An unexamined life is not worth living.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BC Active Championship 2010 – poisoned pawns and blunders

A couple of weeks ago I participated in the BC Active Championship, which was won by Vicente Lee, second year in a row. I lost to speed chess maestros Vicente Lee and Mayo Fuentebella, but going into the last round still had a chance for the 4th place prize. After a complicated opening, my opponent cracked in mutual time pressure:
Jiganchine – Villavieja, Vancouver 2010, Round 9

image Black to move What’s wrong with taking on h6?
Loose pieces drop off, and the pawn cost Black a 100 dollars (4th prize) as his rooks became unprotected: 27 …. Qxh6?? 28. Re8+ Rxe8 29. Qxe8+ Kg7 30. Qe5+

image 1:0

Before that, I was lucky in round 5 in a similar way:
Bellanger – Jiganchine, Vancouver 2010, Round 5

image In a difficult position,  Black setup the trap with 1… Nd6.
Can White take on h4?
That cost him the game as the treacherous knights found their victim: 2. Rxh4?? Rxh4 3.Rxh4 Nef5+! and Black won.

image Black ends up with an extra piece.

And in the first round I came up with a big blunder of my own, but opponent did not take advantage of it:

Caluza – Jiganchine, Vancouver 2010, Round 1
For a bizarre reason I decided to chase away the bishop with 14…h6?

image White to move

The simplest now was 15. Bxh6! the point being that 15… gxh6?! 16 Qg4 + leaves White with an extra pawn.


Black has more resilient defence, but still would remain worse, and I had totally overlooked my hanging knight on d7 when playing h6. Another example to illustrate John Nunn's LPDO principle: Loose pieces drop off (explained in Nunn's "Secrets of Practical Chess"). In the game my opponent instead played 15. Qg4? and lost the game after some adventures. Speed chess is an odd hybrid where you have a bit of time to think about planning and strategy, but often end up winning and losing because of one move threats.


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