Hidden Moves D38: Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defence
The hardest game so far. During the middle game I had a nagging fear of Nf6 intending a sac. As usual, I subject all my games to computer analysis to check the accuracy of my thinking. Here I can also keep notes and test them for relevency. I used Rybka beta, Deep Fritz 8 and Fritz 10. Often this reveals hidden resources or sequences of moves that are good but do not appeal to humans. This game is worth a complete study and not just a quick read. You should be able to copy the text and save it as pgn then open it with chess reader or fritz. Then again you might just want to break out your good old fashioned computer (a wooden chess set) and play through the moves.
(4) Webgogs (1994) - Djamiat (2077) [D38]
D38: Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defence (4 Nf3 Bb4) 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 0–0 7.e3 h6 8.Bh4 Bf5 I first ran into this scheme against Yuri Kovacs. I played Bd3 to directly challenge the bold placement of his Bishop. That turned out to be a mistake as the wiley Romanian fought on for 60 moves. I narrowly escaped a draw.
Here's some samples from my database for move 8.
[8...c5 9.Bd3 c4 10.Bc2 Nbd7 11.0–0 Qa5 12.Qc1 Re8 13.a4 a6 14.Re1 Qc7 15.Bg3 Qd8 16.h3 b6 17.Nd2 Bb7 18.Qd1 Bc6 19.e4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Nxc4 b5 22.Ne3 bxa4 23.Re2 Gligoric,S (2515)-Dizdar,G (2465)/Sarajevo 1986/EXT 97/1/2–1/2;
8...Qd6 9.Bd3 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.g4 Bg6 12.Bxg6 fxg6 13.Nd2 Re8 14.g5 Nh5 15.Qc2 Nd7 16.0–0–0 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 c5 18.Rhg1 Rac8 19.Kb1 cxd4 20.Qxd4 Ne5 21.gxh6 gxh6 22.f4 Nc6 23.Qd3 Parals Roura,J (1870)-Navarro Perez,J (2010)/Barcelona 2002/EXT 2003/1–0 (36)]
9.Be2 Nbd7 10.Qb3 No c6? Black is thinking about taking on c3 and piling up in e4. (Fritx 10 correctly identified the next move.) 10...Qe7 11.Ne5 I'm not sure if this is a novelty or not. I've played this line a couple of times before and 0–0 just didn't perform all that well so I though I'd really mix it up this time. (Deep Fritz found this move in seconds. Argh. Damn those computers. Rob a man of the joy of discovery. I spent several hours working out all the details.) Black has an active position. 11...g5 This starts a long series of virtually forced moves. 12.Nxd7 Bxd7 13.Bg3 c6 Consolidates b5 [13...Ne4 14.a3 (14.Bxc7 ?? 14...Ba4 15.Qxa4 Nxc3) 14...Bxc3+ 15.bxc3 This leaves Black with issues.] 14.a3 Bxc3+ 15.bxc3 White has the pair of bishops 15...Bf5 16.c4 dxc4 17.Bxc4 Ne4 18.Be5 Nc5 I must admit I did not give this due consideration. 19.Qc3 Na4 20.Qd2 Nb6 21.Be2 Rfd8 I looked long and hard at this position. If there was a way to bottle up those pawns... Qb2 perhaps? (Fritz 10 is favouring Qc3 over Qb2 after a short time but after 5 minutes favours it the other way around. I'm not at all comfortable with the lines its giving.) 22.h4 I just can't see anything else leading to headway. With this move I stay on course. This may not be the best course of action but I'm willing to wager it grabs my opponents attention. 22...c5 This move requires comment. I was expecting gxh. (I ran a long search with Deep Fritz. The recommended line is f6, Bg3 then c5. But I would welcome the weakened light squares around his King. Looking at the analysis I can see why Black played the text. It saves a move over the computer's line. 23.hxg5 Nd7 24.Bc7 This was my devious plan and also why I was prepared to do whatever it took to keep the Bishop on the board. I had hoped that the Knight move would have come earlier. It's not just to chase the Rook but it also gives me the option to use it to help against Black's queen side pawns and to create the potential QB battery pointed at his King. 24...Rdc8 25.Bg3 Again, a lot of thought went into this move. With the benifit of hind sight and the computer I see there was nothing wrong with my thinking at all. Ba5 was perfectly playable and might actually be better than the text. I went back because I thought I saw Black gaining too much pressure on my King. The computer shows otherwise. 25...hxg5 26.f3 Bh7 This was a little unexpected. Deep Fritz considered it for a while then went back to Bg6. It gave me the opportunity to grab the center but how else was Black going to solve his problems. With this move he prepares a shelter for his King which saves a move over the computer's line. 27.Rd1 Fritz 10 liked e4. I was confident I could stop the c pawn and get my pawns rolling in the center. My position looks just fine after cd. 27...c4 28.e4 Now my confidence began to soar. I was betting it all on my Bishop pair. This is the point of no return. Incidentally, the computer has rated this as a solid plus even with the c pawn barreling down on my position. I knew it was not so. 1.34 pawns to the good seems a little optimistic to me. I'll be holding up the pawn with my Queen! Still, if you look close you can see that I have a counter for just about everything Black can do. Eventually he will run out of moves. But first there is the issue of f5 and the tactics with Nf6 to think about. 28...c3 I fully expected this. The computer sometimes has a way of sobering thought. It likes a6 or b5 as a way of supporting the pawn. I disagree and still think this was the only move. I bet if I let the computer run for an hour it would eventually agree. For my next move it suggests Qa2. I did not examine that possibility in detail on the grounds that my sole focus was on my center pawns. 29.Qc1 Qc2 would have permanently stopped any ideas of pushing the center. I rejected that outright. 29...f5 30.Rd3 Here I made a miscalculation. I had envisioned getting both rooks to the fifth rank. I made this error because I didn't do the work required and played intuitively. One should not do that in a postal game! 30...c2 31.Rb3 f4 32.Bf2 Rc7 33.0–0 The threat of Nf6, Bg6 and Rc8 kind of forced my hand. I did not see the full effect of the Knight leading up to this position. Still, I was confident that my plan would triumph. [33.Rb5 Bg6 34.g3 (34.0–0 Rac8) ] 33...Rac8 34.g4 This was a must. In order to avoid a corridor mate I needed to grab space. There is no other way to organize the space so that the center can start moving. I knew this was going to be a very slow manouver but King safety first! [34.Re1 g4 (34...Qg7; 34...Nf6 35.Rb5 g4 36.Rg5+ Kf8 37.d5 g3 38.Bd4) 35.fxg4 Bxe4 36.Bf3 Qf7 37.Rb5 Bxf3 38.gxf3 Rats. I rejected this because it broke up my center. The computer is demonstrating that this is not so bad. It does not deal with the c2 pawn but it does open Blacks King.] 34...a6 35.a4 Bg6 [35...Nf6 36.Re1 Rc3 (36...Bxe4 37.fxe4 Qd7 (37...Nxe4 38.Bf3 Qf7 39.d5 Nxf2 40.Kxf2 This doesn't pan out. White holds on just fine. 40...Rc3 41.Rxc3 Rxc3 42.Qd2) ) 37.Rxc3 Rxc3 38.Qb2 Nxe4 (38...Qc7 39.Rc1 Nxe4 40.fxe4 Bxe4 41.Be1 Rh3 42.Qa2+ Kg7 43.Qc4 Qxc4 44.Bxc4 Kf6 45.a5 Ke7 46.Kf1 Re3 47.Bb4+ Kd7 48.Kf2) 39.fxe4 Qc7 40.Rc1 Bxe4 41.Be1 Rh3 42.Qa2+ Kg7 43.Qc4 Qd7 44.Qc5 Kh7 45.Rxc2 Rh1+ 46.Kf2 Rh2+ 47.Kf1 f3 48.Bxf3 Bxc2 49.Kg1 b6 50.Qxg5 In hind sight I'm still happy with g4. I was fairly confident that Black would not attempt the sac for the draw. I will make a detailed study with the computer later just to test my intuition.] 36.Re1 White has a cramped position 36...Qh7 37.Bf1 Be8 We reach a critical position. I would have played Nf6 first and engaged my opponent like that first. Then I would have used the Qh2+ tactic. Once the position was solidified then I would have gone after the b5 square with the Bishop. Reversing the move order to try to fool me doesn't make sense. I was certain my opponent knew I was playing to ram the center pawns down his throat. [37...Nf6 38.Bg2 Be8 39.Ra3 Fritz agrees.] 38.e5 Finally after defending against all his tactics the chance has come to get the pawns going. It comes down to a question of whether his pieces are able to stop the pawns. 38...Qh6 [38...Bg6 39.d5 Nc5 40.Rb6 Nxa4 41.Rf6 (41.Rxg6+ Qxg6 42.d6 Rd7 43.Qa3 Qe6 44.Bd3 Kf8) 41...Nc3 42.d6 Na2 43.Qd2 c1Q 44.Qxa2+ Kh8 45.dxc7 Qcxc7 46.e6 Qc3 47.Rf7 Bxf7 48.exf7 Qg6 49.Qd5 Qxe1 50.Bxe1 Kg7 51.Bd3 Qf6 52.Qe4 Kxf7 53.Qd5+ Qe6 54.Qxe6+ Kxe6 55.Bf5+ Kd6+-] 39.d5 Nc5 40.Rc3 40...Bxa4 41.Rxc2 The computer does not score this correctly. After running it last night it still thinks Black has an advantage. A human would be right to fear those pawns moving any closer. 41...Bxc2 As good as this looks it is definitely not the right move. The b1 h7 diagonal is offered up and the Bishop pair threatens to be a powerfull backer for the pawns. [41...Bxc2 42.Qxc2 b5 42.Bg2 (42.Bxc5?? will give the my opponent a chance to mate with 3 42...Qh1+ 43.Kf2 Rh2+ 44.Bg2 Qxg2#) 42...Qh2+ 43.Kf1] 42.Qxc2 Nb3 ?? Black was better trying to get his own pawns rolling. This just lost the game for him. 43.Qxb3 This is very strange. My opponent plays GM level chess game then suddenly goes down hill in a few moves. Did he just give up the fight or am I missing something? 43...Rc3 44.Qxb7 R8c7 45.Qb8+ Rc8 46.Qb7 R3c7 47.Qxa6 Qf8 48.d6 The final stroke. This should convince him to resign. 48...Rc6 49.Qa2+ Kh7 50.Bd3+ 1-0