Sunday, June 11, 2006

The insane ravings of a class player which I post each Wednesday's game that I play, with my own (doubtless horrificly flawed) annotation, for all to laugh at/critique/offer improvements on.
This week, in my return to the SDCC after four long years away at college, I played against Allen Burke, who made an opening error on the White side of the French Advance and could not quite recover despite fiery attempts to get some counterplay.
Burke Vs. Anderson
  1. e4 e6
  2. d4 d5
  3. e5 c5
  4. c3 Nc6
  5. Bb5?

I’ve never been a very big fan of this move and am now prepared to call it refuted.  Black has a lot of excellent options when White chooses this very fleeting pin.  He can play 5…Bd7 which releases the pin, moves the bad bishop to a somewhat better square, and sets a clever little trap based on the knight releasing the pin, for instance 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. Nf3? (or some such) …Nxe5. 7. Nxe5 Bxb5 or 7. Bxd7+ Nxd7; in either case, White has lost an important pawn for nothing.


Still, petty traps aside, I think the best way to deal with this ghost threat is 5…Qb6, which comes right back at White by kicking the bishop and putting more pressure on d4.


5. …Qb6

  1. Bxc6+


Also not a very good move, but White has nothing better.  The only other real option is 6. Ba4?, which concedes a critical tempo to Black, which the second player will use to develop overwhelming force against d4 with moves like Ne7-f5.  In the long term, White will have to waste more time getting the bishop off the queenside, where Black will eventually start to eat up lots of space.  Still, the text is not that healthy either, as we see.


6. …bxc6


Now Black has a very strong game. The bad bishop can now rain the proverbial fire on the White kingside from a6, preventing White from castling Kingside, the former black b-pawn can eventually be used as another attacker on d4 after the elder c-pawn takes on d4 (fully replacing the attacking power of the knight), Black retains the two bishops and White loses them in a position increasingly likely to be forced open, and White has lost his light squared bishop, a critical piece in any White attack on Black’s Kingside, usually White’s best plan in the Advance.  This is about as good as Black can possibly be coming out of the Advance variation.


  1. Nf3 cxd4
  2. cxd4 Ba6


Black also contemplated an immediate center-crushing c5, but decided that it was best to keep White from castling first.


  1. b3?


White attempts to develop his bishop, but he plays right into Black’s strong Queenside.  White has a tactical idea to keep his opponent from castling as well, though, and that plays out as follows:


9. …c5

  1. Ba3 Be7


Now White cannot prevent Black from effectively isolating the d-pawn and wresting away control of the center (not to mention taking aim at the c-file).  Further, if White trades bishops, Black gains a tempo on the recapture by the knight; he wants to play this knight to either e7 or (as events develop), h6, both of which allow movement to a square that attacks the soon-to-be-weakened e5 pawn.


11. dxc5?!


White sees Black’s plan to add the knight as an attacker (either against d4, or against e5 if the d4 pawn is terminated) and decides to strike first.  10. Bb2, despite the admission of a wasted tempo, still seems better; White can gain a little more time to defend himself while Black brings out the knight, although it’s unclear how White will do this.  The best plan would probably involve Nd2 followed by Rc1 while Black plays Nh6, Nf5, and then initiates combat on d4.  Rc1 after whatever mayhem takes place on d4 would prevent Black from completely dominating the c-file, as he does in the text.    


  1. …Bxc5
  2. Bxc5 Qxc5
  3. Qd4 Qc8+
  4. Qd1 Qb2
  5.  Nbd2


If 15. Qd4??, then 15…Qe2 mate.  Such is the power of Black’s light-squared bishop, which has been transformed from a pathetic non-piece in most French advance lines into a terror that is killing a good deal of White's defensive possibilities.


15. …Rc8


Now Black owns the c-file. 


  1. Rb1 Qc3


Black, of course, doesn’t really win a pawn after 16. …Qxa2 17. Ra1, and White picks up the bishop.  Still, even if Black COULD win the pawn, it wouldn’t be as important as the absolute positional domination that Black now enjoys.  The material is still even at this point, but consider: the White King, Queen, and both White Knights are frozen in place, while the White Rooks can do nothing at all for the moment.  The d2 knight has just been pinned, the f3 knight has been unable to move since 14…Qb2 (because if Nd4, then the knight is dropped outright; any other move by the f3 knight is punished by …Qxe5+ Qe2 Qxe2 mate).  The White Queen can’t move either.  If it moves to c2 then it is lost; if it moves to e2 the Black bishop picks it up, and if it moves to c1, then Black’s control of the c-file wins via Qc1 Qxc1+ Rxc1 Rxc1 mate.  The White King has no legal moves thanks to the White bishop.  The two White rooks are confined to meaningless shifts between a1 and b1 for the Queenside rook, and h1 and g1 (or possibly f1; Black probably wouldn’t want to trade his fearful bishop for the imprisoned rook) for the Kingside rook.  White is stuck pretty badly here, and any plan to free himself will take considerable time.  Black will use this time to bring the knight into position to attack e5, against which White has no effective defense.  Once the knight captures the e5 pawn, it also threatens the f3 knight, and eventually Black will bring to fruition plans based on the ….Qe5+ Qe2 Qxe2 mate combination mentioned earlier.  Black can also choose a slower plan based on tripling on the c-file with his King’s rook, which can either aid direct operations on the c-file or free the Black queen to do business elsewhere.  It’s hard to find anything at all for White; no wonder that White used half an hour of his clock on the following move:


  1. h4!?


Even though it’s ultimately doomed to failure, White should get credit for going down swinging.  This move activates the only piece that can possibly be activated in the position, and also scares Black into wasting a bit of time. 


  1.  …h5?


Black was afraid of the White pawn moving to h5, and so decides to block it.  Black should not fear 18. h5, though.  Though the knight is prevented from executing the Ne7-Ng6 maneuver, Nh6-Ng4 works just as well for the purpose of threatening the e5 pawn now that no pawn can cover the g4 square.  Black also fails to see that White probably had no intention of ever playing h5.  White’s intention was probably to play Rh3 (which finally frees the f3 knight, since the White rook can now intercede on the e-file after the knight moves) as soon as possible; though Black saw that White wanted to play Rh3, he was a bit overly scared of h5.  Though 17…h5 is hardly fatal, an immediate Nh6 was much better; the text loses a tempo, and if White's coming attack had more sting to it, this would have been critical.


  1. Rh3 Nh6
  2. Ng5


White is valiantly trying for some play on the Kingside, and, as is soon made clear, is willing to give up significant material for any amount of freedom from the crushing immobility he has been suffering since move 14. 


19. …Qxe5+

  1.  Re3 Qh2

Threatening either mate or fatal loss of material, but White still has one last gasp.


  1. Rxe6!? fxe6
  2. Qxh5+ Ke7


This looks a little scary, but White has nothing.  The White Queen cannot penetrate further into Black’s defenses, and Qg6 is easily met by Rhg8.  White needs more force into this attack, and Black will have far too much time to attack the White King if White tries to bring anything else into position to attack the Black King (if indeed he can).  It’s now clear that White is doomed, and the end soon follows.


  1. Nf1 Bxf1
  2. Nf3 Qxg2
  3. Ne5??


Intending what?  This just makes it very easy for Black.


25. …Qe4+

  1.  Kxf1 Qxb1+
  2.  Kg2 Qe4+
  3.  Nf3


Retreating the King to the first rank loses immediately to …Rc8+, after which many a mate is possible.  Kh2 is also possible, though it works no better than the text does.


28. …Qg4+

29. Resigns, 0-1


At the very least, Black can trade Queens and simplify to an easily-won endgame, all the mating nets that Black probably missed aside.  Given how White’s game turned out, I think that playing 6. Ba4 instead of 6. Bxc4?! is better, despite the tempo it cedes to Black.  In either case, this game goes to show that 5. Bb5 is a very bad idea for White in the main line French Advance.    


  1. As a previous (and occasionally present) advance player I can say your are quite correct in your conclusions on the Bishop move.  Your annotation is very interesting and you do a great job.  I don't know your rating but your thoroughness of analysis definitely approaches a high standard.    Best wishes at the Club and at chess itself.   May I leave you with an addage, "I don't play chess to earn a living but I do play chess to live a life."    Fool for thought.   The Miltonian Institute

  2. Before I get to this week's game, last week's game!    Last week I played the talented Jason Qu, who caught me making a tactical oversight, then proceeded to grind me into the dirt for the win.   Anderson vs. Qu   1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6   White does not enjoy playing the Sicilian on either side of the board, and especially dislikes the ambuguity of the Najdorf variation.   5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Nf3?!   White is following the somewhat questionable plan of pushing the e-pawn.  Usually White's ideas involve solidifying the center with the bishops and bringing the just-moved knight back to b3 instead of f3.  Importantly, on f3, the knight prevents the option of f4, usually a viable attacking weapon for White in such Sicilians as this.   6. ...d6 7. Bd3 Nf6 8. O-O Be7 9. Re1 Nbd7 10. Bf4 e5   White would simply not let up on the idea of playing e5, so Black decides to do it himself.  White now fixates on the weakened d5 square and decides that he'll stick a knight there come hell or high water.   11. Bg5 O-O 12. Nd2?!   White's plan now is the painfully-long knight tour Nf2-d2-f1-e3, at which point the knight will be aiming at d5.  This gives Black a goodly number of tempi, though.   12. ...b5 13. a3 Bb7 14. Nf1 Rfe8 15. Ne3 Qb6   White is having trouble with his d5 plan.  Assuming that White either retreats his dark-square bishop or exchanges it for the f6 knight first, White still can't play a knight safely to d5- Black will be able to trade off two pairs of pieces and leave White with a very weak pawn on d5, one on which Black will be able to put significant pressure.    Unfortunately, White never got as far as that, seeing only "Hey, I can play a knight there NOW, because if he tries to recapture with the knight, I'll exchange off the dark-squared bishops and have a pretty good game."   16. Ned5? Bxd5 17. Nxd5??   It was bad enough to drop a pawn, but White, happily blitzing along through his moves, doesn't see the problem and dives right in.   17. ... Nxd5   Oops, now White sees it.  The knight now guards the bishop, and White's dark-squared bishop is hanging.  If White takes the knight, he loses the bishop, and if he takes the bishop, Black recaptures with the knight and has gotten away a knight up.  Instead of retreating the bishop and trying to tighten things up, White makes yet another mistake.   18. Bxe7?   Exchanging when down is rarely a good idea.   18. ...Nxe7   19. Qf3   Now White adopts a "mate or die" attitude, something that doesn't work very often.   19. ...Ng6 20. a4 bxa4 21. Bc4 Rf8 22. Rxa4 Qxb2 23. Rea1 Qxc7 24. Bd5 Rb8 25. g4 Rb1+ 26. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 27. Kg2  Nf4+ 28. Kg3 Nxd5 29. exd5 Nc5 30. Ra3 Qg6 31. h4 f5 32. g5 h6 33. Kh3 hxg6 34. h5??   Boldly continuing the Kingside attack (and unlearningly playing too quickly) to the end.   34. ...g4   35. Resigns.   White is lost even WITHOUT dropping the queen.   The young Mr. Qu plays an error-free game and punishes White's repeated oversights with precision.

  3. And I'm back.  Law school, sadly, takes up even more time than chess.   I'm way behind, and this game was played on June 20th.  However, it was not played at the SDCC.    I used to belong to the La Jolla Chess Club in my more youthful youth (where I garnered my somewhat sandbaggish 1270 rating), and that club was run by NM Alex London, a great guy and an excellent player who never tires of telling the story of his victory over a middle-period Bobby Fischer.   Back in June, my best friend Theron and I went to Alex's apartment and played a three-hour game against him; Theron and I discussed the situation on the board and came to a consensus about the move to make.  Theron has brilliant tactical flair and I love playing quiet, strategic positions, so it was thought we might eke out a nice result against the master (indeed, we had obtained a more or less winning position from the White side of a Ruy Lopez from an earlier visit to Alex before that game was mysteriously "adjourned."  No one can now find the scoresheet).  This time, we volunteered to take the black pieces.    NM London v. Anderson & Pummer   1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6   Theron knows the King's Indian Defense better than I know my standard 1.d4 responses, so we decided to go with it.   3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f4   London plays the Four Pawn Attack variation of the KID and dares us to do our worst.   5. ...O-O 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 c5   Challenging the White center and begging White to play e5, which would turn his center into a more static target.    8. dxc5 Nxc5 9. Bc2 Re8 10 .O-O Qb6?!   This creates a discovered check threat and puts pressure on the White b-pawn, but much better moves are available.  Significantly, this move blocks Black's own b-pawn, which should be used to challenge White's center even further via b5.    11. Be3!   Blocking the discovered check and daring Black to take the knight's pawn.   11. ...Qxb2?!   It is highly questionable whether accepting White's pawn offer is worth it.  Black's Queen is off balance and White will build up positional advantages as his price for the pawn.   12. Bd4 Qb6   Like a car thief making for the state line.   13. e5!   Rending the position open and showing the superiority of the White pieces.   13. ...Nfd7 14. Nd5 Qd8 15. exd6 Bxd4+?! 16. Nxd4 exd6 17. Nb5   Uh-oh.  Because of Black's bishop exchange, White is in position for a deadly fork.   17. ...Nb6   Black goes for broke and tries to eat more White pawns instead of wasting tempo saving the exchange.   18. Ndc7 Nxc4 19. Nxe8 Ne3?   A fork of one's own, but it is illusory.   20. Qxd6 Qxd6 21. Nbxd6 Nxc2 22. Rac1   Black can't save both knights.   22. ...Ne3 23. Rf3 Resigns   1-0   Black's anti-positional 12th move caused White to offer a pawn in exchange for massive positional compensation.  Black greedily accepted and ceded permanent initiative to White.  The tactical error on move 15 only accelerated an inevitable process.

  4. Next up is my game against Anthony Harbone.  This one left me feeling tired at the end.  I've faced off against Mr. Harbone several times- all of them have been long, drawn-out battles, and none of them have scored me even half a point.  Mr. Harbone is quiet and unassuming in person, and he carries the deceptive rating of 1600, but he is utterly merciless over the board.  Beware.   Anderson vs. Harbone   d4 Nf6 c4 c5 d5 e6 Nc3 exd5 cxd5 d6 e4 g6 Bg5 Bg7 Bb5+ Nbd7 Nf3 O-O O-O a6 Bxd7 Bxd7 e5 dxe5 Nxe5 Bf5 Qb3?   What does the Queen hope to accomplish here?  There is no real threat to the b-pawn, and Qd2 would have worked much better if Rd1 was White’s goal.  On b3 the lady is out of play.   14. …Qc7 Bf4?   Pins cut both ways, and though White has a threat in 16. Nxg6, it is easily dispelled.   15. …Nh5 Nxg6 Nxf4 Nxf8 Rxf8   White had little choice after his error in calculation but to take rook and pawn for two pieces.  White has a passed pawn, but must find a way to tame black’s scud-like bishops.   Rfe1 Be5 g3 Nh3+ Kg2 Kh8   Making way for the rook.   Re3?!   After 21. Nd1 White can hold off Black’s tactical threats, though his long term chances still seem pretty bad.  Now a forcing combination allows White’s rook and poorly-placed Queen to be forked.   21. …Bd4 Rf3 Bg4 Rd3 Rg8 Rf1 c4 d6?   White is apparently a member of the “hope they blunder right back” school of thought.  White could have done better by letting go of the Queen and Rook in exchange for the remainder of Black’s minor pieces, but it’s almost certainly a lost game either way.   25. …Qc6+ Resigns 0-1 Not a fun game for yours truly.

  5. Alas for your poor author, the last game annotated was the last game your author got any points out of for a while.  The next few games serve little purpose but to warn against playing too quickly and blundering.  Read on if you dare.   Anderson v. Robles   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Nf3?   5 moves into this game, which as you know uses a 100 minute to 40 moves, 60 minutes sudden death time at move 40 control, White had 99 minutes and 57 seconds remaining.  That's less than a second per move.  No matter how well you know an opening, think.   5. ...Nxe4 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. Nxe4 dxe4 8. Nd2 f5 9. Nb3 O-O 10. d5?   What is White thinking?  The answer is that he's not; White's still got 99 minutes and 42 seconds at this point; annoyed by his pawn drop earlier, he just starts playing faster.   10. ...Rd8 11. Bc4 Qb4+ 12. Nd2 exd5 13. Bb3 a5?!   Not very good; Black should just develop and crush White's silly-looking position with his dominant center control.  Black has fallen into the trap of playing quickly when your opponent plays quickly; 4 seconds were spent on this move.  Fortunately, White has learned nothing and is spending about 0.4 seconds per move.   14. a3 Qd4 15. c3   Playing without any purpose.   15. ...Qd3 16. Bc2 Qb5 17. Rb1 Nc6 18. f3 e3 19. Ba4??   I'll be upfront- I am ashamed that I have been playing chess for 17 years and still played these moves.   19. ...exd2+ 20. Kxd2 Qc4 21. Bb3 Qf4+ 22. Ke1 Kh8   Probably not the best move, but Black can take his time.   23. g3   Looking back on this game, I can't really understand my state of mind.  I just kept playing bad moves and making meaningless one-move attacks against Fausto's queen.    23. ...Qe5+ 24. Kf2 f4 25. Re1 fxg3+ 26. hxg3 Qg5 27. Qe2 Bf5 28. Bxd5??   Riiiiight.  Assuming that Black DOESN'T fall for 28....Rxd5 29. Qe8+ Rxe8 30. Rxe8 mate, then this move just hangs the exchange.   28 ...Bxb1 29. Bxb6   After this my chicken-scratch handwriting on the game score becomes totally illegible as I descend into a world inside my head, a world of madness and chaos.  This is probably for the best, since simply VIEWING the remainder of the game would probably make your own chess game worse, dear reader.  Suffice to say that in the final position Black has his king, a rook, queen, and bishop with 5 pawns while White has nothing but the king and two pawns.  White erratically played on until mate.   0-1

  6. Throughout this short game, I became more and more confident.  I thought I was slowly building up a nice, solid advantage against my opponent, Mark Lawless, and indeed I was.  Sadly, slow build-ups of small advantages do not always guarantee victory, for reasons that will be clear.   Lawless v. Anderson- C00 French Defense   1. e4 e6 2. Nf3   I don't really like 2. Nf3 much in the French Defense.  It just seems boring.   2. ...d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. h3?!   Mr. Lawless, during this game and in the post-mortem, revealed a phobia of pins of any sort.  A truly irrational fear is the only explanation for this tempo-wasting move.   4. ...Nf6 5. b3 Bd6?!   Not the best idea.  Black wants to put the Queen on e7 and bust White's fianchetto with Ba3, but this will take a long time.   6. Be2 O-O  7. O-O Bf5 8. Bb2 c5   I decided not to follow through with my Qe2 plan, figuring that if I could enable the d4 push, I'd have a nice positional advantage.   9. d4 Nc6   Black just has to stack pressure on d4 and forceWhite to cede the center by capturing on c5.   10. dxc5?   Immediate capitulation.  The pawn is already adequately protected, and though Black will continue to develop threats, White can take some time to bolster the d-pawn.   10. ...Bxc5   Black has superior development and a d-pawn that is cramping White, especially if it can stationed and secured on d4.   11. a3?   Intending b4, but who cares?   11. ...Re8 12. b4 Bb6 13. Bb5   Along with the pin-phobia, a pin-mania exists, it would seem.   13. ...Qd6?   Bad move.  This allows c4, and Black has to retreat the Queen to either d7 or d8 anyway.  13. ...Qd7 would have allowed Black to respond to 14. c4 with 14...d4!    14. c4 dxc4??   Ha-ha!  Now, Mr. Lawless, when you recapture, I'll simply place a rook on the d-file and crush you to death along that file!  And then I'll--   15. Qxd6   Oh.  Right.  Hanging queen.    15. ...Resigns   1-0   Look before you leap, folks.

  7. On August 30th, my opponent was Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, who, on top of being a GM, had White.  What is a poor, humble, class D player to do?  Of course, it was during a simul, but that hardly makes any difference, right?   I obtained a fairly nice position against Akobian, but longtime readers know what happens when your author obtains a "fairly nice" position.   Akobian v. Anderson   1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6   My pet Slav Defense.   3. cxd4 cxd4   And Akobian's pet Slav Exchange.  Exchange variation such as those seen here, or in the French, are "theoretically" drawn.  Theory means little, though, when you're dealing with players rated below 2000.  In the current position, skill is more important that book, which is precisely what a GM wants in a simul.   4. Nf3 Bg4?!   You want out of book?  I'll GIVE you out of book!   5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Nxg4 Nxg4 8. e4 Nf6 9. e5 Nd7 10. Nxd5 e6   The natural consequence of 4....Bg4.  Black's compensation is usually incredible pressure against the White d-pawn, but this probably isn't sufficient.   11. Nc3 Nb6 12. Be3 Nd5?!   Another weird one.  Black just wants to trade everything but the rooks off and try to draw against his 1400+ stronger opponent.  This is not good chess.  Usually I'm fairly good about this and will play to kill my opponent regardless of their strength, but losing a pawn against California's strongest player had me rattled.   13. Qb3 Bb4 14. Bb5!? Nxe3 15. fxe3 Be7 16. O-O O-O?!   Black has an acceptable game.  He is down a pawn, but White's central structure is weak and he has a slightly more exposed King, which Black may be able to make use of down the road.  Black may have wanted to prevent White's following move instead of castling, however, since it leads to a pawn weakness of his own.   17. Bxc6 bxc6 18. Ne4 Rb8   Both sides know that c5 is Black's intent, either adding pressure to d4 or, if White exchanges, leaving the e-pawns pathetically weak.   19. Qc2 Qd5   Black wants to tie down the White queen and add a new defender to the c5 square.   20. b3 Rfc8 21. Rc1 Rc7?!   Not the best way to do it.  21. ...Rb5! seems to work immediately.   22. Nc5 Rb5 23. Nd3 Qe4 24. Qf2 Ba3   Restricting the knight's mobility with a tempo.   25. Rd1 Rd7 26. Qf3 Qxf3 27. gxf3 Rd5   Black has a pretty good position now.  White still has his pawn, but Black is dictating play and White will have to stretch to defend his center pawns.   28. Kf2 c5??   Black needed to back up his 7th-rank rook before playing this.  Now it hangs the exchange and wrecks Black's pressure on the White position.   29. Nf4 cxd4 30. Nxd5 Rxd5 31. Rxd4 Resigns?   This position is far from lost.  The Black bishop does have some targets, and though the White King is more active, Black can still fight.  Black should have played on, though White has the obvious advantage.   1-0  

  8. Here we go with my September 6th game against the omnipresent Helmut.   Keil v. Anderson   1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 exd5   Boooorrrinnnng.   4. d4 Nf6 5. Nc3 c5   Black is pretty desperate to throw off the position's dreary symmetry, and so challenges White's center rather than matching White's development.   6. Be2 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Bb4 8. O-O?! Bxc3 9. bxc3   This exchange has left white with three of isolated pawns, two of which are now doubled.  Black, on move 9, has excellent endgame chances already if he can get there unscathed and keep White's pawns weak.   9. ...O-O 10. Re1 Qc7 11. Bd2 Ne4 12. Nb5 Qc6 13. Rb1 a6   Probably not the best idea.  Black should just proceed with his other plans, or at least find a way of nudging the knight back that doesn't involve wasting a tempo moving the queen.   14. Nd4 Qc5   This move creates a great incentive to keep the d4 knight where it is, otherwise the f-pawn may hang.   15. Rb3 Nc6 16. f3 Nxd4 17. Be3?!   The simple recapture avoids dropping a pawn.   17. ...Nxf3+ 18. Bxf3 Qc6 19. Bd4 Bf5 20. Qc1 Re8 21. Qf4 Bg6   White apparently has no more artillery to aim at e4.   22. Rb6 Qa4?! 23. h4! h6   Black's army, thanks in large part to the Queen's misadventures on the Queenside, is not in an optimal position to defend the King, and since things are looking increasingly bleak elsewhere, White goes for the throat.   24. h5 Bh7 25. Qg4 Ng5 26. Rxe8+? Rxe8   Not sure what the point of this exchange was.  Now Black's control of the e-file gives him his own threats.   27. Bxd5 Qxc2 28. Rxb7 Bf5??   Black had to defend f7.   29. Bxf7+ Kh8 30. Qg3 Qd1+??   This actually hangs the queen, though it's difficult to see how it works just yet.   31. Kh2 Rf8   White's bishops can carve up the last line of defense in any number of ways; Re8-e1-h1 would take far too long.   32. Bxg7+ Kxg7 33. Bb3+ Qd7 34. Rxd7 Bxd7   White is now up a queen for rook and piece, not to mention two clean pawns.  Without the pawns, it might be possible to draw, but White's advantage is just too much, not to mention the fact that White has a nice tactic to pick up at least a piece.   35. Qe5+ Kh7?   Better was Rf6, which saves the rook instead of the bishop.   36. Qe7+ Resigns   1-0  

  9. On the 13th of September, I, a 1300+ player, played Dmitry Atshuller in a game that took 13 moves.  Unlucky?  Only for the Black pieces.   Atshuller v. Anderson   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6   I usually respond to 3. Nc3 with the Winawer variation, but I was in a more classical mood that day.   4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. f4 c5 8. Nf3 O-O?!   This is pretty risky.   9. Bd3 Nc6??   9. ...h6 would have permitted an actual game of chess.  Now White just gets to demonstrate the ol' Greek Gift sacrifice, which Black noticed in passing, but dismissed, since the knight on f3 blocked the Queen's access to the h-file.  The text (and the brain of an astute reader) shows why Black needs a slap upside the head for this thought.   10. Bxh7+ Kxh7 11. Ng5+ Kh6   Ah-ha!  NOW where's your greek gift?   12. Qd3 f5   Blocking off the diagonal, but killing the only good escape square for when White checks on the file.   13. Qh3+ Resigns   Mate in one.   1-0   10. Bxh7+ Kxh7

  10. My next game was against Derek Cameron, an unrated newcomer to the club.    Anderson v. Cameron   1. e4 c5   I hate the Sicilian Defense.   2. c3 e6 3. d4 Nc6 4. Nf3 d5 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5 Nf6 7. Be3 Qb6 8. Bxc6 bxc6   Now things get interesting.  White needs to defend the b-pawn, but how?   9. Qc2 Ba6!   Now White can't castle.   10. Nbd2 Bd6   Black has a good game.  Since the White King is stuck in the center, he should break open the center with cxd4.   11. dxc5   This keeps the center manageable and lets White exchange off some of the tension.   11. ...Bxc5 12. Bxc5 Qxc5 13. Nb3 Qe7+ 14. Kd1   Not 14. Kd2 Qe2+   14. ...O-O 15. Re1 Qd6 16. Qd2   Creating room for the King.   16. ...Rfe8 17. Kc2 Rad8   White has defused Black's attack, but the position remains nebulous.  White decides to start a war on the e-file.   18. Rxe8+ Rxe8 19. Re1 Rxe8 20. Qxe8   Now the e-file belongs to White, at least temporarily.   20. ...Bc8 21. Qe5 Qd7   Trading would have been a bad idea- the black pawn formation c6-d5 would have been minced by the White knights.   22. Nc5 Qg4 23. Qc7!?   Risky.  White must be careful to maintain his Kingside pawns.   23. ...h6. 24. Qxc6?   White is not getting a good deal here.   24. ...Bf5+ 25. Kb3 Qxg2 26. Nh4 Qxf2 27. Nxf5 Qxf5   White must maintain the h-pawn to stall Black's potential passers.   28. Qa8+ Kh7 29. Qxa7 Ne4 30. a4   White didn't like the idea of giving Black another passed pawn, and just decides to get his own passer rolling.   30. ...Nd2+ 31. Kb4? Qf4+   Black can now capture the h-pawn if he wants.   32. Kb5 Qc4+   But Black is sufficiently creeped out by White's pawn rush that he decides to deal with that first.   33. Kc6 Ne4 34. a5 f5 35. a6 f4 36. Qe7 Nxc5 37. Qxc5 Qxa6+ 38. Kxd5 f3 39. Qe3 Qf6 40. Qf2 Kg8?   Making White's life easy.  40. Qf4 would have been very strong, as it keeps White's King out.   41. Ke4   White offered a draw, which was accepted.  Black has no good way of making any sort of progress that doesn't allow White to move his passed pawns.  White probably shouldn't have offered the draw, as his connected passers are better than Black's pawns.   1/2-1/2  

  11. My next game was against David Hall, rated about 100 points higher than me at the time.  Law school exams had forced me to take a half point bye, and so I had fallen behind tournament leader Jason Flar coming into this game.  Winning the game outright would tie me for the lead with Jason Flar alone, and guarantee me a game for first place to finish, but anything less would put me in with the second-place pack.   [Event SDCC Fall Swiss] [Site SDCC] [Date 2006.11.08] [Round "4"] [White "Hall, David"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [Opening "French LaBourdonnais"] 1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. Bb5+ Bd7 (I am always quite happy to exchange off this bishop, especially for its White counterpart.) 4. Bxd7+ Nxd7 5. d3?! (White has already been so kind as to exchange off Black's weak French bishop.  This passive move allows Black to seize the d-file straightaway.) dxe4 6. dxe4 Nc5 7. Qxc8+ Rxc8 8. Nc3 Nf6 9. e5 Nd5?! (Not the right idea.  Black is trying to dominate the e-file by making eventual room for his other rook on d8, but, in that vague sort of thinking that beginners like to use, doesn't bother to see whether White can stop him, which he can. 9...Ne4! would have been better.   Here the knight has a home where it can be eventually supported by Black pawns.  Exchanging it off does little good, as it is immediately replaced by its brother.  It also immediately threatens to cripple White's pawn structure via Nxc3.) 10. Nxd5 Rxd5 (White must still act quickly.  Black, given time, will use his d-file control to crush White.) 11. Be3 Be7 12. Bxc5 Bxc5 (The game looks increasingly more dull.)  13. Nf3 O-O 14. Rd1 Rd8 15. Rxd5 Rxd5 16. Ke2 f6 17. Rd1 Rxd1 (Now the game is almost certainly a draw already.) 18. Kxd1 Kf7 19. Kd2 Kg6? (The King belongs in the center.  Now Black gets into serious trouble.)  20. g4 h5 21. h3 hxg4 22. hxg4 Kh6? (For some reason, I recall being afraid of Nh4+, seeing some phantom line that allowed the win of a pawn.  Can't tell you why I played Kh6 now; Kf7 seems obviously better in the cold light of reason.  But then, if I was playing good moves, my King wouldn't be sitting on the Kingside for no reason.)  23. g5+ fxg5 (And Black can't save the pawn.)  24. Nxg5 Kg6 25. Nxe6 Bb6 26. b4 c6 27. c4 Kf5 28. c5 Kxe6 29. cxb6 axb6 (White has lost a pawn, but he has also made his f-pawn nearly invincible- taking it directly with the King alows the e-pawn to queen.  Black's King will have to be more subtle.) 30. Ke3 Kf5 31. Kd4 g5 (Black's queenside pawns allow him to act with impunity here; White's King cannot support the e-pawn because of the virtual wall spanning a5-d5.) 32. fxg5 Kxg5 33. b5! (Certainly White's best try, and a clever trap, but Black knows much better than to take this virulently-poisoned pawn.)  Kf5 (33...cxb5?? is a disaster that allows Kd5, enabling the White passer to queen, and which renders all of Black's pawns utterly useless) 34. a3 Ke6 (Here Black offered a draw, which was declined.)  35. Ke4 c5 36. a4 c4 37. Kd4 c3 38. Kxc3 Kxe5 39. Kc4 (White must not allow Black to gain the opposition while standing on the fifth rank; Kd3 or Kb3 would both be fatal errors.)  Kd6 1/2-1/2 (Black offered another draw, which was accepted.  Neither King can make progress even by gaining the opposition- the opposed King can use its most advanced pawn to keep the enemy from following.)  

  12. Everything is right here save for the "( )" round brackets.  You want the curly ones "{ }".   Note that you can replay the games with comments in almost any chess program once you write a PGN.    Winboard is decent and supports crafty and gnuchess (  Other software is listed at:     -Andrew

  13. Blast.  Let me try that again.   For the last round, I was lucky enough to get a shot at Jason Flar, the tournament leader.  Winning would guarantee me at least a share of first place.  Drawing would probably be good for second or third, and losing would drop me into the prizeless abyss.   [Event SDCC Fall Swiss] [Site SDCC] [Date 2006.11.15] [Round "5"] [White "Anderson, Caley"] [Black "Flar, Jason"] [Result "1-0"] [Opening "Sicilian Alapin"]   1. e4 c5 2. c3 d6 {Somewhere in all my complaining about the Sicilian I decided I should study one good line of it and have it as a decent weapon against Sicilian players.  I decided on the Alapin.} 3. d4 Nf6 4. dxc5 Nxe4 5. cxd6 Nxd6 {Something about this opening seemed odd/wrong/unusual, but I couldn't find any way to take advantage of it.} 6. Nf3 g6 {The bishop is ok fianchettoed, I would have developed it in another way- the usual dragon diagonal is often not very good in Alapin systems like this, where c3-b2 pawns still exist.} 7. Qd4?! f6 {White's move is ambitious, but not well thought-out.} 8. Be2 Nc6 9. Qd3 Bf5 10. Qd1 e5 11. O-O Qb6 12. Nbd2 O-O-O 13. Qb3 Qxb3 14. Nxb3 b6 {This is a two-sided move that takes away much of the White knight's scope, but also opens some gigantic holes.} 15. Be3 Kb6? {This just wastes time} 16 .Rad1 Bg4 17. Rd2 e4 18. Nfd4 {The knight is very powerful here.} Bxe2 19. Rxe2 Bg7? {Asking for trouble, which White delivers.  Black should have taken the opportunity to take the d-file; Nc4 seems like a strong move.} 20. Ne6 Rd7 21. Rd1 Bf8 22. Red2 Nd8?? {Hanging material.  Kc7 was needed.} 23. Nxf8 Rxf8 24. Rxd6 Rxd6 25. Rxd6 Nf7? {Hanging yet more material.} 26. Rxf6 Ka6 27. g3 1-0 {Black had enough.  White could also have played to win a further exchange via Nb3-d4-e6-g5.}

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  15. The next tournament was the Class Championships.  I came in with high expectations, feeling I could match anyone in the C class.  I left riding one of my characteristic losing streaks and reflecting on whether I was improving at all at chess.   Things started out fairly well, though.   [Event SDCC Class Championships] [Site SDCC] [Date 2006.11.22] [Round "1"] [White "Hall, David"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Opening "Philidor Exchange"] {This was the second time in three weeks I'd faced Mr. Hall.  Last time had ended up being a rather dull draw, but this time I had the white pieces and was determined to make Mr. Hall sweat it out.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 c5 {Creating a large hole on d5.  I'm not sure that's worth kicking the knight.} 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. Bxd7 Qxd7 8. Nf3 Qg4 9. O-O Be7 {Black, of course, can't take the pawn- 9...Nxe4?? 10. Nxe4 Qxe4?? Re1} 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. Qxd5?! {This is fine, but in retrospect I regret not playing exd5, greatly hampering the remaining black knight's development and eating up a lot more space while opening the e-file for my rooks.} Nc6 12. h3 Qe6 13. Bg5 Qxd5 14. exd5 Ne5 15. Bxe7 Kxe7 16. Nxe5 dxe5 {White has completed all this liquidation based on the belief that the passed d-pawn will win the game for him.} 17. Re1 f6 18. c4 Rd8 19. f4?! {Silly, and premature.  White should double his rooks on whatever file he chooses to open before starting adventures like this.} Kd6 20. fxe5? fxe5 {Now White has foolishly granted Black a passer of his own.  White still has the better chances, though, as his passed pawn is protected.} 21. Re3 Rhf8 22. Rf1?! {No reason not to play Rf3.  Then a capture by Black, which White can practically force with Raf1 on the next move, will unpass Black's pawn.} a6?! {Bad because it gives White another chance to play Ref3.} 23. Ref3! Rxf3 24. Rxf3? {Demonstrating more ignorance of the strength of the unopposed black e-pawn.  This costs White the win as Black can now reduce to an easily drawn endgame.} Re8 25. Kf2 e4 26. Rf7 e3+ 27. Ke2 b5 28. b3 bxc4 29. bxc4 Re4! 30. Rxg7 Rxc4 31. Rxh7 Rc2+ 32. Kxe3 Rxg2 33. Rh6+ Kxd5 34. Rxa3 Rg3+ 35. Kd2 Rxh3 36. a4 c4 37. Ra8 c3+ 38. Kc2 Kc4 39. Rc8+ Kb4 40. a5 Kxa5 41. Rxc3 Rxc3+ 42. Kxc3 1/2-1/2  

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  18. Next up was Rocio Murra, one of the toughest Class C players in the club.  The game was interesting until move 11, at which point I just flat-out blundered and wrecked my 8-game undefeated streak.   [Event SDCC Class Championships] [Site SDCC] [Date 2006.11.29] [Round "2"] [White "Murra, Rocio"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Opening "French Winawer"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bd2?! {Odd.  Here the bishop blocks in the White queen, making White's d-pawn weak.} c5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 cxd4  7. axb4 dxc3 8. Bxc3 Nf6 9. e5? {Just not good.  Better options exist, like b5! or even exd5} Ne4! 10. Bb5 Qb6 {Threatening mate in one.  White must either play Bxc6 or Qe2.} 11. Qe2 Nxf2?? {Black is calculating 12. Qxe2 Qxb5, leaving him up a pawn, but fails to see the obvious intermezzo.} 12. Bd4 1-0 {Black was so shocked by this loss that he couldn't muster the composure to continue.  White went on to win the Class C championship.  Nxc3 looked good for Black.} 

  19. Time once again for the insane ravings of a class player.  In this installment, your author takes on Jachin "Reno" Tyrell, who, after upsetting me, went on an unbelievable streak of other upsets.  Your humble author's misery is often another's joy, sadly.   [Event SDCC Class Championships] [Site SDCC] [Date 2006.12.20] [Round "4"] [White "Anderson, Caley"] [Black "Tyrell, Jachin"] [Opening "Pirc Defense"]   1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5?! {Unorthodox.  Once White recaptures, Black usually plays Nfd7 in this variation, but Black's chances are dubious.} 4. dxe5 dxe5?! {Again, unorthodox.  Black immediately loses the right to castle, and must be cautious.} 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 6. Bg5 Be7 7. O-O-O+ Bd7 8. Nd5?? {This drops a piece at once to 8...Nxd5.  Even without this problem, Nc3 was better, placing pressure on the undefended black center pawn.} 8...c6?? {Failing to acknowledge White's blunder.  Fortunately, White had seen it and maintained a poker face.} 9. Nxe7 Kxe7{I know, I'm shocked that I lost too.} 10. Nf3 h6 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Bc4 Be6 13. Bxe6 fxe6 {Somewhere in here, White's advantage evaporated.  Couldn't pin down where, though.} 14. Rd2 Rd8 15. Rd1 Rxd2 16. Rxd2 b5 17. h4 a5 18. h5 c5 19. Nh4 Nc6 20. Ng6+ Ke8 21. c3 Rd8 22. Rxd8+ Kxd8 23. Kd2 b4 24. Kd3 Kd7 25. Nh8? Nd8! 26. Kc4 Kc6 27. Ng6 Nf7 28. f3 Nd6+ 29. Kd3 Kb5 30. Nf8 c4+ 31. Kd2 f5 32. cxb4 axb4 33. Ke3 b3 34. axb3 cxb3 35. Nxe6?? Nc4+ {Black has the game in the bag with his new passer.} 36. Kd3 fxe4+ 37. Kc3 {Looks bad, but nothing else is better.} e3 38. Kd3 {White probably has better chances by harassing the Black King with Nc7+} 38...Kb4 39. g4 Nxb2+ 40. Kxe3 Nc3+ 41. Kd3 b2 42. Kc2 Ka3 43. Kb1 Nd2+ {After this, my handwriting becomes fairly illegible.  I vaguely recall Black promoting the pawn after Kc2, then the White King disposing of the Black knight and vainly trying to seek a stalemate in the pawn forest on the Kingside before getting mated.} 0-1

  20. After my dismal showing in the Class Championships, I was hoping to get off on the right foot in the Markowski by upsetting Mario Amodeo.  My overall goal was to qualify for the Reserve Championship.    [Event Markowski Open] [Site SDCC] [Date 2007.1.3] [Round "1"] [White "Amodeo, Mario"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Opening "English Symmetrical"]   1. c4 c5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 {Black would, when the moment is right like to stake a center claim with d5.} 4. Nf3 Nc3 5. O-O d5?! {Right idea, wrong execution.  Black needs to prepare a bit more- this move allows White's pieces to exercise slight superiority over their black counterparts.} 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 Be6 8. Nc3 h6 {This move is not a time-waster.  With the bishop posted defensively on e6, it is important to keep both knights and bishops off of g5.} 9. Be3!? Qa5? {I was shocked when I saw 9. Be3, and thought it had to be bad, but it turned out to be a well-thought-out move.  Black has all the center space, but White's pieces are far superior, and can exert severe pressure on the isolated d-pawn.} 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Bxc5! Qxc5 {Simple, effective play on Mario's part.  White has created an obvious weakness for Black without giving up really anything in return.} 12. Rc1 Qa5 13. Nd4 Nxd4 14. Qxd4 O-O 15. Rfd1 Rfd8 16. a3 b6 {White wants to eliminate squares for Black's queen and gain space, while Black wants to keep White's rook and queen off of c5.} 17. Qa4? Qxa4 {This is called insane ravings of a class player for several reasons, not least of which is that I feel free to criticize obviously better players.  I think White's move here really dampens much of his advantage.  White needs to keep pieces on the board to keep the d-pawn as a liability for Black.  The more pieces that come off the board, the more the pawn looks like an advantage rather than a weakness.  Tactically, 17. Qa4 pulls the knight away to a dead square temporarily, and allows Black to challenge the c-file immediately without compromising the integrity of d5.} 18. Nxa4 Rc8 19. Nc3! Kf8? {White is not tempted by Rxc8, which makes Black's life easier.  Black, on the other hand, fails to recognize White's next move.  19...a6 was better.} 20. Nb5! a6 21. Nd4 Ke7?? {One of the things that sets stronger players apart is that they simply blunder less frequently.} 22. Nc6+ Rxc6 {An odd way to bite this bullet, but Black wants to make sure he can keep his pawns alive at the end of this.} 23. Rxc6 Rd6 24. Rc1 Bd7 25. Rxd6 Kxd6 26. Kf1 Ng4 {White is clearly winning, but Black is not ready to die yet.} 27. h4 Bc6 {Black reasons that if he can achieve some sort of locked position on the Queenside with his bishop defending his pawns and denying the White rook use of the c-file, his drawing chances will dramatically improve.} 28. Ke1 g5 29. hxg5 hxg5 30. Rd1 Ke5 31. Bh3 Nf6 32. Rc1 Kd6 33. Bf5 Nd7 34. Bxd7 Kxd7 35. Kd2 Bb5 36. Rh1 Bc4? {Wrong.  Black must play Ke6.  Now White has a fairly easy win.} 37. Rh6 a5 38. Rxb6 a4 39. Rb4 Bb3 40. Rxb3! axb3 {The correct way to win this endgame.  Black is helpless after White gives the exchange back.} 41. Kc3 Kc6 42. Kxb3 Kb5 43. a4+ Kc5 44. Kc3 f5 45. b4+ Kc6 46. Kd4 Resigns 1-0

  21. After Mario, I had to face Alfredo DeLeon, rated higher than Mario, and higher than me by a full 440 points.  My chances for getting into the Reserve Championship looked grim.   [Event Markowski Open] [Site SDCC] [Date 2007.1.10] [Round "2"] [White "Anderson, Caley"] [Black "DeLeon, Alfredo"] [Opening "Sicilian Alapin"]   1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 7. O-O e6 8. d4 cxd4 9. Qxd4 Bc5 10. Qxd5 Nxd5 11. Nbd2 O-O-O {The game looks very drawish after only a few moves.} 12. Ne4 Be7 13. c4 Nb4 14. Bf4 Nd3 15. Nd6+ Bxd6 16. Bxd6 h6 17. b3 Rhe8 18. Rad1 N3c5 19. Bxc5 Nxc5 20. Ne5! Re7 {White wrests away control of the d-file, though there are no access points at the moment.} 21. Rxd8+ Kxd8 22. Rd1+ Kc7 23. f3 a5 24. Kf2 b6 25. Ke2 Nd7 26. Nxd7 {Here White offered a draw, which was accepted.  Subsequent analysis by esteemed Club President Ron revealed that White has any winning chances that might lie in this endgame, and was probably best advised not to offer the draw.  One illustrative line is 26. Nxd7 Rxd7 27. Rxd7+ Kxd7 28. Kd3 Kc6 29. Kd4 Kd6 30. a3 e5+ 31. Ke4 g6 32. g4 Ke6 33. b4 f5+ 34. Ke3 a4 35. h4 h5 36. g5 Kd7.  It's still quite drawish, but Black has plenty of places to slip up with what look like natural-looking moves, while White is fairly danger-free.}  

  22. Next up, your author takes the Black pieces out against Julian Rodriguez.   [Event Markowski Open] [Site SDCC] [Date 2007.1.17] [Round "3"] [White "Rodriguez, Julian"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Opening "French Winawer"]   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. exd5?! exd5 {White's move is considered inaccurate at best.  Black had never seen it before, and fails to find the best response- 4...Qxd5!, putting immediate pressure on White's position.  After the text, Black still retains an advantage.} 5. Bd2 Nf6 6. Bd3 Nc6 {Probably not best.  In retrospect, I like 6...O-O much better.} 7. Qd2+ Qe7?! {Better was 7...Be7!  Black should prefer the Queens to remain on the board, and lines like 8. Nf3 Bg4! are good for Black.} 8. Qxe7 Nxe7 9. h3?! O-O {White's move seems like a waste of time.  Black has no reason to put a piece on g4, and the situation is not very good for a Kingside attack.} 10. Nf3 Bf5! {Black's pieces threaten to make themselves far superior to their White counterparts.} 11. Bxf5 Nxf5 12. O-O-O Bxc3 13. Bxc3 Ne4 {Dominating appearence, but White has plenty of resources.} 14. Be1 Rfe8 15. g4 Nfd6 16. Nd2 Re7 17. f3 Ng5 18. Bh4 f6 19. Bxg5 fxg5 20. Rde1 Rae8 21. Rxe7 Rxe7 22. Kd1 Rf7? {Black, frustrated by his lack of decisive play, lashes out at a pawn.} 23. Re1 Kf8? {Dropping a pawn.  23....c6 would have been fine.} 24. Re5 c6 25. Rxg5 Nc4? {A pretty bad move.  Black reasons that if he can pull the Knight away, the f-pawn will become weaker, but forgets that White can easily defend it.} 26. Nxc4 dxc4 27. Ke2 Re7+ 28. Re5 Rd7 29. c3 Kf7 30. Rc5 Kg6 31. f4 Re7+ 32. Re5 Rc7 33. h4 Kf6 34. g5+ Kf7 35. f5 a6 36. Ke3 h6 37. g6+ Kf6 38. Kf4 re7 39. Rxe7 Rxe7 40. Ke5 b5 {Black is lost and must hope for a White blunder.  White must be careful on the Queenside- Black has plenty of tricks.  Correct play leads to an easy win, though.} 41. f6+ gxf6+ {Incorrect by White, but it doesn't matter too much.  Better was 41. h5!, forcing Black into an eventual zugzwang.} 42. Kf5 a5 43. g7 Kf7 44. g8=Q+ Kxg8 45. Kxf6 Kh7 46. Ke6 Kg7 47. Kd6 Kf7 48. Kxc6 b4 {Creating one last trick for White to overcome.} 49. a3 Resigns {NOT 49. cxb4?? axb4 50. d5 c3 51. d6 c2 52. d7 c1=Q+, with an easy win for Black.} 1-0

  23. Next in your author's way to a spot in the reserve championship was Vincent Broman.   [Event Markowski Open] [Site SDCC] [Date 2007.1.24.] [Round "4"] [White "Anderson, Caley"] [Black "Broman, Vincent"] [Opening "French/Sicilian Unorthodox"]   1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 {Weird.  Black decides he'd rather play a Sicilian.} 3. Nf3 a6 {Inaccurate moves by both sides.  It seems like White should have pushed to d5 to get good value for his center pawn, while Black should have capitalized on White's failure to do so by capturing on d4.} 4. c4? cxd4 {White still should have played d5.} 5. Nxd4 Qc7 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Be2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. f4 d6 10. Nf3? b6 {There was no need for White to move that knight.} 11. Re1 Qc5+ 12. Qd4 Bb7 13. Qxc5 bxc5? {The worse way to capture.  White can now wreak serious havoc in the center.} 14. e5 Nd7 15. exd6 Bxd6 16. Be3 Be7 17. Rad1 Rd8 18. Ne5 Nxe5 19. fxe5 Nd7 20. Na4? Bc6 21. Bf3 Bxf3?! {Either way is good, but 21...Bxa4 22. Bxa8 Bxd1 23. Rxd1 Rxa8 leaves Black with the superior game.} 22. gxf3 Nxf3 23. Nxe5 Kf2?? {For the second time in this tournament, your author obliges his opponent by walking right into a knight fork.} 24. Rxd3 Rxd3 25. Bxc5 Bh4+ 26. Ke2 Rxf3 27. Kxf3 Bxe1 28. Bb6 Rc8 29. c5 f5 30. Ba7? Kf7 {White's plan here, as executed, is doomed, but he has little else to do.} 31. Nb6? Rc7 32. Bb8 Rxc5 33. Resigns {White, in his despair, failed to see that Nb6 lost the pawn.}      

  24. Don't worry, I'm coming back soon with some more unbelievably puerile analysis from this most prolific of class players (Class B now, woohoo!)  And I'll be back to the club soon as well to add some more games to my database so you all can analyze my horrifyingly bad style if you've got me up on the pairings page.   Coming soon: Anderson v. Borges, 1/2-1/2, a cut and thrust center-counter battle.   Anderson v. Castaneda, 1-0, a well-played game by Luis; he had me on the ropes until he stepped into an endgame cheap shot that was my last hope.   Lower v. Anderson, 1/2-1/2, a very intense battle where both sides played aggressively (but not perfectly) until wearing each other out into an agreed draw.   Wijaya v. Anderson, 0-1, the redoubtable Mr. Wijaya exposed a bad hole in my favorite French defense, but then opened himself up to a nasty tactical combo.   Anderson v. Jensen, 1/2-1/2, Rich and I fight it out to a tough King, Knight, and Pawns endgame, where both of us blow several wins before agreeing to a draw.   Aiello v. Anderson, 0-1, the infamous game from the Reserve Championship.  Roberto had completely busted me in the endgame, but I lashed out with a dubious (or more accurately, should-have-been-losing) sacrifice and shook things up enough to steal a win after an exhausting Queen v. Rook and Bishop endgame with a bunch of pawns still on the board.   Anderson v. Broman, 1/2-1/2, with everything on the line, Vincent, who had an incredibly strong tourney, simply parries my assault and virtually guarantees his 1st place finish.   Anderson v. Sweitzer, 0-1, Mr. Sweitzer cuts through a confusing middlegame quite skillfully and ends my slim hopes of stealing the Reserve trophy from under Mr. Broman's nose.   Lower v. Anderson, 1-0, Marty deals with me quickly and efficiently in this rematch; he seemed to have a much better time of this opening the second game around.   Anderson v. Kuhn, 1-0, Tom puts up an excellent fight after fumbling some material, but can't make up the difference.    

  25. [Event "2007 Markowski Open"] [Site "San Diego Chess Club"] [Date "2007.2.7"] [Round "6"] [White "Anderson, Caley"] [Black "Borges, Fred"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [Opening "Center Counter"] [Annotator "Anderson, Caley"]   1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bd3 Bg6 7. O-O Nd7 8. Re1 e6 {Black is playing very defensively, but his position has no real weaknesses.} 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. dxe5 O-O-O 11. Qf3 Qc7 12. Bxg6 hxg6 {This does open up a file bearing down on my White's kingside, but Black can make nothing of it as of yet.} 13. Bg5 f6 14. exf6?? Qxh2+ {White simply missed that his pawn was effectively pinned and thought he was just winning a pawn.} 15. Kf1 gxf6 16. Bxf6 Nxf6? {16...Rd2!! leaves White with no option but to throw away material to avoid mate.} 17. Qxf6 Bd6?! {I couldn't tell what Fred was trying to do here.  A bishop move may well be needed, but why not threaten to weaken White's position further with Bb4, for instance?  This move just seems to block in the Rook.  Rd2 was still possible.} 18. Qxe6+ Kb8 19. Qg4 {Not 19. Qxg6? Rhg8!, leaving White up the river.} 19... Qh1+ 20. Ke2 Rhe8+ 21. Ne4 Qh8 22. c3?! Rxe4+ {White decides that he's better off giving up his queen and piece for two rooks than letting the black queen wreak havoc amongst his queenside pawns.  Black can't really capture pawns at once though- 22. Kf1 Qxb2? 23. Nxd6! Rxe1 24. Rxe1 and White has significant play.} 23. Qxe4+ Re8 24. Qxe8+ Qxe8+ 25. Kf1 Qf8 {White is down queen and piece for two rooks and a pawn, but it is by no means easy for Black to convert this advantagem, especially since the dark-squared bishop will have a hard time assisting the Queen in Kingside attacks.} 26. Re2 a6 27. Kg1 Qh6 28. g3! Qh3 {28. g3! is a strong, very necessary move that effectively keeps White's king completely safe and exposes the weakness of the Black bishop on this side of the board.} 29. Rd1 Bxg3?! {A nice attempt, but this turns the position into a more or less easily drawable one for White.  He just has to shuffle his rooks back and forth now, and the black passer will present no threat.  He just has to be careful to avoid cheap checkmates.} 30. fxg3 Qxg3+ 31. Kf1 Qf3+ 32. Ke1 g5 33. Rdd2 Qh1+ {Of course, if the Black queen could get to g1, Rdd2 would allow mate.} 34. Kf2 g4 35. Ke3 Qf3+ {As soon as the checks end, Black will not be able to avoid the permanent blockade of the passed pawn via Rg2.  White must simply deny Black the opportunity to win a tempo by effectively playing g3+.} 36. Kd4 Ka7 37. a3 Qd5+ {White used his move to defend his only undefended pawn, since he still has a free tempo to play Rg2, and he does not want to allow Black to win a pawn with Qd5+.  Here Black offered a draw, which White quickly accepted.}    

  26. [Event "2007 Championships"] [Site "San Diego Chess Club"] [Date 2007.2.28] [White "Lower, Marty"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [Opening "French Rubenstein"] [Annotator "Anderson, Caley"]   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 {I had been brushing up a little on my Rubenstein, having had little recent success with the Winawer, and decided to deploy it here against Marty, a well-known opening expert.  At the very least, I'd learn something new.} 4. Nxe4 Nc6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Nxf6+ Bxf6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Bd3 O-O {As Chuck points out in his annotation, 9...Nxd4 10. Nxd4 Qxd4?? 11. Bb5+ is ruinous for Black, but any Black player of the French worth his or her salt has already learned this common French lesson, probably quite painfully if I'm any example.} 10. c3 e5 {A very thematic move in the Rubenstein.  With White uncastled, Black can create severe problems on the central files.} 11. d5 Ne7 12. Be4? Bf5? {The move is bad for White because of the following idea for Black (and Black's move was bad because of his failure to recognize the idea), which can now be implemented even if White's actual moves differ- 12. Be4? Qd6! 13. O-O (or virtually anything else) 13...f4!!, and Black will eventually play e5, taking over in the center and seriously hampering White's position at essentially no cost.  Black failed to find this idea, however, and so White's error goes unpunished.} 13. Qd3 Rad8 14. Bxf5 Qxf5 15. Qxf5 Nxf5 16. O-O-O f6 {Not 16 Nxe5, which loses a piece after a black rook pins from e8.  Defending via f4 does nothing, as Black responds with f5.  Now the position looks pretty drawish.} 17. Rhe1 Rd6 18. g4 Ne7 {Black offered a draw, which was declined.} 19. c4 Rfd8 20. Nd2 b6 21. Ne4 R6d7 22. Nc3 {Here White offered back the draw, and Black accepted.  There's not really a lot interesting going on in this position.} 

  27. [Event "2007 Championships"] [Site "San Diego Chess Club"] [Date "2007.3.7"] [Round "3"] [White "Wijaya, William"] [Black "Anderson, Caley"] [Result "0-1"] [Opening "French Unorthodox"] [Annotator "Anderson, Caley"]   1. e4 e6 2. c3 d5 {I've never seen this before, but there doesn't seem to be an obvious way for Black to refute it.  Perhaps it's simply not aggressive enough for most White players?} 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d4 c5 6. h3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Qb6 8. Ba4 Bd7? {Given that White is going to castle long before Black does, Black needs 8...Bd6 as a way to block Black's rook until castling can be completed.  Black could do it later, but it would waste tempo after Bd7, and Be7 doesn't work as an alternative because the knight guarding e7 can be exchanged away.} 9. O-O Be7? 10. Re1 Be6 {Black realized his problem, but this inaccuracy allows White enough time to deal out some serious punishment.} 11. Ng5 Bf5 12. Qe2? Qc7? {White's move is too slow- dxc5! is the best way to rip things open.  Black, amazingly, should have castled kingside safely!  Observe- 12. Qe2? O-O!! 13. Bxc6 Qxc6 14. Qxe7?? Rae8!, and Black wins a Queen for a Rook.} 13. dxc5 h6 14. Nf3 Ne4 15. Nd4 Bg6? {Black needed 15...Be6.  White can now implement any number of lines that clear open the e-file for assault- 16. Nxc6 Qxc6 17. f3! and Black is in serious trouble.} 16. b4? O-O {Luckily for Black, White misses the kill.  White is still considerably better, though.}  17. Nb5 Qd8 18. Bf4 Bg5 19. Bc7? Qf6 {White's move just forces Black's Queen to a better square, and that bishop doesn't really do anything where it stands that it didn't do better where it used to be.} 20. f3 a6 21. fxe4 axb5 22. e5 Qe6 23. Bxb5 Rfe8 24. Nd2 f6 25. Nf3 Bf4 26. c4 Be4 27. cxd5 Bxd5 28. Bxc6 Bxc6 29. Nd4 Qf7 30. Bb6? Rxe5?! {White's move is very bad indeed.  It takes the White bishop off of its best diagonal and accomplishes apparently nothing.  It also fails to save the e-pawn with something like 30. Nxc6 bxc6 31 Rf1!  This line would have left White with a very healthy advantage that he probably could have converted into a win, but now Black gets a pawn back and will slice and dice with his bishops.  It's unclear as to what this will lead to, but White definitely had better options.  Black's move is ok, but Bxe5 is probably better, pinning the poor knight.} 31. Qb2?? Rxe1+! {White's move quickly turns into a disaster.  Chuck's annotation provides the best alternative: 31. Rf2 Rxe1+ 32. Rxe1 Rxa2, after which I still think White is in very serious trouble.  I am definitely agreed that it is superior to the alternative, however, as White's move gives Black one more tempo in an already dangerous position.} 32. Rxe1 Rxa2! 33. Qc3 Bd2 {Sub-optimal, but still winning.  There is no reason not to play Rxg2 immediately.} 34. Qg3 Bxe1 35. Qxe1 Rxg2+ {Forced mate follows.  The furthest White can prolong it is as follows- 36. Kf1 Qc4+ 37. Ne2 Qd3 38. Qf2 Qb1+ 39. Nc1 Qxc1+ 40. Ke2 Qc2+ 41. Ke3 Qxf2+ 42. Kd3 Rg3+ 43. Kc4 Qf4 mate.} 36. Kf1 Qc4+ 37. Resigns {Or 37. Ne2 Qd3, and if White does anything but offer a queen sacrifice, leading to mate lines like the one shown above, Black mates next move via Qf3.}  

  28. Next up, Round 6 of the Reserve Championship.  To even have a hope of catching undefeated Vincent Broman in Round 7, I had to take at least a half-point away from this game.  Still, a win was really needed, as then I could control my own fate in the final round.   [Event "2007 Championship"] [Site "San Diego Chess Club"] [Date "2007.3.28"] [White "Anderson, Caley"] [Black "Broman, Vincent"] [Round "6"] [Result "1/2-1/2"]  [Opening "Queen's Pawn Game"] [Annotator "Anderson, Caley"]   1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 h6 {Far from unheard of.} 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 e6 5. e4 exd5 6. exd5 d6 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Bf4 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4! Bg6?! {White's 12th move, a bold provocation, nearly forces the sacrifice 12...Nxg6, with a whirlwind position that White will win if he can successfully defend against Black's strong attack.  Instead, this retreat gives White a commanding positional advantage.} 13. Bxg6 fxg6 14. Qd3 g5 15. Bg3 Nbd7 {The White bishop wants to keep watching d6, and Black must complete development quickly.} 16. Rfe1 Nf8! {This is a very good prophylactic move that takes away many of White's attacking options.  "Never a mate with a knight on f8" was very clearly in Black's mind.  Few players would take two tempi just to shift the queenside knight over to f8 in this situation, but it is what must be done.} 17. Re3 Qd7 18. Nh2 N8h7 19. Rae1 a6 20. a4 b6 {The queenside has essentially stabilized, and now White has a slight space advantage spread over the entire board.  Black's defensive resources are very great, nonetheless.} 21. b3 Bf8! {Another very good defensive move.  Black knows that active play is very difficult to initiate just now, so he fortifies what he has and makes it nearly impenetrable.} 22. Rxe8? Rxe8 23. Rxe8 Qxe8 24. Qe3 Kf7 {White wastes most of his advantage with these exchanges.  22. Re6!! was the right way to proceed, increasing the pressure on e6 and daring Black to create a deadly passed pawn by exchanging.  White is still ahead, but not by much.} 25. Qxe8+ Nxe8 26. f3?! Nhf6  {White's 26th move wastes whatever momentum he had left.  f4! is the way to go.} 27. Nf1 Nd7 28. Kf2 g6 29. Nd2? Bg7 {29. Ne4! keeps up the pressure.} 30. Nde4 Bd4+ {The game is pretty clearly drawn now.} 31. Ke2 Ne5 {Here Black offered a draw, which was accepted.  White's only plan is to play f4, then trying to exchange knights by playing Nf3, then trading off one pawn each on the kingside, THEN using the White king to attack the remaining Black kingside pawn.  It is doubtful that Black will sit by and allow this.} 1/2-1/2

  29. I disagree with the draw...I think white has an position is attached (white to move):

    It seems that h4 leads to good prospects and that you had all the chances here. Yes, it's almost certainly a draw with best play but I think you should have pushed here given your favorable position -- I remember being surprised when I was watching the game at the club and seeing the final position.

    Thanks for the annotation.


  30. does this attachment work??

    Attachment: out.gif

  31. Yep, I've got it.  I agree that the winning chances are mostly mine, but at the time I calculated that no matter what pawn pushes I executed over on the Kingside, Black would be able to just plant his King over there and prevent any trouble.  I can't tell yet what kinds of positions flow if I had continued this game, but you're right; it is very hard for me to get in much trouble.

  32. Caley, you should start I new message, this one is getting way too long. I have enjoyed it though, thanks for contributuing...