Sunday, 14 September 2014

Martin Harris at Paignton

Martin Harris had strong results in two tournaments at the Paignton Chess Congress. He came joint 2nd in the U-130 morning competition and 4th in the U-130 afternoon competition (picking up the grading prize). Below he has annotated three of his wins from these competitions.

Martin at Paignton
[Event "Paignton 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.09.04"] [Round "?"] [White "Harris, M"] [Black "Carnie, E"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C53"] [PlyCount "31"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 {I'd played a lot of slow strategic games at the tournament so far. Even the previous 4 games with white and I played the Smith Morra, three of my opponents played the slow d3 on move 3, avoiding all the juicy traps and complications. I still won all those three (and the other one) - 3 d3 is after all a bad move. But I was tired of the long games so I wanted something a little more fiery to revive my interest. I thought of the Halloween Gambit but felt it was too risky so I decided to just freelance with moves that I have never played or practised before.} exd4 4. c3 Bc5 {Obviously my opponent was out of his depth as well. But this was just a bad move by any strategic consideration as it gives me a strong centre with initiative.} 5. cxd4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 {Bd2 was arguably better but I was willing to consign the queen knight to history so as to get a strong dark square bishop into play. It was also unlikely that my opponent would swap the piece any time soon as it was too early to tell if it was a worthwhile sacifice.} d6 {I was happy with this move as my opponent's dark bishop would remain away from the king. d5 was probably the best in the position to make best use of the pin on my knight while it was still possible.} 7. Bc4 {I wasn't interested in positional moves like Bd2 or d5. I wanted 19th century style play to cheer me up.} Nge7 $2 {My opponent certainly gave me what I wanted! I thought for 45 minutes working out all sorts of gory sacrifices that didn't quite work before settling on my next move. And pretty much all my following moves were adjudged the best in the position by the tactical Fritz12 afterwards so I was quite pleased with myself.} 8. Ng5 d5 9. exd5 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Nxd5 11. O-O O-O 12. Qh5 Bf5 (12... Nf6 13. Bxf7+ Kh8 14. Qh4 h6 15. Ba3) 13. Qf3 Nce7 14. Ba3 c6 $2 {A blunder. But working out all the other possibilities was obviously telling on my opponent. Bg6 was probably the only move that gave any kind of stability to Black's position.} 15. Bxd5 cxd5 (15...Qxd5 (15... Nxd5 16. Qxf5) 16. Bxe7) 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. Qxf5 {Black decided to hand in the towel. He said that not taking on c3 was his mistake but it was really Bc5 giving me a tempo and strong centre and his weak defensive move Ne7 that did it.} 1-0 [Event "Paignton 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.09.01"] [Round "?"] [White "Harris, M"] [Black "Jones, R"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B21"] [PlyCount "79"] 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 d3 {One of the three where this was played. I've had it often before at the level I play at. People just don't like the early complications and fine strategic play of the Smith Morra. So they go for stodge instead. However, what they get is a Maroczy Bind. Esserman says in this kind of position try to avoid swapping pieces and just keep cramping the opponent until he lashes out wildly and then you kill him. I won't make too many comments on the game. Just so you can see how it cooks.} 4. Bxd3 Nc6 5. c4 d6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Nf3 g6 8. O-O Bg7 9. h3 {This move is necessary before playing Be3 to stop the opponents knight wreaking havoc.} O-O 10. Be3 b6 11. Rc1 Bb7 12. Bb1 Rc8 13. Qe2 Nd7 14. Rfd1 Nce5 15. Nxe5 Nxe5 16. b3 Nc6 17. Nd5 Nb8 18. Nc3 a6 19. f4 Qc7 20. Nd5 Bxd5 21. exd5 {Better than cxd as it opens up the line for my bishop. Blacks heavy pieces are beginning to concentrate on his queen side, which suggests an attack on the king eventually. It happens slowly without any fireworks or fuss.} Nd7 22. Qf2 a5 23. Re1 Nc5 24. Qh4 Rfe8 25. f5 Bf6 26. Qg3 Kg7 27. h4 h5 $2 28. Qf4 Rh8 29. Bd4 Bxd4+ 30. Qxd4+ Kh7 $2 31. Rc3 Rhg8 32. Rce3 {That was sneaky of me wasn't it! I kept my eyes on the king side all that while and then attacked a centre weakness instead of pursuing the attack.} Rce8 $2 33. Qf4 Rg7 $2 34. Qg5 $6 (34. fxg6+ fxg6 35. Bxg6+ Kg8 (35... Kxg6 36. Qg5+ Kf7 37. Qxh5+ Kg8 (37... Kf8 38. Qh8+ Kf7 39. Rf1+ Kg6 40. Rg3#) 38. Qxe8+) 36. Bxe8) 34... f6 $2 35. fxg6+ Kg8 36. Qxh5 Nd7 37. Bf5 Nf8 38. Qg4 Qc5 39. h5 e6 40. dxe6 {The time control gave black his cue to go no further. The h pawn cannot now be stopped and the rook is trapped.} 1-0 [Event "Paignton 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "Farrell, J"] [Black "Harris, M"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A01"] [PlyCount "58"] 1. b3 c5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 e5 {I had played black against my opponent (grade 126) only a couple of days before in the morning tournament and we played out a draw after both making mistakes in a slow positional game. Not my style. Also as this was the penultimate round of the minor proper, I needed the points. I already knew of the opening from Igor Smirnov so I did some research in Fritz12 to see how I could avoid the slow death by draw permutation.By the way, I hope you don't mind me being verbose here. When else do I get the chance?} 4. Bb5 Nf6 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Bxe5 {What turned out what nothing like I imagined, however, I felt good being a pawn down in an open position where I was obviously going to have a game with a bishop against a knight and two good rooks in the centre. The computer seems to agree. It only gives a .3 disadvantage to black here so it seems quite a dynamic position. My plan was the old simple idea to put pressure on until the complications get the better of him.} Qd5 7. Nf3 Ng4 8. Nc3 Qe6 9. Bg3 Bd6 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. h3 Qh6 {Not ideal but I was not interested in positional play and I wanted to keep surprising him so as to unnerve him.} 12. Ne4 b6 13. Ke2 {His first mistake. Probably he was petrified of castling, with the possibility of being subjected to a strong attack. But castling was better. With the king in the open, my rooks are just itching to get moving.} Nf6 14. Nxf6+ Qxf6 15. d3 Bf5 {I thought ages over this. I was trying to draw him out with an overstretching pawn advance. I had to get castled queen side even though the computer wanted to go the other direction and Be6 would only block the rooks.} 16. Re1 O-O-O 17. Kf1 {You can run but you can't hide.I've got some nice possibilities with pins on both queen and king here. It's not the action but the threat that wins, as they say.} Rhe8 18. Qc1 {Bingo! Got him.Worried about his queen, he misses the obvious. Now my pawn is won back and I have all the benefits of the position as well.} Bxh3 19. Ng1 Bg4 20. a4 {At this point I had to justify my positional advantages tactically so I spent a long time concocting a plan and analysing where his weaknesses really were. In the meantime, he seemed oblivious of any danger looming as I massed my pieces for a hopefully glorious sacrifical attack.} Rd5 21. f3 Rde5 {The threat is to win the a rook after a swap on e3. Again, I probably wouldn't have followed through with that because winning an extra pawn didn't seem to do much with queens still on board. But I did this anyway to lure his pawns further.} 22. e4 Bd7 {I really did this for psychological reasons. I thought I probably couldn't maintain the bishop there so I put it where it wouldn't be noticed, giving my king some comfort. But I knew in the long plan I was working on that it would play a big role later. My opponent afterwards said that it was his mistake to forget about the bishop. So my psychology worked!} 23. Qe3 Rh5 24. Qd2 {He must have changed his mind. He wanted to get his own counterplay. But he totally misunderstood how strong my attack was.} Rh1 25. c3 Re5 26. b4 $2 Rg5 27. bxc5 $4 {I'm losing a lot of pawns here for the sake of an idea. Great fun!} Bh3 $1 28. Re2 {If the bishop is taken, the queen will be lost.} Qxf3+ {But now, it's the king that will be lost.} 29. Rf2 Bxg2+ 0-1

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