Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Game 10 - club match. Maidstone vs Swale

Maidstone vs Swale - Board Three
Wednesday 25 November 2015
White: K. Nevols - Black: S. Mustafa (149)

A Wednesday night match in Maidstone - however they were not expecting us! There had been a double booking and another away side had arrived. Fortunately Maidstone had enough players and boards for two matches and about 25 players squeezed into the small room to do battle.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4

Sticking to my simple chess theme for now.

3. ..  Nf6

The Two Knights defence. Now here d4 or Ng5 are the most usual moves.

4. Nc3?! Nxe4
5. Nxe4

5. Bxf7+ Kxf7 6. Nxe4 d5 is another line or just 5. O-O.

5. .... d5
6. Bxd5 Qxd5
7. Nc3

After 7. ... Qd8 lists 13 games with this position - all of them won by Black!
I had a look at the various lines after 4. Nc3 and all of them show Black with the initiative - as we will see here. Chess is a funny game as how such a natural developing move can get you in trouble so early.

7. .... Qa5

Instead of Qd8, Black puts his queen over on the left in the style of the Scandinavian defence - an opening I now well.

8. d3 Bg4
9. h3 Bh5
10. g4

Shoo. Go away.

10. ... Bg6

11. Bd2

Perhaps the main drawback of the queen's position but 11. a3 may have been more accurate.

11. .... h5
12. g5 h4

Intending to come back to Bh5 and renew the pin with the drawback of a loose pawn on h4 which could come under attack. Already Black is better and I am feeling the heat - no surprise with so many people in a small room!

13. Ne4 Qb6

The computer prefers Qd5! and then coming to e6 with Bf5 to hit the h-pawn.

14. Bc3

I was pleased to get this move in which begins to sort the position out and has counterplay against e5. The g5 pawn is very useful here.

14.    . Bh5

15. Qe2 O-O-O
16. Ned2 Bb4

The pressure is increasing and both Black bishops are very well placed, with the rooks coming to the centre and ideas including e4. Firstly I've got to break that pin and get my king out of the centre but it is a difficult choice of kingside - where it is a bit airy - or queenside - where Black has some pieces.

17. O-O Nd4
18. Bxd4 exd4
19. Qe4

Now with 27 minutes for 16 moves - time was slipping by - although fortunately many of my moves are almost forced. (The computer analysis engine prefers here to play 19. .... Bxd2 20. Nxd2 Kb8).

19. ... Rde8
20. Qf5+ Kb8
21. Nc4 Qc5
22. Qxc5 Bxc5

Although I now only had 23 minutes for 13 moves, I was feeling a little more comfortable with the removal of the queens.

23. Kg2

23. .... Re2?!

23. ... f6 might be better aiming to open some lines against the king. This move, says the computer, is where Black loses some advantage.

24. Rac1

I played this automatically. However 24. b4! is an interesting move. 24. ... Bxb4 25. Nxd4 and then Rb1.

24. ... Bxf3
25. Kxf3 Rhe8

My plan is now to snaffle off that h-pawn, try to hold as best as I could, and see if I could get something going on the right hand side. I had decided that if he were to offer a draw here I would accept. I could try to force it with 26. Ne3 (26. .. Rd2 27. Nc4) and see if Black wants to go for a win with 26. ..dxe3. 27. Kxe2 exf2+ 28. Kf3 Re5 (then perhaps 29. Kg4!)

26. Kg4 b5
27. Na5?!

A mistake. Na3 is better. Bxa3 might then mess up the queenside but at least Black would not then have the bishop. Now the knight gets pushed somewhere it would rather not be.

27. ...  Bb6
28. Nb3 a5
29. Kxh4 a4
30. Na1 Ba5

If 'knights on the rim are dim' to use a famous chess expression, what does that make knights in the corner? I had effectively sacrificed the usefulness of the knight to grab a pawn. Now Black is back on top. On the plus side, the knight does a great job of defending the c2 pawn allowing the rook to move.

31. Rcd1 Bd2
32. Kg4 Rf8?

A slight inaccuracy allowing me to gain a tempo.

33. Kf3 Rfe8
34. h4

The g-pawn is now defended

34. ... c5
35. Rg1

This is to defend the g-pawn to allow h5. Black's pieces are getting in a bit of a muddle now.

35. .. Be1
36. Rf1

Now Bd2 would effectively draw by repetition.

36. ... Kb7

This surprised me. I had expected Bd2 or c4. I did not really have faith in my kingside punt but the fact that Black cannot attack the pawns yet is very helpful.

37. h5 Kc6?

The computer rates this as a mistake in allowing h6 preferring 37. ... Bd2.

38. h6 gxh6
39. gxh6 Ba5
40. h7 R2e6

Black has now sorted his pieces out and I am now thinking how can I rescue the knight?

41. Rh1 Rh8
42. Rdg1 Rg6
43. Rxg6 fxg6
44. Kf4 Bd8
45. Ke4 Bf6

My knight is still stuck. Black can sacrifice his bishop after h8(Q) and get the rook to the first rank to pick it off. If I play 46. b3 here then 46. ... a3 entombs the knight.
However, I now noticed the position of his king was on the same rank as the bishop and pawn - all conveniently lined up.

46. Rh6! Re8+
47. Kf3 Re5

Black does not have time for Re1 or 47. Bh8.  48. Rxg6+ and Rg8 (e.g, 47. ... Bh8 48. Rxg6+ Kb7 49. Rg8 Re1 50. Rxh8 Rh1 51. Re8 Rxh7 52. Re1 and White's king and f-pawn advances.

48. Rxg6 Rh5
49. Rxf6+ Kd5
50. Rf7

Now I can mop up for the win.

50. ... c4
51. Kg4 Rh1
52. Rf5+ Ke6
53. Rh5 Resigns

I was very pleased with this win - a tough battle in which I was on the back foot for most of the time.

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