Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ICCF WS/O/109 game: Owens - Thomas

[Event "WS/O/109"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2007.3.3"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Owens, Steve"]
[Black "Thomas, Gerald K"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White ELO "1800P"]
[Black ELO "1800P"]
[Opening "Sicilian Kalashnikov, via Benoni Defense"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. e4 e5

I decided to go with a Maroczy Bind as it had been used on me in my attempts to learn the Sicilian in several variations. When I started the event I was experimenting with the Kalashnikov. I was pleased to see Black's e5 as that put us in a variation very favorable to White.

7. Nc2 Be7 8. Be2
Be6 9. O-O O-O 10. Be3 Qd7 11. f3 Rfc8 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. cxd5 Na5

I know this Knight move is thematic for this position, but I can't help but note that my Bishops rule the Queen side. If he wants to play there, it is HIS funeral. I'm very happy to oblige. At this point I also noted that I thought his occupation of the c file was an illusion. I think my minor pieces and Queen blunt any action he may wish to undertake here. In fact, this is the first time, in one of my own games, I have seen a file controlled with no rook being present for the controlling side.

14. b3 b6

White's fourteenth is designed to deny the Knight any play on the c file. Black's response lets White's light Bishop play havoc.

15. Ba6 Nb7 16. Nb4 Rc7 17. Qe2 Nc5

While White has a definite plus here, Black can hold with perfect defense. Bet you never heard THAT before. In this case, it is true and demonstrable. After 18. Bb5 Qd8 19. Nc6 Qf8 Black has the possibilities of Ncd7-b8, and the exchange of pieces to help his cramped position and double his Rooks.

18. Bb5 Qc8

Black's eighteenth was not the defense desired. Black's Rooks must now fall.

19. Bc6 Rb8 20. Bxc5 1-0

Black Resigns. The c file will be exploited by White's Rooks after the Exchange and Black's weak light squares will suffer further invasion by the light Bishop and Queen. Black may have some hope with a Knight demonstration to h5 and f4 with the dark Bishop trying to influence things at g5. The weakness at c4 should trump that with the loss of the Exchange.

ICCF WS/O/109 game: Barzaghi - Owens

[Event "WS/O/109"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2007.3.3"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Barzaghi, Andy"]
[Black "Owens, Steve"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Opening "Nimzovich-Larsen attack: classical variation"]
[WhiteElo "1800P"]
[BlackElo "1800P"]

1. b3 d5

Since White came out with a Nimzovich-Larsen, I thought he must be well versed in the opening.

2. Bb2 Nf6 3. Bxf6 exf6

White's third move is a mystery to me.

4. e4 dxe4

I respect a good Gambit! But...

5. Nc3 f5 6. f3 exf3 7. Nxf3 Be6

For his efforts White is down a pawn and has erased his dark Bishop from the board. I don't see any compensation.

8.Bb5+ Nd7 9. O-O Qe7 10. Nd4 g6 11. Qf3 c6 12. Ba4 Bg7

White's twelfth move, Ba4 seems dubious to me. Black can't collect the light Bishop without incurring some pawn problems on the Queen side, but it seems to me that the light Bishop is out of the game now.

13. h3 Bxd4+

There is no explanation here. White simply drops the Knight and leaves his light Bishop en prise with no compensation.

14. Kh2 Qd6+
15. g3 O-O-O 16. Rad1 h5 17. Qf4 Qxf4 0-1

White abandoned the game at this point. The cross table indicates he defaulted the other games in this event as well. I think we may conclude that White's efforts display how not to play Correspondence Chess, during the game and otherwise.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm Back. I Hope!

Boy, does time fly when your aren't having fun...

As I wrote in my last entry, I have been appointed to the USCF Forums Oversight Committee.

It ain't been fun.

As a result, I have had very little time to blog or do other interesting things. As the USCF Executive Board election season is winding down I'm hoping the action on the Forums will also ease up.

On the ICCF front, they have a new forum. I've looked it over a time or two but I haven't had time to do much else.

In WS/O/109 I have a plus result over Andy Barzaghi (ITA). Barzaghi found himself several pieces down on the White side of a Larsen's Attack and abandoned the game. My last two remaining games are proceeding very slowly. As White against Mrs. Kaspschak (GER) I am a piece up in a Slav Defence and as White against Marcin Deren (POL) I am playing the opening stages of a Catalan. I stand at two wins, one loss, and one draw in this event. As soon as there are ten results in the event I will post the completed games. Hopefully, I will have adequate time for some decent analysis (which is why I am playing correspondence, after all).

WS/O/120 is still too new for any results and most games are just now exiting the opening. I have played the Caro Kann in all games as Black, and even ventured a CK Gurgenidze in one. As White I have (mis)played a Reti, a QGD, and another Reti/English.

On ICC 2007Quad.03 I have a result to report. I have a win as White against QwikE in a Catalan where Black made some unfortunate moves in the opening and could not recover.

Black was ok until 11...Bb7. That move allows me to block in his Light Bishop with the eventual 13.c5. Another misfortune was 16...Kg7 when 17.Qd2 hands me Black's dark King side squares. After 18.Qh6 the game is over. Black resigns after White's 25.Ngf7.

I have two games still going with Brian-E and my game as Black versus Qwik-E that are being hotly contested. This makes my score in this Quad three wins against no losses or draws with three games to go.