I dropped by Hamilton for one of their monthly quads for the first time in a year this weekend (last time I was very rudely treated with an 0-3 score). It helped shake the rust off for the upcoming USATE, but 10 or so straight hours of chess left me in full brain melt by the end. In my last game at varying times my opponent and I each thought we had won a piece from the other, and in a time scramble I won even though analysis after the game proved I was busted. Luckily my opponents were suffering from the same effects, and I acquitted myself well with a 1-1-1 score line in a quad of my peers. As often happens I got very good positions but...the higher you go the more the level of resistance, and the harder the accumulation of small advantages...the next breakthrough will take a qualitative leap in understanding.
Incidentally, I heard our talismanic master Mark Kernighan was in a car accident on the way to Hamilton, I hope the eternal flame of our club is uninjured and doing well.
On to happier things.... I won a game against Glen Hart in round 2 of the KCC club championship, though as always not without adventures. An unusual opening turned into an example of alternating color complex domination. Glen had white and is a good attacking player, but I was ready to play a Najdorf or Sveshnikov, or a King's Indian to meet iron with iron.
1. Nc3 Having played a lot of games the last few years I was surprised to be sent into a think on move 1. I've got no book on this move.
1. .... d5
2. e4 dxe
3. Nxe4 Is this an invitation to a Caro-Kann? Probably just off-the-cuff inspiration.
3. ..... Nf6
4. NxN gxN WWYD (What would Yaacov do? Take with g-pawn and bust you)
5. Bc4! else ....Bf5 is my next move. Already White has ideas of Qh5. Time to think some more. I think we used a total of an hour on the first 10 moves. Good stuff.
5. .... Nc6
6. Qh5 (played anyway!) Ne5
7. Be2? And now a mistake, whereas 7. Bb3 is optically dangerous after 7....Bg4 but the queen can't be trapped and Black still has a weaker structure, though it's easy to say that after the fact.
7. .... Qd5! And this is exactly the square Yaacov saves for his queen in the Caro-Kann, now g2 remains a target for the rest of the game. 8. Nf3 is bad because of 8.....Bg4, so White has problems. 8. f3?? gets hit with ....Nd3+.
8. Bf3 Nxf3?! (I forgot about the cute 8....Qc5 which threatens the c2 pawn. 9. c3?? Nd3+ causes havoc)
9. Qxf3 Be6
10. QxQ BxQ
11. f3 Rg8 And now Black focuses on g2 as the target for destruction. If f3 gets in the way of g2 then it too shall be destroyed. See Kotov-Boleslavsky
12. Kf1 O-O-O
13. Ne2 d5 (necessary and strong because White now threatens to play d4 with some play. On the previous move this failed to ....Bc4+)
14. d3 Be7 Black begins to play on a one-dimensional plan to bash g2 by doubling the rooks, showing off his light-square domination. However, there is a flaw to the plan, and 14. .... f5 is already better. At the time I avoided this because of 15. f4 feeing White's game and leaving me with isolated doubled pawns but....and this is the important part....this is ultimately impossible because it critically weakens g2.
15. Be3 Rg6?!
16. h4? Glen has a plan to defend g2 but it will leave him uncoordinated. Instead 16. Ng3 was good. I saw this but thought I could ignore the unwanted visitor with 16. .... Rdg8 17. Nf5 Bd8? 18. Nh6? which leads nowhere for White. But 18. Nh4! shows Black who's boss of the dark squares. 18....R6g7 19. Bh6! and Black is ashamed.
16. .... Rdg8
17. Rh2 h5 and now Black wins more or less as he chooses, white's rook never escapes h2.
18. Nc3 Bc6 19. a3 f5 20. b4 b6 21. Bf2 Bf6 (Black has now shifted his attention to the dark squares) 22. Nd2 e4 (and briefly back to the light) 23. Nd4 Bd7 24. f4? c5 25. PxP PxP 26. Nxf5 BxN 27. Rd1 PxP 28. PxP Bd5 and White resigned 2 moves later.