(1) Jones,G (2540) - Smerdon,D (2463) [C05]
Queenstown Classic Queenstown NZL (10), 24.01.2009



1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5
transposing into the so called Universal System.

5...Nfd7 6.c3 Be7 7.Bd3 b6
David chooses a system with a solid reputation. I've had this position myself a few times before. The last couple of games went: I decided to deviate and came up with

8.h4
over the board. I decided not to worry about Black's plan of swapping off light squared bishops and instead start proceedings on the other wing. The move also had the advantage of deviating from any preparation David might have done before the game. [8.Qe2 a5 9.0-0 Ba6 10.c4 Nc6 11.cxd5 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Nb4 (A later opponent tried 12...exd5 13.Re1 0-0 14.Qf5 cxd4 15.Nb3 Nc5 16.Nbxd4 0-1 Jones,G-Grigorya n,A/Yerevan 2007 (60) and White is slightly better although I overpressed and went on to lose) 13.Qe4 exd5 14.Qg4 0-0 15.Rd1 Kh8 16.Nf1 Nc2 17.Rb1 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 cxd4 19.Qxd4 Bc5 20.Qxd5 Nxe5 21.Be3 Qxd5 22.Rxd5 Bxe3 23.Nxe3 f6 24.f4 1-0 Jones,G-Hou Yifan/Liverpool ENG 2007 (57) and I was left in a very favourable ending due to more active pieces and the weakness of black's queenside pawns.]

8...Ba6 9.Bxa6 Nxa6 10.a3
cutting out Nb4 ideas for Black which would target the c2 and d3 squares. [The only previous game in this line ran: 10.h5 b5 11.h6 g6 12.Nf1 b4 13.Ne3 0-0 14.0-0 Nb6 Parligras,M-Rakhmanov,A/Athens GRE 2008 (1-0 in 43) which looked rather unclear but White went on to win]

10...Qc8
Maybe this plan is a little slow. Black's idea is to drop the knight back and then play Qa6 to activate the queen but maybe this is a little slow. [10...0-0 is the compute r's recommendation but it looks risky with White's attack already started. However with light squared bishops traded the attack will not be as strong and I think Black should probably go into this. My plan was to still play 11.Ng5 as after 11...Bxg5 12.hxg5 Qxg5 13.Nf3 White has good compensation for the pawn]

11.Ng5 h6 12.Nh3
It might look illogical to move the knight ofrom f3 to h3 but now the queen is free to come out to g4, the other knight can move to f3 if necessary and from h3 the knight can go to f4 and then perhaps to h5. Black has also created a weakness with h6 on his kingside.

12...Nab8 13.Qg4 Bf8 14.Nf4
I was very happy with this position. White has more space and a developmental advantage but Black's position is solid and he will get counterplay on the queenside. However he also has to look out for knight sacrifices on e6

14...cxd4
I don't much like this move and was happy to see it played. I think he should keep the tension with [14...Nc6 15.Ne2 (15.Nf3 cxd4 and White has been forced to play Nf3.) 15...Qa6~~ ]

15.cxd4 Nc6 16.Ne2
And this is an odd looking move. I have now moved my g1 knight five times! Black's b8 knight though has moved three times and I did not want to play Now I have the idea to play f4,f5 breaking up his pawn structure and exposing his king. [16.Nf3 as this leaves the queenside a little vulnerable while White's plan is not so clear.]

16...Qa6 17.Rh3!?
An unusual way of developing my rook but my king is fairly safe on e1 and now my rook defends the d3 square and is ready to shift across the third rank to either c3,f3 or g3.

17...Rc8 18.Rb1
Black now has to come up with a plan. His main problem is that he cannot move the f8 bishop and so is playing without his rook and with his king stuck in the centre. Perhaps he should try h5 and g6 but this leaves the g5 square as a nice outpost and Black's king will never be totally safe. [18.f4 Nb4 is awkward to deal with so instead I just take time out to stop the threat.]

18...Na5 19.h5 Nc4 20.f4
The f pawn starts its march!

20...Nxd2 21.Bxd2
Black's last few moves have not achieved much, he has simply swapped one of his few active pieces while helping White complete his development.

21...Qa4 22.Rc1!
Swapping off another of Black's active pieces which exacerbates the problem of Black's kingside pieces. [22.f5 Nxe5! is Black's idea exploiting the queen being undefended.]

22...Rxc1+ 23.Bxc1 b5 24.Rc3 Kd8
Not a move Black wants to play but [24...Nb6 25.f5 is hardly appealing either]

25.f5! b4
[25...Nxe5 26.Qf4 allows White's queen into Black's position e.g. 26...Nd7 27.Qc7+ Ke8 28.fxe6 fxe6 29.Qc8+ Ke7 30.Rc7 b4 31.b3 Qb5 32.a4+- ]

26.Rg3
Black's centre is collapsing; his king is vulnerable and he still has to develop his kingside. [26.axb4 exf5 27.Qxf5 Bxb4 28.Qxf7 should also be winning and is probably more accurate.]

26...Qc6 27.Bd2 Qc2 28.fxe6 fxe6 29.Qxe6 Nb6 30.axb4?!
However White's position should still be winning without too much difficulty. David plays well though to create some problems. [30.Bxb4 swapping dark squared bishops is more accurate but I'd got so used to the bishop on f8 I didn't want to let it develop and let him have even a sniff of counterplay but then his position would be basically resignable after 30...Bxb4+ 31.axb4 Qb1+ 32.Kf2 Rf8+ 33.Rf3+- ]

30...Qb1+ 31.Kf2 Qxb2 32.Bc3 Qb3 33.Qf5
[33.Qf7 Bxb4 34.Rxg7 Rf8 35.Rg8+- ]

33...Bxb4 34.Nf4
[34.Bxb4 Qxb4 35.Rxg7 Rf8 36.Rf7 Rxf7 37.Qxf7 Is winning for White but I was afraid of allowing any counterplay with Black's a pawn.]

34...Re8!
I had missed this move when I played my previous. I sunk into deep thought here trying to find a forced win. A few lines I looked at: I eventually came to my senses and realised I still had a clear advantage and it wasn't necessary to go for broke. [34...Bxc3 35.Ne6+ Ke8 36.Qg6+ Ke7 37.Qxg7+ Kxe6 38.Qf6+ Kd7 39.Rg7+ Kc8 40.Qc6+ Kd8 41.Qc7+ Ke8 42.Qe7# was the line which inspired me to play 34.Nf4]

35.Bxb4
[35.Rxg7 Qxc3 36.Ne6+ Rxe6 37.Qxe6 Qxd4+ when Black will have at least a draw; 35.Ne6+ Rxe6 36.Qxe6 (36.Bxb4 Qxb4 37.Qxe6 Qxd4+ doesn't look clear to me) 36...Bxc3 37.Qg8+ Kc7 38.Qxg7+ (38.Rxg7+ Nd7 ) 38...Kb8~~ ]

35...Qxb4 36.Qd3 Qb2+ 37.Kf3 Qc1
[37...Re7 38.Rxg7 Rxg7 39.Ne6++- ]

38.Rxg7 Rf8 39.g3
My position is back under control. I have to watch out for perpetual checks involving a rook sacrifice on f4 but it's winning for White.

39...Nc4
[39...Rxf4+ 40.gxf4 Qh1+ 41.Kg4 Qg2+ 42.Qg3 Qe2+ 43.Kh4+- ; 39...Qh1+ 40.Kg4 Rxf4+ 41.gxf4+- ]

40.Rxa7 Nd2+
[40...Rxf4+ 41.gxf4 Qh1+ 42.Kg4 and again the king escapes the checks.; 40...Qh1+ 41.Kg4 Rxf4+ 42.gxf4 Qg2+ 43.Kf5 ]

41.Kg2 Rxf4 42.Ra8+ Ke7 43.Qh7+
and mate in a few moves. 1-0