Friday, April 29, 2016

Workman Makes Haines Work

The Ray Haines Ruy Lopez vs Bradley Workman in the 2016 Maine State Championship raises possibilities to offer coaching advice. Ray was interested in what I thought about his game. Here I pretend that he asked me three questions. My answers attempt to offer help. Comments from Ray Haines are in quotations.

“I decided to play a gambit line in the Ruy Lopez, which has worked well for me in the past. He did not take the gambit pawn.”

Question 1: What about my choice of opening?

1.e4 and 1.d4 are both good for you. You play well in active positions. Ruy Lopez is a good choice if you do not want to memorize a lot. After 6 moves White had not moved anything on the queenside. Ruy Lopez is like a slow tank. It cannot be hurried, and it cannot be stopped. Moves like 7.d3 or 7.Re1 seem better with d4 later.

That gambit made life easier for Black. His first plan would last to about move nine. After six, he had moved three pieces. His plan might include Bc5, d6 and 0-0. After those moves it becomes more difficult for Black to avoid mistakes which give you targets.

Your rush to quickly open the center gave his developed pieces something good to do. So he does not need to find a plan. All he needs to do is attack before you develop.

“I did not check his rating before the game. He did things, which may have distracted me a little. I would make my move. He would look at it. Then he would get up from the table without making a move. He would either leave the playing room or walk around looking at the other games. He then would come back to the table and sit down, but before making his move he would look at the floor. He did this with the first 10 or 15 moves.”

Question 2: How should I react to my opponent’s behavior?

He was not one of the masters rated above you in this event. It sounds to me like his were normal nervous actions of a young man who does not play in tournaments very often. As much as possible, I suggest you ignore him. Analyze on his time.

“My first small mistake was on move 12… I helped him develop his king bishop… The next mistake should have cost me the game because I missed the fact that he had a double pin on my queen bishop. This let him win a piece… The game did not end at move 51 but because of the time trouble I did not write down the right moves. The game went on for 20 more moves… We traded off all of the pieces at the end, which forced a draw.”

Question 3: What do you think about how I handled the game?

The gambit chosen jump started Black’s game. Database results slightly favor Black in that line. I agree with your assessment of move 12. His pin of your bishop on move 19 was a challenge.

Your opponent appears to be an improving player who had the better position throughout most of the game. He missed several chances for advantage. Workman made you work for 70 moves. You used all your time. Considering this, a draw is not that bad.

Haines - Workman (1638), Maine State Championship (3), 09.04.2016 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Bb7 6.0-0 Nf6 7.d4 [Many players prefer the slower build up with 7.d3= ; or to prepare d4 with 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 d6 9.d4=] 7...Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.e5 Ne4 10.c3 d3 [Maybe best is 10...Nc5= ; Interesting but risky is 10...dxc3 11.Qf3 Nd6!=] 11.Qxd3 d5?! [11...Nc5!=] 12.exd6?! [12.Nd2+/=] 12...Bxd6 13.Qe2 0-0 14.Nd2 Nc5 [Black has a strong attack with 14...Qh4!-/+ ] 15.Qg4 Nd3 16.Nf3 Ne5? [16...Qf6=/+] 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Bg5 Qd3 19.Rad1 Qg6 20.Qh4? [20.f4! Qb6+ 21.Rf2+/=] 20...h6 21.f4 hxg5 22.fxg5 Qh7? [Black returns the favor. 22...Bd6-+] 23.Bxf7+! Rxf7 24.Qxh7+ Kxh7 25.Rxf7 Re8 26.h4 [26.Rdd7 Kg6 27.Rfe7 Rxe7 28.Rxe7 Bd6=/+] 26...Kg6 27.Rfd7 [27.Rdd7 Rh8-/+] 27...Bc6 [27...Bg3!-+] 28.R7d3 Re6 [28...Kh5-/+] 29.Kf1 Rd6 30.b3 Rxd3 [30...Kh5! 31.Rxd6 cxd6-/+] 31.Rxd3 Kf5 32.Kf2 Be4 33.Rd7 Ke6 34.Rd8 Bxc3 35.Re8+ Kf5 36.h5 Bd4+ 37.Ke2 Bxg2 [Black has a better endgame after 37...Bc6 38.Re7 Kxg5 39.Rxc7 Bxg2-/+] 38.h6 gxh6 [Much stronger is 38...Kg6!= ] 39.gxh6 Be4 40.h7 Bb1 41.h8Q [41.a3+/-] 41...Bxh8 42.Rxh8 Bxa2 43.Rh3 Ke5 44.Kd2 Bb1 45.Rc3 Kd6 46.Rh3 Kc5 47.Kc3 b4+ 48.Kb2 Bg6 49.Rh6 Bd3 50.Rh4 Kb6 [50...c6=] 51.Rh5 [White could pick off a pawn here, and maybe he did during the next 20 moves. 51.Rxb4+ Bb5 52.Rh4+/=] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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