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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hangover Chess

The league match against Bensheim unfortunately brought about a major drawback in my team's bid for promotion as we lost 3.5:4.5 to our strong opponents. We were well on course after taking an early lead but got turned down in the end because of two gross blunders under time pressure, which cost at least one point, if not even one and a half.

This outcome is even more annoying because Lather and I came well prepared. Of course, when I say well prepared, I mean preparation as it was once understood by Fitschel's team SC Steinbach. That is, you simply get rascally drunk the night before the match and make an honest effort not to touch a chessboard while doing so.

I therefore made sure that my rucksack was tightly packed with various alcoholic beverages when I set out for Lather's place on Saturday. The obvious outcome of this enterprise was, of course, that we were badly hung over when we eventually awoke on Sunday. Thus prepared we managed to score two solid wins, although Lather had to work for almost six hours before he had finished the job. Needless to say that we were suffering the whole day from the vicious side effects of this kind of preparation...

I had the good luck to reach a won position very quickly and apparently was not hung over enough to spoil it:

Uwira (2222) - Kargoll (2201)

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 c5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. O-O cxd4?!

This is not good because White is able to reach some kind of Grünfeld Reversed where Black has locked up his light-squared bishop voluntarily.

7. Nxd4 Qb6?! 8. Nb5!?

After Black's 7th move, White could also have kept things simple by 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Nc3 which sets up the Grünfeld Reversed theme. However, if you're still intoxicated at this crossroads, you might be getting adventurous ideas. My move does not seem bad, though, because it's also Rybka's choice. It relies on the assumption that Black can't really play 8...a6 because White should be able to make his better development tell.

To my delight my opponent didn't sense danger here and in fact played that move, instead of e.g. 8...dxc4 9.N1c3 when White still has a pull because of his strong development.

8...a6? 9. Be3 Qa5

9...Qd8 10.N5c3 dxc4 11.Qxd8+ followed by 12.Nd2 also doesn't look very promising for Black.

10. N5c3 dxc4 11. Nd2 Nd5 12. Nxc4 Nxe3

This zwischenzug must have been what Black had relied on, but White can now reach a decisive advantage in various ways. The simple way would be 13.Nxa5 Nxd1 14.Nxc6 Nxc3 15.bxc3 which I dismissed because I thought it was not a clear enough advantage. What I hadn't seen here was that Black has no sufficient way to defend his b-pawn in view of White's Na5 followed by Rab1. So 13.Nxa5 was the clean way to go. My move is also good, but the position becomes a little messier.

13. fxe3 Qc7 14. Ne4 f6 15. Rc1 Bd7 16. Ned6+ Bxd6 17. Qxd6

Black is done for, because either he'll lose his b-pawn after taking on d6 or he'll come under a deadly attack after 17...0-0-0 18.Rfd1 followed by Qc5. My opponent now went into the tank for almost a full hour and as I was wandering around waiting for him to move I suddenly felt an urgent need to find the bathroom and be sick.

So off I went and prayed to the porcelain god, thanking him that my position was clearly won already! The rest of the game is Black agony and not even a few second best moves on my part could spoil the party anymore...

17...Qxd6 18. Nxd6+ Ke7 19. Nxb7 Rab8 20. Nc5 Ne5 21. b3 a5 22. Rfd1 Bb5 23. Bf3 Rhc8 24. Kf2 Rb6 25. Nb7 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 a4 27. Rc7+ Nd7 28. b4 a3 29. Na5 Kd6 30. Rc3 Ne5 31. Rxa3 $18 Nxf3 32. exf3 e5 33. Rc3 Ke6 34. Nb3 Rd6 35. a4 1-0


  1. Nice game! I think your preparation was very well :-) I hope you´ll Strike back, against Griesheim.

  2. I've just checked my database which has 143 games where 7...Qb6 had been played.

    Then we have 8.Nxc6 (96 games, 87%) and 8.Nb5 (32 games, 78%) as main continuations. White scores heavily after both 8.Nb5 dxc4 and 8.Nb5 a6 but from what I can see, Black is plain lost after 8...a6.

    The position after 8.Nb5 a6 9.Be3 went White's way 5 times out of 7 (with a fluke draw after 9...Bc5 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 11.Nc7+ in a game from 1952, but this is ridiculous as Black should be clearly lost).

    The other game that didn't go White's way was Chapa (2230) - De Firmian (2570) from 1989 which went 9...Qa5 10.N5c3 dxc4 as in my game and now White went 11.Bxc6+? (totally unnecessary) and after 11...bxc6 he even played 12.Na3 offering a piece sacrifice. De Firmian declined and went on to win.

    Instead of 11.Bxc6+ White should simply play 11.Nd2 as I did, with a fat advantage of approximately +1.00 according to Rybka...

  3. OK..I think it´s a very hard defending position for Black. Maybe in the Game, Chapa-DeFirmian, the only reason, that Black won the Game, was the different Player Strength... But like the most times in our´s not so easy to win a winning position...

  4. Yeah I guess De Firmian only won because he was the better player. It's quite possible that you or I would lose the position after 11.Nd2 against a GM just because we don't play as well as the GM does and the position is not fool-proof... you surely remember my game against Milov at Bad Homburg this year... oh my...

  5. I remember your Game...incredible...
    Strong play from both sides.
    But, the draw between you and milov shows (in my eyes) how strong such a player like milov really is.
    From one Point on, he found the Moves that made the most practical probs.