The most striking aspect of this tournament concerned last placed Michel Huerga who only scored 1/9. However a couple of weeks earlier he had won the similar strength Elgoibar GM round robin whilst remaining unbeaten!
Here he came under the cosh as the following two games illustrate:
Georg Meier (2653) - Mikel Huerga Leache (2435)
Pamplona (Magistral 1) 21.12.2009
Reti Opening (A07)
1.♘f3 d5 2.g3 ♗g4 3.♗g2 ♘d7 4.c4 e6 5.cxd5 exd5 6.h3 ♗xf3 7.♗xf3
Meier seems to prefer 'strategic-technical' play and here he shows great patience in gradually getting his bishop pair to shine.
7...♘gf6 8.0-0 c6 9.♗g2 ♗c5 10.d3 0-0 11.e3 a5 12.♕c2 ♖e8 13.a3 ♗f8 14.b3
Slowly does it! In fact speed isn't an issue if the opponent has no real counterplay.
14...♘c5 15.♘d2 ♕b6 16.♗b2 ♘fd7
After 16...♕a6 Meier would have been happy to play 17.♗xf6 gxf6 18.d4 with the superior structure.
17.♖fb1 ♘e6 18.h4!
Another useful little move as his bishop now has the option of coming to h3.
As Black is going nowhere in the middlegame there is no reason to exchange queens.
19...♕b5 20.♗f1 h6 21.♘f3 ♕b6 22.♗h3 ♘dc5 23.b4!
Finally showing his hand.
23...axb4 24.axb4 ♖xa1
White would be better after 24...♕xb4 25.♗xg7 ♖xa1 26.♗xa1 as he can generate lasting pressure e.g. 26...♕a4 (26...♕a5 27.d4 ♘e4 28.♖xb7) 27.♕xa4 ♘xa4 28.♖xb7 (or 28.♘e5!? when Black's pieces are poorly placed) 28...♘ac5 29.♖b6 ♘xd3 30.♖xc6 with an extra pawn.
25.♗xa1 ♘d7 26.♘d4 ♕d8
26...♘xd4?? loses as 27.♗xd7 ♖d8 28.♗xd4 hits the queen.
27.♘xe6 fxe6 28.♗c3 ♗d6 29.♖a1
The bishops have lovely diagonals, but for Black things are not yet too bad as his position remains solid.
My feeling is that this quiet move is a mistake and that the time has come for Black to do something more positive.
I quite like 29...♗e5, as 30.d4 looks like a concession (blocking his own bishop) and 30.♗xe5 ♘xe5 31.f4 ♘f7 would be simpler to defend than in the game.
Another way would be 29...e5 30.b5 ♘c5 with some activity as well as keeping things solid.
After 30...cxb5 31.♕b3 White regains the pawn and Black is left with a sickly b7-pawn, enough in itself to ensure a white advantage, for example 31...b4 32.♗xb4 ♕b6 33.♖b1 ♗xb4 34.♕xb4 ♕xb4 35.♖xb4 ♖e7 with three pawn islands to probe (against one) White will be able to relentlessly press away.
31.♖a7 ♕b8 32.b6
The b7-pawn is still a weakness.
A loosening move that shows that things have started to turn sour.
Fixing Black's pawns on dark squares thus ensuring that he is stuck with a bad bishop and vulnerable light squares.
33...d4 34.♕b3+ ♔h8 35.♗d2 ♖e7 36.♕a2
With a strong threat (♖-a8)!
36...♕f8 37.♗f5 ♗b8 38.♖a8 ♖e8 39.♕c4
The attention now switches to the c-pawn.
39...♕e7 40.♗c1 ♗d6 41.♕a4 ♕f8 42.♖xe8 ♕xe8 43.♕a7!
When in doubt, keeping the pieces on the board is often the solution. Here this is the case as after 43.♕xe8+ ♘xe8 44.♗c8 ♘f6!, the natural 45.♗xb7 is well met by 45...♘d7.
A desperate attempt at obtaining some breathing space. After the docile 43...♕e7 the strongest is 44.♕a8+ (although 44.♗c8 is reasonable) 44...♘g8 45.♕c8 with ♗-e6 threatened.
44.dxc4 ♗c5 45.♕xb7 ♕d8 46.♕c7 ♗xb6 47.♕xe5 ♗a5
47...d3 48.♗d2 leaves Black with nothing for his two pawns.
48.♕e6 d3 49.e5 ♘h7 50.♗xd3! ♕xd3 51.♕e8+ ♘f8 52.♕xf8+ ♔h7 53.♕f4
Viktor Laznicka (2637) - Mikel Huerga Leache (2435)
Pamplona (Magistral 7) 27.12.2009
Chebanenko Slav (D15)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.♘f3 ♘f6 4.♘c3 a6 5.c5 ♘bd7 6.♗f4 ♘h5 7.♗d2 ♘hf6 8.♕c2 e5?!
Somewhat risky. Instead 8...g6 has a better reputation, when Black only plays for this break after completing kingside development.
9.dxe5 ♘g4 10.♘a4 ♘gxe5
Here 10...♕e7!? has been tried, but it may not be much better: 11.♗g5 ♕e6 12.♗f4! (12.e3 h6 13.♘d4 ♕xe5 14.♗f4 ♕f6 15.h3 ♘ge5 16.♗e2 g6 17.0-0 ♗g7 18.b4 left White with only a slight pull in Lautier-Volkov, Blitz 2004) 12...♘gxe5 13.♘xe5 ♘xe5 14.♘b6 ♖b8 15.0-0-0 and I don't like Black's position at all.
White is now well ahead in development and threatens quick action along the d-file with e2-e4 in mind.
This leads to White obtaining attacking chances along the g-file.
Instead after 11...♘g4!? White just gets on with it: 12.e4! (even the cautious 12.♗e1 ♗e7 13.e4 ♘gf6 14.♗d3 should also be worth an edge) 12...♘gf6 (12...♘xf2? is too risky because of 13.♗g5 ♕a5 14.exd5!) 13.♗g5 ♗e7 14.♗xf6 ♘xf6 15.♘b6 ♖b8 16.exd5 cxd5 17.♗c4 ♗e6 18.♘xd5 ♗xd5 19.♗xd5 ♕c7 and just as Black would seem to be passed the worse, White hits him with... 20.♗xf7+! ♔xf7 21.♘g5+ ♔e8 22.♘e6 with a dangerous attack.
12.gxf3 ♗e7 13.♖g1 0-0 14.♗c3 g6?!
Black's king now becomes too vulnerable, noting that White has superior development and there is no black counterplay in sight.
15.♗d4 ♕c7 16.e3 ♖e8
Being hung for a sheep with 16...♕xh2 17.♗d3 ♕h5 is hard to believe: 18.f4 f5 19.♖h1 ♕f3 20.♖dg1 and the attack is crushing.
17.f4 ♗f6 18.♘b6!
Further disruption in the black camp.
The dark squares would be too weak following 18...♘xb6 19.♗xf6 ♘d7 20.♗d4.
19.♘xd7 ♗xd4 20.♖xd4 ♗xd7 21.♗d3 b6 22.cxb6 ♕xb6 23.f5
White threatens to keep capturing on g6 and Black lacks a safe shelter, but resignation is somewhat premature, but I imagine that Huerga was probably dispirited by this stage of the tournament.
After 23.f5 Black should try 23...♔f8! (23...♖b7 24.fxg6 hxg6 enables White to play 25.♗xg6!) 24.♕c3! (after 24.fxg6 hxg6 25.♖f4 ♔e7 26.♕c3 ♗e6 27.♖b4 ♕c7 28.♕c5+ ♔d7 Black can survive for the time being.) 24...♔e7 25.♖h4!, but White will surely win a pawn and still maintain his attacking chances.
The final standings were as follows, with Meier winning due to his superior Sonneborn-Berger, a tie-breaking system which has never impressed me!
|Ranking||Title and Name||Rating||Country||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||Points||SB|
|2||GM GRANDA ZUÑIGA,J||2640||PER||½||*||1||½||0||½||1||½||1||1||6||24|
|5||IM REINALDO CASTIÑEIRA,R||2488||ESP||0||1||0||½||*||1||½||½||½||1||5||19,75|
|6||GM LOPEZ MARTINEZ,J||2589||ESP||½||½||0||½||0||*||½||½||1||1||4½||16,50|
|8||IM ALSINA LEAL,D||2523||ESP||½||½||½||0||½||½||0||*||½||½||3½||15,50|
|9||IM RECUERO GUERRA,D||2494||ESP||½||0||0||0||½||0||½||½||*||½||2½||10|
|10||IM HUERGA LEACHE,M||2435||ESP||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||½||½||*||1||3|
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