Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Holy broomsticks Batman!"

Sadly, I wasn’t able to watch any part of this match on ICC (the first time this year that happened) as I was at the Giants-Padres game instead. On the plus side, non-observation seems to have been translated into a clean sweep of Tennessee (the 1st sweep in the SF Mechanics' history!), so maybe I should do that more often.

(1) Burnett (TEN) – Wolff (SF), 0-1,

Probably the most complicated game of the match, this one would take more space to do it proper justice. The opening must be some sort of theoretical line, but then Burnett decided to really mix things up with the sequence from 13.e5 to 15.Qh6. It all looks fishy to me – 17…f5 was probably the simplest way to refute the attack – the point being that after 18.Rh3 Qf2 19.Rf3, the opened d8-h4 diagonal means Black can play 19….Qxh4, staying in touch with the important g3-square). Instead, Patrick decided upon a queen sacrifice, after which he had clear compensation in the form of a safer king and bishop pair, but that only brings the assessment to unclear for me. With both players getting short of time, Patrick came out ahead with his bishops raking across the board.

(2) Donaldson (SF) – Andrews (TEN), 1-0,

With John in the lineup, there was no chance for Todd to even up his career score against me. Sorry Todd, by my count you're 1-2 against me , but let me know if my math is a little rusty. =)

As for the game, Black's opening setup was solid, but slightly passive. However, after 17.e5!, White just had a clear advantage. Black can suffer with the isolated d-pawn, but in trying to put up some active resistance, Black threw away his drawing chances. I think 23…Rd7 was essentially the last chance for Black to play “solidly”, as after the exchange of b7- for c4-pawn, White should be winning. The fight continued even after that exchange, but it was all for naught as John's technique came through and he pocketed the point.

(3) Wheeler (TEN) – Shankland (SF), 0-1,

Sam came up huge for us last year, but this year, his busy high-school schedule and big rating gains meant that it made more sense to be an alternate on the team. I'm skeptical of the opening idea (namely ...dxc4, ...Nbd7 and ...c5), but it worked out well. White probably should have just put a rook on the d-file instead of taking on c5 first, and he’s just better. In the relatively quiet middlegame that resulted, Sam played solidly and then used a small combination (...Nd5 and ...Rxc3) to create a useful imbalance. After that, for whatever reason, Wheeler just fell apart quickly.

(4) Naroditsky – Wu, 1-0,

This was a matchup between two players whose combined age equals mine. Daniel played the Closed Sicilian, an old favorite of mine (for what it's worth, I think both Spassky, Short, and Adams used it as more than just a surprise weapon). Like on board 2, Black went for a safe and solid setup. White acted a little too quickly with his central expansion, as Black could’ve won a pawn with 13…Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Ba6, hitting the knight, and then removing the second defender of the d4-pawn. With that opportunity missed, Daniel had the advantage. That advantage turned decisive after 16...f5 was played, which left Black seriously hurting because the position was opening up when he was poorly prepared for that to happen. Daniel took full advantage of his better-developed position and wrapped things up nicely.

'Til the next episode,



At 1:40 AM, Blogger Tennessee Tempo said...

Sorry, Vinay... I guess it is my memory that is rusty... the only game I recall is in a US Open side event where you played the Grand Prix Attack in the Sicilian. Where else did we play?

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Tennessee Tempo said...

Oh, yes... I remmeber the US Jr. Now... but where else?

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

thanks for writing a report vinay, its about time we covered one of our matches. I just wanted to say that i think dxc4 is still the best variation, and i doubt white has any real edge after i played c5. If rfd1 i play b5 and qb6 after which i have bb7 coming and probably easy equality as my bishops are very strong. I believe that dxc5 was best, whites mistake was nd4. Be5 bf5 qe2 should be played, with ideas of bxf6/nd5 as well as putting something (bishop or knight) on d4.


At 9:54 AM, Blogger Vinay Bhat said...

Hey Todd,

No worries. I think you got me at a US Open side event, and then I returned the favor at a World Open side event. Fast forward 4 or 5 years, and we played again at the Juniors.

Good luck the rest of the way.


At 10:00 AM, Blogger Vinay Bhat said...

Hey Sam,

Not sure it's easy equality - White should have at least a small plus there.

So 11.Rfd1 (11.Rad1 is also interesting - 11...b5 12.Bd5 Nxd5 13.Nxd5 e6 14.Bc7 Qe8 15.Nc3, and you can't really stop 16.Bd6), b5 12.Be2 Qb6 13.a4. White is just better - whether he's winning is another story.



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