Saturday, January 10, 2009

I was wrong

In an earlier post, I said that I would probably never beat an IM in a real game. Well, it happened.

IM Danilo Canda(2318)-Alex Steger(1997)
2008 Louisiana State Championship, Round 3

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d6 7. Bg5 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Qe7 9. Re1 Nd8 10. d4 Ne6 11. Bc1 c5 12. Bf1 Qc7

12... Rd8 is a smoother way to defend--the knight can go to f8 and g6. Now the knight is passive forthe rest of the game.

13. d5 Nd8 14. c4 Ne8 15. Nh4 g6 16. g3 Qe7 17. a4 Ng7 18. Ra3 Bd7 19. a5 f6

I am reluctant to open the position with f5 since I have no dark squared bishop to oppose Bb2. 19... f5 20. f4 Nf7 21. exf5 Nxf5 22. Nxf5 Bxf5 23. fxe5 Nxe5 24. Bb2 +=

20. f4 Nf7 21. Nf3 Rae8 22. Bg2 Bc8 23. Bb2 Qd8 24. Qd2 Re7 25. Rae3 Rfe8 26. Bc3 Nh5 27. R3e2 Bg4 28. Qe3 Qd7

28... exf4 29. gxf4 Qd7 30. Bd2 Rxe4 31. Qxe4 Rxe4 32. Rxe4 Qa4 -+ according to Fritz 9, but this still looks unclear to me. I didn't even consider this possibility during the game.

29. fxe5 Nxe5 30. Nxe5 fxe5 31. Rf2 Rf7 32. Ref1 Ref8 33. Rxf7 Rxf7 34. Rxf7 Qxf7 35. h3 Bd7 36. Be1 Qe7 37. Kh2 Qd8 38. Qb3 Qc8 39. Bd2 Qc7 40. Bg5 Bc8 41. Qc3 Qf7 42. Qd2 Qf8 43. Bh6 Qf7 44. Qe3 Qf6 45. Bf3 Ng7 46. Kg2 Ne8

The position is closed and I have the "right" bishop, but my pieces have no good squares. White is better, but there appears to be no way to penetrate.

47. Bg4 Bxg4 48. hxg4 Ng7 49. Qb3 g5

Here we enter time trouble, with black having 5 minutes, and white having 10.

50. Qxb7 Qxh6 51. Qxa7 Qf6 52. Qb7 h5 53. gxh5 Nxh5 54. Qc8?+

54. a6 Nxg3 (54... g4 55. Qc8+ Kh7 56. Qf5+ loses) 55. a7 Qf1+ draws.

54... Kg7 55. Qf5 Qd8 56. Qe6 Nf6 57. a6 g4 58. a7 Qh8 59. Qxd6?

...and it happens. 59. Kg1 Qh6 60. Qe7+ Kg6 61. a8=Q Qc1+ draws.

59... Qh3+ 60. Kf2 Nxe4+ 61. Ke1 Qxg3+ 62. Ke2 Qf2+ 63. Kd3 Qd4+ 64. Ke2 Qd2+ 65. Kf1 Qf2#

After this game, I went on to win the tournament, and with it, the title of 2008 Louisiana State Champion. My performance rating was 2569. I am proud of my accomplishment.


darkhorse said...


I just came back to reread your "Road to the Sicilian" post, and noticed your fantastic achievement. I guess your effort to rebuild your openings payed of handsomely. I would love to hear more about your experience in this regard, as I'm going through the same process myself.

Alex Steger said...

Thank you for the kind words. I think I've finally settled down on a repertoire that I can build on for the future. I eventually dropped the Sicilian in favor of 1. ...e5 and my results improved because I think it suits my style better.

darkhorse said...

Just curious, why is e5 more suitable to your style than c5?

Alex Steger said...

There is nothing wrong with the Sicilian. I just find that I get into less trouble with 1. ...e5, and the positions are, for the most part, readily understandable. When the poop hits the fan, having a pawn in the center helps a LOT. I expect to make a mistake during the game, and when it happens, I want it to be under the least volatile conditions possible.