[Event "5th Annual John T. Irwin National Tourn"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.07.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Levi, Ariel"] [Black "Kudrin, Sergey"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A37"] [WhiteElo "2143"] [BlackElo "2457"] [Annotator "Ariel Levi"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [SourceVersionDate "2022.08.13"] {[%evp 0,88,17,0,14,2,11,11,5,5,2,2,31,26,26,11,13,13,20,9,29,29,13,29,17,10,4, -2,-8,-8,-8,-8,-8,-33,0,-33,-11,-11,-11,-11,-11,-12,0,-98,-98,-98,-103,-103, -103,-87,-106,-134,-130,-130,-92,-133,-108,-161,-129,-150,-150,-389,-389,-369, -369,-407,-400,-400,-348,-400,-400,-408,-403,-403,-403,-403,-323,-313,-394, -473,-470,-517,-503,-528,-536,-536,-456,-574,-552,-574,-552] This was my third-round game. In a Maroczy Bind position, Kudrin played an aggressive move aimed at setting up a pin and winning a knight. In the subsequent complications, I missed the opportunity to give up my queen for excellent material and positional compensation. A few moves later, I faced the choice between a line that gave me three pawns for a knight versus a line that would have given me a rook and two pawns for two minor pieces. I chose the former. Later analysis by Stockfish 14 revealed that I had misevaluated these lines and had chosen the wrong one. Kudrin won by advancing on the kingside and taking advantage of a time-pressured blunder on my part.} 1. c4 c5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 e5 6. O-O d6 7. Ne1 ({In his book on the Symmetrical English Opening, Mihail Marin suggested 7.a3, with the idea of expanding with b4 to obtain Benko Gambit type play (e.g.,} 7. a3 Nge7 8. b4 cxb4 9. axb4 Nxb4 10. Ba3 Nec6 11. Qa4 Na6 12. Ne4 Bf8 13. c5 $1 {with advantage to White). Black can decline the b-pawn by playing 8...e4 or 8...0-0 but White retains good chances for an advantage.}) 7... Be6 8. d3 Nge7 9. Nc2 d5 {Played before White clamps down on d5 with Ne3.} 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Ne3 Nde7 12. Nc4 O-O 13. Bg5 {With the idea of Bxc6 to wreck Black’s pawn structure.} f6 (13... h6 { would have allowed Bxc6.}) 14. Be3 b6 15. Qa4 Qd7 16. a3 Rab8 {Here I spent about 20 minutes calculating the consequences of Black’s planned ...b5, which would lead to a forced sequence of moves after which I would need to choose between two main variations. In one of these variations I would gain three pawns for a knight; in the other I would gain a rook and one or two pawns for a bishop and knight. At this point, both seemed to yield a reasonable position with about dynamic equality. I decided to allow 17...b5, go down the main sequence of moves, and then decide between the two variations when I faced the critical choice.} 17. Rfc1 b5 $6 ({When I checked the game later, Stockfish 14 recommended} 17... f5 {evaluating the position as about ¾ pawns worth of advantage to Black. After 17...b5, the Stockfish evaluation shifted in favor of White. But the move makes it necessary to do a lot of concrete calculation.}) 18. Nxb5 Nd4 19. Bxd4 {I had planned to make this move but before doing so I checked the possibility of 19.Nxd4, giving up the queen for 2 minor pieces plus two pawns and possibly an exchange.} ({I saw the line} 19. Nxd4 Qxa4 20. Nxe6 {but rejected it on general grounds (“I’ve calculated two lines that would give me a reasonable position and there is no need to resort to sacrificing the queen for what looks like insufficient compensation.”). However, this was superficial reasoning. It turns out that the sacrifice would have been well worth it, yielding sufficient material for the queen as well as a position in which White’s great piece activity and coordination make it easier for White than Black to play. According to Stockfish, after} Nf5 {with the further} 21. b3 Qe8 22. Nxf8 Bxf8 23. b4 Rc8 { giving White at least a slight advantage.}) 19... exd4 ({If} 19... cxd4 20. Ncd6 {would give White a big advantage.}) 20. Ncd6 Nc8 ({I had expected this move but also had to be prepared for} 20... Rb6 {the other attempt to win a piece. I had planned to play} 21. Rxc5 Rxd6 22. Rc7 Qe8 {(necessary to keep the b5 knight pinned)} 23. Rxa7 Rb6 24. b4 Bd7 25. Nc7 Bxa4 26. Nxe8 {with three pawns for the piece. I couldn’t calculate beyond this point but thought that my two passed pawns, active rooks, and strong light-squared bishop would give me reasonable chances.}) ({After} 20... Nc8 {I faced the critical choice. I spent about 15 minutes deciding between} 21. Rxc5 {which would give me three pawns for my knight} ({and} 21. Nb7 {which would give me a rook and two pawns for my knight and bishop. It was a close call, but I chose 21.Rxc5, mainly because I didn’t want to give up my light-squared bishop and allow a potential king-side attack:} Rxb7 22. Bxb7 Qxb7 23. Rxc5 Bh3 {However, subsequent analysis with Stockfish shows that I made the wrong choice. White can play} 24. Qc4+ Kh8 25. Qd5 Qe7 26. Rc2)) 21. Rxc5 $2 Nxd6 22. Bc6 Qe7 23. Nxd4 Bf7 24. Rc2 $6 f5 25. Bf3 Qf6 {Here, I thought my position was fine. I had three pawns for the piece, a safe king, and active pieces. However, Black gains the initiative by advancing on the kingside.} 26. e3 g5 ({Stockfish gives the variation} 26... f4 27. gxf4 Nf5 28. Nxf5 Bb3 {with a big advantage for Black.}) 27. Qa5 {To return to the defense after 27...f4. I may as well have taken the pawn on a7, but at this point I realized how bad my game was.} f4 28. Qd2 Qg6 29. Nc6 Rbe8 30. g4 $2 {After this, the game is hopeless.} fxe3 31. fxe3 Bb3 32. Rf1 Bxc2 33. Qxc2 Rxe3 34. Bd5+ Kh8 35. Rxf8+ Bxf8 36. Qf2 Re8 37. Ne5 Qg7 38. d4 Be7 39. Bc6 {and I resigned a few moves later.} Rf8 40. Qg3 Qf6 41. Nf3 Nc4 42. Be4 Qf4 43. Qxf4 Rxf4 44. Bb7 Nxb2 0-1 [Event "5th Annual John T. Irwin National Tourn"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.08.01"] [Round "5"] [White "Levi, Ariel"] [Black "Truelson, Nels"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A11"] [WhiteElo "2143"] [BlackElo "2200"] [Annotator "Ariel Levi"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [SourceVersionDate "2022.08.14"] {Following is my fifth-round game. I obtained an advantageous middle game, then let my advantage dissipate after an attempt at tactical trickery fell short. The game looked like it was heading toward a draw when my opponent made a horrific blunder and had to resign.} 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 g6 5. b3 Bg7 6. Bb2 O-O 7. O-O Qb6 {I’ve had this position several times in past tournaments, almost always gaining an advantage out of the opening.} 8. Qc2 Bf5 ({With Black’s kingside fianchetto setup blocking its retreat, and White having refrained from e4, this bishop doesn’t have a stable post here. White will be able to attack it with d3 and e4, and the natural move} 8... Nbd7 {would block the bishop’s retreat along its original diagonal.}) (8... Bg4 { would have been preferable.}) 9. d3 Na6 10. Nbd2 Rad8 11. a3 Rfe8 12. Rab1 { This enables e4 by protecting the b2 bishop, which would have been loose after an immediate e4} (12. e4 dxe4 13. dxe4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Qxe4 Bxb2) ({ Also good was} 12. b4) 12... Nb8 13. e4 dxe4 14. dxe4 Bg4 15. Ne5 ({I spent about 10 minutes deciding between this move and the other main candidate moves of} 15. h3 {and}) (15. c5 {When I checked the game later with Stockfish, the engine preferred these moves to the one I chose. However, all three moves were evaluated as giving White a solid (about a pawn’s worth) advantage.}) 15... Bc8 {At this point my opponent offered me a draw. No dice...I had a spatial advantage, active piece placement, and good prospects of improving my position by advancing in the center, the queenside, and possibly the kingside. I also didn’t see any clear active plan for Black.} 16. c5 Qc7 17. Rfe1 Ng4 { It makes sense for Black to trade some minor pieces.} 18. Nxg4 Bxg4 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qc3+ f6 $6 ({I was surprised by this, as I had been sure he would play the superior} 20... Kg8 {after which I would have played some combination of b4, Nc4, and f4, retaining the spatial advantage with good prospects.}) ({ Black’s} 20... f6 {allowed me to advance in the center immediately to weaken his kingside and/or gain an outpost for my knight on d6.}) 21. e5 Nd7 ({If} 21... Bf5 22. Rbc1 Nd7 23. f4 fxe5 24. Nf3 {retaining control over the position.}) 22. exf6+ exf6 ({If} 22... Nxf6 23. Nc4 {with a big advantage to White due to Black’s weak pawn and weak squares on the e-file.}) 23. Nc4 $5 ( {I knew I had a substantial positional advantage, which could be maintained by the obvious} 23. Ne4 {However, I decided to force matters by playing a tricky pawn sacrifice that I calculated would win material. However, an exact sequence of moves was required for the sacrifice to work, and I played an inaccurate sequence, allowing my opponent to “muddy the waters.”}) 23... Nxc5 ({If Black does not take the pawn and plays} 23... Ne5 {White gains a big advantage with} 24. Nd6 Re7 25. Re3 Nf7 26. Rxe7 Qxe7 27. Re1 Qd7 28. Qc4 Nxd6 29. cxd6 b5 30. Qd4) 24. Ne3 $2 ({This was my idea - a double attack on Black’s loose bishop and knight that would lead to a forced win of material. However, later analysis with Stockfish showed that for the sacrifice to work it was necessary to first trade rooks on e8:} 24. Rxe8 Rxe8 25. Ne3 Ne4 26. Qc2 Bf5 27. g4 Nxf2 28. Nxf5+ gxf5 29. Qxf5 Re2 30. g5 fxg5 31. Rf1 {This would have given me a winning position.}) ({I rejected the trade of rooks on the principle that one should not give up a central file to the opponent unless necessary. Unfortunately, the version I chose, with an immediate} 24. Ne3 { dissipated much of my advantage.}) 24... Ne4 25. Qc2 Bf5 26. Nxf5+ ({During my long think before the pawn sacrifice, I had planned to play} 26. g4 {to win a piece (which would be the case if I had included a prior trade of rooks, as in the variation above). However, here I realized that this move now fails to} Qf4 {The best that White can do is play} 27. Rbd1 ({If} 27. gxf5 Rd2 {wins}) ({If} 27. f3 Nd2 {wins}) ({And if} 27. Nxf5+ gxf5 {and Black is a pawn up with advantage.}) {after which} 27... Rxd1 28. Rxd1 Bc8 29. Rd4 f5 {with advantage to Black. So with my time running low, I had to settle for a tiny advantage.}) 26... gxf5 27. Bxe4 fxe4 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. Qxe4 Qe5 (29... Rd5 {was slightly better. My only hope to win this game was to keep the queens on and try to take advantage of Black’s slightly weakened kingside. But the game should be a draw.}) 30. Qb4 Rd7 $4 (30... Rd7 {Truelson played this with more than 20 minutes on his clock, compared to my 4 minutes. I believe that he was hoping that I would play} 31. Re1 {“forcing” me to play} a5 {after which} 32. Rxe5 axb4 33. Ra5 Rd3 34. axb4 Rxb3 35. Ra4 {would give Black a more active rook with the possibility of getting a passed pawn on the queenside.}) 31. Qg4+ { Truelson resigned immediately.} 1-0