Sunday, October 21, 2007

Western States Open, Game 2 (Rd. 4)

I'm pretty proud of this game; after pre-tournament stresses and strains and a loss on Saturday morning I should have been tired, but instead I felt...resolved. My concentration during the game was quite good, and for the last 12-14 moves I was just glued to the board, not seeing or hearing much else that was going on. Not a brilliant game, but important to me; it made me remember that I really do know how to play good chess...

[Event "Western States Open (B)"]
[Site "Reno, NV"]
[Date "2007.10.13"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Barrett, Gordon"]
[Black "Pearson, Robert"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1700"]
[BlackElo "1607"]
[ECO "A00"]
[Annotator "RLP"]

1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 e5 3. h3 Be6 { Admittedly, I'm out of "book" on Move 3. I wanted to keep flexibility with my c-pawn and knight locations, so this seemed good. } 4. c4 c6 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. d3 { I don't really know exactly what White's up to in the Grob--I'm just playing sensible moves for my side. Qa4 looks a bit more dynamic for White here. } Bb4 8. Bd2 Nge7 9. Nf3 Ng6 10. a3 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Nf4 { ?! Now I think Qe7 was better, covering b7 and e5 (indirectly) and leaving more options open. } 12. Bxf4 exf4 13. Qa4 Qf6 { This attack was the idea, but it doesn't amount to much } 14. Rc1 O-O 15. O-O a6 16. Qc2 Rac8 17. Qd2 g5 { ?! Not horrible, but it's rushing things--looking at things with fresh eyes now, Black could play on the queenside with b5, Na5 with a slight edge. } 18. e3 fxe3 19. fxe3 Qe7 20. e4 h6 21. Nh2 { ? I didn't think this was good during the game, and it looks even worse now. exd4 gives White a nice mobile pawn duo and open lines for his pieces. } dxe4 22. Bxe4 Rcd8 { ?! It's not that I didn't see the a-pawn hanging, but I thought the two tempi needed weren't worth it. Qxa3-d6 is actually a safe extra pawn, since White can't do anything serious in the meantime (maybe Nf3 would be best!). } 23. Qb2 Bd5 24. Rce1 Bxe4 25. Rxe4 Qc7 26. d4 Na5 27. Qd2 { ? Better is 27. Qb4 Nc4 28. Re2 Rfe8 29. Rxe8 Rxe8 with a small plus for Black. } Nc4 28. Qf2 Rde8 { ?! Remember the a-pawn? Again, it could be taken safely. } 29. Rfe1 Rxe4 30. Rxe4 { He offered a draw, saying "You're a little short of time." I have 17 minutes for 11 moves, but I liked my position and there was something about the offer, like it was a favor due to my time pressure, that made we want to play some moves. } Qc6 31. Re7 Nxa3 { Better late than never? } 32. Qb2 { ? Nf3 Qxc6 33. Rxb7 had to offer better chances than this. } Nb5 { ! Okay, maybe an exclam is too much but I'm enjoying myself now! Something is going to drop. } 33. c4 Qxc4 34. Nf3 Qd5 35. Qf2 f5 { ! There are safer moves like Rd8, but I give myself credit for playing this, which is also good, and more importantly I thought it was best, so I played it! } 36. Re5 Qd7 37. Qe3 fxg4 38. Nxg5 { Honestly, I didn't see this coming but I had 5:30 left for three moves and I just took my time and relaxed. An interesting note--I didn't even think about how good my position was at this point; I was in the zone, just playing moves. } Qxd4 { ! Simple but effective! Looks like Black gets an ending four pawns up. } 0-1

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