#Czechmate!

I have had the chance to play in a few tournaments recently with mixed results. However, one opening has really done well for me statistically in tournament play over the past year, and that is the Czech Benoni. Below, are two of my recent games in my favorite pet line.

In the first one against Ralph Monda I managed to win a rook and knight v. rook and knight ending though did not have a chance to notate the second half of the game because it was a quick time control. However, in that game missed an early idea I should have seen with 11…Nh4! Threatening the family fork. If for instance 12.0-0-0 Nf3 13. Qc2 Nd4! when Black has a dominating position and will be able to play for b5 and a queenside attack. 27…Qxf4 is an oversight, as it loses an important pawn. It appears that White might trap black’s queen with 19.Rb3, but this was in fact precisely the move I was hoping for as it allowed 19…Bxa4! My opponent mentioned after the game that he had seen this trap and was happy to have avoided it. Better for Black was was 27…Ng6 when black would actually have an edge according to my engine- but in any case it would remain complicated with even material.

This game was a bit more of a dog fight. Here I missed a computer like 17…Bxb2 18.Rb1 Bf5 when the b7 pawn is immune from capture- for instance if 19.Rxb7 f3+ 20.g3 Bxh3 21.Kxh3 Qc8+ picks up the rook. Instead I played a bit more simply, assuming that the middle game with opposite color bishops would favor the attacker, though actually the position was likely level-ish. I played 26…a5 when I realized that White really had very few useful moves, and plenty of ways to go wrong. 28.Qh1 looks like an interesting idea that will help White regain control of the g-file and simplify to a drawish ending, however, it was actually just the sort of mistake I was hoping for as it allowed the simple tactic Bxf2, after which Black’s attack is enveloping.