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11/30/09 - Pappu-Bereolos 2009 Kings Island Open

In the final round I had Black against Ananth Pappu. The critical moment came just after the time control 40...Rh5

He went into the tank here for over half and hour and finally came up with 41. Rd6? I was more worried about 41. Rd5 when it seems White can hold after 41... Re5 42. Rxe5 fxe5 43. Nc7 b4 44. Nd5+ Kd4 45. Nxb4 (not 45. Kf3 Bd2 46. h4 Be1 47. h5 Bd2 and White is in zugzwang) 47. Ke2 Kxe4 48. Nf6+ Kf5) 45... Kxe4; In the hallway afterwards he said that Black wins by a tempo after 41...Rxd5 I think his line was something like 42. exd5 Be3 43. d6 Bb6 44. d7 b4 45. d8=Q Bxd8 46. Nxd8 Kxc2 47. Nc6 (47... b3 48. Nd4+ Kc3 49. Nxb3 Kxb3-+ 50. Kg4 g6 51. h4 Kc3 52. h5 gxh5+ 53. Kxh5 Kd4 54. Kg6 Ke5 but it looks like White has a couple of improvements simplest is 44. Nc7 and the threat of Nd5 stops Black from making progress. He could also hold in the knight vs. pawn ending with 47. Nf7 (47. Nb7) 47... b3 48. Nd6 Kd3 49. Nb5 b2 50. Na3 =. After the text, Black gets excellent winning chances 41... Kxc2 42. Nd4+ perhaps still the best chance 42. Rd5 Re5 43. Nd4+ Kd3 44. Nxb5+ Kxe4 and all the pawns are on the same side of the board. 42... Kc3 43. Nf5 b4 44. h4 Bd2 I spent some time trying to get 44... Rxf5 to work, but it seems Black is a tempo short of winning after 45. exf5 for example 45... Bd2 46. Kf3 Kc2 47. Ke2 Bc3 48. Rd7 b3 49. Rxg7 b2 50. Rb7 b1=Q 51. Rxb1 Kxb1 52. h5 Bb4 53. h6 Bf8 54. h7 Bg7 55. Kd3 Bh8 56. Kd4 Kc2 57. Kd5 Kd3 58. Ke6 Ke4 59. Kf7 Kxf5 60. Kg8 Kg6 61. Kxh8 Kf7 45. Rc6+ 45. Nxg7 Rc5 and the b-pawn will be decisive 45... Kd3 46. Rd6+ Kxe4 47. Nxg7 Bf4+ 48. Kf2 Bxd6 49. Nxh5 Be5 50. Ke2 f5 [0:1]


11/29/09 - Bereolos-Mills 2009 Kings Island Open

In round 4, I had White against an old rival from my days in Indiana, Jim Mills. This was our 11th meeting, but the first since 1995. He was having a very good tournament up to this point beating GM Lein and drawing GM Perelstyn. I broke our 5-5 deadlock (all decisive games) with a nice attack after 26...Rfb8

27. f5 Afterwards, he mentioned 27. e6 fxe6 28. dxe6 Bxe6 29. f5 gxf5 30. Bxf5 with an edge for White 27... dxe5 28. fxg6 28. Nxe5 also looks good. For example, 28...Qd6 29. Nxf7 Kxf7 30. fxg6+ hxg6 31. Qh6 with a decisive attack 28... fxg6 29. Bxg6 Qg7 Going for a counterattack. Instead, 29... hxg6 30. d6 Qd8 31. dxc7 Qxc7 32. Qd5+ Kg7 33. Rxa6 and White is much better 30. Bd3 Bxh3 30... e4 is an attempt to penetrate the second rank, but White defuses the attack 31. Rxe4 Rb2 32. Rxb2 Rxb2 33. Qg5 31. Rxe5 h6 32. Qe2 Qg3 33. Qf2 Going for the queen swap to avoid any time pressure surprises, but White could still play 33. d6 Rb1+ 34. Bxb1 Rxb1+ 35. Ne1 Rxe1+ 36. Qxe1 and Ra2 covers the mate on g2. 33... Qxf2+ 34. Rxf2 Bg4 35. Re7 Ne8 36. Ne5 Bh5 meeting both 37. Nxg4 and 37.Bf7+ Kh8 38. Ng6#, but there was a third threat 37. Bh7+ Kh8 38. Rf8# [1:0]


11/27/09 - Finegold-Bereolos 2009 Kings Island Open

I was all the way up to Board 1 for round 3, with the Black pieces against Ben Finegold. After many years, Ben has finally achieved his final GM norm, and will officially receive the title at the next FIDE congress. 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. d5 g6 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O Na6 8. Re1 Nc7 9. a4 b6 10. Bf4 Bb7 Since White has omitted h3, Black can consider Bg4 here or on the previous moves 11. Qd2 Re8 Perhaps unnecessary. The thought is to preserve the bishop with Bh8 after a possible Bh6, but sometimes Nf6 wants to retreat here. 11... a6 or 11... Qd7 is likely a slight improvement. 12. Rad1 a6 13. Bc4 Qd7 14. Bh6 14. e5 Nh5 15. e6 fxe6 16. dxe6 Qc6 17. Bh6 Rf8 leads to a double-edge position. 14... b5 more consistent is 14... Bh8 15. e5 b5 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. e5 bxc4 17. exf6+ exf6 18. Rxe8 Nxe8 better is 18... Rxe8 keeping the d-pawn under fire so as not to allow the easy transfer of the knight from f3 to c4] 19. Qf4 f5 20. Nd2 Nf6 21. Nxc4 Rd8 22. h3 Qe7 23. Kf1 Nh5 24. Qd2 Qh4 25. b3 Bc8 again I failed to realize the weakness of the White d-pawn. 25... Nf6 forces White to keep two pieces defending it and he will have to come up with a way to make progress; Instead, I was too enamored with pushing forward on the kingside. I saw 25... f4 26. Ne4 f3 27. Qc3+ didn't work, so I decided to reposition my bishop 26. Re1

26... f4? A horrible positional move, which I thought had tactical justification. Better was 26...Nf6 with approximate equality 27. Ne4 g5?! after this there is no fight left, Only now did I realize my intended 27... Bxh3 loses for the same reason as 27...f3 28. Qc3+ Black could still try to complicate with 27... Kg8 28. Ncxd6 (28. Nexd6 Bxh3 29. gxh3 f3) 28... f3 28. Qc3+ Kg6 29. Nexd6 f6 30. Qd3+ f5 31. Nxc8 Rxc8 32. Ne5+ [1:0]


11/21/09 - Bereolos-Larson, 2009 Kings Island Open

I moved into the high board section in round 2, with White against my Tempo teammate Gerald Larson, who had upset IM Bryan Smith in the first round. After a maneuvering middlegame, the game turned more tactical after 21...Ka8

He was aiming to play 21...Ne4 which could not be played because of 21... Ne4 22. Bxe4 dxe4 (22... fxe4 23. Qxf6) 23. Ndc6+ . I didn't really like the move because I thought it put the king on a bad square, he was more critical of his previous move Bg7-f8 which took the protection off of f6. 22. Nb3 Rb5 22... R5c7 23. Nxd5 R7c6 ( 23...Qe6 24. Nxc7+ is check now because of Ka8, 24...Rxc7 25. c4 ) 24. c4 doesn't offer much, so he went for an exchange sac to try to preserve the d5 pawn. 23. Bxb5 Qxb5 24. Rxd5 I thought this was more vigorous than 24. Nd4 Qc4 when White will have to figure out how to unwind his pieces. 24... Qc4 trying to bump the knight to a worse square before taking on d5 25. Nd2 I tried to make 25. Na5 Qc7 26. Na6 work, but after 26... Qb6 it looks like the knight has to retreat with 27. Nb4 25... Bxd5 26. Qxd5 Surprisingly, the engines like the pawn up rook ending with a damaged pawn structure after 26. Nxc4 Bxf3 27. Nxd6 Bxd6 28. gxf3 Bxb4 29. axb4. I preferred to play for the attack. 26... Qe2 27. c4 Ne4 He doesn't really have time to take the pawn since 27... Qxf2 28. c5 Nb5 29. c6 gives White a strong attack. 28. Nxe4 fxe4 29. c5 Qb5 29... Kb8 30. c6 Bxb4 31. c7+ Ka8 32. Qe6 (32. Qd8 Qd3+) wins 30. Qe6 Qe8 This leads to a lost ending, but avoided a couple of the traps I had set. 30... Rxc5? 31. Qc8+ Rxc8 32. Rxc8# was rather obvious, but more insidious was 30... Re8 31. c6! Rxe6 32. c7 a5 33. c8=Q+ Ka7 34. Qxe6 +- I thought the relatively best move was 30... Kb8 but White still retains a strong initiative with 31. c6 since 31...Bxb4 32. c7+ Rxc7 33. Qg8+ leads to mate] 31. Qxe8 Rxe8 32. Nd5 Re5 33. Nxf6 and I won the ending with 2 extra pawns.


11/20/09 - Fan-Bereolos, 2009 Kings Island Open

In the first round, I had Black vs. Yun Fan. Instead of analysis, I think the story of this game is best told with diagrams, which illustrate Nimzowitsch's famous quote, "A passed pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key." My opponent sacrificed an exchange to obtain a protected passed pawn on d5, which I immediately blockaded with 28...Qd6

Watch how the Black pieces take turns guarding the prisoner 29. Bc4 Rc8 30. a4 Rgd8 31. Qg4 Qd7 32. Qxd7 Rxd7 33. f3 Rd6

34. a5 f6 35. Bf2 Ne7 36. Rb2 Rc7 37. g4 Nc8 38. Bb5 Rd8 39. Be2 Nd6

40. c4 h5 41. Kg2 hxg4 42. hxg4 Rh8 43. Bg3 Rd8 44. Bf2 Nc8 45. Rb5 b6 46. a6 Nd6 47. Rb1 Rb8 48. Be3 Rh8 49. Bf2 Kf8 50. Bg3 Rch7 51. Bd3 Ke7 52. Be2 Kd7 53. Bd3 Kc7 54. Rc1 Nc8 55. Rd1 Ne7 56. Bc2 Kd6

The final blockader has arrived. Now everything is ready for the kingside invasion 57. Ba4 Ng6 58. Kf2 Rh1 59. Rd2 Ra1 60. Bb5 Rhh1 61. Ke3 Nh4 62. Rf2 Ra3+ 63. Ke2 Ra2+ 64. Ke3 Ng2+ 65. Kd3 Rd1+ 66. Kc3 Rxf2 67. Bxf2 Rf1 [0:1] I think this game also is a great example of the endgame principle "Do Not Rush!"


11/19/09 - Kings Island Open

Caissa can be very fickle. Last Thursday, I lost a game in the Knoxville City Championship for the first time since 1997 with a silly blunder that left a piece hanging. That did not bode well heading into the annual Kings Island Open that started Friday. So what happened? I scored 4/5 to tie for first, my biggest win ever! I'll have some analysis in the coming days.


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