I almost didn't mind losing this one!

Almost.

(Reminder: while we weren't  at Geek Bar this Memorial Day weekend, we'll be back next Sunday, 6/3/2015, at 1 p.m.)

Brock, William (2009) - Eswaran, Asritha (2140)

Modern Benoni [A62]

Chicago Open (3), 23.05.2015


My 14–year-old opponent, from San Jose, Calfornia, is currently the 8th-ranked girl under 16 in the USA.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Bg2 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8 10.Nd2 Nbd7 11.a4 b6 12.Nc4 Ne5 13.Nxe5 Rxe5 14.Bf4 Re7 15.Nb5 Ne8 16.Bg5 f6 17.Bd2 Ba6 18.Bc3?!
Bad idea. 

18...Bxb5

I spent time analyzing the crazy 18...Nc7 19.Nxc7 Bxe2 20.Ne6 Rxe6 21.dxe6 Bxd1 and now Stockfish suggests 22.Re1! which never crossed my mind 

19.axb5 Nc7 

In the post mortem, I said, "I thought I was a little better and now I'm losing." International Master Florin Felecan kibitzed, "Well, that's the Benoni." 

20.Qd3 Qd7 21.b4

I decided I was on the brink, so I chose a "confuse-a cat" variation. 

21...Nxb5

21...Qxb5! 22.bxc5 bxc5 and Black has all the chances. 

22.bxc5 Nxc3 23.c6

Black to play

23...Qe8

23...Nxe2+ 24.Qxe2 Rxe2 25.cxd7 Re7 26.Rxa7!= I actually did see this shot. 

24.Qxc3 f5 25.Qb4 Bxa1 26.Rxa1 Qd8 27.e3

Of course, Black is better, but the c6 pawn is great compensation for the Exchange. 

27...a6 28.h4 Rea7 29.Ra2 a5 30.Qb5 a4 31.h5

A good line for humans.

31...Ra5

Stockfish spits out a line few humans would dare to try: 31...gxh5 32.Bh3 h4 33.Bxf5 hxg3 34.Be6+ Kh8 35.Qb2+ Rg7 36.f3 b5 and Black may be winning (don't ask me) 

32.Qb2 Rc5 33.h6

The fianchettoed bishop sits on the light squares, and White tries to drum up play on the dark squares.

33...Qc7?!

33...Qf8 34.Qxb6 Qxh6 is an interesting winning try for Black. 

34.Qf6

Should draw. 

34...Re8 35.Rxa4 b5 36.Ra5

OK, so I'm getting a little ambitious. 

36...Qe7

White to play

37.Qb2

Subtle, if I do say so myself. 

37...Rb8?!

37...Qe5! (38.Qxe5 Rxe5 39.Ra8+ Kf7 40.Rh8 Re8 41.Rxh7+ Kf6 I stopped here... 42.f4 Rc1+ (42...Rxe3 43.Rd7) 43.Kh2 g5 44.Rd7 g4 45.Rxd6+ Kf7 46.e4 b4 47.e5 b3 48.Rf6+ Kg8 49.d6 b2 50.d7 Rd8 51.e6 b1Q 52.e7 Qb8 53.Rxf5 White is temporarily down the queen and an Exchange, but is totally winning.)

Black to play; White wins (amusing variation by Stockfish)

But I was planning the inferior 38.Rxb5 Qxb2 39.Rxb2: Black should hold here 

38.Qa1!

Now Black can't recapture on e5 with a rook. 

38...Qf8

38...Rf8 was better. 

39.Ra7 Qxh6 40.Qf6 Rc1+ 41.Bf1 Qf8 42.Qe6+ Kh8 43.Rf7

I got this far and assumed it was an easy win. Correct assessment, but accurate calculation would have helped. 43.Qd7 is an even faster win 43...Qh6 44.Qxd6 Rf8 45.Qe5+ Kg8 46.Qe6+ Kh8 47.d6 Qh3 48.Qe5+ and White mates first 

43...Qh6 44.Qxd6 Ra8 45.Qe5+??

45.Ra7! Rxa7 46.Qb8+ Kg7 47.Qxa7+ wins because Black's king is walking and Black's queen is out of play. 

45...Kg8 46.Ra7

Right idea, wrong timing. 

46...Rxa7 47.Qb8+ Qf8!= 48.Qxa7 b4

48...Qd6!

49.Qa2

49.c7! Qc8 50.d6 Kf7 51.Kg2 is a fairly easy win: not sure how I missed this. 

49...Qd6 50.Kg2 Rc3 51.Be2 b3! 52.Qa8+ Kg7 53.Qa7+ Kh6 54.Qd4

Objectively drawn.

Black to play

54...b2!!

The move is obvious, but the supporting variations aren't. (This is a good position to test your calculation powers!)

55.Qxc3

55.Bd3 draws, but I thought I could win a queen down. 

55...b1Q

Black gets a second queen... 

56.c7 Qxd5+

and captures with check...but White is OK! 

57.Bf3??

White almost has a miracle win with 57.e4!! We didn't find the draw in the post-mortem, but Black has a couple ways to draw, and even gets a slight edge after 57...Qdxe4+ (57...fxe4?? 58.Qe3++–; 57...Qe6 58.c8Q Qbxe4+ 59.Bf3 Qxf3+ exploits the same trick as the main variation) 58.Bf3 Qbc2 59.c8Q

(Analysis position) Black to play and draw—chess is a beautiful game!

58...Qxf3+!! (the only move: you don't get to practice four-queen tactics very often!) 60.Qxf3 (60.Kxf3 Qe4#) 60...Qxc8 with moral victory for Black in this drawn ending 

57...Qdb5!

Everything else loses! Asritha saw this back on move 54.

58.Bc6 Q5f1+

I was expecting 58...Q1f1+ 59.Kf3 Qh1+ 60.Kf4 g5# but Asritha found a cooler mate 

59.Kf3 Qh1+ 60.Kf4 Qbe4+!

Far more stylish! 60...Qbe4+ 61.Bxe4 Qxe4# 

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