Here are three games from our Quads of March chess tournament played by Ben Silva. Except for some minor editing and insertion of diagrams, the analysis is his and, per his email, was done without the use of a chess engine and are his game-time thoughts and some postmortem analysis.
Froemke, Bruce (1562) – Silva, Ben (1866)
Quads of March, March 10, 2012, Tallahassee, Florida
Caro-Kann, Steinitz variation [B17] (a.k.a. Smyslov or Karpov or Modern variation)
1. e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7
I decide to go for the Karpov variation of the Caro-Kann for the first time ever in a rated tourney. I figure my opening knowledge doesn’t go too deep but any line with Karpov’s name attached to it can’t be too shabby.
5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.Be3 e6 9.h3 Bh5 10.g4 Bg6 11.Ne5 Be4
It seemed in every round of the quads my opponent came right after me in the opening aggressively and this game was no exception. White comes right at me with his kingside pawns
Or maybe ?! (dubious). I decide to complicate things and offer a sacrifice which should only be temporary, an example line follows: 13.Bxd5 Bxd5 14.c4 f6 and the material should remain level however White’s king is far less safe.
13.Bf2 Bg6 14.Nxg6 hxg6 15.Qd2 Bd6 16.Bxd5 cxd5 17.0-0-0 b5 18.Be3 a5 19.Bf4 b4 20.Bxd6 Qxd6
Black has no real troubles and has initiated the beginnings of a simple queenside attack which, to my mind at least, appears effective.
With this move White succumbs to the pressure he feels from Black’s queenside pawns and attempting to defend subsequently drops a pawn on the kingside.
22.Qd3 Rxh3 23.Rxh3 Qxh3 24.Qf1 Qxf1
The queen trade is gladly accepted and leaves Black a pawn up with a winning endgame.
25.Rxf1 Ke7 26.Kd2 Rh8 27.Ke3 Rh2 28.Rc1 Kf6 29.Kd3 Kg5 30.a3 Kf4 31.axb4 axb4 32.c4 bxc3 33.Rxc3
A nice move to get to play in an already won game.
34.b4 Rxb4 35.Rc7 Kxf3 36.Rxf7+ Kxg4 37.Rxg7 g5 38.Re7 Rb3+ 39.Kc2 Re3 40.Kd2 Re4 0-1
Ben, Silva (1866)- Ebaugh, Will (1605)
Quads of March, March 10, 2012, Tallahassee, Florida
English, symmetrical, four knights variation [A35]
1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Ndb5 0-0 8.Nd6 h6
Basically I decided to use white’s natural advantage in tempi to cramp his position specifically the d6 square.
9.Bh4 a6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6
Deciding to capture on f6 was partially dependent on both black’s having played a6 and h6. My dark square bishop isn’t really essential to my plan and thus expendable.
11.e4 Qc7 12.Rc1 Be5
Don Conner later recommended 12.Qd2 followed by Rd1, which certainly follows along with my plan and is an improvement upon the text moves.
13.Nxc8 Raxc8 14.g3 Rfd8 15.Bg2 Qb6 16.Qd2 Bf6 17.0-0 Bg5
Black has played excellently and I completely overlook the quiet move 16… Bf6, which sets up the resulting skewer. Hopefully I will eventually learn my lesson, but in both this game and my last round game my fastest moves (made instantaneously) were both blunders. We are both around 40 minutes at this point in the game so I decide to pick up my pace and attempt to get some sort of positional advantage since material is now out of the question, at least for the time being.
18.Qe2 Bxc1 19.Rxc1 Nd4 20.Qd3 d6 21.Rd1 Nc6 22.b3 Nb4 23.Qe2 Qc7 24.h3 g6 25.Qd2 Kh7 26.Ne2 Nc6 27.Kh1 Ne7
A lot of piece shuffling. Black hasn’t played any pawn breaks, which may have been too conservative; however, doing so would only help activate my bishop. Kh1 was played in order to give my Knight space. The clock situation has steadily come to favor me and at this point in time I still have well over half an hour while black is under 15 minutes.
28.Nd4 Qb6 29.Qf4 Rf8 30.Nf3 Rcd8 31.h4 e5 32.Qd2 Ng8 33.Nh2 Nf6 34.g4 Qc7 35.g5 hxg5 36.Qxg5 Kg7
White is attempting an attack on the kingside however there is still nothing. On the flip side Black’s time is now approaching the 5 minute marker.
37.Rd3 Rh8 38.Bf3 Qc8 39. Ng4 Qe6 40.Kg2 Rh5?
Finally, in serious time pressure black blunders. Simply exchanging with 39…Nxg4 would have been good enough to keep the win. Now white should win back the exchange; however, Will tries to keep his rooks on the board which in turn allows me to simply go up a piece. The result is an easy win especially with such a time advantage and another error played by black on move 45 when black misses a knight fork with no time on the clock. Well played game by Will Ebaugh, and I was lucky to escape with the win.
41.Qxf6+ Qxf6 42.Nxf6 Rxh4 43.Kg3 g5 44.Ng4 f6 45.Ne3 Rdh8 46.Nf5+ 1-0
Cline, Hugh (1855) – Silva, Ben (1866)
Quads of March, Round 3, March 10, 2012, Tallahassee, Florida
Caro-Kann, advance variation [B12]
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5
Another Caro-Kann but this time the Advance variation.
4.Nc3 e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.Nge2 c5
Right out of the opening Hugh has gone on the attack and I’m already out of familiar territory which shows in my next few moves.
7.h4 h5 8.Nf4 cxd4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxg6 fxg6
On this move I had seriously considered 10….dxc3 where if white “wins” the rook then a possible line follows 11.Nxh8 cxb2 12.Bxb2 Qb4+ and black picks up the bishop with the added bonus that white’s knight is still stuck on h8. A lot of counter-play for black and certainly preferable to the text. In fact after the game Hugh mentioned this idea himself as a possibility, which further supports its merit.
11.Qxd4 Ne7 12.Bg5 Qd7 13.0-0-0 0-0-0 14.Qd3 Kb8
In the last few moves Black has seemingly put himself in a world of hurt involving multiple pins and in truth I was certainly on the defensive but on the plus side (if there is one) I had attempted to steer things toward a double-edged active defense. Although the game moves allow White to win a pawn, as you will see in the following moves, it also helps alleviate some of the pressure white has built up not to mention gives Black some counter punches.
15.Bxe7 Bxe7 16.Qxg6 Nxe5 17.Qxg7 Qc7
White could’ve also played,17.Bxd7 Nxg6 18.Bxe6, maintaining an advantage and the initiative.
Herein lies one of the possible complications, white must find the only defending move 19. Re3, not necessarily the hardest to find move but not the easiest when discovered attacks on the queen are looming in the air. In the last few moves I had also begun to gain a significant time advantage, which I steadily improved till the conclusion of the game and which definitely played a key role in the outcome of the game.
Two huge inexcusable blunders in a row. First Hugh leaves his e rook hanging and attempts to sacrifice another. Then white returns the favor by needlessly giving up the bishop. Simply Nxe1 wins on the spot leaving white with no compensation whatsoever and the game would essentially be over.
20.Rxg5 Nxe1 21.Qxc7+ Kxc7 22.Rg7+ Kb8 23.g5 Nf3 24.Bd3 Nxh4 25.Be4 Nf5
Evidently at this point of the game Hugh offered a draw and had I heard him (I was wearing head phones) I would certainly have accepted as white is about to mop up all of my queenside pawns and the only plus(es) black has is his exchange up and passed h-pawn. I was pretty upset with myself for both failing to handle the tactics correctly earlier in the game plus now allowing white to devastate my king’s safety and win more pawns. Despite all this I resolved to make the most of my now serious time advantage and put all my efforts or hopes into promoting my h pawn.
26.Rxb7+ Kc8 27.Rxa7 Nd6
I was surprised that Hugh took my a pawn. Instead, I believe playing 27.Nb5 would be an improvement and at worst white can force a draw by repetition.
28.Bd3 h4 29.Ne4 Kb8 30.Ra6 Kc7 31.Nc5 h3
With this last move I had done all my HW and decided it was time to go all in. At this point I had probably around half an hour while Hugh was under five minutes. I thought through the remaining sacrifices and came to the conclusion that it was either winning or at least practically winning when taking into account the time advantage which would force white to try and solve all the problems in serious pressure. It’s a nice position as black is essentially offering up all his material and staring down a multitude of white’s pawns. This endgame shows just how dangerous the threat of promotion can be.
32.Nxe6+ Kd7 33.Nxd8 h2 34.Rxd6+ Kxd6 35.Be4 Ke5 36.Bh1 Rxd8 37.a4 Rg8 38.a5 Rxg5 39.f4+ Kxf4
The move 39.f4+ is a mistaken attempt to find some counter-play with seconds on the clock but this move helps black’s cause. Nonetheless, Black’s king is closer to the enemy queenside pawns (or at least to where they wish to be headed). White will lose the bishop and black’s rook can help clean up the pawns as whites king is too far out of the game.
40.Kd2 Rxa5 41.b4 Ra1 0-1