Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Game of the Week

As protesters for democracy topple dictators across the Arab world, so too do we experience a revolution this week -- one difference being that, in all likelihood, Will Engel will take back the top spot on the club ladder fairly soon. Another being that, to the best of our knowledge, Will does not command a secret police force.

Route 20 Chess Club
Freeport, Ill., March 8, 2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5!? 4.d5 d6
4...exd5 is the normal move.

5.Bg5 Be7 6.h4 Nh5
A move of uncertain purpose. Why not castle?

7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.Nf3
8.dxe6 fxe6 9.Ne4 threatens either to dislodge black's king from castling position or to win a pawn. The best reply is 9...Kd7, leaving white with the advantage.

8...0-0 9.e4 e5 10.g3 Bg4 11.Bg2
11.Be2 works as well.

11...Nd7 12.0-0 Nb6 13.b3 f5

Allowing the f-pawn charge cedes too much ground. White is well advised to take the attacking pawn: 14.exf5!? Nf6 15.Qd2.

14...f4 15.Kh2 Nd7 16.Ne2 Rf7 17.Ng5 fxg3+ 18.fxg3 Rxf1 19.Rxf1 Rf8 20.Rxf8+ Nxf8 21.Ng1 Ng6 22.Bh3
Gary's advantage has drained away. The position is roughly equal again.

22...Bxh3 23.N5xh3 Qf6??

A careless move that affords white the chance to trap black's h5-knight for a winning advantage: 24.Qe2 Nxg3 25.Kxg3 Qxh4+ 26.Kg2.

Will misses the opportunity. Now Gary only needs to move his g6-knight, clearing the square for his queen, to prevent the trap.

24...Ne7 25.Qf2
25.Ne2 or 25.Nf2 is better. Will's knights are badly placed and in need of activation.

25...h6 26.Qxf6 gxf6
Recapturing with 26...Nxf6 is significantly better.

Still not activating a knight.

27...f5 28.exf5 Nxf5

That g-pawn is feeling the pressure. The best way to defend it is 29.Ne2.

The move doesn't accomplish anything: 29...Nhxg3!? and what looked like a clever counterattack is revealed to fizzle, since the knights reinforce each other.

29...Nhg7?! 30.Nf2 Nd4 31.Ne4 Ngf5
Precarious. 32.Kh3 threatens to kick the knight off f5 with 33.g4, at which point black's backward d-pawn falls.


An uncharacteristic lapse. Obviously, Gary can't take the e2-knight right away (32...Nxe2? 33.Kxf5 b6 34.Nxd6 Nxg3+ is big for white), but he has an in-between move that drives Will into a losing endgame.

32...Ne3+ 33.Kh5 Nxe2 34.Nxd6 Nxg3+ 35.Kxh6? Ngf5+! 36.Nxf5 Nxf5+ 37.Kg5 e4 38.Kxf5
38.Kf4 is Will's last chance for counterplay.

38...e3 39.Ke4 e2 40.d6 Kf7 41.d7 Ke7 0-1
Both races are lost. Will resigns.


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