Nice Win With A Grandmaster
    By Tommaso Dorigo | February 20th 2011 11:27 AM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    Despite my chronic lack of time these days, I always manage to find ten minutes for a blitz chess game on the internet. It is a total waste of time and brain energy, but it never fails to provide some adrenaline shot in my veins. And at times some real satisfaction, when I play a good game and/or I get the better hand with a titled player.

    Today I got a little of both, when I won with black against Grandmaster Lars Karlsson (elo 2466), a Swedish player. Not a super-Grandmaster, admittedly, but still a dangerous player with an expected score above 90% against me (I am rated in the 2050 range. Here is the game with minimal commentary.

    Karlsson-Dorigo,  20-2-2011
    5' blitz, Internet Chess Club

    1.c4 c6
    2.Nf3 Nf6
    3.b3 d5
    4.Bb2 Bf5
    5.e3 e6
    6.Nc3 Bd6
    7.d4 0-0
    8.Be2 Nbd7
    9.0-0 Re8
    10.a3 a5
    11.h3 h6

    After a not-well-known opening, a complex position has arisen on the board. The closed nature of the center invites players to take the initiative on either wing. White tried to get something started on the queenside with 10.a3, intending 11.b4 and the gain of space and an attack at the base of black's pawn chain, but it is not yet clear that such a plan is useful. So both players take some time to better evaluate the opponent's intentions...

    12.Re1 Ne4
    13.Bf1 Qe7

    Intending to exchange in c3 and picking up the a3 pawn after Bxc3. White parries the threat by exchanging in e4.

    14.Nxe4 Bxe4
    15.Nd2 Nf6

    The white-squared black bishop is expendable. If white exchanges it, black places a very strong knight in e4, with prospects of a king-side attack.

    16.f3 Bg6
    17.e4 ?!

    An inaccurate move in my opinion. I have not bothered to check my evaluation with a chess engine, but this move appears to me a serious weakening of the black squares near the white king's shelter. Probably better was 17.c5 Bc7 18.b4, expanding on the queenside.

    17. ..., Bg3
    18.e5 Nh5

    If 19.Re2 instead, Nf4 would follow with gain of time. As a result of white's pawn expansion in the center, black dominates in the dark squares. The bishop attack on the Re1 is less troubling a worry with respect to the general domination of the kingside.

    19.... Qg5

    White cannot avoid this pawn sacrifice. If 20.Rc3 Bf4! threatening to take the Nd2 and at the same time to invade with Qg3-h2. If instead 20.Qe2 Nf4 and the rook is lost, or 20.Re2 Nf4 with the same result.

    20.... Bxf4
    21.Rf3 ?

    A blunder, losing the Bd2. However, white's position is already compromised. 21.Re2 was perhaps best, but then 21..., Ng3 would still win black the exchange (22.Rf2 Be3 pinning the rook); furthermore, black also had 21....,Qg3 22.Nf3 Be4 with a winning attack.

    21...., Bxd2
    22. Resigns.

    A clean win with a grandmaster always sets me in a good mood for the rest of the evening!


    Nice win, Tommaso!

    In retrospect, 13. Bf1 was rather passive. In trying to improve White's play, I think about 16. Be2 followed by 17. Bf3, or even 15. Bd3. But if this is reasonable, then why not go back and play 8. Bd3 instead of 8. Be2?

    One hates to close up the Queen's side with c5, but maybe that is white's best chance to speed up play on that side to try to beat Black's King-side attack. 18. e5 was also not good, as it keeps White's B at b2 hopelessly out of the action, while all of Black's minor pieces are participating in the attack.

    I enjoy all of your posts, Tommaso, but the chess posts tempt me to return to the game after so many years away.

    All the best,

    Thank you Santo, I appreciate this feedback!
    I also think Bf1 was passive. He really did not play like a grandmaster - grandmasters usually do not resign just a piece down with chicken like me, and they typically end up winning all the same ;-)