The promised second installment of recent games by Benildians. This time – Johns Healy and Gibson.
Both games were in the Armstrong. Again, we’ll start with the earliest, which means John Healy’s round 5 game, which was played before John Gibson’s round 4 game…
John Healy (1831) v Fiachra Scallan (1618); Armstrong v Rathmines; 04/12/14
Annotation by John Healy
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4
Burn’s Variation. Popular among pros, but rare at club level.
5… Nbd7 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Ng3
A bit unusual, but while the GMs prefer to trade the pieces, this retreat is a good practical alternative.
7… h6 8. Bxf6
Most players prefer to retreat the bishop here with either 8. Be3 or 8. Bd2
8…Nxf6 9. Bc4 O-O 10. Qe2
10. O-O c5 11. Qe2 Bd7 12. Rad1 cxd4 13. Nxd4 is the only game I can find in this position. Objectively, Black is fine, but he has to be careful.
White has a lead in development and more space, but Black has no weaknesses.
11. O-O-O a6
Black needs to develop his light squared bishop, but 11… b6 12. Ne5 Bb7 loses to 13. Nxf7.
12. Ne5 Bd6 13. Qf3 Qe7 14. Rhe1 Bxe5 15. Rxe5
I had seen that 15. dxe5 Nd7 was strong, but I underestimated it. White is cruising.
15… Nd7 16. Ne4
16. Rde1 is a significant improvement on my idea.
Black can take the exchange 16… Nxe5 17. dxe5 Rd8 cuts the legs from under the Nf6 ideas I’d been toying with.
17. Rh5 cxd4 18. Rxd4 e5 (D) 19. Rd3
I missed a glorious opportunity here with 19. Rd6 when White’s attack looks irresistible e.g. 19… Nf8 20. Rdxh6 gxh6 (20… Ng6 21. Rxg6) (20…g6 21. Qf6 Qxf6 22. Nxf6+ Kg7 23. Nxe8+ Kg8 24. Rh8#) 21. Qg3+ Kh8 22. Rxh6+ Nh7 23. Ng5 Bf5 24. Nxf7+ wins the queen, and the R + N aren’t enough, e.g. 24… Qxf7 25. Bxf7 Re7 26. Be6 Bxe6 27. Qxe5+ Kg8 28. Rxe6
19… Nb6 20. Bb3 Be6 21. Rxe5
On the one hand, I assessed this correctly. White has compensation for the exchange. On the other hand, 21. Qg3 is just stronger. I had originally intended 21. Bxe6 Qxe6 22. Rd6, but had overlooked 22… Qxa2 when I can’t take the knight, and Black has a big advantage.
21… Nd7 22. Rxe6 fxe6 23. Rd4
This is a far bigger error than it might appear. White would have been comfortable after the far superior 23. Qe3. Ne5 was black’s threat, but Qe3 move does much more than the text. It takes the queen off the f-file where it’s a target for a tempo-winning Rf8, controls c5 and g5, and x-rays e6.
23… b5= 24. Nd6
Here I rejected a draw offer.
24… Rf8 25. Qb7
25. Qe3 Nc5 26. f4 is best, but Black has untangled his pieces and is doing well.
25… Qg5+ 26. Kb1 Nc5 and black is winning.
26. Qc7 Rxf2
This throws away most of Black’s advantage 26… Qg5+ 27. Kb1 Nc5 is not quite as effective now, but still good for Black. The continuation that had me spooked at the board was 27… Rxf2 28. Rd1 Qd2 (D), but White has a resource. What is it?
It’s 29. Bxe6+ Kh8 30. Bg4, when he’s actually winning.
27. Ne4 Rf1+ 28. Kd2 Rf7 29. Ke2
This was an attempt to cut out Qg5+ tactics, but it’s unnecessary, and the time is costly. Curiously, the computer likes the even more adventurous-looking 29. Ke3
29… Rbf8 30. Rd6 Nf6
30… Qh4 is the way to take advantage of my reckless king manoeuvre. Black loses the e pawn, but his pieces are much more active.
31. Qxe7 Rxe7 32. Bxe6+
Much simpler is 32. Nxf6+ Rxf6 33. Rxa6, though even then Black’s probably still a bit better.
32… Kh8 33. Nc5 Nh5
I don’t understand this move, which puts the knight off-side for no reason I can discern.
34. g3 a5 35. Kd3 g5=
Here I rejected another draw offer.
The computer thinks I should draw by repetition here, but such asymmetrical features to the position and my opponent’s low time suggested practical winning chances.
44. Nc6 Rb7 45. b3 Rd7 46. Rxd7+
At this point, Black was down to five minutes.
46… Nxd7 47. h4 gxh4 48. gxh4 Rf4+ 49. Ke3 Rxh4 50. Nxa5 Nc5 51. Be2 Kf6 52. Nc4 Kf5 53. a4 Ne6 54. a5 Rh1 55. a6
A big error under pressure.
55… Ra1 56. b4 Nc7
When I played 55.a6, I had intended to meet 56… Rxa6 with the discovered attack 57. Nd6+, completely overlooking 57… Rxd6. Thankfully, under time pressure, Fiachra missed this.
57. Na5 h5
We also both missed 57… Nd5+
58. a7 Ra3+ 59. Kf2 h4 60. Nc6 Na8 61. Bf3 Rc3
A game-ending error. 61… Kf4 62. Bd5 Nb6 63. Na5 h3 64. c4 Ra2+ 65. Kf1 h2 66. Bh1 Kg3 67. c5 Ra1+ 68. Ke2 Rxh1 69. cxb6 Re1+ 70. Kxe1 h1=Q+ 71. Kd2 Qf3 (D) and I have no idea who wins.
62. Ne7+ Ke6 63. Bxa8 Rxc2+ 64. Kg1 Ra2
64… Kxe7 65. Bb7 is no better.
65. Nc6 Kd6 66. b5 Kc5 67. Bb7 Kxb5 68. a8=Q Rxa8 69. Bxa8 Kb6 70. Ne5 Kc5 71. Ng6 h3 72. Kh2 Kd4= 73. Kxh3 (D)
I rejected a draw offer, and Black attempted to claim a draw. (Kevin – I can only presume black didn’t even realise it was possible to mate with bishop and knight. For the record, Fritz 12 only scores the position +9.4!) But I’ve played this ending before.
73… Kc5 74. Kg4 Kd4 75. Kf4 Kc5 76. Ke5 Kc4 77. Nf4 Kc5 78. Ne6+ Kc4 79. Be4 Kc3 80. Kd5 Kb4 81. Kd4 Kb5 82. Kc3 Kb6 83. Kb4 Ka6 84. Kc5 Ka5 85. Bc6 Ka6 86. Bd7 Kb7 87. Kb5 Kb8 88. Kb6 Ka8 89. Nc7+ Kb8 90. Na6+ Ka8 91. Bc6# (D) 1-0
As a brief interlude before our last game, here’s a video of the then women’s World Champion, Anna Ushenina GM, trying – and failing – to mate with knight and bishop against king. And here’s how to do it; well worth knowing.
Anyways, in round 4 of the Armstrong, John Gibson served up this cracker in a Budapest Gambit.
John Buggy (1566) v John Gibson (1713); Armstrong v Kilkenny; 08/12/14
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5!? 3. de Ne4 4. a3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. ed?!
If you’re offered one pawn in a gambit opening, go for it. If you’re offered a second – you’re often as well advised to turn it down!
6. … BxP 7. g3?? (D)
A natural-looking move, but with one big drawback. Usual question – can you spot it before scrolling on?
7. … Nxf2! 8. Qc2
8. KxN fails to 8. … BxP+ 9. KxB QxQ. But instead white gets a free rook and pawn, which isn’t a bad haul either.
A lovely move; developing pieces into the attack with tempo. 12. QxB?? allows 12. … Qd1+ 13. Ne1 QxN#
14. Kg1 Bd3!
Winning more material. If 15. Qa4 BxN 16. RxB Qd3, and the bishop and rook are forked, and white must lose a piece. White is just lost here – but it’s hard to resign only half an hour into a game!
15. Qb3 BxP 16. Nbd2 Bd5 17. Qa4 Qe7 18. Bf2 BxB 19. KxB Qc5+ 20. Kf1 0-0 21. Nh4 Rae8 (D) 0-1
And white, possessing surely one of the most open kings in chess history, threw in the towel.