Jeremy Menadue 0 - 1 Taione Sikivou
Cornwall v Fiji Online match, Bd.2, 16/01/2021
Notes by Taione Sikivou
On board 2 in the Fiji match, Jeremy Menadue was paired against the new Fijian champion, Taione Sikivou. Here is the game with Taione's fine and comprehensive notes.
The Slav Defense and now both sides tussle to steer the game into their desired sub-variations.
Black decides to go for the a6 slav/ Chebaneko Slav tabiya. White's 5th move is an important filtering move and will dictate the key plans for both sides moving forward.
White goes with the solid 5.e3 with easy King's side development, quick castling and the eventual preparation of the e4 pawn break in the center.
Ambitious move trying to get the Light Square Bishop outside the chain before solidifying it with .. e6. More typical moves for Black are 5...b5 - with immediate Queen's side play & 5...e6 - more passive/cramped approach with long term goal of e5 or c5 break in the future.
Typical idea in these kind of Slav structures. The idea is that Black is committing less resources defendingthe b7 square than White is using to attack it. Black Rook is not easily attacked and can redeployed to a more useful square at ease in the future.
Not the best move as it relieves the tension and helps Black to breathe easily and develop comfortably. 7.Nh4 is recommended here or completing development with either Bishop whilst maintaining tension in the centre with a small positional edge.
Provocative move - trying to induce weaknesses. This move is more a piece of psychology & gamesmanship than having any substantial positional merit. White had spent a lot of time in the opening indicating that he is a deeper thinker and may be prone to time pressure. Black henceforth adopts a strategy of playing moves that cause problems with a multitude of ways of solving them, hoping that this may induce a blunder in a more critical position later down the line under time pressure.
The more human move. More interesting was Bd7 which defends d5 by tactical means given that Nh4 is undefended. Black's provocations has lead to h3 & Nh4 and a time advantage but he will need to deal with lack of development ASAP to be able to capitalize.9...Bd7 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.Qxd5 e6with a Discovered Double Attack on Nh4 and Qd5. Suffice to say Black gains initiative which allows for easy development and at least equality.
Locking in the Light Bishop but development is much more important here. Furthermore, the Black Queen is eyeing the loose Knight on h4 which could setup tactics in the future. 11.Nf3
Preventing any possible tactical combination on the previously loose White Knight.
Both sides have completed development and have safe Kings. Now it will come down to a moment in the game whereby whichever side comes up with the better plan will triumph. It has to be noted that the Black Queen's Bishop is locked in behind his own pawns and therefore he must come up with an active plan for deploying it, lest he be positionally ground out by White.
White has the first go at implementing his plan. 14.Rfe1 - maybe White is preparing e4 push. Black is not worried about this at the moment because e4 will make d4 weak and isolated. Thus Black moves to champion his plan of Queen's side play and to get White to abandon any of his plans in the center/King's side and react to Black's Queen's side play. Another note is that White spent almost close to 12 minutes on moves 14 and 15th whereby Black only used approx 3 minutes. This gave Black an even more significant advantage on the clock.
A move that more or less achieves equality as it gains more Queen's side space and allows Black's pieces to redeploy more effectively on that side of the board. Black has plans of plonking a Knight on c4, Bb7 and doubling Rooks on the c-file.
Not the best move as it fails to hinder any of Black's Queen's side play which will eventuate quicker than any central operations that White can muster. Recommended is 15.e4 - accepting weak IQP in hopes of drumming up dynamic counterplay chances. 15.e4 dxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 Ne7=
An unnecessary move. Black's idea behind this move was to put more pressure on d4 so as to further discourage White from playing e4. Black would have been better served by continuing with Queen's side play of either 15...Rc7 or 15...Na5, e.g. 15...Na5 16.Qc2 Rc7
bit too passive and allows Black to take further control of the initiative. Maybe White could have tried the more active options of 18.b4 - preventing the Na5 and Nc4 manoeuver. Or 18.Rc1 - contesting the c-file.
Black's Queen's side pieces are actively developed and primed for action to gain a decisive advantage.
Weakens light squares
This capture aids Black. Allowing Black to free his Queen's Bishop and obtain a Queen's side pawn majority (3v2). It is difficult to reccomend a move for White as Black has a positional advantage and easy plan of action. Maybe White could have tried 22.g4 - aiming for a dynamic Kside attack in attempts of complicating the postion.
Black now begins his plan of converting his Qside majority into a passer, which will be duly supported by all of Black's Qside based pieces.
White has diminished his control of light squares by trading off the Light Bishops. The Black Knight now centralizes with an octopus like influence on White's position.27.Ne2 Ne4
c3 is begging to pushed
Centralizing and preparing to play c3 on the next move.29.Bc1?!
A tough cramped position to play, compunded by time pressure. This move is an error, not only does it remove a defender of the c3 square but prevents the addition of a defender (via Rec1). White needed to have played the move 29. Rec1 - stopping the immediate c3, giving White better defensive chances.
Black misses the immediate killer blow of 29...b3 - whereby White's position just crumbles. This is still winning and in-line with Black's earlier long term plan of creating a Queen's side passed pawn. 29...b3 30.Qd1 Bb4 31.Ra1 c3-+
30...bxc3 is a mistake as White can blockade on c2 and it will require more precise play to convert the win.
Black's Rooks decisively penetrate the position.
One step closer to promotion and providing valuable support to the Rook on c2. Any capture of the Rook will allow the passed pawn to be only one square away from Promotion.
White Resigned. White is cramped and devoid of any good moves to stop Black's multiple threats, the major one being the passed b-pawn.
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