July CCN Preview: Hansen - Yam (Calgary 2013)

The July CCN heads to Alberta for tournaments and annotators:
    • IM Edward Porper on the Calgary International
    • FM Vladimir Pechenkin returns with "Canadians Abroad"
    • GM Eric Hansen makes two contributions:
      • two games from the Calgary International
      • four games and a tournament diary from the Edmonton International.
That last point may raise some eyebrows. First, yes Eric did get out of Calgary, dry and on time for round 1 in Edmonton. Second, the EI ends July 1st, so his CCN deadline is July 6, and I expect to have the July CCN emailed by July 8-9. A couple of days later than you're used to, but with up-to-the minute GM annotations: an excellent trade, IMHO.

Below is one of Eric's games from the Calgary International, with his notes. You might notice that this replayable game looks somewhat better than the ones we've been able to post on the CFC Newsfeed. Our webmaster, Shao Hang He gets the credit: he adapted a PGN parser from ChessTempo and we're trying it here for the first time. The parser runs in Javascript, so make sure your browser/phone/tablet has javascript enabled.

Enjoy the game:
Hansen, Eric (2577) - Yam, Alex (2283) 6th Calgary International 2013 Calgary 2013.05.20 Round: 9 Result: 1-0
Heading into the final round I was needing a victory to finish within the top 3 so I viewed the game as a must-win.

1. e4 Nf6
2. e5 Nd5
3. d4 d6
4. Nf3 dxe5
5. Nxe5 g6

I didn't expect the Alekhine's defence so I was already out of book.

6. Bc4

6. c4 Nb6 7. Nc3 Bg7 8. Be3 Is another option

6...  c6
7. O-O Bg7
8. Re1

The e-file is a future battleground 8. Nc3 Be6

8...  O-O
9. c3

I opted for this solid setup. With my bishop on c4 it makes more sense because I can't play pawn c4 easily anyway without obstructing my bishop. I also want to play Nd2 and at the moment I can't because of Nb6

9...  Be6

Black doesn't have great squares to put his bishop so he goes for the plan of trading it off in combination with Nc7 9... Nd7 10. Nf3 N7b6 11. Bb3 Bg4 12. Nbd2 Qc7 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Nxf3 +=

10. Nd2 Nd7
11. Nef3!

Keeping the pieces on so that I make my space advantage felt more. 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. Ne4 b6 13. Ng5 Bf5 =

11...  Nc7

Black wants to trade off pieces so he can move his pawns without having pieces in the way. The setup is a bit clumsy right now 11... b5!? 12. Bf1 N7b6 11... Bg4 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Nxf3 e6 14. a4 Qc7 15. Bg5 Rfe8 16. Qd2 += 1/2-1/2 (31) Ivanov,A (2415)-Kengis,E (2475) Pavlodar 1987

12. Bf1

I'm willing to take extra time to find optimum squares for my pieces. Because of Black's slow setup I felt I could afford to do this. Now I ask Black what to do with the bishop on e6. 12. Bxe6 Nxe6 13. Qb3 Qb6 14. Nc4 Qc7 ( 14... Qxb3 15. axb3 += ) 15. Bd2 Should be ok for Black although White retains the more pleasant,spacious position since Black can't make c5 or e5 work yet. The knight on e6 is clumsy if it doesn't have a target. 12. Qb3 Nb6 13. Bxe6 Nxe6 14. Ne4 Qd5 15. Nfg5 Nxg5 16. Bxg5 Rfe8 17. Bf4 Qxb3 18. axb3 Nd5 19. Bg3 a5 20. Nc5 b6 21. Nd3 Rac8 = 1/2-1/2 (21) Rausis,I (2560)-Kishnev,S (2510) Lublin 1993

12...  c5?!

A standard pawn thrust which attempts to equalize right away. The game continuation shows that this was too early. However there's not really any other appealing variations.

13. Nb3!

Despite the liberties I took in developing my pieces it seems that Black is already facing difficulties here.

13...  cxd4
14. Nfxd4

I chose this knight because I had ideas of bringing my queen to f3

14...  Bd5

This is an open position so Black would not want to concede the bishops.

15. Bg5

Some space has cleared and as a result there is only one logical square for my bishop to develop 15. c4 Was my original intent but I found it harder to evaluate after the ensuing variation: 15... e5 16. cxd5 exd4 17. Nxd4 Nb6 18. Nf3 Qxd5 19. Bf4 Ne6 20. Be5 1/2-1/2 (20) Lau,R (2495)-Loeffler,S (2415) Germany 1996

15...  f6

This forced move definitely does not appeal aesthetically. The possible defects in Black's formation are revealed if he is forced to do this. 15... Bf6 16. Bxf6 Nxf6 17. c4 Be6 ( 17... Bc6 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. Qxd8 Rfxd8 20. Rxe7 +/- ) 18. Qf3 Qc8 19. h3 +/- 15... Re8 16. c4 Be6 17. Qf3 Black is too passive here.

16. Be3

16. Nb5 e6 17. c4 Bc6 18. Be3 Nxb5 19. cxb5 Bd5 20. Rc1 +=

16...  a6?!

After the text Black finds himself in a big hole. Better was 16... Bf7 17. Qe2!? ( 17. Nb5 a6 18. Nxc7 Qxc7 = e5 is coming ) ( 17. Qf3 e5 18. Nb5 Nxb5 19. Bxb5 Qc7 = ) 17... Nd5 ( 17... e5 18. Nb5 Nxb5 19. Qxb5 Qc7 20. Rad1 Rfd8 21. g3 b6 = Should be OK for Black ) 18. Rad1

17. c4 Bf7
18. Na5!

I gained the necessary time to make my setup work.

18...  Qc8

18... e5? 19. Nxb7 Qb8 20. Nc6 Qxb7 21. Qxd7 Be8 22. Na5 Bxd7 23. Nxb7 Rab8 24. Nc5 +-

19. b4

Supporting my knight and gaining more space. It goes hand in hand with Na5

19...  e5
20. Ndb3 Rd8
21. Qf3

Where else?

21...  b6
22. Nc6

22. Nb7!? e4 23. Qxe4 Re8 24. Qc6 Ne5 25. Qxb6 I missed this move and thought my queen would get stuck 25... Nd7 26. Qd6! Bf8 27. Qd2 Qxb7 28. Qxd7 Rad8 29. Qa4 +/- Is not easy to see

22...  Re8
23. Rad1 +=

I felt very good here. Black can try to gain space but he makes weaknesses at the same time

23...  Re6?

Black has no coordination and this only makes it worse. Now the knight is pinned due to Rd8+. Don't forget about the poor guy on g7. 23... Bf8! And now I have to be careful as to not overextend. Those bishops are quite powerful on f7-f8 24. Rd2 e4 25. Qh3 Nb8! 26. Qxc8 Rxc8 27. Nxb8 Rcxb8 = 28. Bf4 Rc8

24. b5

24. c5! More forcing but I was enjoying the position and wanted to take it slow :) 24... e4 ( 24... bxc5 25. Nxc5 Nxc5 26. Rd8+ Qxd8 27. Nxd8 Rxd8 28. Bxc5 +- ) 25. Qh3 f5 26. cxb6 Rxc6 ( 26... Nxb6 27. Rd8+ Qxd8 28. Nxd8 Rxd8 29. Nc5 +/- ) 27. b7! Qxb7 28. Na5 Qxb4 29. Nxc6 +/-

24...  Be8

24... axb5 25. cxb5 Rxa2 26. Bc4 Re8 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Nd2 Kg8 29. Nc4 +- Too many holes

25. a4

I spent a lot of time here looking for a killer blow. It was unnecessary and I realized I should continue doing what I've done all game which is keep improving my pieces. The hedgehog idea of pushing a5 is also available now 25. c5? Very tempting, yet premature. 25... axb5! I trusted my opponent who is a strong calculator would find this critical variation ( 25... bxc5 26. Bc4 +- ) ( 25... Nxb5 26. Bc4 ) 26. cxb6 Nxb6 27. Bxb6 Bxc6

25...  Kh8
26. a5

Trying to get my second knight into the fray. Black is helpless

26...  axb5
27. cxb5 bxa5

27... e4 28. Qh3

28. Nbxa5

One of the nicest positions I've ever commanded in my career. Almost everything is coordinated. The resulting moves are not hard to find

28...  e4
29. Qh3 f5
30. Bc4 Re5

30... Rf6 31. Bd4 Rf8 32. Ne7 Qb8 33. Nac6 Qb7 34. Nxg6+ Bxg6 35. Bxg7+ Kxg7 36. Rxd7+ +-

31. Bd4 Rxb5

31... Nxb5 32. Bxe5 Nxe5 33. Rd8 Nxc4 34. Rxc8 Rxc8 35. Ne7 Rc7 36. Nxc4 Rxe7 +- 31... Rxb5 32. Qc3 Ne5 33. Nxe5 Rbxa5 34. Nxg6+ hxg6 35. Qh3#

32. Qc3

A nice finish to the game. Black's position has hardly changed in the last twenty moves as he just didn't have space. I felt like this was a good positional game that may have offered a glimpse as to why the Alekhine isn't very popular at the top level anymore due to the free space advantage offered to White. As a result of this final round win I snuck into the winners' circle with 6/9 and =2nd place. 1-0
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