Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mas - Mok, Game 3 (2:00 PM 31st October 2009)

The third game will start at 2 PM today

Mas needs a win this round to stay in with a chance. Probably he will open with the queen pawn which he has recently switched to from the king pawn. Mok will continue with the MOKdern and it is up to Mas what kind of positions he wants to steer the game into. I do not think he will repeat the first game where he totally lost in the positions that resulted. My guess is the opening will be along the lines of 1.d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. e4 Nc6 5. Be3 e5. Mok has played this line many times before.

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7

Mok signals that he is not going to repeat the line from Game 1. In fact he has never allowed any repetitions in all his games so far. Usually ...c6 is played first, because in the white square blockade variation, the black square bishop is not usually best placed on g7.

3. Nc3 d6

As expected.

4. Be3 e5 !?

Early ...e5 is quite unusual. Black offers to exchange queen at the cost of castling.

5. dxe5 dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8 7. 0-0-0 Nd7

The black setup is to play ...c6, ...Kc7. The e5 square is very important in this position. Black must be able to control this square otherwise his position will fall apart.

8. Bc4

In a short match, the player to first win a game is almost winning the match. In fact this happened in all the other matches as well. The loser never manages to level the score. Mok is going to play a safe game and allow Mas to take the risks. Every draw increases his probability of him winning the match. He very successfully use this strategy against Ooi Chern Ee.

8...f6 9. h4

White tries to create some weakness on the king-side by advancing this pawn to h5. But now he will not be able to play f4 later as this will seriously weaken his g4 square.

9...c6 10. h4

Threatens hxg6, Rxh8 and Bxg8. Black should play 10...Nh6 now.


Black tries to solve all the king-side problems at the cost of white square weakness. The black square bishop can be redeployed via f8 and c5.

11. a4 Kc7

White has the advantage but this is very difficult to capitalize on due to the blocked position. There is not much going on at the wings at the moment so he will try to double his rooks on the d-file as soon as possible. Later he will make a pawn advance on the queen-side to open that side for his pieces to penetrate.

12. Nge2 Nh6 13. f3

Now Black will play Bf8-c5. Black has a solid position and once he manages to complete his development, he will have no problems. But along the way he will have to watch out for and solve some tactical problems.

13...Re8 14. Ng3

I do not understand this move. The knight is heading for f5 even if it gets exchanged off. However this can wait, I would prefer to double rooks now. Black is going to play ...Be6 at some point and after exchanges on e6, the black rooks will not be organized and the best way to take advantage is with doubled rooks

14... Nb6 15. Bb3

Now 15...Be6 16. Bxe6 Rxe6 17. b3 (otherwise Nc4)Bf8 followed by Rd6 to exchange one rook effectively nullifying the advantage of control of the d-file.

White intends to put his knight on f5 and after the exchange, free the e4 square for the other knight. I forsee a minor piece ending , possibly with one rook on, that white cannot win despite the black weakness on f6.

It has been a while since the last move. Mok is really taking a long time for his next move. Really, this is not an easy position, he has to think ahead of the positions and pieces that will occur and which are favourable. Exchanging the wrong piece now or even getting move order wrong could be disastrous ten or fifteen moves down the road.


After such a long think, I do not feel this is the best black have here. This move rules out ...Be6 because after the exchange , white plays Bxb6 and follow up with Rd7. My guess is Mok wants to play Bf8-b4. But how is he going to solve the problem bishop on c8?

16. Rd3
It is definitely easier for white to find moves. Already he is ahead by such 40-45 minutes.

I think Mok knows he is in trouble now. His pieces have no good squares. Exchanges are not easy, some example of what can happen if he is not careful, 16...Bf8 17. Rhd1 Be6 18. Bxe6 Rxe6 19. Bxb6+ Kxb6 20. Rd7 Re7 21. Rxe7 Bxe7 22. Rd7 Re8 23. Nf5 Ng8 24. Nd1 and black is helpless.

16.. Bf8 17. Rhd1 Bb4

White can now take advantage of the d-file. 18. Bxb6 Kxb6 19. Rd8. Black may be lost if this happen.

18. Na2 ?!

Mas misses his opportunity. One thing I notice about him is that he is mostly thinking in strategic and positional and therefore misses simple tactics.


Even now, it is still not easy for black. He still have not solved anything. For example 19...Rd8 would lose to 20. Rxd8 Bxd8 21. Rxd8 Kxd8 22. Bxb6.

19. Nc3

Maybe Mok will be tempted with ..Bb4 again :)
According to Hairul's blog, Mok is left with 11 minutes to Mas one hour. I doubt if Mok can solve his positional problems with that kind of time. Mas will surely win this.

19... Nd7 20. Nf5! Nxf5 21. exf5 Nc5

21..Bc5 is not possible because of 22. Rxd7+ winning material. But now black is saddled with the bad black square bishop. This will be the cause of his downfall.

22. Bxc5 Bxc5 23.Ne4 Be7 24. g4 h6

White will exchange the light square bishop and go into a knight versus bad bishop ending. With the a-pawn still on a7 , this might be defensible but as it is , there are two weaknesses and this will cost the game.

25. Be6

Unfortunately black cannot play 25...Rd8 for tactical reasons. 26. Rxd8 Bxd8 27. Ne6 Bxe6 (27.. Bd7 28. Bxd7 Kxd7 29. Nxb7+) 28. fxe6 Be7 29. Nf5 and Rd7+

25... Bxe6 26. fxe6 Rad8 27. Rd7+ Rxd7 28. Rxd7+ Kc8 29. c3 Kb8 30. Kc2 Kc8 31. Kb3

Black is helpless and he can only wait to see how white wants to wrap this up.

31.. Kb8 32. Kc4 Kc8 33. Ng3

The other way will be to push the b-pawn to b5, force exhanges and penetrate with the king.

33... Bd8 34. Rh7 Rxe6 35. Rxh6

Black should resign now. The passed h-pawn is unstoppable

35.. b5+ 36. Kd3 Rd6+ 37. Kc2 bxa4 38. Rg6 Rd7 39. h6


Black resigns

Game can be replayed online below


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