Best Games #2

Michael Goeller - Scott Mess [B08]

Hillside at Westfield, Teams/Westfield Chess Club 1982


1. e4 g6

In another team match, Scott and I reached the Modern by transposition: 1... Nc6 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. Bc4 d6 5. O-O Nf6 6. Qe2 Bg4 7. c3 e5 8. Rd1 O-O 9. h3 Bd7 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxe5 dxe5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 Qe7 14. Nd2 Bc6 15. f3 g5?! 16. Bf2 Bd7 17. Kh2 c6 18. a4 Kh8 19. b4 b6 20. a5 Rab8 21. axb6 axb6 22. Bb3 Nh5 23. g3 f5 24. exf5 Bxf5 25. Nc4 Bg6 26. Nxb6?! (better 26. Bxb6) 26... e4? (26... Nxg3!? 27. Kxg3 e4 unclear ) 27. Nd7 Bxc3 28. Nxf8 Qxf8 29. Rac1 exf3 30. Qe6 Bf5 31. Qf7 Bxb4 32. Qxh5+- and White soon won on time in Goeller-Mess, Dunellen at Westfield 02.26.82

 

2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3

In Goeller-Mess, Mendham Open 08.15.81 I chose to transpose to a King's Indian Defense in order to get an easy draw: 3. c4 d6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 I had recently been reading Mednis's book "From the Opening to the Endgame" and thought that this gave White a very comfortable game. 9. Bg5 Re8 10. O-O-O c6?! A mistake, which Scott had been playing in skittles at Hillside. 11. Nxe5! Nxe4 12. Nxe4 Bxe5 13. Nd6! (Not 13. Nf6+? Bxf6 14. Bxf6 Nd7 winning for Black ) ( but also good is 13. Rhe1!? with an edge ) 13... Bxd6 14. Rxd6 White's two bishops, superior development, and control of the d-file guarantee him an edge. 14... Nd7 15. Be3 Ne5 16. Rhd1 Be6 17. b3 f5?! 18. Kc2 Nf7 19. R6d2 a5 20. a4 h6 21. h4 Kh7 22. Kc3 Ne5 23. Bf4 Nf7 24. Be3 signalling my intention to seek only a draw 24... Rg8?! 25. g3 Kg7 26. Bd4+ Kf8?! 27. Bc5+ Ke8 28. Bf3 Nd8 29. Bb6 Ke7 30. Bxd8+?! Rgxd8 31. Rxd8 Rxd8 32. Rxd8 Kxd8 33. Kd4 Kd7 Scott offered a draw and I accepted. White has a distinct advantage after 34.Ke5 Ke7 35.h5! as several masters pointed out to me later.

 

3... d6 4. Be2 Nf6 5. Nc3 O-O

...and the game has transposed to the Classical Variation of the Pirc, which is considered tame but safe.

 

6. O-O

 

Position after 6.O-O

 

6...a6!?

Unusual but not a novelty. Black has a number of alternatives, some more satisfactory than others:

a) 6... Nbd7?! 7. e5! dxe5 (7... Ne8 8. Bf4+/=) 8. dxe5 Ng4 9. e6 Nde5 10. Qxd8! Rxd8 11. Nb5! c6 12. Nc7 Rb8 13. Ng5 f6 14. Ne4 f5 15. Nc5 b6 16. N5a6 Rb7 17. f4

 

b) 6... c6 7. a4 Qc7 8. h3 Nbd7 9. a5 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 (10... Nxe5 11. Nd4!?) 11. Be3

 

c) 6... Nc6 7. d5! Nb8 (7... Ne5 8. Nxe5 dxe5) 8. h3 c6 (8... e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Bg5 (10. Nd4) ) 9. Bg5 Nbd7 10. Re1 (10. Qd2) 10... Re8 11. Qd2 a6 12. a4 Qc7 13. a5 Nc5 14. Qf4 Nh5 15. Qh4 h6 16. Bxh6 Bxh6 17. g4 Bg7 18. gxh5

 

d) 6... Bg4 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 e5 9. dxe5 (9. d5) 9... dxe5 10. Rad1 Qc8 11. Qc1 Rd8 12. Rxd8+ Qxd8 13. Rd1 Qf8 14. h3 Bxf3 15. Bxf3

 

7. Bg5!?

Not a bad move, especially given Scott's propensity of pushing his kingside pawns to chase bishops. Also played are 7. h3!? or 7. Re1 c5 8. e5 dxe5 (8... cxd4? 9. exf6) 9. dxe5 Ng4 10. Qd5!?

 

7... h6

One point of 7.Bg5 is revealed after 7... b5 8. Bxf6 (8. e5!?) 8... exf6 (8... Bxf6?! 9. a4 b4?! 10. Nd5) 9. a4 b4 10. Nd5 Re8 11. Nxb4 Rxe4 12. a5 Bb7 13. Bc4

 

8. Bh4!? g5 9. Bg3 Nh5 10. Qd2 g4 11. Nh4 Nc6 12. Nf5 Bxf5 13. exf5 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Nxd4 15. Bxg4 e5

Black has managed to liquidate White's central pawns but at the cost of exposing his King to attack. Also good for White is 15... Qd7 16. Rae1

 

16. fxe6 fxe6 17. Rae1 e5

Perhaps better is 17... >= Qf6 18. Ne2 (18. Ne4 Qg6 19. Qd1) 17... Qg5 18. Qxg5 hxg5 19. Bxe6+ Nxe6 20. Rxe6 Bxc3 21. bxc3=

 

18. Ne4 Qe8?!

Black probably must play 18... >= d5! 19. Nc5 Qd6 20. Nxb7 Qg6 21. c3 (21. Bh3 Qxc2 22. Qxc2 Nxc2 23. Rc1 Nd4 24. Rxc7 Rf7 25. Rfc1 Bf8) 21... Qxg4 22. cxd4 Qxd4 23. Qxd4 exd4 24. Nc5

 

19. c3 Nc6

Or 19... Nf5 20. f4 Kh8

 

20. f4

 


Position after 20.f4

 

20...Qg6

Or 20... Qf7 21. f5

 

21. Bh3?!

This gives Black a chance. Better to tie down the Knight first with >= 21. Qd5+! Kh8 22. Bh3

 

21... exf4?

Fortunately, Scott misses the chance: 21... >= Ne7! 22. f5 (22. Qf2 exf4 23. gxf4 Nf5 24. Kh2 Rae8 25. g4 Ne7 26. f5 Be5+ 27. Kh1 Qh7 28. Qh4) 22... Nxf5 23. Qd5+ Kh8 24. Bxf5 Rxf5 25. Qxb7 Rxf1+ 26. Rxf1 Rf8 27. Rxf8+ Bxf8 unclear

 

22. gxf4 Bf6

Too late for 22... Ne7? 23. f5-> with attack.

 

23. Re3!-> Bh4 24. f5! Qf7

Other Queen moves don't help: 24... Qh5 25. g4 Qf7 26. Bg2 Qg7 27. Rh3 Bg5 28. Nxg5 Qxg5 29. Qxg5+ hxg5 30. Rh5+- (30. f6->)

 

25. Rf4!

All of White's heavy pieces lift up behind the advanced f-pawn to attack the Black King.

 


Position after 25.Rf4!

 

25... Bg5 26. Nxg5 hxg5 27. Rg3! Qf6 28. Re4 Ne5? 29. Rxg5+ Kf7 30. Qd5+ Ke7 31. Rg6 c6

31... Qh8 32. Rxe5+!+-

 

32. Qd4+-

and White resigned. I don't think I recognized what a solid game I had played until later that year when I was preparing to go to a special two-day camp with Lev Alburt. The GM asked participants to send in their games ahead of time because he wanted to use them in his lessons. I ended up not being able to attend the session at the last minute. Alburt surprised me by not only sending me a full refund (which I had not expected), but also a very nice note that discussed my game and said that he had intended to feature it in his lesson because it showed excellent play against a master. After that, I valued the game much more highly -- and I have always thought GM Alburt was a great guy.

 

I'm also proud of this game because I was only 17-years-old at the time and clearly much better than I am now....

 

1-0

[Annotated by Michael Goeller]