Best Games #1

Steve Stoyko - Larry D. Evans [A26]

Westfield Master Invitational/Westfield, NJ USA (6) 1974

Steve Stoyko considers this his best game. It was played in a Masters Invitational tournament at the Westfield Chess Club, which featured Mike Valvo, the young John Fedorowicz, Larry D. Evans, Gene Shapiro, David Floreen, and Steve Stoyko. Steve had recently beaten Floreen in the last round of the NJ State championship to win that tournament. Going into the last round here, Steve had three draws and Evans was a half-point ahead. If Steve won he was clear first, if he drew he was out of the money.


1. c4
To avoid Evans' s favorite Benoni, since White does not need to play d4 right away if at all with the English move order.


1... e5
A surprise for Steve, who had been preparing for a week. The move was most surprising since it often signals a desire to transpose to the King's Indian Defense, which Evans did not generally play.
Black can't get the King's Indian by 1... Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O because 5. d3!? avoids traditional KID counterplay.


2. Nc3 Nc6
"I was tot ally stunned..." said Steve. Evans apparently had not used this line before.


3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6
White gets a good game if Black commits too soon to ...Nf6, blocking the f-pawn. For example: 5... Nf6 6. e4 d6 7. f4+/=


6. f4!?
6. e4 , seeking the Botvinnik Variation, is not as strong before ...Nf6 due to 6... f5! 7. Nge2 Nf6=


6... Nge7 6... Nf6 7. e4! transposes to what White wants


7. Nh3!
This keeps open a lot of options for White.
7. Nf3 was about equal in Alekhine-Tarrasch, Vienna 1922


7... h5!?
"Extremely commital"


7... O-O 8. O-O f5 9. Nf2!? controlling the center and developing ideas like e3, Rb1, b4 etc. This line was first used in Golombek-Broadbent, England 1947.


7... Nf5!? 8. Nd5 h6 9. O-O Be6 10. Nf2 O-O 11. e4!? (more thematic is 11. e3 holding all the central squares, but White plans a speedy kingside attack) 11... Nfd4 12. f5!? gxf5 13. Qh5 Kh7 14. Nh3 f6 15. exf5 Bf7 16. Qd1 Rb8 17. g4 Bxd5 18. Bxd5 Ne7 19. g5!-> Nxd5 20. g6+ Kg8 21. cxd5 c6 22. dxc6 bxc6 23. Qh5 Qd7 24. b3 Rb7 25. Bxh6?! premature(>= 25. Rf2!|^) 25... Bxh6 26. Qxh6 Nxf5 27. Qh5 Ne3 28. Rfc1 c5 29. Nf2 Qc6 (29... >= Qf5!=/+) 30. Qh3 Nd5~~ 31. Qe6+?! Kg7 32. Ne4 Nf4 33. Qf5 Qd7 34. Qxd7+ Rxd7 35. Rc2 Kxg6-/+ and Black, a pawn up, went on to win in Watson-Shahade, Marshall CC 1979.


8. Rb1

8. O-O?! h4|^ plays into Black's plans.


8... h4 9. Nf2 hxg3

9... h3?! 10. Bf3 and White will castle kingside into safety and will likely win the h-pawn in the long run.


10. hxg3 Rxh1+ 11. Bxh1 Bd7

11... Be6 12. Nd5


Position after 11...Bd7


12. Nce4!?

Steve notes that this move is "very anti-English -- not an English type move at all. But it's logical since e4 is an outpost square." And the Ne4 encourages f5 which is bad. Now White wants to play fxe5 and Bg5.


12... f6!

Interfering with White's plans. Too loosening is 12... f5 13. Ng5 And Black can't just make any more here: 12... a6?! 13. fxe5 Bxe5 14. Bg5 Bf5 15. Nf6+ Bxf6 (15... Kf8?? 16. Bh6#) 16. Bxf6 and White has a powerful bind.


13. b4!

To get rid of the Knight so that fxe5 is good. Not immediately 13. fxe5 Nxe5 (13... dxe5 14. Nc5!)


13... b6?!

13... >= a6 14. a4 exf4


14. b5 Nd4 15. fxe5 dxe5

15... fxe5? 16. Bg5


16. e3 Ndf5 17. Qf3 Rc8 18. Ng4

According to Steve, both weak pawns, at e3 and g3, are defended by the knights which also cooperate for attack on f6, forcing the next move. 18. g4 Nh4 19. Qg3 (19. Nxf6+? Kf7-/+) 19... g5


18... Kf7

18... Ng8?! 19. Ba3 Nfh6


19. Ba3 Qh8?!

Defending h6 and keeping an eye on the Bh1 19... Be6!?


20. Rb2! Be6 21. Rh2 Qd8


Position after 21...Qd8


22. Nexf6!?->

Steve notes that when he looked at the game later he realized he could have won quickly with >= 22. Ngf2!+- and Black has no defence to 23. g4 Nd6 24. Ng5+!+-


22... Bxf6[]

Not 22... Qxd3?? 23. Nxe5++-


23. Rh7+ Bg7[] 24. Nh6+ Kf6

24... Ke8 25. Nxf5! Nxf5 26. Rxg7 Nxg7 27. Qf8+ Kd7 28. Bc6#


25. d4!?

Evans probably expected White to take the draw with 25. Ng4+= Kf7 26. Nh6+ etc. Stronger, though, was 25. g4! regaining material.


25... Bxc4?

25... >= exd4! 26. Bb2 c5! 27. bxc6 Nxc6 and it's unclear, though White maintains a strong attack.


26. dxe5+ Ke6

26... Kxe5? 27. Qe4+ Kf6 28. Bb2+ Nd4 29. Bxd4+ Qxd4 30. Qxd4+ leads to mate.


27. Rxg7 Bd5

27... Nxg7? 28. Qf7+ Kxe5 29. Ng4#


Position after 27...Bd5 - White forces mate


28. Rxg6+ Kd7

28... Nxg6 29. Qxf5#


29. Qxd5+!!

Steve couldn't decide which mate is prettier, the one played or the other available queen sac 29. e6+ Bxe6 30. Qc6+!! Nxc6 31. Bxc6#


29... Nxd5 30. e6+ Ke8 31. Rg8# 1-0


[Annotated by Steve Stoyko]