Polish Team Championship: How to beat a higher rated opponent

10/6/2012 – Four GMs, 13 IMs and few dozens other players gathered in Poronin, a beautiful mountain village, for the Polish First League, an eliminator to the Extra League. Czech IM Pawel Simacek (2477) and Ukrainian GM Orest Gritsak (2548) won the competition on the first board, scoring both 6/9. In wonderfully annotated games Piotr Kaim shows us the narrow path to improvement in chess.

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Polish Team Championship: How to beat a higher rated opponent

Report by Piotr Kaim – photos by Olga Zajkowska

The Polish First League is composed of ten teams which play a round robin tournament on six boards, including a mandatory board for women. The best two teams are promoted to the Extra League, while the three at the bottom are relegated to the Second League. This time the happy two included KSz Odrodzenie Kozuchow and ASSz Miedz Legnica, while the unfortunate three were Polonia WSB Wroclaw, ZMCh Polska YMCA Warszawa and KS AZS Politechniki Slaskiej Gliwice.

As far as individual results are concerned, Czech IM Pawel Simacek (2477) and Ukrainian GM Orest Gritsak (2548), former national champion, came first equal at the first board. However, it was a second board player, Polish GM Rafal Antoniewski (2541), who showed the best rating performance. GM Antoniewski scored 7.5/9 and it gave him a 2653 result. WGM Katarzyna Toma (2290) won the women’s board with 8/9, half a point ahead of WIM Edyta Jakubiec (2183).


GM Rafal Antoniewski showed no mercy for his board two opponents

The tournament was organized in a very competent way by Marian Sadzikowski. As a result, the players enjoyed comfortable accommodation, an equally comfortable playing hall as well as an assortment of side attractions, like a guided mountain trip and a banquet accompanied by a folk band. Besides, Poronin is one of those places where you would always like to play. Everywhere you look you see the picturesque Tatra Mountains, and the view inspires big ideas.


The wonderfully picturesque playing venue


The analysis room, ready for the players – Polish beer included

Out of the 270 games played in the tournament, we have selected two. Both of them follow the same pattern: an underdog beats a favorite, or in fact a heavy favorite. In the first one IM Piotr Staniszewski (2419) crushed GM Tomasz Markowski (2577), the player with the highest rating in the tournament and a former European Championship bronze medal winner.


IM Piotr Staniszewski never suffers from a lack in concentration

[Event "Polish Team Championship, 1st League"] [Site "Poronin"] [Date "2012.09.01"] [Round "1"] [White "Markowski, Tomasz"] [Black "Staniszewski, Piotr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D56"] [WhiteElo "2577"] [BlackElo "2419"] [Annotator "Comments by IM Piotr Staniszewski"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nxe4 $6 {White throws away any prospects for advantage. Solid main lines start with} (9. Rc1 {(Topalov-Anand, World Championship match, 2010)}) ( 9. cxd5 {(Topalov-Anand, Nanjing Pearl Spring, 2010)}) ({and} 9. Qc2) 9... dxe4 10. Nd2 e5 11. d5 (11. Nxe4 $2 exd4 12. Qxd4 $2 {loses the knight after} Rd8) 11... f5 12. Be2 Nd7 13. O-O Nf6 {Two moves later I realized the knight belongs on c5. It reaches that square via Nd7-f6-d7-c5, with a loss of two tempi. However, White's opportunities are so limited that he cannot take advantage of the small gift.} 14. Qc2 a5 15. Rad1 Nd7 $1 {Good idea, and the admission that the initial setup was not the best one. With the knight on c5 Black will be able to transfer the a8 rook to the kingside via Ra8-a6-g6, on top of other benefits.} 16. Nb1 Nc5 17. Nc3 Ra6 18. Rfe1 $6 ({Black does not hide his plan to go for the king. Therefore, White should seek simplifications with} 18. Na4 {Had he exchanged the knights he could have placed the queen on c3 (eyeing the e5 pawn) and/or thought of queenside counterplay with c4-c5.}) 18... Rg6 19. g3 h5 $1 20. Bxh5 $2 ({White underestimates Black's attacking potential. Probably he missed, or did not assess properly, the dangers associated with the very efficient plan, including Rg6-h6, g7-g5, and Qe7-h7. It was high time to initiate queenside counterplay with} 20. a3 {retaining some prospects to hold the balance.}) 20... Rh6 21. Be2 ({Now Black reaches the mentioned setup with ease, but the alternative} 21. d6 {was not very attractive, either:} cxd6 22. Nd5 Qg5 23. Be2 f4 {with a powerful attack.}) 21... g5 $1 22. Bf1 Qh7 23. d6 ({Before conceding the h-pawn, White is trying to create some counterplay in the centre.} 23. h3 {was not very helpful due to} f4) 23... Rxh2 24. Bg2 Kg7 $1 {With the lethal threat of Rf8-h8 and Rxg2+. White is helpless.} 25. Rd5 cxd6 (25... Rh8 {was good enough, but why not capture the annoying pawn? After the text, White immediately resigned, as he did not want to see 26...Rh8 followed by 27...Rxg2+ with checkmate or huge losses.}) 0-1


GM Tomasz Markowski had a disappointing 2400 performance

The following game includes an effort from your humble reporter. I was lucky to beat a solid IM, and I believe the game is worth showing to ChessBase readers. It starts with a properly played Benko Gambi,t and then there are entertaining tactics followed by a highly interesting endgame.

[Event "Polish Team Championship, 1st League"] [Site "ul.Reymonta 22 - Krakow"] [Date "2012.09.09"] [Round "9"] [White "Pieniazek, Artur"] [Black "Kaim, Piotr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A58"] [WhiteElo "2366"] [BlackElo "2261"] [Annotator "Comments by Piotr Kaim"] [PlyCount "106"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [SourceDate "2012.09.17"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. g3 Bg7 7. Bg2 d6 8. Nc3 Bxa6 9. Nf3 Nbd7 10. O-O ({Currently, top players tend to prefer} 10. Rb1) 10... Nb6 {White would be happy to proceed with Qc2 and then Rf1-d1 followed by Rb1, b2-b3 and a2-a4. Therefore, Black put a spanner in White's works by pressuring the d-pawn and temporarily obstructing Qd1-c2.} 11. Re1 O-O 12. Bf4 Nc4 {The pressure against the d-pawn must be eased, as Black must take into account the threat of e2-e4-e5.} 13. Qc1 $1 (13. Qc2 {is less accurate due to} Nh5 14. Bg5 h6 {and White is obliged to withdraw the bishop to c1, or place it on d2 and then Black would pick the most appropriate moment to exchange it for the c4-knight.}) 13... Qa5 ({Now} 13... Nh5 {would be pointless, because of} 14. Bh6) 14. Nd2 Nb6 $1 ({I follow the recommendation of IM Jan Pinski, delivered in his book "The Benko Gambit", 2005. Incidentally, I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author and used it while preparing for the game. The idea behind the text move is to avoid exchanges, while having the space advantage. A number of games went} 14... Rfb8 15. Nxc4 Bxc4 {and} 16. Bd2 {which was usually sufficient to mitigate Black's activity and to convert the pawn into big advantage (Nikolic-Vaganian, 1987 was a notable example).}) 15. a3 {Looks like a concession, because Black gets the opportunity to fix the backward b-pawn with the c5-c4 thrust. However, my old Fritz 11 says the move is OK. White threatens to trap the queen with 16. Nb3. It cannot be parried with the immediate 15...c4??, since a similar trap is in place after 16.b4 cxb3 17. Nxb3.} Bb7 16. e4 c4 17. b4 cxb3 18. Nxb3 Qa7 19. Bh6 Rfc8 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Bh3 $6 {I overlooked this move which, at the first glance, seems to be very strong . He intends to activate the bishop with tempo and misplace my c8-rook. Happily, after some thought, I realized the rook does not have to move.} Na4 $1 22. Bxc8 $6 ({White could hope to hold the balance after} 22. Re3 $1) 22... Rxc8 23. Nb5 $6 ({The basic point is that} 23. Re3 Ng4 24. Rf3 $2 { loses to} Rxc3 25. Rxc3 Qxf2+ 26. Kh1 Qxh2#) ({White should have tried} 23. Qe3 Qxe3 24. Rxe3 Nxc3 {and although being much worse, he would have got a better version of the endgame that happened later in the game.}) 23... Qb6 {Another crucial point: White cannot save the knight.} 24. Qe3 Qxb5 25. Nd4 Qc5 26. Rab1 Ng4 27. Qd2 Ba6 28. Nc6 Ne5 29. Nxe5 dxe5 30. Qb4 Nc3 31. Qxc5 Rxc5 32. Rb4 Ra5 33. Ra1 f5 34. f3 Ne2+ 35. Kf2 Nd4 36. Ra2 fxe4 37. fxe4 Bd3 38. Rb7 Kf6 39. Ke3 Bc4 40. Rf2+ Kg5 41. Rxe7 Rxa3+ 42. Kd2 Nf3+ 43. Rxf3 Rxf3 44. Rxe5+ Kg4 $1 ({The king must be active.} 44... Kf6 45. Re6+ Kf7 46. Rc6 Bb5 47. Rc7+ { leaves me with unpleasant choice: to part with the h-pawn or to let my king be cut off on the 8th rank.}) 45. Re7 h5 46. Rc7 {Now I conceived the following setup: the first step is to place the bishop on f1 and deliver the Rd3+ check. Then, in most lines, the rook should have enough space to attack the white pawns from behind along e- and d-files. The bishop should attack them from g2 and once they advance to d6 and e5, it should block them from h3.} Bf1 $1 47. Rg7 ({White missed the very interesting} 47. Rc3 $5 Rxc3 48. Kxc3 Kg5 49. Kd4 Kf6 50. Kc5 $1 {and now the straightforward} Ke5 $2 51. d6 Bh3 52. Kc6 Kxe4 53. d7 {leads to a draw in the pawn endgame.}) 47... Kg5 48. e5 $6 ({Simplifies Black's task.} 48. Re7 {was more stubborn, though after} Kf6 {White should lose, anyway, e.g.} 49. Re6+ Kf7 50. Ke1 Bh3 51. Ke2 Rb3 52. Rc6 Bg4+ 53. Kf2 Rf3+ 54. Kg2 Re3 55. Rc7+ Kf6 56. Rc6+ Kg5 57. h3 Be2 58. d6 Rxe4 59. d7 Rd4 { etc.}) 48... Rd3+ 49. Ke1 Bh3 50. e6 (50. d6 Re3+ 51. Kf2 Rxe5 52. d7 Rd5 $19) 50... Rxd5 51. e7 Re5+ 52. Kf2 Kf6 53. Rh7 Rxe7 {and White resigned after some more moves.} 0-1


The narrow path to chess improvement

Final standings

#
Sd.
Team
Ø-Rtng
MPts
Total
B.1
B.2
1
3
KSz Odrodzenie Kozuchów
2350
16.0
35.5
4.5
7.0
2
5
ASSz Miedz Legnica
2317
14.0
34.0
6.0
5.5
3
4
MO TKKF Drogowiec Kraków
2250
11.0
29.5
5.0
5.0
4
9
Drakon SKOK Chmielewskiego Lublin
2350
10.0
27.0
6.0
2.0
5
6
MKS Polonia Warszawa
2250
9.0
28.5
5.5
4.5
6
8
Ostrowskie Towarzystwo Ostrów Wlkp.
2283
8.0
26.0
5.5
3.5
7
1
GKS Pniówek 74 Pawlowice
2267
8.0
23.5
4.5
3.5
8
2
Polonia - WSB Wroclaw
2283
6.0
23.5
4.0
6.0
9
10
ZMCh Polska YMCA Warszawa
2217
4.0
21.5
2.5
2.0
10
7
KS AZS Politechniki Slaskiej Gliwice
2167
4.0
21.0
1.5
6.0

Links

You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.

Copyright Kaim/ChessBase


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