(26) Karunakaran,Aman - Meredith,Derek [B28]
FCC Swiss Norwalk, 24.10.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6
A variation of the Sicilian that I am not familiar with. I decided that I would play it as if it were a Najdorf, and continued with natural moves.

3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5
While this is one of the main moves, it loses the d5 square, which was important.

6.Nb3 Bb4
This move became very bothersome, as I couldn't move my knight.

7.Bg5 d6 8.Bc4 Qc7
I thought for a good 8-10 minutes here, mainly because every line looked bad. I soon realized that my knight on b3 could be very handy, so I calculated the next 6 moves and was content with it so I continued with

9.Nd2 Bxc3 10.bxc3 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Bd5 Bb7 13.Bxb7 Qxb7 14.Qf3 Nd7
I really just wanted to make use of the doubled pawn by creating queenside play, and possibly making an isolated pawn for him.

15.c4 Rc8 16.Rb1 Qc6 17.Rb4 Ke7 18.0-0 Nc5
The move I was waiting for. I knew a knight move would be coming, and if he didn't move it to c5 I would most likely play Qd3.

19.cxb5 axb5 20.c4
In hopes of creating a passer (or two), and possibly even having a pin on the knight after bxc4 Rxc4.

20...Ne6 21.cxb5 Qc2 22.Nb3 Rc3 23.Qd1 Qxa2 24.b6
Qa1 right away could be a bit too rushed, so I decided to advance the pawn further before I offer the trade of queens. This also gives my rook some "breathing room."

24...Rb8 25.Qa1 Rc2 26.g3
At this point I wanted to activatemy f1 rook without having to worry about back rank threats later on, when it could cost me a useful tempo. It also stops the knight from coming to f4, which is why I prefer it over h3.

26...Kd7 27.Na5
Preventing Kc6

27...Nd4 28.Nb3
Besides preventing Kc6, Na5 was also provoking the knight to come out, and I could then offer the exchange. I would be happy with a draw, so Ne6 would not have a negative affect on me.

28...Nc6 29.Rb5 Rb7
As was pointed out to me, and Rybka supported 30. Qd1 would have actually been better.

30.Qxa2 Rxa2 31.Rd1 Ke7 32.Rc1 Kd7 33.Rd1 Ke6 34.Rc1 Kd7 35.Rd1
We agreed on a draw here and shortly after round 1 was concluded. 1/2-1/2