Montreal Rounds 3&4
August 28, 2008 • General
Hello again everyone! I did not have a chance to post a blog yesterday as I was out exploring Montreal for the first time since I arrived on Sunday. I spent much of the morning walking along various paths of the Mont Royal which has some great natural beauty and spectacular views. After going up the Mont Royal, I went to Old Montreal and walked along some of the nice streets and shops which are quite crowded with tourists. One of the interesting things I find about Montreal is that it very much reminds me of France with both the language as well as the whole atmosphere and culture. This is why despite absolutely loving Montreal, I doubt I could ever live here as it is just too reminiscent of Europe. Considering that I almost exclusively play in Europe these days, it is nice to not be in the same sort of area as that in which my profession is spent. This is probably why I will end up staying in Vancouver, BC instead of coming back to the east coast.
Onto the rounds! In round 3 I was paired against IM Thomas “Thoma” Roussel-Roozmon with Black. Prior to this matchup I had only played him once before in the World Open back in 2006. The game itself was fairly dull as we played an Exchange Kings Indian in which I was slowly able to outplay him and win. This time around, I did not feel like having to grind as much, so I chose to play the Dutch instead. He surprised me with 2.d3 after which I played the slightly dubious 2…Nf6 (d6 was better). After this choice, the game became fairly complicated with the position being around equal. Despite our own evaluations, Rybka had the position as equal until the fatal blunder 23.Rb3. I am sure that there must have been something better than 21…h3, but I have yet to find anything conclusive. However, after 23.Rb3 Rf3 24.Qe2 Rxb3 25.cxb3, I found the extremely strong move 25…e5! After this, the rest was quite easy and I won a few moves later.
In round 4 I was paired with GM Pascal Charbonneau. I have known Pascal going as far back as the North Bay Open in 1999. Surprisingly, despite our many appearances at the same tournaments over the years, we have never actually been paired as far as I can tell. In the game yesterday, Pascal surprised me by playing the Marshall Gambit. From what I saw in the database and from my preparation, Pascal had never played this opening before. This rather unsettled me, so I went for a quiet variation wtih 15. Qe2!? Unfortunately, my rather nice novelty 18.f3 turned out to not be one! Somehow I had overlooked the game Kasimdzhanov-Bacrot, France 2008. The move 18…Nf4! is very strong as the rest leads to a forced draw. 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Ne4 Nh3 21.Kg2 (Not 21.Kh1 Bxg3!! 22.hxg3 Ng5 winning) or (21.Kh1 Bxg3 22.Nxg3 Re1! 23.Nxh5 Rxf1 24.Kg2 Rg1 mate). Alas, after four rounds I have 3/4 and will be playing with Black against Zugic today before the rest day tomorrow. Hopefully I can play well and we shall see what happens.