Sunday, March 01, 2009


I will continue with New York 1924 in another day with my commentary on some of Capablanca’s games. I thought I’d take this time to review a recent game I had at the club where I blew the opening as Black but made the best of it despite dropping a pawn.

It was a mainline slav minus the your typical 5.a4. My opponent took an older route and allowed the gambit exchange. I ran into this only once before OTB and misplayed the b-pawn. This time, I knew I needed to advance b7-b5-b4 when the knight came out but didn’t know beyond that. I was up for the lesson and here it is:

(14) Duval,G - Poliannikov,O [D15]
Ground Hog swiss (4),
(My typical headline sensationalizing the key aspect of the game):


Key Points:
1) When White allows 4... dxc4 5.e3, b5 6. a4 b4 7. Na2 in the Slav. The correct reply is 7...a5 remember it because as you give back the pawn ( bxc4) the kngiht on a2 is limited as to where it can go.
2) I ended up giving back the pawn with interest after advancing to b3
3) The only action I had was on the b-file therefore I had to put pressure on it.
4) This game worked out because my opponent exchanged down to an endgame favoring Black's position.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e3 b5 6.a4 b4 7.Na2
Regrettably, I played 7...b3

I rarely get a chance to play this line where White allows me to take c4. Typically the mainline 5. a4 is played. I had to think on my feet. I recalled one game where I played the gambit accepted but got into trouble with the knight and lost. I remembered b4 was important. But I didn't see the a clear way to follow up. I knew I had to give up the pawn but didn't know where. Thus, the game continued: [7...a5 this is the correct move]

8.Nc3 Ba6 It's just a matter of time before I drop the pawn but the b3 pawn will fall now. 9.Ne5 e6 10.Bxc4 Bxc4 11.Nxc4 Bb4 12.Qxb3 Na6 13.0–0 Rb8 (Diagram on right )

Keep the pressure on the b-file. ( making lemonade) 14.Ne5 Bd6 15.Qc4 Nb4 16.Nd3 Qc8 17.Nxb4 Rxb4 18.Qd3 0–0 Castling before things get really out of hand. 19.Rd1 Qb8 20.h3 Rb3 21.Qc2 Rc8 22.e4 Be7 23.a5 Rd8 24.Ra4 Rb4 25.Rxb4 Qxb4 26.e5 Nd5 27.Nxd5 cxd5 28.a6 Qb5 29.Qd3 Rb8 30.Qxb5

I welcomed the Queen exchange. I knew I would have the better endgame, with my bishop and pawns color coordinated for maximum mobility. I just needed to get my king into the action. 30...Rxb5 31.Rd3 Ra5 First order of business is to equalize material. 32.Be3 Rxa6 33.b3 Ra1+
Second order of business is drive his king to the side of the board. 34.Kh2 Ra3 35.Bc1 Ra1 36.Be3 Rb1 37.Kg3 Bb4 Now that I blocked the advancement of the b-pawn, I can bring my king around onto the Queen's side. 38.Kf3 Kf8 39.g4 h6 40.h4 Ke7 41.Bf4 He has no real moves. 41...Kd7 42.h5 Kc6 43.Ke2 Rb2+ 44.Kf3 Rc2

This is critical. Now that the b-pawn is blocked and my king is within striking distance, I can now challenge white's rook. 45.Be3 Rc3 46.Ke2 Kb5 [46...Rxd3? 47.Kxd3 Kb5 48.Kc2 White has time to get his King in position. That's why I didn't initiate the exchange on d3] 47.Bf4 Rc2+ 48.Kf3 Be1 (Diagram on left) This is a sweet move.

It presents a threat as well as vacates b4 for my king. 49.Be3 Kb4 50.Rd1 Bc3 51.Rc1? This only entices the exchange and makes it favorable for Black. 51...Rxc1 52.Bxc1 Kxb3 53.g5 hxg5 54.Bxg5 Bxd4 0–1
I now have 2 passed pawns, an active bishop, an active king position with no way for White to defend my pawn march. White resigned in this position. In the parking lot, he was having a conversation with another of our Eastern European players and commented " I can't beleive he tried to keep the pawn in the QGA! " I said," It was the Slav and part of the main line ... but I misplayed it." I knew walking out of there where the game went wrong on move 7. Lucky for me I play in the class section where losing the opening is not necessarily a death sentence to the game! I can be a tenacious Blunder-dog!

Hope you got something out of this game. It isn’t pretty. It still shows I need to work on things, like my opening but I really don’t lose sleep because I feel I am having a better go with my middle and end game playing.

Only two more posts to finish the NY1924 series. Stay tuned next up Capablanca.


Chess? said...

hey blinder, thanks for the game review. It was a nice change. The game shows me how little i know about this crazy game. Keep up the blog, it's an enjoyable read. I just startrd my own blog. I'am all of 4 days into it. Can you tell me what you use to post the chess boards? My method is leaving a news paper style board. Cheers and congratulations on the win.

BlunderProne said...

@Chess?: First, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Second, enable commenting on you blog if you want some feedback.
As for diagrams, I use several methods. Steve Eddins ( steve learns chess) has an application on his site that you can cut and paste and enter the FEN description to get the position. But lately I've been lazy. I use a screen grab tool like Snag it, crop the board from chess base and take a snap shot and save it as a picture. There are applications that you can embed a java applet to have teh entire game played with VCR like controls ( from Tacticus Maximus).

Smitty said...

Great post George! Loved playing through this game using your eyes. Personally, I'm not a QG player, so I don't see me wondering into this line much in the near future, but hey, you never know...I could just surprise someone one day.

Also, thanks for that Hastings CD; I'll get it back to you at the next club meeting. Fantastic job and effort!

Chess? said...

Thanks for you help! As well as the FYI on the "enbling of commenting" cheers,