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26 June, 2010

Pre-Nacional Absoluto

These were my two best games in the pre-nacional absoluto tournament that was held in the Fiesta Americana Reforma Hotel from June 4th to June 6th.

I will remember this tournament for the weird performance I did, because I won three Sicilians and lost both non-Sicilian games. It's seems I feel comfortable in Sicilian positions with both sides, and I got the chance to experiment some of the stuff I had been studying with José Luis, my friend and trainer.

I not only got the chance to play an specific variation in the Sveshnikov Sicilian José Luis and I analyzed from the NIC 94, but got the chance to practice my endings technique in the very first round against a 1700 player. I won this first game, in which I wanted to play the Sveshnikov, but my opponent deviated the main line and went for 3. b3 followed by d4 and Nxd4, which seems to be dubious. We got into some fireworks and after things calmed down, I had an extra pawn in a pretty difficult endgame. I pressed with my extra pawn and avoided successfully the minor pieces threats.

The second game I lost badly with Ruben Canales in a Tarrash French with 3... Nf6. I played poorly in the opening and when the game was close to balanced I lost the thread and finished in a lost endgame that he exploited with good technique.

The third game is the first I want to annotate. It was played against Arely de Loera, a very young girl from Morelos. She surprised me a bit, because she knew and played a line José Luis and I were checking last week. I was preparing the line with white (I'm a strong believer that white is better in the Sveshnikov), but the best way to understand and improve an opening is playing it by both sides.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6

I want to enter directly to the Sveshnikov. I left for another moment my beloved Hedgehog.

3. d4 cd4
4. Nxd4 e5?!

I played automatically this move. After I made it I knew I played the opening mechanically and gave her the chance to have a good game. Now, after 5. Nb5 d6, it's not mandatory to play the Knight to c3, so white could play c4 for a Maroczy or just play Bd3 and after a6 she can bring his b5 Knight to d5 via c3 (and not to a3).

5. Nb5 d6
6. N1c3?!

She also played mechanically and returned the favour!

6... Nf6

of course, going back to the main line. Next moves are just theory.

7. Bg5 a6
8. Na3 b5
9. Nd5 Be7
10. Bxf6 Bxf6
11. c4!?

here we go! this is the line we were preparing. This move tries to weaken black's queenside and if black advances his pawn to b4, white obtains a very good game, activating the a3 knight with tempo and strengthen the d5 knight. Therefore, this move creates a sharp game right from the opening with chances for both sides. Black's main attempt is to take the initiative at the cost of a pawn. We now have the eternal struggle between a bishop pair against a very strong Knight and square at d5.

11... 0-0

I don't refuse complications.

12. cb5 Nd4

The idea. I also get a good knight whereas maintain my bishop pair and better development. White gets a pawn and a rock-solid structure, her main problem is tempo and the poorly positioned Knight at a3.

13. b6!

In NIC Yearbook 94 this move is just mentioned as a sideline, but for me this is the best answer for white and I intended to play this move with white if I could get into this position. I was a little afraid of entering into her preparation so I spend almost half an hour to remember first the ideas and next the move orders of this variation, and trying to complicate the struggle, I was playing for a win.

14. ... Bb7

The main idea in this variation is to exchange the light squared bishop for the Knight on d5 and take on b6, after that black gets a reasonable play. With the white's next move, my preparation finished.

15. Nc7

The staring point of a wrong plan. Trying to maintain the extra pawn only plays in black's favour. Now the black's light squared bishop broaden its influence automatically and I get more development advantage, which will be decisive. Now white protects her central pawn and tries to complete her development by castling.

15. ... Rc8
16. Bd3 Bg5
17. 0-0 Bf4!

I'm proud of this bishop manoeuvre. It threatens some tactical blows although it is a positional move indeed. Now I get some pressure in the h1-a8 diagonal and she must concern about mating threats. Is she plays g3 now, the positional motif reveals for itself, because my light squared bishop is a killer and now I can make the standard retreat to h6 and then launch the attack via f5.

18. Nc4?!

She's not paying attention to my threats and follow her plan blindly. Now the threat is Na5 in order to catch the b7 bishop. She won't get the time to do so.

18. ... f5!

This move needs to pass the silicon test!, but in my analysis I win by force if she tries to trap my bishop: 19. Na5 fe4! 20. Nxb7?? Bxh2! and white at least lose her queen whereas black has still mating threats. She also cannot take on f5 because of 19. ef5 Bxh2! 20. Kxh2 Qh4+ 21. Kg1 Nf3! and white should resign.

19. Qe1??

This was the last chance to play g3, although white weakens her kingside badly. Now white falls in a mating net. This can be shown as a tactical problem to beginners:

20. ... Bxh2!
21. Kxh2

White's king is not safe with Bh1 because of Qh4 and the knight in d4 and the dark squared bishop weaves the mating net.

21. ... Qh4+
22. Kg1 Nf3!
23. gf3 Qg5

There are other ways to win. I chose the more direct one. Rf6 also wins by force, and if white plays Qd2 mate comes after Rg6+, and if white plays ef5 mate comes after Rh6.

White resigns.

I will analyse and commentate my last game against Luis Lopez Raygoza, which was an interesting and sharp game. Now time's over. See you next time!

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