Antonio Rabadan† (1635) Mike Splane (2280)† Mar 3, 2005†
1. e4 g6†††††††† 2. d4 Bg7†††††† 3. f4 c5†††††† 4. Nf3 cd††††††† 5. Nd4 Nc6††
6. Nc6 bc††††††† 7. Bd3 Qb6†††††† 8. Nd2 Qe3+
(A pawn is supposed to be worth 3 tempos and the f-pawn is going to take3 tempos for Black to capture and then bring his queen back into safety. According to my new theory about the initiative, the typical pawn capture transfers the initiative to your opponent. So you should only be taking loose pawns in positions where the initiative doesnít matter. In this case Black has only one attackable weakness [f7]. Multiple weaknesses are required to generate a lasting initiative, so Black should be able to consolidate and win with his pawn advantage. This game is the first time Iíve been able to apply my theory. White got a stronger and longer lasting initiative than my theory predicted so I need to think about whether the theory applies in the opening, and in positions with open centers.)
9. Qe2† Qf4†††††††† 10. Nf 3 Qc7††† 11. 0-0
(Over the board I was worried about 11. e5, preventing development.† I still would have played 11. Ö d6 to eliminate the e-pawn. Then I could have developed my knight to f6 without any problems.)
11. Ö d6††† 12. Bc4† Nf6††
(Of course I canít play 12. Ö† Bg4 13. Bf7+ Kf7†† 14. Ng5+† K moves† 15. Qg4. I also considered 12. Ö h6, which is a good move to slow down the pace of his attack, but it creates additional pawn weaknesses on g6 and h6. Iím trying to play an active defense and avoid weakening pawn moves, so I choose 12. Ö Nf6 which allows him to open lines and speed up the tempo of the game. The threat of† ÖBg4 to get rid of his knight forces him to act quickly if he wants to retain the initiative.)
13. e5 Nd5
(If 13. Ö de ?†† 14. Qe5 Qe5†† 15. Ne5 White regains the pawn and keeps the initiative.)
(At the board I was afraid of 14. e6† Be6† 15. Ng5, not seeing how strong 15. Ö Be5 was going to be. After 16. Ne6 fe I have a nice shelter for my king on d7. )
14. Ö Qd6††††
(From here the Black queen has a check on c5 to win the bishop if White moves his queen.)
15. Ng5 0-0†††††† 16. c3
(To play Bd2 without hanging the b-pawn to Ö† Qe5.)
16. Ö† Qe5†
(My queen is exposed here but I need to prevent both Ne4 and Bf4.† 16. Ö Rb8 gives White too free a hand in the center after 17. Ne4.† The knight move would also disrupt my idea of Qc5+ threatening the bishop.† I canít play 16Ö.† f5 because Iím pinning my knight and allowing 17. Bf4. Another alternative was 16. Ö e6, but that weakened f6 too much. Part of good defensive technique is to avoid making pawn moves that create weaknesses.)
17. Qf3 Bf5
(I had to think quite a while here. My tactical idea was† 17. Ö† Nf6 18. Qc6 Bd7 threatening both the queen and the c5 check to win the bishop, but White is better after 19. Bf7+. Since the tactics donít work, I have to defend f7.
(After the game I noticed that I was analyzing according to Kotovís recommendation, looking at only one candidate move at a time, following it to the end, then looking at the next candidate move. He also recommends looking at a line of analysis only once. I have had trouble jumping around, back and forth between candidates, but I seem to have cured myself of that. I suspect it has something to do with spending a lot of time playing speed chess, where you donít have that luxury. I was pleased when I recognized this Ė Iíve made some progress.)
(I was expecting 18. g4 h6† 19. Ngf† hg†† 20. fg fg when my pawn structure is ruined but Iím taking control of the f-file and his king is more exposed than mine.
Instead he continues developing without rushing into tactics, but this non-threatening move gives me time to simplify the position.)
18. Ö h6
(I saw that the knight is immune from recapture after 18. Ö Nc3 thanks to 19. Ö Qc5+, but White can interpolate 19. Bf7+ first.)
19. Rae1† Qb8††† 20. g4 Bg4††
(If 20. Ö†† Qb2†† 21. gf . Qd2 22. Ne4 leaves me with no good squares for my queen, and his f pawn is too threatening.)
21. Qg4 hg†††† 22. Bg5† e5
( I paused here to make a general assessment and come up with a plan. I have beaten off the first wave of his attack, exposed his king, kept my extra pawn, and my pawn structure is intact. The threat to the b-pawn temporarily shifts the initiative back to me. Life is good.
(The two bishops make this a difficult middle game win, with the queens on king safety is a major concern, so my plan is to find a way to 1) trade queens and then 2) trade black square bishops, or 3) trade my knight for his white square bishop 4) without allowing counter-play.
(My immediate goal is to trade one of my queenside pawns for his b-pawn, ruining his pawn structure and making targets out of his a and c pawns. This pawn structure provides me with a huge endgame edge; the connected passers will blast right through the center. Lasker has demonstrated the power of a good knight, entrenched in the center, versus a bad bishop, so that was the endgame I wanted to steer for. My second choice was the ending where we both kept our black square bishops. My third choice was to trade my knight and rook for his bishops and h pawn. The three connected passers, with the aid of the black bishop, will easily overwhelm the rooks. The only endgame to avoid is the opposite color bishops, but the connected pawns may be sufficient to win that one too.)
23. Bb3 a5††††††††† 24. Qd7 ?
(A positional blunder in time pressure, allowing me to reach the ending. 24. h4 trying to open lines on the kingside is called for.)
24. Ö Qa7+†††††† 25. Qa7 Ra7†††††† 26. Rd1 !
(He canít ever trade minor pieces on d5, that ending is hopeless, unless he can also capture the d5 pawn. His move is a good one; the d5 square is surprisingly hard to defend. The knight canít retreat, 27. Rd6 is too strong, so I need a counter threat.)
26. Ö Rb8†††††† 27. Bc1 Nb6††
(Now if 28. Rd6 a4†† 29. Bc2 Nc4† 30. Rc6 Nb2 31. Be3 my knight is awkwardly placed and White has too much play. Instead I have to play more slowly with 28. Rd6 a4†† 29. Bc2 Rc7 threatening both Ö Nc4 and Ö Bf8 with tempo.)
28. Be3 a4††† 29. Bc2 Ra5† 30. b5
(Otherwise Nc4 is too strong.)
30. Ö† ab††† 31. Bb3 ?
(After the game he correctly noted that 31. ab is better.† The bishop and a-pawn are tied down defending each other, so Black is clearly better after this point.)
31. Ö†† Nd5†††††††† 32.† Bd2 Ra7†††††† 33. c4
(This move kills his white square bishop and forces my knight to a better location, but I donít see any good plan for him.)
33. Ö† Nf6†††† 34. Bg5† Ne4††††† 35. Be3† Rc7†† 36. Rd3 Bf8
(I looked briefly at 36. Ö f5, but decided I was better off not hurrying. The general rule is to restrict your opponentís piece play before embarking on your own plan. My focus should be on not allowing counter-play so my king should be on g7 when I advance the f pawn.† Now I intend 37. Ö Bc5 trading off his good piece. He correctly avoids this.)
37. Bc1† Bc5+††††† 38. Kg2 Kg7
(Almost stumbled with 38. Ö†† Bd4 39. Rd4 ed†† 40. Bf4)
39. Bb2 f6
(I have seen both Capablanca and Karpov employ this technique, advancing the king to accompany an advance of the kingside pawns, so I felt confident that I was working with the right idea. He should try 40. Rfd1 Kf7† 41. Rd7+ Rd7†† 42. Rd7+ Ke6 with an active rook and some counter-play, passive resistance is hopeless. Perhaps he missed the idea, perhaps he was worried about trading down.)
(I had the fixed idea that my knight was immune on e4, since none of his pieces can attack it, so I didnít see the threat by his king. I was busy examining 40. Ö Rh8 when the light dawned on me. I blurted out something like ďWow! I didnít see my knight was hanging,Ē an unintended act of bad sportsmanship on my part.
(I tend to miss one-movers or short combinations by my opponent, only to spot them later on in the analysis process. I also noticed in several earlier games that my choice of candidate moves is too narrow. Iím not clearly identifying the candidate moves and threats before I start analyzing.
(My thinking at the board, and choice of candidate moves, is primarily tactical. This type of thinking is sufficient against non-masters, but senior masters can all calculate well. Positional ideas, plans, and general judgment are what separate the senior masters from masters. This is an area to work on improving.)
40. Ö† Nd6
(Threatening both Nc4 and e4+. After 41. Rd2 Nf5 followed by Ö Bd4 and Öc5† the e and f pawns are free to advance. Without my comment he may have seen both threats, but he was lost against my plan in any case.)
41. Bc1 ? ? e4+††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 0-1