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King Hunt + Life Update

May 22, 2011, 1:37 PM 13

Hey all - I haven't played OTB since Philly, but I think an update is definitely in order.

The following was an exciting game I played with algerianbishop here on chess.com.  The rate of play was 3 days for 1 move.  The game itself was rather short, but the underlying variations are interesting.  You can test your calculation by finding the best moves for both sides beginning with 14.Nc3:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 Here 4...Nf6 is a major alternative. 5.c3 Nf6 Accepting the pawn with 5...dxc3 is playable but risky. 6.cxd4 Now we have transposed to the Italian Game. 6...Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Nxe4!? (diagram)

The theoretical equalizer is 7...Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Qb3 Na5, but the resulting positions are very drawish.  The text is more dynamic and (I think) objectively better. 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qb3+ d5 11.Qxb4 Rf8 Preparing to castle by hand.  Though White's knight has access to the nice e5 square, he is permanently saddled with the isolated d-pawn.  Black will also has good play on the kingside. 12.0-0 Qd6 A novelty, but it's no better than the standard 12...Kg8. 13.Qb3! Kg8 14.Nc3? Be6? Here I underestimated 14...Rxf3!, when Black obtains a pawn-up endgame: 15.Nxe4 (I missed that White was getting mated on f2 after 15.gxf3 Qg6+ 16.Kh1 Bh3 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Rg1 Nxf2#) 15...Rxb3 16.Nxd6 Rxb2.  Black should win with accurate play. 15.Rfd1 (diagram)

15...Nxf2!? Actually this move should lead to a draw, but I refuse to attach a "?!" or "?" to it :).  I wasn't satisfied with the slightly better rook endgame after 15...Nxc3 16.Qxc3 Bg4 17.Rd3 Bxf3 18.Rxf3 Rxf3 19.Qxf3 Re8. 16.Kxf2 Apparently forced.  However, White had the nice in-between move 16.Nb5!, when the best Black seems to achieve is a perpetual after 16...Qf4 17.Kxf2 c6! 18.Na3 Bh3! 19.Kg1! (any other move gives Black the advantage) Bxg2 20.Kxg2 Qg4+ 21.Kf2 Qh4+ (21...Rxf3+ also leads to a draw) 22.Kg2 Qg4+. 16...Rxf3+! (diagram)

The point of Black's combination. White's defenses are shredded and his king is forced towards open water.  16...Qxh2!? is also interesting, but White can probably defend after 17.Rd3. 17.gxf3 Quickly losing was 17.Kxf3? Rf8+ 18.Ke2 Bg4+ 19.Kd3 Qg6+ 20.Kd2 Qg5+ 21.Kc2 Rf2+. 17...Qxh2+ 18.Ke3 Again, White has little choice. 18.Ke1 Re8 is even stronger than in the game, while 18.Kf1 Re8 threatens the deadly 19...Bh3+. 18...Re8 Black is down a rook, but this quiet move gives White tremendous headaches.  He now has to calculate several bishop discoveries. 19.Rh1? I also spent most of my time calculating this, but it loses.  19.Rd2! was the only way to stay in the game.  Black has various tempting possibilities here, i.e. 19...Bf7+!? 20.Kd3 Bg6+ 21.Ne4 Qh5! when I will win the knight with a continuing attack. 19...Bf7+ 20.Kd3 20.Ne4 would force me to find 20...Qg3+! when 21.Rag1 is met with 22...Rxe4+. 20...Qf2 (diagram)

White resigned.  The threat of 21...Re3+ forces 21.Rae1 Rxe1 22.Rxe1 Qxe1 when Black is easily winning because of the coming 23...Bg6+.

On Tuesday I move to NYC!  As a chess professional this makes a lot of sense: there is a huge market for teaching, an excellent tournament scene, and an abundance of strong players.  I'm moving in with a couple of good friends (also chess players) and I hope to stay for a year or two.  In addition to my online coaching, I'll have some interesting opportunities to work with New York scholastic players.  This is an exciting time in my life and I'm going to try and make the most of it.  By the way, if anyone is looking for a good chess teacher in Manhattan, feel free to shoot me an e-mail!

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