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     CG Challenge ... vs. GM N. Pogonina     


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Hi! My name is A.J. Goldsby I. I am a regular user on the "ChessGames" website.  
(Click here to see my player page, click here to see my forum.)  

I have decided to make a page to keep track of our game vs. GM N. Pogonina in the "ChessGames Challenge." 

Tuesday; September 28th, 2010:  So far, we have the following moves:  [replay

1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 e6;  3.Nf3 d5;  4.g3 Bb4+;  5.Bd2 Be7;  6.Bg2 c6;  7.0-0 0-0;  8.Qc2 b6;  9.Rd1 Nbd7;  10.Bf4. 

I am going to continue to believe that she will play the most common ("book") move of 10...Bb7

This would leave us with the following position:

Using ChessBase 10.0, I built a tree for this line. 

There are 259 unique games in the database ... this is pretty much all the games ... that have been played with the first 10 moves (given above).  

Let me - as a master - summarize what I think: 

  1. About 11.b3. There are too few games in the database to be of any real use to us. Also - I have NOT found any games that are great models, and were played by a solid 2600+ GM in this line. I am not saying don't look at it or consider it, but just that the PR - given above - is very misleading. The move MIGHT work. However, the feedback that I am getting from the real experts (with the chess engines) is that this move is not all that promising.

  2. About 11.Ne5. Quite a few GM games in this line. Its probably THE most reliable move at the GM level, (almost no really nice wins for Black - at the 2500+ level) ... and our computer analysis seems to back up the fact that this is one of our most reliable moves. However, in many of the games in the DB, Black played bad {or inferior} moves. We can NOT count on our opponent making errors of this kind, not at this level! Also - speaking as a master, the lines after 11.Ne5, seem slightly drawish, and GM M. Marin echoes this opinion in his DVD on this opening. (Which I have - see above.)

  3. About 11.Nc3. I think that this is - BY FAR - the most popular move at the GM level ... and there are many good reasons for this.
         A.) It is the line favored by most authors, including Avrukh, I believe. 
         B.) It keeps the most complexity in the position. 
         C.) We can do NO worse than equality ... and my analysis backs that up.

  4. About 11.Nbd2. This is a mediocre (safe) move that has few (if any) great GM proponents. Definitely drawish.

  5. About 11.cxd5. Although the experts with the engines think that this move promises a little something, I can absolutely tell you that I think that our winning chances after this move are very slim. (As a master, I think that it would virtually guarantee a draw.) 

Well, there you have it. All the moves, and what the database has to say about these moves. In my mind, it comes down to 11.Ne5 or 11.Nc3. (All the other moves are not really good, and I do not believe that we should select either one of these ... if we are really going for a win.) 

  Monday; October 4th, 2010.  

After around two weeks of waiting, we {finally} have the following move:  ...Ba6.   (Read one of my initial posts after 10...Ba6; I admit that I was wrong.) 

The moves so far are:  
1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 e6;  3.Nf3 d5;  4.g3 Bb4+;  5.Bd2 Be7;  6.Bg2 c6;  7.0-0 0-0;  8.Qc2 b6;  9.Rd1 Nbd7;  10.Bf4 Ba6; 

  This would give us the following position:  


I built a new database and tree, although I only had a few hours for this one. (No time to search for dozens of on-line sources, compile the games, and then go through and remove the doubles by hand. I basically had to pull the games from the ChessBase {on-line} DB ... and go from there. Last time, I can guarantee that no game was missed, this time, I might have missed a few games. Sorry - time was a huge factor. 77 games in the DB with 10...Ba6.)    


 Here are our moves, (underneath is a copy of a couple of my engine windows): 


This leads to the following conclusions:  

  •   The move 11.Bd2, is probably worthless to us. (An admission that Bf4 was a mistake.) 

  •   The moves of 11.cxd5, and 11.Nbd2, do NOT have enough games in the database to draw any really valid conclusions.  
       (Any good statistician will tell you that any ideas or presumptions based on scanty data is probably a fool's errand.) These  
       two moves, do strike me as being perfectly and completely playable! (11.Nbd2 is pretty complex and chosen by Stockfish.)  

  •   After many hours of analysis - while I was also reviewing the various and posts of analysis - I came to the conclusion that 
      the move of 11.cxd5, is probably OK, but also somewhat drawish. (I had to reject it for this particular reason.)  

  •   Many engines will initially chose just about any move, but will almost uniformly {later} switch to 11.Ne5. (See the engine views, 
      above - for verification.) However, my view of this move is that it IS very solid, played by many GM's, but also perhaps a bit drawish.  
      (Perhaps more than just a little bit.) PLEASE NOTE: The engines go deeper - the more time that you give them! (Here - I had to  
      end the analysis early, these windows were done mainly to illustrate the point that both engines eventually switched to Ne5.) I will   
      say that initially 11.Ne5, looks very promising - in the beginning - however, after move 20-25, the evaluations do flatten out quite a bit.  

  •   The move of 11.b3, IS a super-solid move. It was the focus of nearly all of my initial research ... mainly because it was the top choice 
       of the Houdini engine. It is also the second favorite move of GM's ... based on the number of games where it was played. (This is the  
      probably the move that I will vote for, although I am NOT 100% sure at this point. In fact, I am FAR from being 100% sure of anything ...)  
      I also like b3 because the resultant positions are NOT easy or dead draws!  (Please read this post.)  

  •   Another opinion (not mine) of the various alternatives. Freedom of information, I want to present alternate opinions.  
      (Be sure to read the whole forum ... or as much as you can.)  

  •   If I have missed anything major - please click  HERE  to send me an e-mail.  

  Monday; October 11th, 2010.  

Here are the moves so far:  

1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 e6;  3.Nf3 d5;  4.g3 Bb4+;  5.Bd2 Be7;  6.Bg2 c6;  7.0-0 0-0;  8.Qc2 b6;  9.Rd1 Nbd7;  10.Bf4 Ba6; 11.Nbd2 Rc8;  12.Rac1 Nh5;  13.Be3 Nhf6;  14.Bg5,  ("=" or "+/=")  


Fritz 12 sees a slight edge for White, Stockfish and Houdini calls it about equal. (See the graphic - just below.) 


I think we are pretty much out of "book," so (from here - until the end of the game) we are pretty much on our own resources. 


Two plans here for White: 

  1. Queen-side expansion, with the idea of maybe playing c4-c5; 

  2. A quick strike in the center with e2-e4. 


Of course, it all depends on what Black plays. Many programs see 14...Bb7; as being forced, although I am sure that 14...h6; is also a reasonable alternative. 

  Thursday; November 25th, 2010.  


Here are the moves so far:  

   The World - Natalia Pogonina [E00]   
Chessgames Challenge / (R#1), 31,08,2010. 

1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 e6;  3.Nf3 d5;  4.g3 Bb4+;  5.Bd2 Be7;  6.Bg2 c6;  7.0-0 0-0;  8.Qc2 b6;  9.Rd1 Nbd7;  10.Bf4 Ba6;  11.Nbd2 Rc8;  12.Rac1 Nh5;  13.Be3 Nhf6;  14.Bg5 h6;  15.Bxf6 Bxf6;  16.b4 Bb7; 17.Qb3 Ba8;  18.c5 a5;  19.a3 Rb8;  20.Qc2 Bb7;  21.e4 Qc7; 22.Nf1 dxe4;  23.Qxe4 Rfd8;  24.Ne3 Ba6;  25.Ng4 Bb5;  26.Qc2 axb4;  27.axb4 Be7;  28.Ra1 h5;  29.Ne3 Bf6;  30.Ra3 bxc5;  31.bxc5 Ra8;  32.Rxa8 Rxa8; 

  The current position:   

vs-pogo_diag04.jpg, 60 KB

No analysis this time around. 

Thursday; Nov. 25th, 2010. Team played  33.Bf1.  

Game finished in a draw, for the record, the final moves were:  

33...Bxf1;  34.Kxf1 e5; 35.dxe5 Nxe5; 36.Qe4 Nd7; 37.Qf5 Ra7; 38.Qxh5 g6; 39.Qg4 Nxc5; 40.h4 Ra4; 41.Nc4 Qb7; 42.Kg2 Qb3; 43.Qc8+ Kg7; 44.Nd6 Qxd1;  45.Ne8+ Kf8; 46.Nxf6+ Kg7; 47.Ne8+ Kf8; 48.Nf6+ Kg7; 49.Ne8+ Kf8; 50.Nc7+ Kg7; 51.h5 Ra1; 52.h6+ Kf6; 53.Qh8+ Ke7; 54.Qe8+ Kd6; 55.Qd8+ Nd7; 56.Ne8+ Kc5; 57.Qe7+ Kb6; 58.g4 Ra4; 59.Qd8+ Ka6; 60.Nf6 Rf4; 61.Ne5 Rxf2+; 62.Kxf2 -  

       This page was first posted: Monday: September 28th, 2010. It was last edited on: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 02:09 PM .   

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