12 April 2015

Drawing a National Master

A day or two after I posted "Building Upon Morphy," I sacrificed a bishop on h6. As a consequence, I was able to force a draw against a young National Master (It is possible to play through the game at the link). NM Praveen Balakrishnan may become very strong in the next few years. His current world ranking for players under 14 is 129. Although my Chess.com correspondence rating is high, I have played very few games against titled players.

Stripes,J (2193) -- Balakrishnan,P (2238) [B11]
TMCL 2014 Playoffs Division C - Board 3 Chess.com, 06.03.2015

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3

This was my first correspondence game with the Two Knights variation against the Caro-Kann. I've been playing with it a bit after looking at a few games in Chess Informant 113.

3...Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6 6.d4 dxe4

White to move

Decision time.


My move scores better than the alternative 7.Nxe4, although both have been played by Grandmasters.

7...Nf6 8.Qh4

8.Qd3 does not score as well.

8...Be7 9.Bd3 0–0N

9...Nbd7 has been played several times, although White has won most of these games.

I had been utilizing my database for the past five moves with hopes of getting a playable position for the middle game. One may copy others only so long in a correspondence game. Eventually, it is necessary to think.

10.Bg5 h6

White to move

This position was reached the week that I posted "Building Upon Morphy."


Naturally! Blame Morphy if my move is unsound.

11...gxh6 12.Qxh6=

According to Stockfish 6, I might have tried for an advantage with  12.g4! However, I did not look at this move, or at least not with any serious intent. Rather, I saw that I could force a draw and reduce my game load.

12...Re8 13.Qg5+ Kh8 14.Qh6+ Kg8 15.Qg5+ Kf8 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Qg5+ ½–½

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