Karposh Open 2014 Round 6

I repeated black today and that is never easy. I was paired against Borki Predojevic, Bosnia’s number 2 player (behind Predrag Nikolic). I think (I’m not spreading gossip here, it’s just my opinion) he worked for Carlsen and I tried to prepare well for the game.

He played 1 Nf3 (Carlsen’s choice at the beggining of the Anand match, also played frequently by his “only” official second Hammer) and after my 1…c5 we went for the Symmetrical English. On move 9 he went for a rare plan, playing 9 Qb3, but I soon realised that it was the only way to put black under some sort of pressure. His idea was to play e3, Rd1 and then either push d4 or exchange dark-squared bishops by Ne2. When both sides finished development, I decided it was time for black to occupy the centre with the pawns and went for 12…d5. It was possible to play otherwise, of course, but I had a good position and decided I can be ambitious. The critical position arose two moves later, when I made a typical mistake – imprecise calculations led to wrong evaluation of the position. My initial idea was to play 14…d4, but I didn’t like 15 Qc4 and decided against it – had I calculated better, I would have seen that black is more than OK after either 15…Nf5 or 15…Qd5. Instead I went for 14…c4, creating dark-square weaknesses but I hoped that my far-advanced pawn on c4 would give me counterplay – yet another mistake of the same kind: in my calculations I missed that I can never actually take on c4 with my d-pawn. And then already on move 16 I made another mistake, admittedly in an unpleasant position for me and suddenly it was all over. This time in the tactical sequence 21…Nb4 22 Rf5 Nd3 I didn’t see 23 Qf6! I played on an exchange down, as we were low on time, but the result was clear.

Too many mistakes for one game! Let’s hope all the mistakes I was supposed to make were concentrated in this one game. And on a side note, maybe as a premonition, this morning my desktop computer for some reason couldn’t connect to my laptop, thus I couldn’t use the full power of the multi-core CPU from my desktop – during the game it also looked as if I couldn’t calculate to the best of my abilities!

Otherwise, the tournament so far is dominated by the Spanish Inquisition! The European vice-champion Anton Guijarro and Salgado Lopez are leading with 5.5/6, having drawn the game between themselves in the previous round. Anton continues with good play after Yerevan and Salgado seems to enjoy his new life in Sofia (now that’s strange, a Spaniard moving to live in Bulgaria! Usually it’s the Bulgarians who try to flee their country) and it shows in his results.

Tomorrow’s round marks the beginning of the final third of the tournament. In opens, the finish is everything so let’s hope for a good one!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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