Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mok - Mas, Game 4 Commentary

Game can be replayed online at the bottom of the post

[Event "Malaysian Masters"]
[Site "DAT Chess Centre"]
[Date "2009.10.31"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Mok"]
[Black "Mas"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "B06"]
[Annotator "Liew,Jimmy"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+

As I expected, Mok returns to his main repertoire

Nd7 4. O-O Ngf6 5. Re1 a6 6. Bf1 b6

Next move will be Bb7 to pressure the e4 pawn. If white wants to play d4 later, he should play c4 now to answer Bb7 with Nc3. I think Mas is more familiar with this line. Mok usually encounters either ...Nc6 or ...Bd7.

7. d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4

Now black will play 8...Bb7 to which White can reply with 9. c4. The pawn on e4 cannot be taken e.g 9...Nxe4 10.f3 Nf6 11.Nf5 and the open e-file ensures that the d6 pawn will be re-captured.

Play might go 8...g6 9. Nc3 Bg7 10. Bg5 0-0 11. Qd2 with a Marozcy bind Dragon-like formation where white has managed to play c4. Black does not have a d5 break and will manoeuvre behind the black pawns. White will have a slight edge in space.

8... Bb7 9 Nc3

Looks like I am right and Mok is not familiar with this line. This is not good here. It will be hard to control d5 later.

9...e6 10. Bg5

It is better to play 10.g3 first. The light-square bishop needs to be on g2 to defend the e4 pawn.

10....h6 11. Bh4 g5!?

I do not understand this move. The bishop on h4 is doing nothing and in fact stopping white from the natural g3 move. Why chase it and weaken the king-side? True, it gains the e5 square for the knight but still...

11...Be7 and black is already ok.

12. Bg3 Ne5

When you say A you must say B. I bet the next move will be ...Rc8 "eyeing" the knight on c3

13. Nf3

It's hard for me to suggest any other moves. White's position becomes passive due to the king bishop on f1 and the weak pawn on e4. But surely this knight will not capture on e5? After ...dxe5 the d4 square will be under black's control.


I prefer 13..Nfd7 supporting e5. The queen on c7 is only blocking the c-file.

Looks like Mok has gone into another long think. The position is much easier to play for black than white. Maybe Bd3 and Qe2 and wait for black to make his intentions known.

14. a4 Be7 15.Ra3 !?

Strange move, does he intend Rb3?

15...Nh5? *

This is bad. Just 15...Nfd7 heading for c5 is natural and the best.

16. Nxe5 Nxg3 17. Nb5!

Mok finds the flaw in black's knight move. Now 17... axb5 18. Bxb5+ Kf8 19. Nd7+ Kg8 20.hxg3 Bc8 21. e5 Bxd7 22. exd6 Bxd6 23. Rc3 wins back the piece with advantageous position.

17...Qb8 18. Rc3!!

Just one move has changed the evaluation of the game. This last move is quite amazing. The b5 knight cannot be taken. 18..axb5?? 19. Bxb5+ Kd8 20. Nxf7 mate. Or 19..Kf8 20. Nd7 forks the queen.


This is the only move. Now 19. Nc7+ Kf8 20. hxg3 Bb4, black still maintains the material balance. 21. Nxa8 Bxc3 22. Nxb6 (threatens Nd7+ so black has no chance to take on e1) Qc7 23. bxc3 Qxb6. White has an extra pawn.

19. Nc7+ Kf8 20. Nxa8 Nxe4 21. Nxb6

White time: 25 minutes, Black time: 32 minutes. Mas can only hope to draw this game.
Mok went wrong with the early rook capture on a8. Perhaps he forgot that Nxc3 is attacking his queen.

21...Nxc3 22.bxc3 Qc7

23. Nd7 Kg7 24. Nxe5 Qxc3 maintains material equality. Black has two bishops but his king safety is an issue.

Position after 24...Qxc3 (Analysis)

23. Nd7 Kg7 24. Nxe5 Bf6 25. Nc4?

Pressure on the players must be tremendous. A wrong slip could be the end of their journey. 25. Qe2 was good. 25...Qxc3? 26.Nxf7!

25...Rd8 26.Qb1 Bxc3

The advantage has passed back to black as his king is now safe and he has the bishop pair. Time will also play a factor as both players should be down to less than 20 minutes now.

27. Rd1 Bd4 28. c3

The pawn cannot be taken. 28...Bxc3 29. Rxd8 Qxd8 30. Qxb7 wins a piece

28...Bf6 29. Rxd8 Bxd8

Mok has done a good job so far. Now 30. Qd3 will see him quite safe.


Nothing wrong with this either.


Now 31. Qb6! holds e.g 31..Bxc4 32. Qxc7 Bxc7 33. Bxc4 Bxa5 34. Bxa6 Bxc3 and opposite coloured bishops ensure the draw for white

31. Qb4 Bf6

I dont like this. Black can now activate his bishops. I wondor if Mok goes for this line:

32. Nb6!? Bxc3 33. Nxd5 exd5 34. Qb6 wins back the a6 pawn and most importantly removed the threat of the bishop pair.


Time is around 3.5 minutes for white and 8.5 minutes for black. It's going to be tough to hold this with this kind of time left. But I hope Mok can draw...then we get tie-breakers tomorrow!

32...Qc6 33.Kh1

Black will start pushing his king-side pawns to open up the white king. It is now or never!


Someone tell them to shake hands and start fresh tomorrow!


Come and get me...if you dare LOL

34... Qc6 35.Kh1 1/2-1/2
Yes! Whoohooo!