Gjovik Rapid Aker Challenge Day 2
January 04, 2009 • General
Once again, just like in Cap D’Agde, I got off the snide by playing a solid game against Magnus with Black in the third round. Overall, I felt that the whole Nh4 idea with g4, Qe3 and f4 was slightly too optimistic. After the more natural 18.Nd4 Qe5 19. Qe3 Rae8 the position might be slightly better for White. However, the ensuing endgame was still roughly equal until Magnus went for the risky 40.Nd1. After 40.f5 g5 41. f6!? the position remains very complicated. However after 40.Nd1 Bd5 41.Nc3 Rd4 Magnus made the final blunder with 42.Kg3? After 42.Re3 Rxf4 43. Kg3 Rcf8 44.Nxd5 cxd5 45. Rxd5 the game should end in a draw. The position is already very bad for Magnus, but 43. Nxd5 loses on the spot. Later on, Svidler suggested 44. Re3 Re8! 45.Kf2 Rxf4 46. Ke2, but after 46…Rxe3 47.Kxe3 Rxg4 48. Nxd5 cxd5 49.Rxd5 c3 and White is probably losing in the endgame. Overall, it wasn’t my best game ever, but I played very solidly and avoided ever getting into any trouble with Black.
In round 4, I had white against Svidler. After the debacle yesterday, my goal was to try and play relatively quietly with very few complications. As it turned out, Peter surprised me by choosing the Cherbanenko Slav with 4…a6. Sadly, after a few more natural moves, I confused the move order by playing 8.Be2 first instead of 8.Nd2 followed by 9.Be2. Peter then chose to play 8…Ne4 which is a very strong and completely equalizing move. The next critical point came on move 15 when I went for the ambitious g4 as opposed to the standard 15.Qd2; however, after 15…Re8 16. 0-0-0 h5 Black has the very simple plan of Nf8-e6 and probably a small advantage. In game we reached an interesting position after my critical pawn sacrifice with 22.g5!? In reality, this pawn sacrifice is actually probably losing, but it seemed like the most logical choice considering the game situation. After 22…Qxg5 23.0-0-0 Rae8 was definitely a blunder. After 23…Rf5 24.Rg1 Qf6 25.Rhg2 Bf7, it is hard to see how I can obtain any real compensation for the pawn sacrifice. In the game though, after 24.Rdg1 Bf7, for some reason I hallucinated and overlooked the rather obvious 25.Nxf4 Bh6 26.Rg4 after which either Rh1 or Qh2 follow. As is, the game continuation with 25. Rg4 led to a more or less forced draw. As is, it was a justified result since we both made blunders.
Overall, it was definitely a successful day as I remain in the hunt to make the finals. Today, I will try my best just like the past two days and we shall see what happens. I will also put up some annotations on a few games from this tournament after it ends. Until I check back tomorrow, I hope everyone has a great Sunday.