Norwegian Open – Rounds Three and Four

Today was a double round day so up and early for a 9am start. I was paired against another Norwegian 2100, Victor Hansen. After a rather offbeat opening (1.Nf3 d6 2.c4 e5 3.d3 f5) I equalised comfortably and could have taken the advantage before things again started going wrong. I set up this tactic (cheapo) where he could win a pawn but thought he’d have to go really passive giving me great compensation. Unfortunately I overlooked something and I wasn’t winning his queen as I thought. Luckily I still had decent play for the pawn and continued to increase the pressure.


The middlegame started tipping in my favour and, up on time too, I thought I had found another way to finish the game. Putting the game into ChessBase the computer isn’t convinced I’m better but it was certainly much easier for me to play. I doubled rooks allowing him to sacrifice his queen for one rook deflecting my other rook from the back rank and setting up some mate threats. I had seen this of course and thought I could win material and block the mate but unfortunately had totally overlooked a king retreat. I was left with a choice either to take perpetual or go into a slightly worse ending. As I had a large rating advantage and he was low on time I chose the latter.


Victor had around two minutes to make eight moves and made a couple of slight inaccuracies meaning it was I with pressure in the endgame of rook, bishop and four pawns against rook, knight and four. However he defended well and exchanged into a drawn endgame with rook and passed pawn each. I had a few tricks but he circumvented them. Just as I was accepting that I had thrown away another half point however, he fell into the only trap left in the position. He impulsively pushed his passed pawn but allowed me to block his king from defending the pawn with my rook, a classic trap.


So I had managed to win the first game but with a whole dollop of luck and wasn’t feeling particularly confident going into the second game of the day. I was up against FM Jøran Aulin-Jansson. After my disaster in round two I decided to open with the queen’s pawn and played an f3 Nimzo. I secured a small edge with more space on the kingside while he was rather passive. However, if I did nothing I was concerned that he would generate counterplay on the queenside so I broke with f3-f4 creating a wild open position. He played the very strong 15…g5! laying a claim on the dark squares. I felt if I meekly retreated he would take over the advantage so I offered a piece to open up the diagonal for my bishop towards his king.


He declined the piece and instead took a pawn. The position was extremely complex and I think it would take a long look with some artificial intelligence to get to the truth of the position but this time my attack on the kingside crashed through. The game is below.

###pgn###[Event “Fagernes Norwegian Championship”] [Site “?”] [Date “2011.04.19”] [Round “4”] [White “Jones, G.”] [Black “Aulin Jansson, J.”] [Result “1-0”] [ECO “E24”] [WhiteElo “2578”] [BlackElo “2232”] [Annotator “GJ”] [PlyCount “53”] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. e4 d6 8. Bd3 Nc6 9. Ne2 e5 10. d5 Ne7 11. h4 Ne8 12. g4 f6 13. Rg1 $5 {Preparing the next} Bd7 14. f4 {Very ambitious} exf4 (14… Ng6 15. h5 Nxf4 16. Nxf4 exf4 17. Bxf4 $14) 15. Nxf4 (15. h5 $5 {would have cut out Black’s idea}) 15… g5 $1 16. e5 $1 {I felt this was necessary} (16. Nh3 Ng6 17. hxg5 Ne5 {would be rather unpleasant as Black dominates the dark squares (and thus also my light squared bishop).}) 16… dxe5 (16… gxf4 17. e6 Qa5 $13 18. Bxf4 Ba4 19. Qd2) (16… fxe5 17. Ne6 {is a better version of the game for White as the king is more vulnerable}) 17. Ne6 Bxe6 18. dxe6 Nd6 ({I expected} 18… Qd6 {which has Rybka’s stamp of approval} 19. Qc2 (19. Qe2 Rd8 20. Bc2 gxh4 21. Rh1 Ng6 $17) 19… h6 20. Be3 Qxe6 21. O-O-O {and White still has decent compensation but Black should be fine}) 19. hxg5 e4 20. Bb1 Ng6 ({This is a position for computers and Rybka wants to play the odd} 20… Qa5 $1 21. Rg3 Qa6 22. Rh3 fxg5 {when apparently everything is under control but still the position is really messy}) 21. Qd5 Kh8 22. Ra2 $1 {The rook comes into the game with decisive effect.} Ne5 (22… Ne7 {was necessary but by now White is clearly better anyway} 23. Qxc5) 23. Rf2 Nf3+ 24. Rxf3 exf3 25. Rh1 f5 26. g6 f2+ 27. Kf1 (27. Kf1 Nxc4 28. Rxh7+ Kg8 29. Rd7 {is the line I analysed} Nb6 30. Qh1 $1 {we discovered in the post mortem.}) 1-0%%%pgn%%%

So 2/2 from the day and back to a respectable 3/4 but I certainly felt I had a helping hand today. Miezis and Tiviakov were the only leaders on 3/3 but they had a quick draw so I’m back to just half a point behind the leading bunch and still in with a shot. The rest of the tournament is one round a day so hopefully will get some time to explore the beautiful scenery around the hotel further.