Sunday, 16 December 2007

Playing for Derbyshire

Yesterday I had a great honour in representing my home county of Derbyshire at chess. I played for the U125 side against the respective team from Leicestershire. It was played near Leicester, and I was very pleased when the captain Ron Harrison asked if I could play. Maybe it had something to do with me getting a draw against him a few weeks ago!

The format is 16 of us against 16 of them, each team ranked in grading order, with me obviously on board 16. They had a much stronger side, probably more so because of the difficulty in getting players for away games. So we were outgraded on every single board. My opponent was Stevan Preocanin, graded 92, double my 46. Time controls were 36 moves in an hour and a half, then clocks back 30 minutes to completion.

[Event "U125 County match"]
[Date "2007.12.15"]
[White "Stevan Preocanin, Leicestershire"]
[Black "Dean Madden, Derbyshire"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B01"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d3 c6 6. Be2 Bf5 7. O-O e6 8. Bf4 Nbd7 9. Rb1 Nh5 10. b4 Qb6 11. Be3 Qc7 12. Nd2 Nhf6 13. Nc4 b5 14. Na5 Bxb4 15. Rxb4 Qxa5 16. Qb1 O-O 17. Bf3 Ne5 18. Be2 Rfd8 19. Bc5 Rd7 20. d4 Ng6 21. Bf3 Rc8 22. Re1 a6 23. Qb3 Qc7 24. Ne4 a5 25. Nxf6+ gxf6 26. Bxc6 Qxc6 27. Rxb5 Nf4 28. f3 Qa8 29. c4 Nd3 30. Rf1 Nxc5 31. dxc5 Rdc7 32. Qa3 Ra7 33. Qc3 e5 34. Kf2 Bd7 35. Rb6 Rxc5 36. Rxf6 Qc8 37. Rc1 Rac7 38. Re1 Qe8 39. Re4 Kg7 40. Rb6 f6 41. f4 Bf5 42. Qg3+ Qg6 43. Qxg6+ Kxg6 44. Re3 exf4 45. Re8 Kf7 46. Ra8 Rxc4 47. Rxa5 Be6 48. Rbb5 Rc2+ 49. Kf3 Rxa2 50. Rxa2 Bxa2 51. Kxf4 Rd7 52. Rb2 Bd5 53. g3 Kg6 1/2-1/2

I would have been very pleased beforehand to get a draw, but the frustrating thing is I had a won endgame but basically had no idea how to force the win. We were the last board by a long margin to finish, we both had about 15mins left on our clocks. But after playing for over three and a half hours I wasn't able to think straight, almost throwing the bishop away for nothing. So since I had no idea how to force the win we agreed a draw. The added pressure of a crowd of people around the board also added to the anxiety and pressure, I should probably have just kept on playing simple moves to see what happened, but part of me wasn't sure if the position was already a certain draw and I was just wasting time. However afterwards people said I could possibly have forced a win, but it's very difficult. I guess this sort of endgame is where years of experience definitely come in handy!

I gather we lost the match overall, but I think we had a few wins which isn't bad. I'm pleased with my play overall, as getting to an endgame a bishop up is great. Not knowing what to do with it is the sad part. Any tips from more experienced players would be appreciated.

He blundered when he played b4 at move 10 above, but for the life of me I can't understand why I didn't see the simple Bxb4. I just presumed the pawn was protected and that I had to get my queen out of the way.

Thankfully I managed to snatch that same pawn on move 14 as it then removes the guard from the knight on a5.

I was able to trap his rook at move 24 by playing a5. He sacrificed his bishop to allow it to escape, so I was up a bishop for a pawn. However a better move above would have been Bxe4, swap off some material, and play a5 later.

At move 27 above, I was too preoccupied with creating a mating threat with the knight, when Bxc2 would have been much better.

I think for the rest of the game I played much too passively, just trying to keep my material advantage, not really exploit it.

On move 47 above, I had a forced mate in 4. I'd considered Rc2, but I couldn't see how to force a mate, so was more worried about him mating me and played defensively.

I've had Fritz play itself through the game as it finished, it is able to force mate after 86 moves, it seems the idea is to seperate the king from the pawns, and gradually push a pawn through.


Glenn Wilson said...

A quick note on your first game, a try would have been 53. ...Rb7. If he trades rooks it is a straightforward win. If he moves rooks then 54. R-XXX Rb4+ and if Kf5 then Be6 wins. So, he has to play Ke3. If on 54 he had moved his rook to the efile then Re4+ now forces a rook exchange and a won ending. Of course he can improve on that but it is worth a shot...

chessboozer said...

I miss inter club matches a lot. We have a good club in Reno but the nearest club of any size is in Sacramento 140 miles away. Once a year we play a team match against Las Vegas. As Las Vegas is 450 miles away we meet half way in Tonapah. Hopefully one day teleportation will be real so we can play clubs all over the world in person.
That will be my next post.