Friday, October 30, 2009

Mas - Mok, Live Commentary

The 1st Semi-Final between Mas and Mok Tze Meng is now under way.

[Event "Malaysian Masters"]
[Site "DAT Chess Centre"]
[Date "2009.10.30"]
[White "Mas"]
[Black "Mok Tze Meng"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 g6

No surprise here. As expected Mok goes with Mokdern

2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. f4

But this is a surprise to me. Mas does not normally play this line. I played this same variation against Mok in the DATCC League. Although I lost that game, I believe this variation is refuted. Perhaps he found the refutation as well? LOL

d5 5. e5 h5 6. Be3 e6

Another surprise. The white square blockade strategy involves playing an early Bg4 to avoid locking in the bishop after ...e6. Now black will get a bad bishop typical of French Defence. The bishop will instead come out to b7 or a6 after black plays the pawn move ...b6. Maybe Mok is afraid of Mas opening preparation :)

7. Nf3 b6 8. Qd2 Ba6 9. O-O-O

White already holds the edge. The plan is straightforward, he will play for the g4-f5 break. If black cannot create sufficient counterplay on the queen-side, he is doomed. I do not like this at all for black as his counter-play will prove quite slow.


Now white will play h3, g3, Rg1 and finally g4.

10. g3

Black has to get his counter-play going with ...c5, ...c4,... b5, ...b4 and so on.

Bxf1 11. Rdxf1 Nd7 12. h3 b5

After this move, black's counter-play is almost non-existent. Black is trying to plant his knight on c4 but this can be met with the simple b3. E.g 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. b3 a5 15. Rhg1 a4 16. g4 axb3. White does not worry about the opening of the a-file as he will retake with the c-pawn and defend his queen-side along the 2nd rank.

13. Rfg1

I am not sure what the idea behind this is. Preferably this rook should remain on f1 to support the f5 break.

Nb6 14. Bf2?!

This is just wrong. The bishop must stay on c1-h6 diagonal to support the f5 break. Mas seems afraid to play b3 which is actually the correct move to stop black's plan.

14... Nc4 15. Qd3 Qa5 16. Kb1

Mok now might castle on the queen-side. The position has some similarities to his third game against Ooi Chern Ee. Black will re-locate his bishop to a better diagonal with ...Bf8 either now or after castling queen-side

Bf8 17.Nd1 Rb8 18. g4 Rb6

As I suspected, white should not allow ...Nc4. Black has sufficient counter chances now. 19. Be1 b4 20. b3 Ra6 21. a4

19. Be1 b4 20. Bh4 Be7

Black has no problems now as white has not succeeded in getting the f5 move in.After 21. Bxe7 Kxe7, white might try to force matters with 22. f5 gxf5 23. g5 but black will have 23...Ra6! 23. Qb3 Ng4! 24. hxg4 fxg4 and the f3 knight cannot move because of the knight fork on d2.

21. Rg2?

I believe Mas must be quite short of time by now due to unfamiliarity with this opening line and the resultant positions. The move looks like a blunder. 21...Ra6 22. Qb3 Bxh4 23. Nxh4 hxg4 24. hxg4 Nxg4 and the rook is overloaded , 25. Rxg4?? Nd2+

21...Ra6 22. Qb3 Bxh4 23. Nxh4 hxg4

If white had captured the bishop on e7 on his 21st move, then the next moves will not be possible due to the pin on the h-file.

24. hxg4

I just been informed that both players have twenty-five minutes each, so Mas was not in time pressure when he blundered.


White is down a pawn and fighting to hold the game now. His knight is pinned on the h-file so the next move will be 25. Rh3. Black will also need to rescue his g4 knight so I predict 25...Rh5 26. Kc1 (guarding d2) Nh6

25. Kc1 Qxa2
This maybe a mistake

26. Qxa2 Rxa2 27. Kb1

Now Mas is hoping to draw e.g 27..Ra6 28. Rxg4 Nd2 29. Kc1 Nc4 (threatens mate) 30. Kb1 Nd2+ and so on.

My computer is showing me an unexpected winning try. 27... Nge3!? 28. Re2 Ra3! 29. bxa3 Nxd1 30. Rxd1 Nxa3+ 31. Kc1 Rxh4 and black has more than sufficient material for the exchange and can play for a win safely.

27... Nge3 28. Re2

Now the question is, did Mok see the above line or it's just a desperate move?

28...Nxd1 29. Kxa2 Ndxb2

Black wins another pawn but the problem with this line is that the white rooks gain activity. Possibly the h8 rook will be exchanged and white will put pressure on f7. It is much more difficult for black to play without the rook even given his material advantage. 30. Reh2 is best now.

30. Kb3 Kd7

Mok gives up the pawn but there is no mate after 31. Kxb4 Rb8+ 32. Kc3 Na4+ 33. Kd3 Nab2+ 34. Kc3.

31. Ree1 a5

It was not easy for Mas to resolve to take the pawn, I do not think it is possible to find the correct moves over the board within the given time. But now, black has a comfortable winning position.

32. Rb1

You cannot match the computer for tactics :). 32.. a4+ 33. Kxb4 Nd2! 34. Rxb2 Rb8+ 35. Kc3 (35. Ka3 Nc4+ forks) Ne4 and wins the rook.

No new moves for some time now. Maybe Mok has not spotted 33...Nd2

32... a4 33 Kxb4 Rb8 34 Kc3 a3 35 Ra1 Na4 36 Kd3 c5 37 Nf3 Ke7 38 dxc5 Nxc5 39 Kd4 Ne4 40 Rhb1 Rb2 41. Rc1 Rb8 42. Ne1 Rh8 43. Nf3 Rb8 44. Rab1 Rb2 45. Ne1 Kd7 46. Ra1 Rb8 47. Nd3 Rh8

Mok has missed his chance to end the game quickly. But his position is still very strong due to the advanced passed a-pawn. According to -->The Raj, both are short of time with around three minutes each. Can Mas save this?

48. Rh1 Rc8 49. Nb4 Rc7 50. Rh8 *

Due to the time pressure, Mok has lost much of the advantage, allowing white to activate his pieces. Still that extra a-pawn should count for something.

Computer indicates 51...Nb6 is winning now.

50... g5 51. f5 Nf3+ 52. Kc3 Nfxe5 53. fxe6 fxe6 54. Rg8 g4 55.
Rh1 Kd6 56. Rd8+ Rd7 57. Ra8 Rc7 58. Ra6+ Nc6 59. Kb3 Kc5 60. Nd3+ Kd4

Time trouble for both now.

61. Rh4 e5 62. Rxg4+ e4 63. Ra4 Rb7+ 64. Nb4 Nxb4 65. c3+ Kd3 66. Rxb4 Rxb4+ 67. cxb4
e3 White resigns

Game can be replayed online below