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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Difficult Game with a Material Imbalance

     I first met my Australian opponent back in 2008 and lost against his Dragon Sicilian when I prematurely advanced two (!) passed Pawns on the Q-side and lost them. Then the following year we met again and I drew a difficult ending from the black side of the Ruy Lopez Zaitsev Variation where I ended up with a R plus g and h-P’s vs. his R and B.
     I lost again in 2010 on the black side of the Schevenigen because of too many P weaknesses. We met twice last year and as white I managed to draw from an inferior position against the K-Indian. In our second game I defended against 1.e4 with the Sicilian, got an inferior position but managed to hold the draw when he let his advantage slip. So, going into this game I was +0 -2 =2.
     This game was another Ruy Lopez and things got murky when, in a closed position, the engines couldn’t seem to settle on any clear path. The result was a LOT of time spent analyzing different plans and ideas. The game also included a material imbalance and, as you know, I am always leery of engine evaluations in those positions because they usually tend to put the emphasis on the material rather than any positional considerations.  As a result you have to be very careful when investigating those positions.
     Unfortunately there was only a couple of rating points to be picked up when he resigned because by the time this game was completed my opponent, who had well over 80 games going, had ended up losing a whole bunch of them and his rating had fallen drastically. I was a little surprised he resigned when he did, but I guess when you’re playing over 80 games sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and reduce your workload by resigning games where there is no chance of salvaging anything. A couple of Shootouts confirmed the win for black anyway.

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