Sunday, October 28, 2012

Matt Herman annotates his 2nd place GOTW win against Chris Chase

GOTW 1st and 2nd place winners: Tamaz Gelashvili and Matt Herman

Congratulations Tamaz!  His decisive victory over GM Sam Shankland set the tone for an important match victory.  He's on a serious roll.   

Thanks to the league and judges for the nomination and 2nd place finish.  Grandmaster Ben Finegold won a very nice positional game, and NM Kevin Wang deserves a mention for his well-played upset against the great GM Boris Gulko.


What would you play?


Other than 14. ..Kh8, not one of Chase's moves deserved a '?', and that one can only be assigned with hindsight.  Black has a serious positional dilemma.  His bishops should provide a long-term advantage, but he lacks space and must protect c7 and e7.  The king move is ambitious, threatening f7-f5 if white 'passes' (e.g. 15. a3 f5 and white is significantly worse) and nearly equalizing if white castles: 15. 0-0 f5 16. ef ef 17. Rfe1 f5 18. Ne7! (the only move to even have a shred of edge) Ne7 19. Bb7 Qb7 19. Qe7 Bf6 20. Qe6 Qb6! 22. c3 Qe6 23. Re6 Bg7 24. Re7 Rad8! with counterplay. 

If black is concerned about e7, 14. ..Re8 is plausible.  After 15. 0-0! Ne5 16. Ne5 Be5 17. Bg6 (Houdini shows 0.00) e6 18. Nf4! Bb2! (18. ..Bf4 19. Bf7!! Kg7! 20. Qf4 Rf8 21. Qg5 Kf7 22. Rd4! is decisive, though the machine only recognizes this at the last moment) 19. Bd3 Bg7 20. Nh5 Kh8 21. Nf6! and black still has serious problems.

Houdini suggests 14. ..f5!, perhaps the only move.  One critical line is 15. Nd4 Kh8! 16. Nc6 fe 17. Nde7 Qe8 18. Qc5 Rf7 19. e6 Rf6 20. Qd5 Qf8 21. 0-0 Re8 22. Qb3! equal.  15. ef ef 16. 0-0 is also equal.


Black is lost after 15. h4, which prevents f7-f5 with tactics (15. ..f5 16. ef ef 17. h5! winning) and 15. ..h6 allows white will to attack on the b1-h7 diagonal. The game continued 15. ..h5 16. g4! (D) and 16. ..hg has been undeservedly criticized.  The most precise was 17. Qg5, forcing a transposition to the game, but h4-h5 was sufficient to win.

What of black's alternatives?  Let's discard 16. ..Qg4 immediately.  17. Rg1 Qe6 (17. ..Qc8 18. Qg5! Ne5 19. Ne5 Qe6 20. f4! wins or 18. ..e6 19. Nh5! gh 20. Rg7! and mates; 17. ..Qh3 18. Rg3 and the other continuations are only strengthened) 18. Nf4! Qa2 19. e6 Qb2 20. Kf1 Qf6 21. Ng5 Rad8 22. Nf7! Rf7 23. Ng6 Kg8 24. ef Kf7 25. Re1! and black will get mated or lose tremendous amounts of material. 

 16. ..f5 meets a swift end: 17. gf gf 18. Rg1! and black's king does not survive.  Perhaps the toughest is 16. ..Qe6, which the computer settles on after prolonged dissonance.  17. gh Rad8 18. hg Ne5 19. Ne5 Qe5 (D) 20. h5 f5 21. h6 Qe4 22. Qe4 fe 23. hg Kg7 24. Ne7! and a white rook will appear on h7 or g8 in the near future, with decisive effect.


A few spectators noted that the white rook was a move slow to arrive on h8!  20. Rh8!! Bh8 21. gf Kf7 22. Qh5! Kg8/g7 23. Qh7# also was a nice finish.

That was an echo of Gomez-Nava Pereda, San Sebastian 1994:

White to play and win!

Thanks to our sponsor, ChessNYC!

No comments: