Swale vs Maidstone - En Passant Cup - Board Three
Thursday 2 March 2017
White: K. Nevols (134) - Black: D. Smith (132)
We needed to win this match to secure qualification from the group.
1. e4 c5
2. Nc3 d6
3. f4 e5
Black decides to answer my Closed Sicilian with a rigid set up. I did not really like this for Black as it weakens the d5 square, presents a backward pawn on d6, and could close the centre. Now 4. Bb5+ is possible but I decided to keep this bishop back.
4. d3 Nf6
Of course 4. .. exf4 5. Bxf4 is good for White.
5. Nf3 Bg4
6. Be2 Bxf3?!
Exchanging this bishop so early did surprise me. Black's plan is to get his knight to the d4 square - I often get that in this system but it is relatively easy to eject.
7. Bxf3 Nc6
8. O-O Nd4
The computer now suggests 9. fxe5 dxe5. I had this option a few times but rejected it for two reasons - firstly, his pawn on d6 restricts is development and I wanted to keep it there, and, secondly, I wanted to keep open the option of a kingside attack, and f4-f5 might be useful.
9. Kh1 Qd7
The b6 square would be a much better post for the queen with the option of a queenside offensive.
10. Ne2 Nxe2
11. Qxe2 h6
Now I am asking - where is his king going? One of the beauties of this opening is that I can attack on either side of the board - but I need to know where his king will be heading for first. I continue to develop while I wait for Black to make his decision.
12. Be3 Be7
A move I was quite proud of. I am now thinking of d4 and opening lines towards the centre - and long term the possibility of rerouting the white squared bishop to the b3 square. In case I am thinking of opening the centre, Black decides to exit his king and answer the question I was asking.
13. .... O-O
Now I know where his king is - I can start the attack I referred to earlier.
The plan is simple - g4, g5, Rg1 and move everything towards the king. If now 14. .. d5 I was going to ignore that and play 15. g4.
14. .... Kh7?!
15. g4 g5
Black puts up the barricades. As I can't now use the g-file, I decide I will use the h-file instead.
16. Kg2 Kg7
17. Rh1 Nh7
18. Qd2 f6
Well, this is a weird way to defend. Black boxes in his own knight and weakens the white squares around his king.
For the last few moves, Black could have thought about a counter attack based around d5.
Now the earlier c3 move comes in handy.
Heading for the b3-g8 diagonal - this is getting very similar to my last game with this opening (Game 54). By now the old problem (time trouble) was resurfacing - I had 20 minutes for the next 16 moves.
19. ... Rh8
20. Bb3 straight away, to prevent d5, might have been more accurate.
20. .... Rab8
This told me that he was intending to counter with b5-b5. I had better get on with my own attack.
21. Bb3 Qd8
22. hxg5 Nxg5
Planning to pile up on the h-file.
23. .... Ra8?
But what's this? I had expected 23 . .. b5 with which I intended 24. Bd5. Black told me afterwards that he thought I could never break through and so he now just shuffles his rook to-and-fro. This gives me wonderful time to build up.
24. Rah1 Rb8
25. Kg3 Ra8?
Playing b5 or even Rh7 and Qh8 was necessary.
26. Qh2 Rb8
It is now a forced win.
27. Rxh6 Qe8
If 27 .... Rxh6 then 28 Qxh6 mate.
28. Bxg5 fxg5
I think this was the move that Black had overlooked. If 29. .. Kf8 then 30. Qh6 mate and if 29 ... Kf6 then 30. Qh6= will mate.
29. ... Rxh7
Black now resigns - as it is mate on either g6 or g8.
My unbeaten run had now stretched to seven, and we had a big win for the match as well.
Swale v Maidstone
Trefor Owens (167) 1/2-1/2 Robert Lane (157)
Keith Hyde (167) 1-0 David Heath (145)
David Page (135) 1-0 Ian Clark (141)
Keith Nevols (134) 1-0 Douglas Smith (132)
Peter Blundell (120) 1-0 Nigel Osina (98)
Tyrone Jefferies (116) 1-0 Robert Cox (63)
Swale 5.5-0.5 Maidstone