Thursday, September 13, 2007

Slugging it out in the Pirc

Going into tonight's match, I suspected Gerald would have something prepared against the Pirc which I played a couple of times last season. But I figured if he plays into a sharp line Black will have his chances as well...

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be3

6. Bd3 is more common, but the text has the point of stopping c5 for the moment.

6... b6 7.Qd2 Bb7 8. e5 Ng4 9. O-O-O c5

(Marcel suggested 9... Bxf3 10. gxf3 Nxe3 11. Qxe3 d5 after the match, but after 12. h4 h513. f5 Kh7 14. Bd3 Bh6 15. f4 e6 16. fxg6+ fxg6 17. Qh3 Black is busted. Book is to trade on e5 now, but I think White ends up a bit better, so I sack a pawn thinking it will be worth it to destroy the White center.)

10. dxc5 bxc5 11.Bxc5 Qa5

I originally intended 11... Nd7 but now I got a bad feeling about the move. Indeed Fritz points out after: 12. Bg1 Ndxe5 13. fxe5 Bh614. Ng5 f6 15. exf6 exf6 16. Bc4+ Kh8 17. Bd4 White is winning.

12. Ba3 dxe5 (12... Rc8 is interesting as well.) 13. h3 Bh6

Playing for complications. If 13... e4 14. Nxe4 Qxd2+ 15. Rxd2 Nf6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf617. Bc4 there's not much comp for the pawn.

14. Ng5 exf4 15. hxg4

I expected 15. Nxf7 But now I don't think it's better than the text. After ...Rxf7 16. hxg4 Bg5 17. Ne4 Qxd2+18. Nxd2 f3 19. Bc4 fxg2 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. Rxh7+ Kg8 the strong g2 pawn compensates for the exchange.)

15... Bxg5 16. Kb1 Rc8

I had been planning to play 16... f3 but reconsidered as I thought it left my K-side to open as well as weakening the long diagonal e.g. 17. Qf2 fxg2 18. Bxg2 Bxg2 19. Qxg2 and black is lost.

17. Ne4 Qxd2 18. Nxd2 Rd8

At this point I thought I was just winning, but now Gerald played and inspired move...

19. Be2!

Now 19... Bxg2 look good, right? But after 20. Nf3! Nc6 21. Nxg5 Bxh1 Rxd1 the two bishops are stronger than the rook.

19... Nc6 20. Ne4 h6 21. Nc5

I was expecting 21. Bf3 but Black looks ok after something like Rab8 22. Nxg5 Rxd1+ 23. Rxd1 hxg5 24. Bxc6 Bxc6 25. Bxe7 Bxg2 26. Bxg5 f3 27. Bh4 Rb4 28. Bf2 Rxg4 29. Bxa7

21... Rab8 22. Bf3Ba8 23. Nd7 Rbc8 24. Rd3 Rxd7

I sack the exchange, which is not bad, but e5 was probably stronger.

25. Rxd7 Ne5 26. Rxa7 (White has the to sack the exchange back, otherwise the black pawns will be too strong.) Nxf3 27. Rxa8 Nd2+ 28. Kc1 Rxa8 29. Kxd2 f3+ 30. Ke1 fxg2 31. Rg1 f5 32. gxf5 gxf5 33. Rxg2 e5

Finally things have settled down to an obscure 3 passer vs. 3 passer endgame. I judged I was a bit better as my pawns a bit further advanced. Now I think White should just get going with c4. Trading Bishops just helps me activate my king.

34. Be7 Kf7 35. Bxg5 hxg5 36. Rxg5 Kf6 37. Rg3 Rxa2 38. Rb3Ra4

In the Tempo blog Peter Bereolos suggested this was an easy draw for White, but I suspect it's already winning for Black. Certainly it's hard to hold w in 30 sec increment play.

39. Ke2 f4 40. Rb8 Kf5 41. b3 Ra2 42. Rf8+ Ke4 43. Rc8 Ra7 44. Rc4+ Kd545. Rc8 Rh7 46. b4 e4 47. Rc5+ Ke6 48. Rc4 $2 Rh2+ 49. Kf1 Kd5 50. Rc8 e3 51.Re8 Rxc2 52. b5 Rb2 53. Rf8 Ke4 0-1

Whew! What a tough game! Maybe I should play the Petroff next time?



Marcel Milat said...

I thought this game was the most interesting game of the round. A real complex game from the opening thru to the ending.
It seems to me not much mention was made of theory.

A quick check of chessbase suggests the game was theory thru to 15 hg4. Two games were played in the 15 Nf7 that seem to result in an equal ending after 15 Nf7 Rf7 16 hg4 Bg5 17 Ne4 Qd2 18 Nd2 f3 19 gf3 (John mentions 19 Bc4 but this is probaly stronger since black has all the chances even down the exchange after 19 Bc4)
19..Bf3 20 Bc4 Bh1 21 Rh1 Nc6 22 Bf7+ Kf7 23 Rh7+ Kf6 = Illescas Cordob - Mihail Martin 2000. Black even managed to win a game in Dunn - McNab 2006 from this position after white misplayed the ending.)

My impression is that white should play 13 Nd5!? since white seems to be doing slightly better after 13..Qd2 14 Rd2 Bd5 15 Rd5 Ne3 16 Rd2 and now a draw was the outcome in Kasimdzhanov-Svider after 16..Nc6 17 Bb5 Rc8 18 Bc6 Rc6 19 Ne5 Be5 20 fe5 Nc4 21 Be7 (Rd3!?)
while White won after 16..Nf1 17 Rf1 Nc6 18 Ne5 Ne5 19 fe5 Bh6 ( 19..Be5 20 Be7 +/-) 20 Be7 where white had an edge in Shirov - McNab)

JohnReadey said...

I'm a little ashamed to say that I was pretty much out of my book after 9. O-O-O. Somehow I was under the impression that everyone played 9. Bg1. But it looks like I actually blundered into a fairly topical line. And now that you mention it, I do remember seeing the Kaz-Svidler game when I was following the San Luis championship in 2005. Maybe I was playing using the "surpressed memory" technique.