Thursday, 17 April 2014

Doeberl Cup - Day 1

Although I have a post on the recently completed FIDE Trainers Seminar in the works, I'll skip to more immediate matters & the Doeberl Cup, which I am playing in this year for a change (I have been an arbiter there for the previous two years).

Not quite the start I was hoping for today, finishing with 0/2 after two disappointing games. In round 1 I faced IM Gary Lane & decided to play the Archangel Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Once out of the opening I was unsure of move orders & plans (a problem when you don't play an opening very often) & began drifting after 11... Qe7 (11... h6 is the preferred move in the position, with Re8 to follow soon afterwards). I thought I may have had chances to hold the endgame, but Gary simply controlled all the critical squares & I could not make progress with my pieces. Finally a tactic with 34. f6+ gave Gary a passed h-pawn & this left my pieces away from the action trying to prevent it from promoting.

The second game against Canberra junior Willis Lo was another case of not knowing enough theory, although I was aware of many of the plans in the opening, having played the BDG for a number of years. The main hole in my theory was not knowing of the Nc3-e2-f4 plan in this particular variation of the BDG (the Alchemy Variation), although I knew about the plan to put a knight on f4, I chose to reposition the g5 knight to f4 via h3, however without a knight on g5, many of the tactical possibilities in the position (usually a potential sacrifice on e6 or f7) are missing. Having said that, the game was not without opportunities & although my instincts were right, my calculation & idea finding was off. After 21... Nh5 I felt that there had to be a good move for white involving the e6 pawn ... and I was right, however my choice of 22.Nxe6 was not the best move in the position! Better was 22. Bxg6 (removing the defender of the e6 pawn) & the tactics seem to work in white's favour, with a variety of checkmating threats posing significant problems for black. Unfortunately for me I played the not-so-good move & eventually tried to play on after having to give up an exchange, however 40... Rb2 was the move that finally finished me off as I had no good way to deal with the pin on the second rank.

Day 2 begins with a game against Edik Gilmetdinov from Western Australia ... and hopefully I will finally trouble the scorers!

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