Gjovik Rapid Aker Challenge Day 1
January 03, 2009 • General
Hello to everyone. As I have just finished my preparation for today’s second round games, I will take this opportunity to make a few brief remarks about my two games yesterday. In the first game I was black against GM Peter Svidler. Surprisingly, we have only played once despite crossing paths at several different paths. In that game back in 2002 i(wow have 6 1/2 years really gone by that quickly?) n the Dominican Republic. In that game I was black and made the ill-advised choice of the Najdorf and got crushed by a very strong novelty. This time around, I made a much better opening choice by playing the Caro Kann. Peter surprised me with the interesting 8.Na3!? After a couple of moves I obtained a very nice position and was equal until I blundered badly with 14…a6? If I had simply played Bc5, I probably would have been able to draw with relative ease. Alas, after the very strong 15.c4 I went astray quickly and lost horribly.
In the second game I had white against Kjetil Lie who is coming off a phenomenal performance in the Olympiad. In this game, I chose to play an unsound pawn sacrifice with the very early a3-b4 in the English. The one other time I played this variation (Nakamura-Wojtkiewicz, 2004) the gambit was declined. However, this time around Kjetil (I cannot pronounce the name remotely near how it is supposed to sound) showed no fear and grabbed the pawn. I suspect that at some point he was quite a bit better, but due to a shortage of time and uncertainty as to whether to play for a win or a draw he played a little too passively and fell victim of a very powerful attack after 19.d4 Bxd4 20.Nd5. I have yet to analyze this position with rybka, but it is definitely difficult to play if you are A)short of time and B)not a computer. Objectively, I am sure that there is an adequate defense and Black is winning, but it seemed like the right idea considering the circumstances. Kjetil was unable to find this defense and lost to my very strong kingside attack.
So going into the second day, I currently have 1/2. Overall, it was not the score I was hoping for, but that is life. I suspect that what irks me more about it is that 1 move is really the only difference between the desired result and what I have now. However, this tournament reminds me in many ways of Cap D’Agde as I also played there after a long break of 6 weeks. In the first round there, I lost horrendously to Radjabov when I overlooked an obvious tactic. That tournament didn’t turn out too badly for me, so I hope that the same holds true for me here. Today I am Black against Carlsen and white against Svidler, so I will definitely have to play some more enthusiastic chess than I did yesterday. If not, then it’s unlikely I’ll be playing for a shot at winning this rapid tournament.