24 July 2010

Castling Misjudged

It seems like ages ago when, in Pyramids and Dropouts, I described the format of SchemingMind.com's Dropout Tournaments. Whether you call it a dropout or a knockout, the end result is the same. You get zero points for a win, one point for a draw, and three points for a loss. Once you've amassed six points, you're out. The format of two games per round means you can be eliminated with two losses in the same round. Even if you go the distance of six rounds, a score of six wins and six draws (+6-0=6) means you just barely survived.

In my first SchemingMind dropout, I survived until the fifth round. I managed to get through the first four rounds with three draws (+5-0=3), but then crashed and burned in both fifth round games. Here's one of those two losses.

As Black in the diagrammed position I was feeling comfortable with my game. Although by playing ...g5 and ...g4, I had forgone the possibility of castling ...O-O, I was happy to play 12...O-O-O. I reasoned: (1) that my King was better on the Queenside than White's King would be on that side, and (2) that White's castling O-O would leave the Queen out of play on h1 with the King exposed to a Pawn thrust.


After 12.d2-d4

When White played 13.O-O, I realized that my reasoning was faulty. If the castled position gets too hot, the King can move to h2, releasing the Queen for action along the first rank. The Pawns on g3 and h4 will provide adequate shelter while White plays against the loose position of the Black King. I continued 13...f5, but was unable to work up any real threats against the White King. Meanwhile my own King fell under the crossfire of White's pieces. Here's the full game score.

[Event "2009 Chess960 Dropout Tournament, Round 5"]
[Site "SchemingMind.com"]
[Date "2010.03.06"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Tyler"]
[Black "bemweeks"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Variant "fischerandom"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "bnnrkbrq/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/BNNRKBRQ w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.g3 d5 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 d4 4.Nb5 Na6 5.Nb3 g5 6.c3 dxc3 7.bxc3 c6 8.N5d4 Nc7 9.Nc2 b6 10.Bg2 Ne7 11.h4 g4 12.d4 O-O-O 13.O-O f5 14.exf5 exf5 15.c4 Rg6 16.Rfe1 Qg8 17.d5 f4 18.gxf4 cxd5 19.Be5 Nf5 20.Ne3 Nxe3 21.Rxe3 Bd6 22.cxd5 Qf7 23.Nd4 Nxd5 24.f5 Rh6 25.Red3 Bxe5 26.Ne6 Qxf5 27.Nxd8 Rf6 28.R1d2 Nb4 29.Bb7+ Kc7 30.Rd7+ Qxd7 31.Rxd7+ Kxd7 32.Bxa8 Kxd8 33.a3 Na6 34.Qd5+ Bd6 35.Qg5 Be7 36.Qg8+ Rf8 37.Qd5+ Kc7 38.Qb7+ Kd6 39.Qc6+ Ke5 40.Qd5+ Kf6 41.Qd4+ Kf7 42.Bd5+ 1-0

Even after losing material I continued to play, hoping to find a defense based on the opposite colored Bishops. I finally had to admit that it was a mirage and resigned.

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