next move, and was going to play 38… Qf5+, but luckily I had some
extra time on my clock, so I took a couple of deep breaths, and then I found}

Qe4+ 39. Qd3 Rf1+ 40. Bxf1 Qe1+ {Kidambi took the loss really well, and he
analyzed the game with me afterwards for quite some time. I already had a lot
of respect for him, and consider him a strong GM, but that gesture gained him
even more respect in my books. I had to hold in my excitement until I got to
my room, where the first person I emailed the game to was Andrew McMillan, who
is well known in Toronto as the KID specialist. He has one of the largest
collections on the KID. My last count a couple of years ago was 20, but it
could be well over 30 by now. He has taught me a lot about the opening,
whether it be him telling me key games in the opening, lending me his books,
playing blitz, analyzing famous KID games with me, so I felt it necessary to
dedicate this win to him! This game really taught me a lot about keeping a
cool head during the game, and not letting your opponent’s rating affect your
decisions during the game. I made a lot of bad decisions because I let me
emotions dictate my moves. It’s amazing what your mind will believe if you let
it. This was my second GM scalp, and I hope there will be many more in the
future!} 0-1

World Open: Final Thoughts

# Name Rtng St Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Tot Prize
1 GM Gata Kamsky 2741 NY W37 W22 W11 L3 W18 D2 W13 W10 D4 7.0 $14575.00
2 GM Michael Adams 2726 ENG W36 W14 W13 W10 D3 D1 W9 D5 D6 7.0 $14267.00
3 GM Loek Van Wely 2683 NED W53 W32 W8 W1 D2 W4 L5 L6 W11 6.5 $1735.00
4 GM Ilya Smirin 2676 ISR W54 D23 W64 W31 D7 L3 W41 W20 D1 6.5 $1735.00
5 GM P Harikrishna 2666 IND W34 W39 D30 D9 D8 W21 W3 D2 D7 6.5 $1735.00
6 GM Timur Gareyev 2613 UZB W55 D51 D16 W23 D30 D20 W32 W3 D2 6.5 $1735.00
7 GM Ray Robson 2545 FL D57 W45 W40 W21 D4 D10 D11 W12 D5 6.5 $1735.00
8 GM Mesgen Amanov 2517 TKM W60 W52 L3 W25 D5 W40 L10 W23 W17 6.5 $1735.00
9 GM Vitali Golod 2592 ISR W44 L30 W34 D5 W33 W22 L2 W21 D13 6.0 $424.50
10 GM Jaan Ehlvest 2583 NY W38 W43 W41 L2 W31 D7 W8 L1 D16 6.0 $424.50
11 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili 2582 GEO W26 W25 L1 W66 D20 W30 D7 W14 L3 6.0 $424.50
12 GM Victor Mikhalevski 2577 ISR D65 W68 W42 D30 W51 D41 D14 L7 W32 6.0 $424.50
13 GM Aleksander Lenderman 2548 NY W58 W87 L2 W50 W32 D14 L1 W41 D9 6.0 $424.50
14 GM Mikheil Kekelidze 2452 GEO W61 L2 W67 W52 W29 D13 D12 L11 W31 6.0 $771.00
15 IM Yury Lapshun 2442 NY L69 D47 D80 W57 W67 W52 D17 D18 W28 6.0 $771.00
16 IM Puchen Wang 2437 NZL D62 W59 D6 D64 D65 W35 D18 W39 D10 6.0 $771.00

You can find the full standings here. The two top seeds finished the event tied for first, with Kamsky winning the playoff.

I finished the tournament with 5/9, and the tournament turned out to be a setback for me. It was the worst result I’ve had during my year of professional chess. I just wasn’t playing like myself.

Why do we have bad tournaments? Chess is a very unforgiving game. One lapse can cost a game, a bad day can cost a tournament. This is exactly what happened to me. I had a very bad last day, scoring only 0.5/2 against opposition rated more than 150 points lower than me. Fatigue was certainly one of the issues.

So I had a very bad tournament. Chess is a very emotional job, where results often drive your level of happiness. If you are not emotional about your results, you can’t possibly push yourself to the limit. I would not have become a GM if I would have taken my bad results easily. A part of being a chess player is knowing how to deal with a good result, as well as a bad one. A bad result is just a setback, just like many other setbacks in life. You pick yourself up and get ready for the next challenge.

Confidence is very important. Too much confidence is bad, too little confidence might even be worse. Everybody has bad tournaments and it should not jeopardize one’s self-image. For me, this is simple. So I had a bad tournament. I have no doubt that I can play well. I did not magically forget how to play chess, I just had a streak of games where I forgot to prove it. There will be better days.

Playing chess is my current job. Everybody has good and bad days at work. I heard some words of wisdom back in August about being a professional chess player from GM Vinay Bhat, back in Barcelona. I’ll paraphrase, I am sure Vinay put it more delicately that time over dinner. “All jobs have good and bad days. Chess has a very big variance in days. Those days can be very good and they can be very bad.” This was nothing new to me. Check out Vinay’s Blog.

What’s done is done. Everybody makes mistakes. We learn from them. The above is meant for everybody who has ever had a bad tournament, which is everybody who has ever played in tournaments! Time for the lighter side of my trip to Philly.

A big congratulations to Michael Yuan, who tied for second place in the under 2200 section and won just over $2500! You can find the standings here.

Liam, Shiyam and me had a few hours after check-out to see the Philadelphia sights. Below are some tourist impressions from that day and some of the previous day. The first three photos are from Liam.

Shiyam (left) and me before we race up the Rocky Steps

Post-race. Outcome should be clear;)

The main playing hall before the start of the round

Mural art on a hospital building

Philly Chinatown

Downtown

More mural art, just outside of City Hall

Benjamin Franklin

Liam, Shiyam and me

Liam running up the steps

At the top…

It felt very hot…

But not for long

World Open: Part III

Round 8

I was paired against IM Bercys, rated 2467 in this round. I approached this round as a must win. The last day is always the decisive one, and this day would decide even more, with two games to be played.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.04”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bercys”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “119”]
[EventDate “2011.06.30”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.04”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. Nc4
O-O 9. Bf4 Ne8 10. Qd2 b6 11. a4 Ba6 12. Nb5 Bxb5 13. axb5 Nd7 14. e3 Ne5 15.
Bxe5 Bxe5 16. Be2 Bg7 17. O-O Nc7 18. Na3 Re8 19. Ra2 Re4 20. Bc4 h5 21. Qd3
Re5 22. Nb1 Ne8 23. Nd2 Nf6 24. Rfa1 Re7 25. h3 Qe8 26. Qb3 g5 27. Be2 g4 28.
hxg4 hxg4 29. g3 Qd7 30. Ra4 Qf5 31. Qd1 Qxd5 32. Nc4 Qxd1+ 33. Rxd1 d5 34.
Nxb6 Rd8 35. Nc4 Rdd7 36. Na5 c4 37. b3 c3 38. Rc1 Ne4 39. Nc6 Re8 40. Bxg4 Rb7
41. Be2 Nd6 42. Rg4 Kf8 43. Rxg7 Kxg7 44. Rxc3 Nxb5 45. Rc5 a6 46. Na5 Rb6 47.
Rxd5 Nc3 48. Rd2 Nxe2+ 49. Rxe2 Rb5 50. Ra2 Rc8 51. Ra4 Rc2 52. g4 Rcc5 53. b4
Rc2 54. Nb3 Rb2 55. Nd4 Rb6 56. Kg2 R2xb4 57. Ra5 Kg6 58. Kg3 f6 59. Kf4 Rd6
60. f3 1/2-1/2

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. Nc4 O-O 9. Bf4 Ne8 10. Qd2 b6 11. a4 Ba6 12. Nb5 Bxb5 13. axb5 Nd7!

The position is still a theoretical one. Black’s last move sacrifices the d6 pawn. White should not take the pawn as after 14.Nxd6 Nxd6 15. Bxd6 Re8 White will have serious trouble both developing his pieces and keeping the extra pawn, as even one of the above would be an achievement. 14. e3 Ne5 15. Bxe5 Bxe5 16. Be2 Bg7 17. O-O Nc7 18. Na3 Interestingly enough, this position has been played. 18… Re8?! 18…Qd7 is more accurate, as Black attempts to play 19…a5 20.bxa5 b5 and create some good play. As it turns out, the a7 pawn is much weaker than the b5 pawn. 19. Ra2 Re4 20. Bc4 h5 Preparing to launch a future attack on the White King. 21. Qd3 Re5? The rook is seriously misplaced on this square. 21…Qe8 would have been stronger. 22. Nb1! Due to Black’s last move, White manages to improve the position of the Knight and follow that up with more pressure on the a7 pawn. 22… Ne8 23. Nd2 Nf6 24. Rfa1 Re7 Black is still solid with only one weakness. 25. h3 Qe8 26. Qb3

Neither side has a clear plan and I thought that I would complicate the matter. 26… g5?! Interesting but relatively careless. This permanently weakens Black’s King. 27. Be2! Preparing to lift the rook over to the King-side through a4 in the near future. 27… g4 28. hxg4 hxg4 29. g3 Qd7 30. Ra4 Qf5 I was going for something like this. 31. Qd1 Qxd5 32. Nc4 White forces the exchange of Queens. 32…  Qxd1+ 33. Rxd1 d5 34. Nxb6 Rd8 35. Nc4 The only move, but an optically pleasing one. The Knight is now headed to a5-c6. 35… Rdd7 36. Na5 c4 37. b3 c3? 37…Ne4 would have been better, but I had trouble parting with the g4 pawn. 38. Rc1 Ne4 39. Nc6 Re8 40. Bxg4 Rb7 41. Be2 Nd6 White is up a pawn but converting it into a full point is not easy because of the weak b5 pawn and the strong c3 pawn. 42.Nxa7 is answered with 42…d4, where Black generates good play. White starts to play carelessly. 42. Rg4 Kf8 43. Rxg7? The whole idea is a faulty one as we will see in a few moves. 43… Kxg7 44. Rxc3

44… Nxb5 45. Rc5 My opponent went for this position, with the idea that once White captures the d5 pawn and places his Knight on d4 he will have a Knight and two pawns for the rook and will then play a risk free position. 45… a6! The move my opponent missed. White cannot regroup his forces fast enough. 45.Rxd5 Nc3 is good for Black. 46. Na5 Rb6 47. Rxd5 Nc3 48. Rd2 Nxe2+ 49. Rxe2 The position has changed significantly. It is only Black who can play for a win now, due to the awkwardness of the Knight on a5. 49… Rb5 50. Ra2 Rc8 Preparing to activate all my forces. 51. Ra4 Rc2 52. g4 Rcc5 52…Rb6, with the idea of Rf6 would have been a better winning try. 53. b4 Rc2 53…Rc3 would have tied up the White forces even further. 54. Nb3 Rb2 55. Nd4 Rb6 56. Kg2 R2xb4 57. Ra5 I had originally gone for this position. Upon getting here, it became clear that the White pieces are better placed, the Knight is a monster on d4 and the a-pawn is not going anywhere. The position is probably still equal since White has trouble making progress, but it is important to not do anything foolish. 57… Kg6 58. Kg3 f6 59. Kf4 Rd6 60. f3 1/2-1/2

We agreed to a logical draw. This game lasted over 5 hours and the next round would start in about 2 hours. A good fight, but I did not use my opportunities after coming out on top after the middle game.

Round 9

I was paired against IM Lapshun, rated 2442 for this round. I was out of contention for any of the top spots at this point.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.07.04”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Lapshun”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “56”]
[EventDate “2011.06.30”]
[SourceDate “2011.07.04”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. e3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 cxd4 7. exd4 Be7 8. c5
O-O 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qd3 e5 11. Nxe5 a5 12. Bb2 Bf5 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Nxe4 Bxe4
15. Qc3 axb4 16. axb4 Rxa1+ 17. Bxa1 Bh4 18. Rg1 Re8 19. g3 Qf6 20. Qe3 Kf8 21.
gxh4 Bf3 22. Rg3 Rxe3+ 23. fxe3 Qxh4 24. Kf2 Be4 25. h3 f5 26. Bg2 g5 27. Bxe4
f4 28. exf4 gxf4 0-1

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. e3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 cxd4 7. exd4 Be7 8. c5 O-O 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qd3 e5!?

Black sacrifices a pawn in the hope of taking advantage of the White King still being in the center of the board. 11. Nxe5 a5 11…Bf5 is also very interesting. 12. Bb2? Necessary was 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Qc3, after which White develops easily. The text does not show a sense of urgency and is too slow. 12… Bf5 13. Nxc6? 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.Qc3 would have been much stronger, even though White is still not in a great situation.  13… bxc6 Now White is just in trouble. 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Qc3 15.This was the right time to be desperate and play 15.Qh3, followed by Bd3. 15… axb4 16. axb4 Rxa1+ 17. Bxa1 Bh4!

White’s pieces are tied up and completely dominated. 18. Rg1 Re8 19. g3 One of the last remaining tricks for White, forcing Black to find an accurate win.

19… Qf6! After this move, the game is simply over. 20.gxh4 Bg2+ 21.Be2 Bf3 is lost on the spot. The rest is easy for Black. 20. Qe3 Kf8 21.gxh4 Bf3 22. Rg3 Rxe3+ 23. fxe3 Qxh4 24. Kf2 Be4 25. h3 f5 26. Bg2 g5 27. Bxe4 f4 28. exf4 gxf4 0-1

This was a horrible game on my part. I felt like I wasn’t seeing anything during the game and calculations were as flawed as they have been in a while. One way of explaining this is my 5+ hour game in the morning as well as 5+ hour game the night before. Tough pill to swallow either way. This was a very bad day at the office.

Next to come is a World Open Summary. After that I will do a full report on the 2011 Canadian Open. I have also been receiving a lot of questions about my plan after the World Cup. More chess or no chess? The answer will come soon…