Autumn Cup 2018 Games
Forster, Bill - Winter, Ryan Autumn Cup 2018
1.Nf3!? Bill differs from his usual 1.d4, probably trying to avoid any prep I had done, and trying not to head into a complicated, tactical position in which we youngsters stereotypically thrive in (Bill: Astute. Ryan reads my mind) 1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 Bill chooses a Reti type setup, instead of transposing back into a Catalan by playing d4. 6...b6 7.Bb2 Bb7 8.d3 8.d4!? 8...c5 9.Nbd2 Nbd7 10.e3 Rc8 11.Qe2 Re8!?
Moves are clickable
The start of a slightly awkward plan. The rook doesn't really belong on e8, a slightly better plan would have been to move my queen to c7, ready to stick my rook on d8, in anticipation of the centre opening up later on in the game. 11...Qc7 12.Rac1 Rfd8 13.Rfd1 Qb8 12.Rfd1 Bf8 Qc7 was probably still best, Qe7 is a square, but it does block the bishop, and the bishop is not doing anything on f8 that it wasn't doing on e7. 13.Rac1 Qe7 A little awkward, with the arrangement of my queen and bishop. I was thinking about sticking my Bishop on d6, but the problem there is that white can play e4, which is really annoying, since e5 is threatened, and if I move the bishop, e5 forces my knight to g4, where it really doesn't want to be. So I decided to simply leave the bishop on f8 for the time being. If Bill inflicted me with hanging pawns, I was thinking that my queen could go to e6 in the future, where it is quite well placed in these hanging pawn positions. 14.cxd5 exd5 15.d4 Ne4 16.dxc5?
What looks like a reasonable move, giving me hanging pawns or a Isolated Queens pawn, is a mistake. Although I get the weakness on d5, my pieces become quite active, especially the knight on d7 and the bishop on b7. Ba6 is already a difficult threat to meet. 16...Ndxc5! 17.Nd4?? Ba6! Bill later confessed that when I hovered over the bishop, he was initially confused, as he thought the bishop could only move to c6 or a8, and he completely missed the fact that Nc5 defends the a6 square. Now, if White moves the queen, Nd3 or Nxf2 is going to be a big problem. (Bill: In chess one detail can kill you and I can definitely ascribe my disastrous campaign in this game to missing the fact that Nc5 guards a6! A piece defending something behind it is often a problem for me actually. Also, Ryan, quit the hovering please. It's not good for my blood pressure and I've already had to increase my BP medication recently) 18.Qg4 18.Nb5 during the game I thought this was what Bill would play, as it seems that this is the only move that blocks Nd3, but it turns out this loses rather nicely to 18...Nxf2! 19.Qxf2 19.Kxf2 Bxb5 And if the bishop is recaptured, e3 falls, and Black wins. Otherwise, Nd3 is still coming! 20.Qxb5 Qxe3+ 21.Kf1 Nd3 -+ 19...Nd3! And although White is temporarily a piece up, the entire house is hanging. After the queen moves, Black is easily winning. 20.Qe2 Nxb2 20...Bxb5 After this, the knight is pinned, so White has time to escape, by trading the rooks and moving the bishop 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Ba1 21.Re1 Bxb5 22.Qxb5 Rxc1 23.Rxc1 Qxe3+ 18.Qf3 After a move like this, white does defend f2, but black can play Nxf2 anyway! 18...Nxf2! -+ 18...Nd3 -+ 18...Nxf2! 19.Qf4
19.Kxf2?? (Bill: I actually almost played that. I had forgotten to check whether Nxf2 was possible [else I would have tried Nb5 or Qh5 not Qg4 which is hit by Nf2], I had worried about it a move or two earlier when I could safely take with the king but not immediately before it landed. I was expecting Nd3 rather than Nxf2 and for a while I was assuming Nd3 was also the response now to Kxf2. I noticed the mate just in time - although maybe cutting my pain short wouldn't have been such a bad thing!) 19...Qxe3# 19...Nxd1 In the end I decided that simply taking the rook couldn't be bad. Because he can't recapture right away, and so remains down material, he has to try a desperate attack (Bill: Ryan had GM Gawain Jones looking on for several minutes while he contemplated this move - I was very impressed that he didn't rush out a move to impress his 2650ish audience [I would probably impulsively have fallen into this known psychological foible at age 57 - I would *definitely* have done it at 15]. Instead he spent his time wisely - seeking to make sure my coffin escaping chances were reduced to an absolute minimum) 19...Ncd3 I was trying to decide between this move and ...Nxd1, since now the queen is hit, and doesn't have many good squares. But in the end I decided on Nxd1, essentially because I gain a tempo on the bishop on b1. 20.Nf5 Nxf4 21.Nxe7+ Bxe7 22.exf4 Nxd1 23.Rxd1 Here I thought I was just up an exchange, and still with a lot of work to do. But looking at it now, 23...Rc2 24.Ba1 Be2 Wins another piece. Black ends up a rook to the good. 20.Nf5!? The last, desperate try. White's only chance is to throw everything he has at me, otherwise he's just down too much material. 20.Rxd1 And White can't just capture back, because 20...Nd3 forks the queen and bishop, and simply picks up the bishop, with an overwhelming material advantage. 20...Qe6 21.Bxd5!? Objectively, this just loses faster, but it forces Black to be careful, and at least complicates matters a little. 21...Qxd5 22.Qg5
The idea behind Bxd5. If my queen was still on e6, here I could play Qg6, and that would be the last move of the game. Here, White does have some threats on g7, and Nh6 is a idea, either winning the queen or going for the draw, with Nxf7+ Nh6 etc. Bill: It's a terrible shame that 22.Nh6+ gxh6 23.Qg4+ isn't mate only because there is now a stupid and otherwise irrelevant pawn on h6 - that was the sort of thing I was hoping for, 22...Bb7 Defending the queen, and setting up a counter threat of my own, mate on g7 or h1. 22...Nxb2 23.Nh6+ Kh8 24.Qxd5 gxh6 I must admit I didn't actually see this at all, but this is completely winning for Black and may have been better than the line I choose. He has a rook and 3 pieces for the queen, and sadly for White, all my pieces are defended, and he can't even win the knight on b2 (Bill: I had seen this and was wondering whether to resign at the end of this line or stumble on in the hope that the bizarre material balance wouldn't quite line up in reality to the -5 points that bean counting suggests) 25.Qd4+ Bg7 22...Nxe3 This was another option that I barely looked at. For some strange reason, I missed that the queen was defended by the knight on e3. The knight on e3 defends the queen, and also attacks the pseudo-pinned knight on f5. So Nh6+ is forced (unless you count resignation!) and there is no hope left for white. 23.Nh6+ Kh8 24.Qxd5 Nxd5 25.Nxf7+ Kg8 And yet again, I am up huge amounts of material. Having an extra rook and piece is often enough to win! 23.e4!? Trying to block the mate threat, and setting a trap. 23...Qe6
White resigns. After the game, Don Stracy asked why didn't Bill take on g7? The problem is that after Qg6, White is forced to trade queens, and he's down a few too many pieces. A interesting game, which shows that even innocuous positions contain tactics and motifs, and that chess is all about detail, you cannot simply make moves that make sense positionally if they don't work tactically. 23...Nxe4!? 24.Nxe4 Qxe4?? Is the aforementioned trap. After 25.Nh6+ Kh8 26.Nxf7+ Kg8 27.Nh6+ Kh8 = The game is drawn, with Black up a rook and a piece. Not what I wanted! (Bill: You're a very selfish young man!) 0-1