To be honest, my games from the first two rounds were quite good, but the third one is full of mistakes. But, let’s see with the order how all that happened.
Vassallo Barroche – Aroshidze [D46]
I made this move for the first time in my life. Due to my students, I am in touch with many different openings, so I asked myself – why I should not try them? Ok, maybe I don’t have here such a deep preparation as in my typical Nimzo-Indian structures, but I wanted to try something new.
2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Be2 dxc4 8.Bxc4
Now I started to question myself which was the right order of moves. First castle and then b5 or maybe I should start with b5 immediately. I understand that this is very funny situation for the experienced Slav players, but I was seeing such a position for the first time on my tournament board and it seemed really strange.
I guess for the next time I’ll start with 8…0–0 9.0–0 and transpose to the main lines.
I think this is already a mistake. 9… Bb7 was required.
This is the point! Now Black starts having problems with h7 and c6 pawn. Of course I saw 10. Ne4 jump when I was castling, but somehow I decided that it would be “premature” and white also needed to castle first.
10… Nxe4 11.Bxe4 f5
I had connected my high expectations with this move, but white can simply capture the c6 pawn. Deserved attention: 11…Nf6 12.Qxc6 Rb8 (Unfortunately 12…Nxe4 does not give enough compensation: 13.Qxa8 Qa5+ 14.Bd2 Nxd2 15.Nxd2 e5 16.Qc6 Bb4 17.Rd1 Bg4 18.f3 exd4 19.exd4 Rc8 20.Qe4 Bd7 21.Qf4±) 13.Bd3 Bb7 14.Qc2 a6 15.Qe2 Ne4 16.0–0
16… f5 with some hopes to create attack on white king.
This move spoils everything for white. At this moment I already had realized, that after – 13.d5! I need to look for miracle and get some kind of compensation with: Rb8!? 14.Bd2 b4 15.0–0 e5 +/=, but of course white is clearly better.
I was also calculating 14.d5 exd5 15.Rc1 Rac8 16.Nd4 Ne5 17.Bxb5 Qe7 18.Qd1 (or 18.Bc3 f4 19.0–0 fxe3 20.fxe3 Ng4 -/+) 18…Rxc1 19.Qxc1
19… f4! → Δ 20.0–0 f3 and I already was feeling quite confident about my position.
14…Rac8 15.Bxb7 Qxc2
Nice trick that let’s white to avoid the catastrophe
Of course not 16… Qxb2? 17. Bd7 +- and white has too many pieces for one black queen.
White should delay with taking the queen for one more move and continue 17.Ke2! Qxb2 18.Rxc8+ Kf7 19.Rd8 Ke7 20.Rg8
But I guess black may decline the draw by the move repetition (20… Kf7) and play for something more after: 20… Qxa2 21.Rxg7+ Ke8 22.Rc1 Qa6 Black’s chances should be superior.
17…Rxc2 18.0–0 Rxb2 19.Ra1 Nf6 20.Bc1 Rc2 21.Ne1 Rc4 22.Bb2 Nd5 23.h3
Inaccurate move. I wanted to improve my position step by step by advancing the queenside pawns and bringing the king into the center, but now, in some variations, b5 pawn becomes weak and white gets counterplay on the b file. Black should start with: 23…Kf7 24.Kf1 a6! to make sure that the queenside pawn structure will be in safe. 25.a3 (if 25.Ke2, then it is perfect moment for Bb4!-/+ with the threats of exchanging white knight and entering on the second rank or even just Bb4-c3!?) 25…Nb6! 26.Ke2 Na4 27.Bc1 e5–+
24.Kf1 Kf7 25.Ke2?! Ke7?!
I missed the perfect moment for 25…Bb4! 26.a3 Bc3!? taking on e1 and Rc2 is also good. 27.Bxc3 Nxc3+ 28.Kd3 Ne4-/+]
White should avoid Bb4 by playing 26.a3!=/+
I started to play quickly as only 10 minutes were left on my clock. There was no need to force the play. simply 27…exf5-/+ is the best choice.
28.Kxe1 Rc2 29.Bc1!
As I already mentioned in the beginning, this game is quite far from high quality. I missed this maneuver of Bc1-d2 and Kd1 pushing out my rook.
29… exf5 30.Bd2
It is better to deal with the exchange of beauty knight than to go back with the rook.
31.Bxc3 Rxc3 32.Kd2?
White should fix black pawn on b5! by playing 32.a3!=/+
Now, there is no counterplay with b5 pawn and weakness on a2 is converted into a permanent problem.
34… Rxa3 35.Rxa3 bxa3 36.Kc2
If white will play f2-f4, then black can’t create outside passer on the kingside and it will be a draw, but matter is that black has a winning strike that probably was missed by my opponent:
getting another passed pawn on the kingside.