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La mia analisi: Il materiale

La lezione del GM Schwartzman Unfortunately, playing against Kaidanov seems to be one of my biggest problems.   We have played eight times in the last few years, and believe it or not, I have not managed to win a single game.  And if that's not bad enough, I actually only made only two draws.  In the other six games you can imagine what happened... 
This is by far the worst record I have against any chess player on this planet.  I am not even sure why it is this way.  I mean Kaidanov is a very strong player, so there is no shame in losing to him, but still, I have better scores against even higher rated players.  It is either a matter of playing style, or maybe some psychology.   It just seems that every time I play him I make a stupid mistake, one that I should be able to see even in my sleep.  This game was no exception.
The opening had been a Caro Kann and with the white pieces I chose a very complicated line in which white wins a pawn, but black gets compensation, especially since the extra pawn on d3 doesn't do that much.  The position you see above had occurred at the end of some trades that I initiated.  In other words, I was the one who wanted to reach this position.  Why?
Well, there are a few reasons for which I thought my position was superior. First of all, it was the extra pawn.  Whether powerful or not, a pawn is a pawn, and it seemed to me that black's compensation is illusory.  Furthermore, it is actually black who has the most weaknesses, including the pawn on d6 which I am already pressuring and the pawn on a6 which my queen is also keeping an eye on.  If you add to the picture my control of the 'e' file, I hope you understand why I felt the way I did about my position.   I was actually pretty sure that if I have just one or two more extra moves to finish the development of my bishop and rook, my position would be close to winning.
In my defense, let me say that this analysis didn't take place with the position in front of my eyes, but in my head a few moves earlier, when I was considering the moves that could lead to this particular position.  As you will see in a second, the mistake I made in my analysis is still inexcusable.
The truth is that I was aware of my disadvantages, but no sufficiently so.  You see, I knew that my queen was in a bad location and that if black's pawn on a6 would be defended, my queen would be trapped after b5-b4.  As a matter of fact, I went over the line starting with 1...b4 2.Qa6 a few times, just to make sure  that my queen can escape alive.  I also knew about the weakness of the pawn on b2 and the unpleasant pressure that black's g7 bishop is putting on it.  Finally, I also had in the back of my mind the fact that I was still not fully developed.
All these disadvantages, of which I was aware of, should have definitely shown me black's idea that I overlooked.  But I guess my optimism just blinded me for a little while.  You see, while looking at the moves black has at his disposal, I spent too little time on exactly the right one.  The way I looked at the position, I thought that black has to concentrate on defending the pawn on d6, as its loss would mean certain defeat.    Defending the pawn on a6 is much easier since it is so hard for me to capture it without losing my queen.
I thus thought that apart from 1...b4 I had already considered, other potential moves for black are 1...Qc7, 1...Bc8, 1...Be5, 1...Re8, and 1...Qb6.  I was fairly pleased with these moves, since most of them allow me to put my primary plan into practice: either Bf4 and Rac1, or Bd2 which stops b5-b4, with the further Rac1 and even some moves such as Bb4 or Ba5 that take advantage of some dar square weaknesses on the queen side, and also safeguard my queen at the same time.  I fI reached that position, I said to myself, all my problems would be over.
It often happens that we don't see one of our opponent's move, because we simply don't see it...  Other times, though, we see the move, but we do not understand how strong it is.  This is exactly what happened to me.  After all, I did see 1...Qb6!

But instead of spending more time analyzing it, I quicky dismissed it because I saw that my next move would be 2.Be3 and black's queen would have to retreat, while at the same time defending the d6 pawn.  This means 2...Qc7 and after 3.Rac1 my position is fantastic.  In just a few seconds I thus solved the 1...Qb6 problem and moved on to the other "more" dangerous moves at black's disposal.
What I did here was show a lot of prejudice.  I simply had the prejudice that 1...Qb6 can not be a good move because it allows the development of my bishop with tempo.  And when you dismiss a move from the start, what is going to happen is that you will not spend too much time or energy calculating it.  Which is the only I can explain a stupid oversight such as that after 2.Be3, black instead of running away with the queen, can in turn attack my queen with 2...b4!

I hope you agree with me that this is not the kind of move you can only see if you are Kasparov or Karpov, even if you were looking at the position in your head a few moves before.  As a matter of fact, I don't even think you have to be a GM to see it.  I also hope you have seen many examples where I have seen moves much harder and more beautiful than this one.  But in this particular case, I missed it.  Why?   Because I didn't pay too much attention to 1...Qb6, the "bad" move.
This oversight proved fatal.  The forced position that occurred after 3.Bb6 ba3 4.Bc7 ab2 5.Rab1 Rbc8 6.Bd6 Rfe8 is clearly better for black.

While white is still a pawn up, it is black who dictates the game thanks to the incredibly strong pawn on b2 and all his other active pieces.  I did manage to put up a fight for another 20 moves, but the game still ended in black's favor, as all my attempts at winning the b2 pawn failed thanks to black's precise play.  For those interested, here is the complete score sheet of the game went:

Schwartzman,G - Kaidanov,G  [B10] USA Ch. (3), 1997

1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Nc3 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Qb3 0-0 9.Bc4 Nc5 10.Qa3 Nce4 11.0-0 Nd6 12.d3 a6 13.Re1 Rb8 14.Ne5 Nd7 15.Nxd7 Bxd7 16.Ne4 b5 17.Nxd6 exd6 18.Bb3 Qb6 19.Be3 b4 20.Bxb6 bxa3 21.Bc7 axb2 22.Rab1 Rbc8 23.Bxd6 Rfe8 24.Red1 Bg4 25.f3 Bd7 26.Kf1 Bf5 27.Bc4 Bc3 28.Ba3 Rb8 29.d6 a5 30.Bb3 Bd7 31.Bc5 h5 32.Bf2 a4 33.Bc2 a3 34.Bc5 Ra8 35.Bb3 Reb8 36.Bd5 Ra5 37.d4 Bb5+ 38.Kf2 Ba4 39.Be4 Bxd1 40.Rxd1 Bb4 41.d7 Bxc5 42.dxc5 Rd8 43.c6 Rc5 44.g4 hxg4 45.fxg4 f5 46.gxf5 gxf5 0-1