Corsica Rounds Three, Four and Five.

Apologies for not updating yesterday. I was simply too shattered after a 74 move game in the second game and only got back to the room at about 10.30pm. But let’s go in order.

Round three I had Black against a Bulgarian IM, Radoslav Dimitrov. He played the English and I chose a sort of Reversed Grand Prix Attack. I played a slightly odd 11…a6, 12…b5!? plan but it worked well and I crashed through on the kingside in perfect Grand Prix style. However, I then misplayed it a little. This time control is tough to play; one has to find a good balance between leaving a bit of time left on the clock and spending enough time on each move. I actually let him off the hook but the position was still difficult and with no time he couldn’t defend.
###pgn###[Event “Corsica Masters”] [Site “Bastia FRA”] [Date “2011.10.24”] [Round “3”] [White “Dimitrov, Radoslav”] [Black “Jones, G.”] [Result “0-1”] [ECO “A25”] [WhiteElo “2424”] [BlackElo “2624”] [PlyCount “72”] [EventDate “2011.07.25”] [EventType “swiss”] [EventRounds “11”] [EventCountry “ENG”] 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 f5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d3 Bb4 6. Bd2 O-O 7. a3 Bxc3 8. Bxc3 d6 9. Nf3 Qe8 10. Qd2 Kh8 11. O-O a6 12. b4 b5 13. a4 bxc4 14. dxc4 Be6 15. b5 axb5 16. cxb5 Ne7 17. Qc2 Qh5 18. Bd2 Rac8 19. Ng5 Bd5 20. Bxd5 Nexd5 21. e4 f4 22. h4 Ne7 23. Kg2 h6 24. Nf3 Qg6 25. Ra3 fxg3 26. fxg3 Nxe4 27. Be1 d5 28. Nxe5 Qd6 29. Rxf8+ Rxf8 30. Rf3 Rxf3 31. Nxf3 Nf5 32. Qc6 Ne3+ 33. Kh2 Ng4+ 34. Kh3 Qf8 35. Kxg4 h5+ 36. Kxh5 Qf5+ 0-1%%%pgn%%%

Yesterday was a double round day and in the evening game I had White against American IM Marc Arnold. His rating is actually above 2500 but he doesn’t yet have any Grandmaster norms. After 9 moves we had transposed to a position from my recent book but unfortunately I couldn’t remember my suggestion! The line I chose wasn’t the best and I was a bit worse out of the opening. I managed to survive and then started outplaying him, in the end reaching what should have been a winning rook and pawn endgame. Alas, low on time, I missed a couple of wins and Marc, defending well, held onto the draw. I won’t bore you with the game here as I have to confess it is probably rather dull to play through.

I noticed a curious pattern in my opponents thus far. Round two I played a player around 2300, round three 2400, round four 2500. Therefore in round five I had to play someone over 2600! I was given Black against Hrant Melkumyan, a GM from Armenia. I actually played him once before, in Yerevan at the World Junior Championships. That time we drew a long Kings Indian where I had been pressing. Just in passing, I’ve noticed another strange phenomenon. In the Barclays Open in Rome, I played 8 players born in 1987 or before. So far in this tournament, I haven’t played anyone as old as me; I really feel very old!

This time I changed opening and tried the Classical Dutch, an occasional visitor in my repertoire. He played an unusual move on move 7 and we reached a roughly level middlegame. An inaccuracy on move 22 left me suffering though and I had to grovel. However he returned the favour on move 33. Suddenly I was better but again short on time I didn’t choose the best path and the position remained level. I pressed for the win for slightly too long and the initiative was back with him. I made a silly mistake on move 61 when he could have taken a clear advantage, possibly winning, but he didn’t take advantage and we eventually drew on move 77. Below is the game with my very brief comments written straight after the game.

###pgn###[Event “Corsica Masters”] [Site “Sheffield ENG”] [Date “2011.10.25”] [Round “5”] [White “Melkumyan, Hrant”] [Black “Jones, G.”] [Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “A96”] [WhiteElo “2619”] [BlackElo “2624”] [Annotator “GJ”] [PlyCount “153”] [EventDate “2011.07.25”] [EventType “swiss”] [EventRounds “11”] [EventCountry “ENG”] 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 d6 7. Bg5 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nfd2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 e5 11. e3 Nd7 12. Nc3 c6 13. Rae1 Nb6 (13… Nf6 14. e4 f4 (14… fxe4 15. Nxe4 $14) 15. gxf4 exf4 16. Qxf4 Nh5 17. Qe3 Nf4 {was a line I considered during the game but following} 18. Ne2 Nxg2 19. Kxg2 Qh4 20. f4 {I didn’t see anything for Black (computer agrees)}) 14. b3 e4 (14… Be6 15. d5 (15. c5 dxc5 16. dxe5 c4 {was a hard position to assess.}) 15… cxd5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. Bxd5 $14) 15. f3 d5 16. fxe4 fxe4 ({I realised} 16… dxe4 $5 {was possible but I’m worse strategically the whole game now}) 17. Rxf8+ Qxf8 18. Rf1 Qe7 19. Qf2 Be6 20. cxd5 cxd5 21. Qf4 a6 (21… Bd7 $11) 22. Qe5 Rc8 $6 {missing Bf5} (22… Re8 23. a4 Nd7 24. Nxd5 Nxe5 25. Nxe7+ Rxe7 26. dxe5 Bxb3 27. Bxe4 a5 $11) 23. Bh3 Re8 (23… Rc6 24. a4 $14) 24. Bf5 Qd7 25. a4 a5 26. Kg2 Bxf5 27. Qxf5 Qxf5 28. Rxf5 Rd8 29. Nb5 (29. g4 Rd6 30. Kg3 g6 31. Re5 Kf7 32. Kh4 h6 33. g5 h5 34. Kg3 Kf8 {was the computer’s attempt at winning but it’s obviously a draw}) 29… Nc8 30. Rf2 Ne7 31. Rc2 Rf8 $5 (31… Rc8 32. Rxc8+ Nxc8 33. Nc7 Ne7 34. h4 Kf7 35. Kh3 b6 36. Kg4 Kf6 37. h5 h6 38. Kf4 g5+ 39. hxg6 h5 {apparently draws but during the game I feared I’d be zugged}) 32. Nd6 b6 $2 (32… Rf3 {was necessary}) 33. g4 $2 (33. Rc7 Nf5 34. Nxf5 Rxf5 35. Rc6 Rf3 36. Rxb6 Rxe3 37. Rb5 Kf7 38. Rxd5 Rxb3 39. Kf2 Rb2+ 40. Ke3 Rxh2 41. Rxa5 {gives White decent chances}) 33… Rf6 (33… Rf3 $11 {immediately was also possible}) 34. Nb5 Rf3 35. Re2 h5 36. h3 Kh7 37. Nc7 hxg4 38. hxg4 Kg6 ( 38… Kh6 39. Na8) 39. Na8 (39. Ne6 Kf6 40. Nf8 (40. Nf4 Kg5) 40… Kg5 41. Nd7 $11) 39… Rf8 (39… Kg5 {was my initial idea and should have been played with a clear edge} 40. Nxb6 Kxg4 41. b4 {scared me off with no time} axb4 42. a5 Rg3+ 43. Kf2 Rh3 44. Kg2 Nf5 45. a6 Nxe3+ 46. Kg1 Rg3+ 47. Kh1 Nf5 $19 {a difficult sequence to see with no time}) 40. Nxb6 Rb8 41. Nd7 Rxb3 42. Kg3 Kg5 43. Nc5 Ra3 44. Ne6+ Kf6 45. Nc5 Kg5 46. Ne6+ Kf6 47. Nc5 Ng6 (47… Nc6 {was another idea and the one I should have gone for} 48. Rf2+ $8 $11 Ke7 49. Rf5 $1 (49. Kf4 {was the move I saw and couldn’t tell how to assess})) 48. Rf2+ Ke7 49. Re2 Kf6 50. Rf2+ Ke7 51. Re2 Kf6 {(=) although could have claimed 3 fold} 52. Re1 Kg5 (52… Rc3 $11) 53. Ne6+ Kf6 54. Nc7 Ne7 55. Rf1+ Kg6 56. Kf4 Rxa4 57. Ke5 Ra3 58. Ke6 (58. Re1 {worried me during the game} a4 59. Nxd5 Nxd5 60. Kxd5 Rb3 61. Kxe4 a3 62. Kd5 a2 63. Ra1 Rb2 64. e4 Kf7 65. e5 Ke7 66. Ke4 Rh2 $11) 58… Rc3 59. Nb5 Rb3 60. Nd6 Ng8 61. g5 Kxg5 $6 (61… Rxe3 62. Rf8 Ne7 $1 {missed that idea with c. 3min} 63. Kxe7 Rd3 $11) 62. Rg1+ Kh5 63. Rxg7 Nh6 64. Kxd5 Rxe3 65. Nxe4 a4 $6 {saw this after moving} (65… Re1 {should hold the draw}) 66. Ke5 $6 (66. Nf6+ Kh4 67. Rh7 Kg5 68. Rxh6 a3 69. Ng8 Re8 70. Rh2 $1 {although I missed this idea, actually think Black’s holding draw anyway} ( 70. Ra6 Rd8+ 71. Kc5 Rc8+ 72. Kb6 Rxg8 73. Rxa3 Rd8 74. Kc5 Rc8+ 75. Kd5 Rd8+ 76. Ke4 Re8+ 77. Kd3 Kf6 78. Ra6+ Ke7 $11) 70… Kf4 71. Nf6 Ra8 72. Rf2+ (72. Ra2 Ke3 73. Ke5 Kd3 74. Ne4 Re8+ 75. Kd5 Ra8 76. Nc5+ Kc3) 72… Ke3 73. Ra2 Ra7 {with drawing chances}) 66… Re1 67. Ra7 Ng4+ 68. Kf4 Rf1+ 69. Kg3 Ne3 70. Rxa4 Nf5+ 71. Kg2 Rf4 72. d5 Ne3+ (72… Kh4 $5 73. Nc5 $11) 73. Kh3 Nxd5 74. Ng3+ Kg6 75. Rxf4 Nxf4+ 76. Kg4 Ne2 77. Nxe2 1/2-1/2%%%pgn%%%

Tomorrow is another double round day. I kick off with White against Xavier Bedouin, a French IM. Wish me luck!

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