Hereby again an annotated game which I played recently.
Simone - Wesley
Turn-based chess, fulfilled January 9th, 2012
Sicilian GP-attack variation.
1. e2-e4 c7-c5
Wesley goes for a different opening than the previous game with Black: the Sicilian Defence.
I'll play 2. Nc3 here, to keep most options open: Open Sicilians, Closed Sicilians, the GP-attack, whichever I prefer.
2. Nb1-c3 g7-g6
Among Black's many choices a good one.
I can go for an (Accelerated) Dragon/Sniper formation, a Closed Sicilian, or a GP-Attack.
I go for the latter.
3. f2-f4 d7-d6
Black goes for a Dragon-like structure.
Black: "As for the annotations on your previous game, I somewhat suspect you don't fancy a positional game, but an attacking one. I'm going to prepare against a g4 sooner or later."
In one way, Wesley is right: I do fancy a nice attacking game. On the other hand, I don't like a reckless pawn storm that is neither tactically nor positionally justified.
But all the same: 3. ... d6 is a fine move for Black.
First, I go on with the natural Grand-Prix Attack setup:
4. Ng1-f3 Bf8-g7
All right and well.
I prefer this variation over 5. Bc4, because that leads to positions in which it is not immediately clear how to break Black's barrier.
Here, I seek to create positional issues on the queenside after5. ... Nc6 6. 0-0, and now, Black can break the pin with 6. ... Bd7 7. d3 a6. But the resulting position after 8. Bxc6 Bxc6 9. Qe1 is probably slightly in White's favour, because Black's light-square bishop is looking to a strong pawn chain.
5. ... Nb8-c6
As is White's usual method of development.
6. ... f7-f5?
Obviously a sharp move, but (just like in the game recently posted on my blog) a dubious one too. Given the present state of development, Black may have sought for an alternative here by means of 6. ... e6.
How to make use of 6. ... f5?
If I play too slowly here, Black will likely consolidate one way or the other. That is, immediate action needs be taken.
7. exf5 Bxf5 (7. ... gxf5 8. Ng5 Nf6 9. Bc4 d5 10. Nxd5! Nxd5 11. Qh5+ Kd7 12. Qf7, and I don't see how Black is going to defend against all White's threats.) 8. Nh4 Bd7 (8. ... e6 9. Nxf5 exf5 10. Re1+, and Black must give up the right to castle: 10. ... Ne7 11. Bc4, followed by a possible Be6 and Nd5) 9. f5!?, creating tons of possibilities around Black's uncastled king.
This looks dynamically my best variation. Hence:
7. e4xf5 Bc8xf5
I overlooked here that my opponent can defend his bishop by means of 8. ... Qd7. That grants me nevertheless the lasting advantage of the bishop pair.
8. Nf3-h4 e7-e6
That was a rather masochist idea, as I had assessed before. I have to take the bishop, because my knight is hanging.
9. Nh4xf5 e6xf5
10. Rf1-e1+ Ng8-e7
As expected. Now, though, I have a nasty surprise for Black in hand.
This keeps Black's king in the centre for awhile.
The nasty thing is that Black's only move here is 11. ... Kf8. Moves to prepare queenside castling don't work.
11. ... Qd8-d7?
This results in needless time loss.
I have multiple candidate moves here:
a) 12. Be6;
b) 12. Nb5;
c) 12. Nd5;
d) 12. Qf3.
Let's calculate briefly first.
a) 12. Be6
The queen must move to one place: d8 or c7.
- 12. ... Qc7 13. Nb5, and the queen must return to d8 or b8 (else 14. Nxd6+), wasting even more time.
- 12. ... Qd8 13. Nd5, and Black now must play 13. ... Kf8.
b) 12. Nb5
This move prevents Black playing 12. ... 0-0-0, or 12. ... d5. It can be met, though, with 12. ... Nd4, forcing White to make up her mind.
c) 12. Nd5
This move again prevents Black several options, including 12. ... 0-0-0, 12. ... b5, and 12. ... Nd4. Again, Black's only moves are 12. ... Kf8 and 12. ... Kd8. I could play 13. c3 or 13. Qf3.
d) 12. Qf3
Aiming to get to d5 as soon as possible. Again, Black may choose to play 12. ... Kf8, after which I don't think I have a good way to proceed.
So the first examination makes me ditch 12. Qf3, and 12. Nb5.
That leaves us with 12. Be6 and 12. Nd5 to investigate deeper.
a) 12. Be6 Qc7 (I sincerely doubt that any player would even consider 12. ... Qd8).
I can play 13. Nb5, to which I think Black should reply 13. ... Qd8, or I can play the move my opponent feared from the start: 13. g4!?. Black has to capture it: 13. ... Rf8? 14. gxf5 gxf5 15. Qh5+, and Black may resign.
I can even play both. But does that improve the line?
13. Nb5 Qd8 (necessary to defend the d7-square) 14. g4, and now, Black can play
- 14. ... a6 to kick the annoying knight back. The main line is this: 15. Nc3 Nd4, attacking the bishop. I can and must reply16. gxf5, granting myself a passed pawn after 16. ... Nxe6 17. fxe6, and very dangerous attacking chances after 16. ... Nxf5 17. Bxf5 gxf5 18. Nd5.
- 14. ... Nd4, forcing 15. Nxd4 Bxd4+ 16. Kh1 fxg4 16. Qxg4 Qc7. If f4-f5 doesn't work now, the g4-line isn't improved.
So, let's see. 17. c3 (to turn the bishop into a target) Bf6 18. f5. This line looks really strong.
Concluding: 12. Be6 is a strong line.
b) After 12. Nd5, Black can choose between 12. ... Kf8, or12. ... Kd8. One important question arises: Then what?
I can't find any way to improve my position.
That being said, the move to play is 12. Be6.
12. Bc4-e6 Qd7-c7
13. Nc3-b5 Qc7-a5?
That loses a pawn.
14. Nb5xd6+ Ke8-f8
So, I won a pawn. Now what?
I don't feel like playing the greedy bitch here with 15. Nxb7?? Qc7, and my knight is trapped (16. Nxc5 Bd4+)
There are still complications on the board, so they must be calculated before we go on to assess the position.
One thing, however, I must tell before I delve deeper into tis position: I firmly believe that I can exploit Black's king's position.
What are my candidate moves?
- 15. Nf7, in order to play a knight shuffle to g5;
- 15. c3, to prevent any intrusion on d4;
- 15. Bc4, to prepare the knight shuffle to e6, which, if executed, is devastating.
A quick glance shows that 15. Bc4 is met by 15. ... Nd8, and I can't toss my knight around.
Same goes for 15. c3 Nd8.
So let's calculate 15. Nf7.
Black has to reply 15. ... Rg8 in order not to lose the Exchange (15. ... Nd8 has no effect, as the bishop on e6 is defended). Then, I play 16. Ng5, again attacking the rook. Black has two ways to prevent losing it: 16. ... Rh8 and 16. ... Bd4+ 17. Kh1 Rg7.
a) 16. ... Rh8?
This allows for a beautiful combination:
17. Bc4 (threatening the deadly 17. Ne6+, while preventing c5-c4, which would make the c5-square available to Black's queen)
Now, Black has to play 17. ... Nd8: 17. ... Nd4 18. c3 clearly loses for Black, as does 17. ... Bd4+ 18. Kh1 Kg7 19. Ne6+ Kf6 (19. ... Kh6 20. Qf3 should be sufficient to finish Black off)
White's turn: 18. Qe2, threatening checkmate in 1 on e7.
Now, Black can't play 18. ... Nc6, because of 19. Qe8#, or18. ... Qc7 19. Qe6!!, and Black is hopelessly lost: 19. ... Nc6allows both the efficient checkmate in 1 with 20. Qe8#, and the aesthetic one with 20. Qg8+ Rxg8 21. Nxh7#;
19. ... Nxe6 20. Nxe6+, and both the queen on c7 and the rook on a8 will go down; and finally 19. ... Bd4+ 20. Kh1 Kg7leaves the knight on e7 underdeveloped.
Black's only move is hence 18. ... Bf6, which is met by 19. Ne6+ Ke8 (19. ... Nxe6?? 20. Qxe6 leaves Black helpless against the threat 21. Qf7+) 20. Bb5+ Ndc6 (Obviously not20. ... Nec6?? 21. Nc7+, or 20. ... Kf7 21. Qc4, and I don't see how Black can defend against White's many threats)
b) 16. ... Bd4+ 17. Kh1 Rg7. The rook becomes a defender of the 7th rank, but also a blockading piece for both bishop and king.
Now, I'd've LOVED to make my knight move to e6, but that's not possible.
I do have another variation here:
18. Bc4 (again) Nd8, and now, 19. Qe2 is met by 19. ... Qb6.
Let's see if I can put the following variation to work: 19. c3 Bf6 20. Ne6+ Nxe6 (the reason why the rook is misplaced on g7) 21. Rxe6. Black loses material after 21. ... Bh4 22. g3.
His only move looks really crooked: 21. ... Rf7.
But then what?
Possibly 22. Qf3, or 22. Qb3 (22. Rd6? Nc8!!). But I don't think these are too promising. I remain a pawn up in a position with two bishops against bishop + knight, but I'm really down in development.
22. Re1, on the other hand, forces 22. ... Rg7, which is positive.
Now, hold on a second! I just noticed that after 22. Qb3, Black can't play 22. ... b6?, for that would give up the control over c6, and thus would allow 23. Rd6! Nc8 24. Rc6 Ne7 25. Rc7, creating a dangerous position.
Unfortunately, Black can easily play 22. ... Qc7 after both 22. Qb3 and 22. Qf3, which seems to hold.
That is, 22. Qb3 and 22. Qf3 fail to create anything more from Black's weak king's position.
Then how about 22. Re1 Rg7?
I think I must be happy in this line with my pawn up, and get to hurry and finish my development.
So I can't really put 19. c3 to work.
What are my other candidate moves on this line?
- 19. Ne6+, perhaps. 19. ... Nxe6 20. Rxe6. Now, Black has to play 20. ... Rf7. How about 21. g4 now? That threatens to win the bishop by means of 22. Re2 Rg7 23. c3 Bf6 24. g5. Black thus has to play 24. ... fxg4 25. Qxg4.
- 19. Re6, covering the f6-square and thus threatening 20. c3.
19. ... Nxe6? 20. Nxe6+ wins for White. But 19. ... h6! wins for Black now.
I'm going to play the line anyway, because it'll likely lead to an interesting game.
15. Nd6-f7 Nc6-d4??
As foretold, this move holds no danger and therefore means it is an utter blunder, losing the Exchange.
Rather pitiful for my day of thinking about this move. But it's no wasted time - I think I did a pretty good job on investigating a critical moment in the game.
It's good that I found my most critical moves, and Black's best defences too.
16. Nf7xh8 Nd4xe6
The question here is: lose a tempo for a pawn with 17. Nxg6+?
My answer: sure, why not :-)
And this is why not: 17. ... Nxg6 18. Rxe6 Nxf4 looks uncomfortable at first sight. I must continue 19. Re1 and 20. Qf3. I don't like my f-pawn gone, opening diagonals and files to my king.
17. Re1xe6 Bg7xh8
Dust clouds have cleared.
Time to assess the position.
Q1: Which king is safest?
A1: Neither king is in immediate danger, but Black's king is safer.
Q2: How is the material balance?
A2: White is up an Exchange and a pawn.
Q3: How is the dynamical balance?
- White's rook is centralized;
- Black's queen is active;
- Black's bishop occupies the long diagonal;
- Black's knight is centralized;
- White's queen, bishop, and rook are still undeveloped.
- White's rook is doing nothing on e6, and is more vulnerable than active.
- Black's bishop has the potential to give check on d4;
- Black's pieces don't quite interact yet, and neither do White's.
Conclusion: White's attack has given her a material advantage, but a developmental disadvantage. I need to get this at least level.
Q4: How would the position be without queens?
A4: Won for White.
Q5: How is the pawn structure balance?
A5: White has not yet made any pawn moves on the queenside yet. Hence, no weaknesses there.
Conclusion: If White manages to simplify the position, she wins.
Now, what are my candidate moves?
- 18. d3, to develop the bishop via d2 to c3;
- 18. c3, to prepare for Qb3 and d2-d4 while preventing 18. ... Bd4+;
- 18. Qf3, attacking b7.
As stated, I should develop now.
Hence, I pick my first move:
18. d2-d3 Qa5-b4
In itself a good-looking move. However, it allows me to do something I've already been wanting to do: exchange queens by means of 19. Qe1.
Black's main line is 19. ... Nd5. Now, 20. a3 looks fine.
19. Qd1-e1 Qb4xe1+?
After this insecurity, Black is damaged beyond repair.
20. Re6xe1 Ne7-c6
Preventing both Nb4 and Bd4.
My plan is as follows: reply to 21. ... Rd8 with 22. Be3, attacking c5. If 22. ... b6, then 23. Rad1, 24. Bf2, and double up the rooks.
21. ... Ra8-d8
And there we have it: Black resigns.