(2) Mangion,Ian (1953) - Moldovan,John (1824) [C06]
20th Kenilworth CC Championship Kenilworth, NJ (2), 21.01.2010
[Moldovan & Deep Rybka 3]

G/85 + :05 delay C06 French Defense Tarrasch Variation

1.e4 e6
Early in the week, I toyed /\ playing a Sicilian or Modern, to avoid my opponent's usual, drawish Exchange Variation, but decided against them, because the event is rated.

2.d4 d5 3.Nd2!
A pleasant surprise, even if it is White's best. Now we'll have unbalanced P structure, instead of symmetry.

This doesn't really suit me... [...But I thought Ian would be booked-up on 3...c5 , which I easily drew FM Tom Bartell with in 2008.; Would the Guimard, 3...Nc6 , have been a better choice?]

[4.Bd3 c5 5.c3 cxd4 6.cxd4 dxe4 7.Nxe4 ; & 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.c4 Nf6 are =.]

[Unfortunately 4...Ne4?! 5.Nxe4! (5.Bd3 Nxd2 6.Bxd2 c5= ) 5...dxe4 6.Be3+/= is bad for Black.]

[A relief. I was more worried about the space-grabbing 5.f4! , which we saw in the January 7th GSCL battle between Simon Thomson & Steve Stoyko.]

5...c5 6.c3 Qb6
The Q may be somewhat misplaced here. [For 6...Nc6 see Grasso - Stoyko ; Roselle - Kenilworth match 2005; For 6...cxd4 see Alvarez - Stoyko : Las Vegas 2006. Both are in the French Lectures file on my Chess Coroner blog's sidebar.; 6...b6 , looking to trade-off the bad, light-squared B with ...B a6, was a 4th possibility.]

[7.Ngf3!? Nc6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.Nf3 is an improved, Milner-Barry-type gambit. The Nd7 hinders Black's development.]

7...cxd4 8.cxd4 Nc6 9.Nf3 f6
! Gligoric

[10.Nf4 fxe5! 11.dxe5 (11.Nxe6? Nf6-/+ ) 11...Ndxe5 ]

10...Nxf6 11.0-0 Bd6

I thought this was a bit strange but the point will soon become clear. [12.Nc3 is the main line.]

[12...e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Ned4 0-0 15.Be3 Gligoric]

Ah. Now I see what 12.b3 was about. White wanted to trade d.s. Bs without sacking his b2 P.

[Rybka likes the wussy 13...Ba3 14.Bc1 Bd6 15.Bf4 Ba3 16.Bc1 Bd6 17.Bf4 1/2-1/2; & some sources (Gligoric, J. Watson & Emms among them) recommend the 13...Nxd4 14.Nfxd4 e5 fork trick.]

14.Nxf4 Ne4 15.Ne2 Nf6
[15...Rxf3!? 16.gxf3 Ng5+/= was the only other line I considered; But, according to Tzermiadianos in "How To Beat The French Defense" >=15...Bd7! 16.Bxe4 dxe4 17.Ng5 Rad8 18.Nxe4 Be8! 19.Ng5 Rf6! 20.Qd3 Bg6 21.Qe3 Neumann - Gouw : correspondence 2001.]

16.Rc1 Bd7
Time check : Mangion has used approximately 14.5 minutes versus my 18.5.


[RR17.Ng3 Rae8 18.Re1 g6 19.Bb1 Kulovana - Pirklova : Karlovy Vary 2004 19...Ng4= ; 17.Nc3 Rae8 18.Na4 Qb4 19.Re1+/= Czaeczine - Albers : Dresden 2004; 17.Re1 Rac8 18.Nc3 Qc7 19.Bb5+/= Zakoscielna - Warchol : Chotowa 2009]

[This varies from the 17...Rac8 18.Re1 Qb4 19.Nc3 Qd6 20.Ne5 Be8 21.Re3 Qb8+/= of Rasmussen - Baragar : Winnipeg 1999. Neither of us suspected that, until this point, we were still in following known practice.]

18.Nc3 Qb4
While looking to make her way to d6 or e7, the Q stops White from gaining space with a3+b4.

19.Re1 a6?
This seriously weakens b6 &, along with it, c5. [19...Re7+/= was right.] Luckily for me, however, White ignores this fact & takes aim at my solid K-side.

[>=20.Na4+/- ]

This takes the sting out of a possible Na4-c5, as the B could go to e8, instead of c8, & the R would be guarding b7.

[He has to take care of d4 before going after h7 because 21.Ng5 Qxd4 22.Nxh7 Qxd3 23.Nxf6+ gxf6 24.Bxd3 Ne5 is equal.; Rybka, though, says >=21.h3+/= ]

This frees my N & stops the enemy's attack before it even gets off the ground... [... But the engine prefers 21...Rc8= /\ 21...Nxd4! 22.Qxd4 Qxc3]

22.h3 Nh5 23.Ne5?!
[>=23.Qe3+/= ]

23...Nxe5 24.Rxe5 Ref7
Black's position looks like a picture now. He just has to make sure White doesn't have Rxh5.


This has a tactical flaw and might deserve a "?". [>=25...a5= Rybka; 25...Nf4= ; or 25...Qd6= ]

[>=26.Nxd5 Qh4 27.Qe4 the move we missed 27...Qxe4 28.Bxe4 exd5[] 29.Bxd5 Nf4 30.Bxf7+ Kxf7 31.d5+/= ]

26...Qh4 27.Qg5
[27.Nd1= was an option.]

Black offers a draw..

... & White immediately declines.

28...Nf4 29.Ne2 Nxe2+ 30.Rxe2 Rf4 31.Rd2

[>=31...Rc8= But having 8 extra minutes (21-13) & imagining a slight pull, I play for a minority attack & a win.]

>= Rg4, here or next,.

>= ...Rf8 =, on this turn or the following.

[>=33.Rg4+/= ]

33...h5!? 34.Kf2 Kh6 35.Re5 g5 36.Bd1

Threat : 37.f3

This ruins what, except for 19...a6?, had been a well-played, strategic struggle. [The ...Re4 idea had to be prefaced by 36...Bc6+/= ; 36...R6f5+/= ; 36...Be8+/= ; & 36...h4+/= were also acceptable.]

37.Rxe4 dxe4 38.Ke3+-
Game over.

38...exf3 39.Bxf3 b6
[>=39...Bc8 40.Rc2 Rf8 ]

40.Rc2 e5?

41.dxe5 Re6? 42.Kd4 Kg6? 43.Bd5 Re7 44.Rf2 Bf5 45.Be4 Bxe4 46.Kxe4 Re6? 47.Kd5
Black resigns. It was a bad night for French-playing contingent. We were a combined 0 for 3. Mark Schwarcz also lost from a level position & Jim Cole missed a win before going under. Time left - Mangion 4:12, Moldovan 3:28 Estimated time used - Mangion 84:43, Moldovan 85:27 Longest think by White - 10 minutes for 25.Rd2 Longest think by Black - 10 minutes for 20...Re7 Despite the defeat, I may still be in the prize-hunt. If I win in rounds 3-5 & every favorite also does so, I should land in a 3-way tie for 1st at 4-1. 1-0