Route 20 Chess Club
Freeport, Illinois, Oct. 20, 2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3?
Playing the Queen's Gambit all the time as I do, I should have remembered that the book move was 4.e5.
4...e5 would have been more forceful.
Too late now, as 4...e6 gave black's knight an outpost.
I was trying to forestall ...Bb4, but 6.Bxc4!? Bb4 7.Nge2 would have been more assertive.
6...Nxc3 7.bxc3 Bd7 8.Bxc4 c5 9.f4 b5 10.Be2 Bc6 11.Nf3 Nd7 12.0-0 c4
In my lust for space on the kingside, I'm missing a golden opportunity: 13.a4! would have been a timely ram. 13...Qa5 14.axb5, and black has to capture the pawn (14...Qxb5) to prevent a cascade failure.
13...Nb6 14.f5 Qd5 15.fxe6 fxe6
Now I realize I've gotten myself into a pickle. My plan was to create a weak pawn on e6 and attack it with 16.Ng5. But after 14...Qd5, I've left myself vulnerable to 16...Qg2#. How to wriggle free?
Not this way. Now I've just changed the threat, from ...Qg2# to Qh1#.
16...h6 17.Bf1 Qe4
I wracked my brain to figure out what Jim was aiming at. "If you can't see it," he said, "then I must be one step ahead of you!" Well, I couldn't, and he was.
19.Kh1? Be7! 20.h3 Qg3 21.Be3?
I was worried about my rook, but I could have rescued it with the deft discovered attack 21.Ng1 Bxg2+ 22.Rxg2.
21...Nd5 22.Qd2 Nxc3??
A stroke of luck that put me back in the game.
23.Qxc3 0-0 24.Raf1 g5? 25.Nd2??
Oops. Too soon. 25.Bd2 might have allowed me to keep the upper hand.
25...Rxf2 26.Rxf2 Bxg2+ 27.Rxg2 Qxh3+
26...Qxh3+! 27.Kg1 Bxg2 would have been even better for black.
28.Rh2 Qg3 29.Ne4??
Argh. Stepping right into a fork. If there was nothing good to do on the kingside, there was always 29.a4.
29...Qf3+ 30.Kg1 Qxe4
My pawns are no match for Jim's. From here, it's all downhill for me.
31.Rxh6 Rf8 32.Bf2 Qg4+
The cheeky attack 32.Rf3! would have been tough to fight off.
33.Kf1 Qd1+ 34.Kg2 Qe2 35.Qg3 Rf4 36.Rg6+??
Given my already suffering position, it's striking just how bad this move turns out to be.
36...Kf7 37.Rxg5 Bxg5 38.Qxg5 Rxf2+ 0-1