[Event "Early Summer Swiss 2021"] [Site "lichess.org"] [Date "2021.04.20"] [Round "?"] [White "TreforHo"] [Black "Journey2FM"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C02"] [WhiteElo "2121"] [BlackElo "1959"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {I have known Trefor for many years since we both shared a home town and played for various clubs in the local leagues. Our styles are quite different: whilst I prefer quiet, positional struggles, Trefor has been known to throw a kitchen sink or two into an attack on the King. We had both been joking for a week or so before the game that we were "prepping" for each other. Normally this wouldn't phase me but Trefor had recently popped round to pick up a DGT board from me and took the opportunity to have a good look at my library of chess books - making particular note of the opening book selection. My one saving grace was my opening literature stretches the full rainbow of openings, from solid slavs to wild (read dubious) elephant gambits. I was certain I would be Black and thus I had decided if Trefor played the King's pawn I would answer with the French. I had played this previously in the competition and it's one of my main weapons. I have many correspondence games in the various lines and currently no less than 20 books on various French lines / themes. I suspected Trefor would play something sharp and so I refreshed my memory on the Milner-Barry line as well as all the sharp Winawer sidelines. I assumed he would avoid a mainline Winawer against me. If Trefor would play the Queen Pawn I was considering one of a couple of gambits I'd spent some time looking at recently. Although I won't divulge here in case they will be of use to me later in the tournament. Trefor was kind enough to send me his own notes to our game, some used here, prefaced with a (T)} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 {(T) I had considered 2.b3 but thought George would be prepared. (Trefor had no doubt seen my recent library addition on 2.b3 vs the French and thought I might have perused it pre game)} d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Nc6 {Until now we have followed my previous round game against Andrew Flood.} 6. Bd3 {My opening prep was focussed on the right place - the Milner Barry line} cxd4 7. O-O {Trefor tells me this is currently on trend with Magnus having played it recently. After the game Trefor kindly shared some notes with me and the source of his prep, some youTube videos showing the said Carlsen game.} Bd7 8. Re1 Nge7 9. Nbd2 {This is mentioned as a Novelty in Berg's repertoire books for Quality Chess - although many years have now passed since it's publication.} dxc3 { It's safe to say Trefor had this position on his analysis board before the game.} 10. bxc3 Ng6 11. Nb3 Qc7 12. Qe2 Be7 {Up until now we have both been following the brief note to this sideline in Berg's repertoire. Fortunate as I have been out of prep for a number of moves. Luckily the play makes sense and is focussed around the weak e5 pawn. With Black attacking and White defending.} 13. Rb1 Rc8 {I had assessed this as good for Black, up a pawn with weaknesses on c3 and e5 to aim at. Things are never that simple against Trefor though...} 14. Nbd4 Na5 {I thought this was clever at the time, avoiding exchanges and eying the c4 outpost - but the Knight would end up back on c6 soon enough.} 15. h4 {I thought I had prevented h4 - but true to type Trefor ignores the obvious and plays the uncompromising move anyway. I got a little nervous here - but when your opponent gives you the opportunity to go 2 pawns up, one must surely take it and hold on for dear life.} Bxh4 ({Not} 15... Nxh4 $2 16. Nxh4 Bxh4 17. Qg4) 16. Nb5 Bxb5 17. Bxb5+ Nc6 18. c4 {This is what I overlooked, or more correctly underestimated.} a6 (18... dxc4 19. Nxh4 Nxh4 20. Qxc4 {[%CAl Rc4h4] didn't appeal}) 19. Bxc6+ Qxc6 (19... bxc6 20. cxd5 cxd5 (20... exd5 21. Nxh4 Nxh4 22. Bg5 Ng6 23. Qxa6 {Doesn't fill Black with joy}) 21. Nxh4 Nxh4 22. Ba3 {Would not be in Black's best interest}) 20. cxd5 Qxd5 21. Rd1 {Now somehow even despite Black's two(!) extra pawns} Qa5 {[%CAl Ra5a3] protectibg against Ba3 so my King can get to safety.} 22. Nxh4 Nxh4 23. Qe4 {Looked good to me at the board - the Engine however give Black a slight advantage here} Ng6 24. Bd2 Qxe5 25. Qa4+ {(T) Qxb7 was considered and is probably as good.} b5 26. Qxa6 O-O 27. Qxb5 Qxb5 28. Rxb5 Rfd8 29. Rb2 {Over the last few moves we have both been following, somewhat surprisingly, the Engine's top suggestions.} Ne5 30. Rbb1 f6 31. Bf4 Rxd1+ 32. Rxd1 Ra8 {This is the mistake that throws away Black's advantage - and another example of me rushing late in the game when I should take my time and put the work in to secure the advantage. (T) This surprised me - I had expected ...Nc4.} (32... Nc4 33. Rc1 e5 34. Be3 f5 { Is still somewhat equal but a much better try for Black}) 33. Bxe5 fxe5 34. Re1 Rxa2 35. Rxe5 {Not much needs to be said now - with an extra pawn Black would expect some advantage but with all pawns on the same flank - realising an advantage is next to impossible - backed up by the Engine's 0.00 eval from here on out.} Kf7 36. g3 Kf6 37. Rb5 Ra7 38. Kg2 h6 39. f4 Ra2+ 40. Kf3 Ra3+ 41. Kg4 Rd3 42. Rb7 Rd5 43. Rb8 Rc5 44. Kf3 Rc3+ 45. Kg4 Rc5 46. Kf3 Rc3+ 47. Kg4 Rc5 {A draw against Trefor, who is the no1 seed and the tournament leader, is nothing to sniff at, especially with the Black pieces. However I can justifiably be a little disappointed not to prevail having seen my opponent give two pawns.} 1/2-1/2