Karposh Open 2014 Rounds 7&8
In Round 7 I was paired with my team-mate from my English club at the 4NCL, Cheddleton – FM Jovica Radovanovic. It was a tense game, I misplayed something in the opening and black seemed to get a good game, but then with 14 Rab1 and later 16 b4! I got some initiative on the queenside. When time came to capitalise on that initiative I wavered (21 Qb4?! instead of 21 Bb5!) and let him create counterplay with 21…Nf4. But then he was imprecise on the next move, I was more concerned with 22…Bh6, instead of his choice of 22…f5. However, I didn’t manage to take advantage of that imprecision (24 Kh2! would have kept an edge) and on move 27 I allowed a nice combination that solved black’s problems and even gave opportunities for white to go wrong. I took my chance on move 29, when I took the pawn on b5 (29 Bb5), as he was in severe time-trouble, and he could have punished me for gambling had he chosen 30…Rcc3, keeping total domination. As it was he allowed me to push my a-pawn and then for some moves the game was balanced, but easier to play with white, as I had a clear plan of Bc6 and a5-a6. His started playing only on the increment and eventually cracked when he blundered the e-pawn on move 37. After that it was easily winning for white.
In Round 8 I was playing GM Ilya Smirin, the 4th ranked player in the tournament with 2644. I decided to change my line in the King’s Indian and he played something he had never played before. It led to a typical KID structure with a slight pull for white, and after forgetting my prep on moves 15 and 18, I slowly drifted and allowed black to equalise and further imprecisions even let black take over the initiative. I decided to exchange queens in order to get to an endgame, but I doubled my a-pawns in the process. He missed his best chance on move 32 (a move he played a-tempo!) and then I thought I could draw rather easily. I saw the fortress but then I completely misplayed the position on the kingside, practically zugzwang-ing myself single-handedly! So I gave him a present and ruined my tournament with a few horrible moves. I know these things happen, but you always hope they’ll never happen to you! The feeling is probably the worst in the (chess) world.
Tomorrow’s last round starts at 9.30am. After today’s game the starting time is just an insult added to the injury, but on the other side, it will all be over sooner.