Board One Blunder-Fest
In Round 5 of the US Amateur Teams East, our Kenilworth team made it to Board One with a perfect record. I was able to win my game and I thought at the time it was rather well-played. The rest of the team drew, so we won the match and they will play for the championship in the final round (the only team at 5-0, with Bob Rose on Board Four this time). Though I'm still happy with the result, I'm none too happy with the game, which looks like a blunder-fest under the harsh glare of the computer. But that's what late round games can be like. At this hour, I'm still waiting for word on whether we won in the last round...
Michael Goeller - Andrew Hellenschmidt [B23]
USATE 2010/Parsippany, NJ USA (5) 2010
The Left Hook Grand Prix, which I have written about many times before in these pages. He sidesteps my analysis and soon I'm out of "book" and blundering.
This is the beginning of one of the most terrible cases of mutual misconception I have seen in any of my games. Both players overlook that Black can win a piece with d5! over the next three moves. Bizarre and embarrassing. The funny thing was that during the game I kept thinking, "I wonder why I've never thought to play this natural set-up before..." Probably best is 9. Nxd4 cxd4 10. Ne2
11... d5! still wins!
From this point on, however, I begin playing some good chess!
Black is other wise losing a pawn or being forced to open up the a2-g8 diagonal. I had calculated 13... e5? 14. fxe5 dxe5 15. Ng5 a6 16. Nxf7! and 13... Nc6? 14. Qf2 e5 15. Ng5! as winning, overlooking his more active defensive idea, which the computer seems to like.
I thought this was a good way to surrender the pawn while getting some initiative. Not 15... Nc6 16. e5 but 15... Ba6! 16. a4 Qd7 17. Rd1 Rad8 might have been best, though the pawn should eventually fall.
The computer likes 16. c3!?
I thought during the game that 19... Nc6 was forced, but White has strong attacking ideas here too: 20. e5!? (20. f5! a6 21. Ng5!) 20... Bf8 21. Qh4 a6 (21... h6 22. Nd6!?) 22. Nd6! Bxd6 23. exd6 Qxd6 24. Ng5 h5 25. Nxf7 Qd4+ 26. Kh1 Kxf7 27. Rxe6
After this I win by force. Necessary was 20... Qe8 when I wasn't sure how to make progress, though it looks good after 21. Nc3 (I also considered 21. Qxb6? but I'm glad he didn't tempt me to play it due to axb5 22. Bxb5 Bxe5! 23. Bxe8 Bd4+) 21... Rd6 22. Re3!?
Relatively best. His teammates thought he should grab the piece, but I had calculated that to a clear win:
and he resigned since he must lose the queen or get mated. I thought I had played a pretty good game, so I was stunned to discover how terribly I had botched the opening. But you can't argue with the result. Let's hope the team can pull it off in the final round.
Game in PGNCopyright © 2010 by Michael Goeller