Scoring a picket fence even in the lower grades requires a fair slice of good luck. My run began several days beforehand when my wife announced that a fabric shop in Onehunga would demand her attention for at least 15 minutes. I crossed the street to the Hard to Find Book Shop and in the Chess section came across a 1991 monograph by Eric Schiller entitled 'How to Play the Albin Counter Gambit.'. At home I spent a few hours becoming familiar with the ideas for both sides, but did not expect to meet the opening in my very next tournament.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 f6 6.exf6 Nxf6 7.g3 Bf5 8.Bg2 Qd7 9.0-0 Bh3 10.Bg5 The Knight is poised to assist the coming attack on White's castled position and is best swapped off.
10...Bxg2 11.Kxg2 Ne4 12.Bf4 h5?! This was the time for Black to castle long so as to bring a Rook into the centre and liberate the Queen from support of the d pawn. White needs to develop the remaining back rank pieces, but the Queen has to come out ahead of the Knight.
13.Qd3 Nf6 14.Qg6+ Kd8 15.Nbd2 Bd6 16.Bxd6 cxd6 17.Ng5 Ne5 18.Qxg7! Snipping off a second pawn. Hans thought for nearly 5 minutes over his reply and during this time unworthy thoughts of gamesmanship surfaced in my mind. Needing only a half point for clear first place, I thought that after 18...Qxg7 19.Ne6+ would be an ideal psychological moment to offer a draw. Indeed, after 20.Nxg7 Rag8 White must retreat and Black's pieces are poised to attack.
18...Qe8!? Hans calculated that retaining his Queen gave better winning prospects and elected to add a whole piece to the sacrificed material. Humbled by this display of courage I could do nothing but accept the sacrifice and play on.
19.Qxf6+ Kc7 20.Qe6 Qf8 21.Qd5 Qh6 Later, 21.c5! was suggested, but I felt my Queen would be ideally placed on d5, and there was also the new threat on e6.
22.Ne6+ Kd7 23.Nc5+ Ke7 24.Qxb7+ Kf6 25.Nde4+ Kf5 26.Nd3 h4! Black's attack begins but White still has a tempo to spend.
27.Nxe5! Eliminating Black's best placed piece, creating 7th rank attack potential and freeing up escape squares for the White King.
27...Raf8?! Allowing a pretty finish.
28.g4+ Kxe5 29.Qd5+ Kf4 30.e3+ Resigns. If 30... Kxg4 31. h3# or 30...de3 31.fxe3+ Kxe3 32.Rae1# At 11 years old Hans Gao already shows remarkable maturity and objectivity in his chess thinking. He has a bright future. 1-0