Friday, July 3, 2009

Oceania Zonal 2009

The recent Oceania Zonal come to a finish with (Aus) GM elect David Smerdon winning the Open section and (Aus) WIM Arianne Caoili winning the women's to each claim a spot in the coming World Cup. For the Kiwi contingent Sue Mararoa gained the Womens International Master title and Mike Steadman was finally able to clinch the Fide Master title.

The following game is from the last round of the Oceania Zonal.
Scott,R (2261) - Steadman,M (2262) [A40]2009 Oceanic Zonal Open Tweed Heads (9.6), 26.06.2009

Steadman had a rough start to the Zonal losing in round's 3 and 4 to lower ranked oponents. He was then able to win the next 4 games giving him a chance for a good finish, all that stood in his way was a former Kiwi now Aussie resident Ronald Scott. Scott on the other hand was having a great tournament and was coming off a win in round 7 against IM Rujevic and a draw in round 8 against IM West.

1...g6 2.c4
A critical last round game, both players need a win to claim the FM title.
2...Bg7 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.g3 b5

White is not willing to grab a pawn believing black's compensation to be sufficient.
6.cxb5 a6 7.bxa6 Qa5+ (7...Nf6 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bg2 Bf5 10.0-0 Nxa6 11.Ne1 Qd7 12.e4 Bh3 13.Rb1 Rfb8 14.b3 Bxg2 15.Nxg2 Ng4 16.Bb2 Nc7 17.Qc2 Bd4 18.Kh1 Ne5 19.Qe2 Qc8 20.f4 Ng4 21.Qf3 Rb4 22.h3 Ne5 0-1 Nikolic,P-Topalov,V/Linares 1997/) 8.Bd2 Qxa6 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.e4 Qb6 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.a4 0-0 13.0-0 Bg4 14.Kg2 Na6 15.h3 Bc8 16.Re1 Nc7 17.Bc4 Ba6 18.b3 Nd7 19.a5 Qa7 20.Qc2 Rab8 21.Ra4 Rfe8 22.Bf4 Nb5 23.Nxb5 Bxb5 24.Ra2 Qc7 25.Bd2 Qa7 26.h4 Qa6 27.Bf4 Bxc4 28.Qxc4 Qa8 29.Ra4 Rb7 30.e5 dxe5 31.Bxe5 Nf6 32.a6 Rd7 33.Bxf6 Bxf6 34.Qxc5 Rxd5 35.Qc4 Rd4 36.Qb5 Rd5 37.Qc4 Rd4 38.Qb5 Rd5 39.Qe2 Rb8 40.Qe4 Rxb3 41.Rd1 e6 42.a7 Kg7 43.Nh2 Bd8 44.Kh3 h5 45.Nf1 Rb7 46.Rxd5 exd5 47.Qd4+ Kh7 48.Ra6 Rb1 49.Kg2 Rb5 50.Kh2 Be7 51.Ne3 Bc5 52.Qf6 Rb7 53.Nxd5 Rxa7 54.Nc7 Qg8 55.Rc6 Bf8 56.Qd4 Ra2 57.Kg2 Bg7 58.Qd5 Rb2 59.Rd6 Rb8 60.Rd7 Rf8 61.Qb3 Kh8 62.Qd5 Bf6 63.Qd6 Bg7 64.Nd5 Re8 65.Qf4 Re5 66.Nc7 Rf5 67.Qe4 Qb8 68.Qe8+ Qxe8 69.Nxe8 Bf8 70.Nd6 Bxd6 71.Rxd6 - Nikolic,P-Cheparinov,I/Amsterdam 2007/
6...a6 7.Bg2 Nd7 8.0-0 Nb6 9.e4 e6
A double edged move but Black has some problems developing his K-side.
9...Nf6 10.e5!?

This move allows black to break down white's center. Better is 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.cxb5 axb5 12.Qe2 b4 13.Rd1 White succeeds in keeping an edge. Black's king is still in the center and because of the coming e5 pawn push black will be hard pressed to hold his position togeather. black's best is probably 13...Ne7 (13...Bxa2?! 14.e5 d5 15.e6!) 14.e5 0-0 15.Ne4 Bc4 16.Qe1 Bd5 17.Nxd6 White has an edge but the position is still quite tricky.

Good for white is 13...Qc7 14.Ng5 Ne7 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Bh3 Qd7 17.Nb3±

10...Ne7 11.cxb5

11.e5 This doesn't work anymore 11...bxc4 12.Nxc4 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 exd5 14.Qf4 Nf5

11...exd5 12.exd5 0-0 13.Rd1 axb5 14.Qxb5 Bd7

Also good is 14...Nexd5 15.Ne4 f5 16.Nc3 Ba6 17.Qb3 Bc4 18.Qc2 Nb4 19.Qb1 Re8

15.Qd3 Ba4

15...c4 16.Qf1 Qc7 17.Ng5 Rfe8 White's pieces are unable to coordiante and the d5 pawn is falling.

16.Re1 Nexd5 17.a3 Qd7 18.Rb1 Bb5 19.Qc2 Rfe8 20.Ne4 f5 21.Neg5?

21.Nc3 had to be played


21...h6! 22.Nh3 g5 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 The knights wil be forked.

22.Nxe1 Re8


The pressure of this game is clear. White now gives black a second chance to win a piece. 23.Bd2 is better where Black is still better but not winning.

23...h6 24.Nh3 g5 25.Bxg5 hxg5 26.Nhxg5 Re2 27.Qd1 Rxb2
Normally it is a good idea to trade pieces when you are up material but this is not always the case. 27...Bxb2 with Nc3 coming would put white on the run.
28.Rxb2 Bxb2 29.Nh4
The smoke has cleared a little and black has a bishop for a pawn. White's only chance is to create pressure against black's somewhat exposed King. White is however in a dead lost position. 29...Bd4
Safer is 29...Bc4 30.Qh5 Nf6 31.Qg6+ Qg7 32.Qxf5-+ and White's trick's are almost over

The pressure is now reaching critical mass and Steadman plays an inferior move, but in all fairness the position is still quite compliceted and black has some tricky threats to deal with.

Winning is 30...Qg7! Perhaps not played because of 31.Nxf5 But 31...Bxf2+! Leads to mate in 13! 32.Kxf2 Qb2+ 33.Ke1 Qc3+ 34.Kd1 (34.Kf2 Qd2+ 35.Kg1 Qe1+ 36.Bf1 Qxf1#) 34...Qa1+ 35.Kc2 Qa2+ 36.Kc1 Qxa3+ 37.Kd2 Qb2+ 38.Ke1 Qb4+ 39.Kd1 Qb1+ 40.Kd2 Nc4+ 41.Ke2 Nce3+ 42.Kf2 Qc2+ 43.Kg1 Qxg2#

31.Qg6+ Qg7 32.Qxf5
32.Qxg7+ Kxg7 33.Ne6+ Kg8 34.Nxf5 White has won another pawn but the position is now simplified and black should win without too much difficulty.
32...Bd7 33.Qf4 Be5
33...Ng4 34.Ne4 d5 35.h3 dxe4 36.hxg4 Qxg4 Is an easy win.
34.Qc1 Ng4 35.h3 Nh6 36.f4 Bd4+ 37.Kh2 Nf7 38.Ngf3 Bb2 39.Qe1 Qc3
39...Bxa3 40.Qb1 Bb4 41.Nf5 Qf6-+
40.Qe4 Qf6 41.Qb7 d5 42.Ng5 Bxa3?!
Black has enough material advantage now was the time for piece trades.
42...Nxg5 43.fxg5 Qe6 (43...Qxg5 44.Qxb6) 44.Nf5 Bxa3 45.Ne7+ Kg7
46.Nxd5 Nxd5 47.Qxd5 (47.Bxd5 Qxh3+-+) 47...Qxd5 48.Bxd5 Bb5 49.h4 c4 50.Be4 Be8 51.Kh3 c3 52.Bc2 Bg6 53.Bb3 Be7 54.Kg4 c2 55.Bxc2 Bxc2 56.h5 Bd1+ 57.Kh4 Kg8 58.g4 Kf7 59.Kh3 (59.h6 Kg6) 59...Bxg5-+
43.Bxd5 Nxd5 44.Qxd7 Ne7

Now the win for Black is no where is sight and more importantly White has taken the initiative and the change from a lost position to unclear has given white a confidence boost while Steadman must be wondering how his won game has turned into this.
45.Ne6 45...c4 46.g4 Ng6?
46...Bd6 47.Kg1 Qa1+ (47...Bxf4 48.Nxf4 Qxh4 49.Qe8+ Kg7 50.Nh5+ Kg6 51.Nf4+ Kf6 52.Nh5+ A draw again or black can risk it with 52...Ke5 53.Qxf7 Qe1+) 48.Kf2 Qb2+ 49.Kg3 Qc3+ 50.Kg2 Qd2+ 51.Kf1 Qc1+ (51...c3 52.Qe8+ Kh7 53.Qxf7+ Kh6 54.g5#) 52.Kg2 Qd2+ 53.Kf1 Qd3+ 54.Kf2 Kh7 55.Nf5 Black has a perpetual and at a glance I couldn't find anything better. With time I am sure better moves will be found.

47.Nxg6 Qxg6 48.Qc8+ Kh7


The table's have turned and white now has a definate advantage in his 3 connected passed pawns on the K-side. Black's c-pawn was not just a pawn it was an important source of diversion it was after all 3 squares away from becoming a Queen.

49...Bd6 50.Kg2 Qf6 51.Qe4+ Kg8 52.g5 Qb2+ 53.Kg3 Qb3+ 54.Kh4 Nh8 55.g6?! 55.Nd4 This should win. 55...Qf7 56.f5 Be7 57.Ne6 Qe8 58.Kg4 White must not rush the pawn advance, black is toast.

55...Be7+ 56.Kh5??
better is 56.Ng5 although most variations lead to a draw Bxg5+ 57.Kxg5 Qg3+ 58.Kf6 Qh4+ 59.Ke5 Qxh3 60.f5 Nxg6+ 61.fxg6 Qc3+ 62.Kf5=; 56.Kg4 Qd1+=



An epic battle where either side could have won. I imagine Scott will be devastated for a long time losing in such a way.
Congratulations to Michael Steadman on achieving the FM title and more importantly stopping another Australian getting one!


Anonymous said...

Who is Ronald Scott?

Anonymous said...

Ronald Scott aka Mark Sinclair

Anonymous said...

Is that for real, Is Ronald Scott really M Sincliar.

David Caldon said...

Ronald was a teenage runaway from Newcastle who spent about 10 years in New Zealand under the name M Sinclair, the surname reportedly from a family of stay and a UDF activist. Greg Wilson would know more.