(2) Tomkovich,Greg (1659) - Moldovan,John (1814) [E13]
21st Kenilworth Championship Kenilworth (5), 10.02.2011
[Moldovan & Houdini 1.5a]

G/85+5 (delay) E13 Queen's Indian Defense Nimzo-Hybrid Variation

[In the 2nd round against Mazzillo, Greg opened with 1.c4 & I thought he might do so again.]

A little move-order twist. [Over the years (2005-2010), we've repeatedly explored 1...e6 (7x) and worn it out.; 1...g6 , as in our 2010 Summer Tourney game, was considered but, despite success there, I didn't want to repeat. With a 2nd tier defense, you want to hit and run, to avoid getting caught in a prepared line.]

I was pleased to see this. [I expected 2.Nf3 & some damned system.]

2...e6 3.Nf3
[In the 2008 KST he chose 3.Nc3 & I won :-)]

[In round 3 against Kevin Chen, I opted for 3...Bb4+ & lost :-(]

[For 4.Bg5 see Komunicky - Chen from round 1, Renna - Mangion from the 2008 Ellner Memorial & my 2006 win vs. Shiffman.; For 4.g3 see my 2008 STC Ch. draw vs.J.P. Singh.]

The ...Bb4 + b6 setup has been my favorite for 30 years but, due to frequent use of the Bogo and Dutch orders, this form hasn't seen much tournament action.Diagram

[For 4...Bb7 5.a3 see my 1991-92 win vs. LoPresto (as White).]

This is main line. [For 5.g3 see my 2005 win vs. Lin.; For 5.e3 see Pawlowski - Mangion : 2009 KST.; & for 5.a3 see Agress - Mangion from the 2008 Championship.; There is also Seirawan's 5.Qb3 ; Miles' 5.Bf4 ; 5.Bd2 and 5.Qc2.; Here's an example of the latter: 5.Qc2 Bb7 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3 0-0 8.g3 c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.Bg2 d6 11.0-0 Qb6N 12.b4 L. Epstein - Moldovan : 2nd Saturday Swiss #5, Kenilworth 06/08/1991 12...Nbd7= ]

5...Bb7 6.e3
[6.Nd2!? maybe White's best.; For 6.Qc2 see Renna - Mangion from the 2009 KST.]

[RR6...h6 7.Bh4 g5 sharpest (7...0-0 8.Be2 (8.Rc1 d6 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.0-0 Bxc3 11.Rxc3 Qe7 12.e4N e5 13.d5 a5 14.h3 g5= Komunicky - Moldovan : G/15+5, Kenilworth 12/30/2010) 8...d6 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Nbd7 11.Bd3N Qe7 12.Re1 e5 13.Bc2 e4 14.Nd2 Qe6 15.d5 Qe5= PantelisD - Moldovan: G/2+12, World Chess Live 04/30/2008) 8.Bg3 Ne4 9.Rc1 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 d6 11.Bd3 Qe7N 12.Qc2 f5 13.0-0 Nd7 14.Nd2 Ndf6= M. Stein - Moldovan : Springfield 04/25/1999]

7.bxc3 h6 8.Bh4
[8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Be2 is playable but, naturally, White wants to keep the B pair.]

[>=8...d6! , followed by ...Nbd7, guarding against e3-e4-e5, reinforcing f6, freeing the Q and retaining the option of ...0-0-0. ]

9.Bd3 d6

[10.e4 Nbd7 (10...g5?! 11.Nxg5! hxg5 12.Bxg5+/= ) 11.e5 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 dxe5 13.Be4 Rb8 14.Bc6 is the litmus test of my inaccurate 8th.]

Now Black can meet e4 with ...e5 and break the pin without resorting to ...g5 or risking doubled f-Ps.

This aims to slow/stop ...c5 and/or prepare (after ...e5) a possible Nh4-f5... [... But >=11.Nd2 /\ f3/f4, which gives the Bh4 a more suitable retreat at f2. Overall, there have been 85 games with 9 other moves.]

[11...Ne4 also looks good.]


[I didn't want to expose my K unnecessarily with 12...Nh5 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3 f5 ; or give White 12...e5 13.Bf5 ; Trading-off my Bb7, with 12...Bxf3 13.gxf3 was also out of the question, even in conjuction with an exchange of the d.s. B via 13...Nh5 ; & I rejected 12...c5 because I wanted to leave c5 open for a N.; So, a waiting move was in order. My ...Rac8, which protects c7 and supports a possible ...c5 advance, is reasonable enough but I'm not sure it was best. Let's look at all the candidates and see how they compare: Since I haven't played ...f5 or committed to such a plan, there's no problem on the a2-g8 diagonal and no need for 12...Kh8 ; After 12...a6 13.a4 the threat of a4-a5 would just make me play 13...a5 ; 12...a5 , straight away, is better than ...a6 but, in a future ...e5, dxe5 dxe5 sequence, I'd be without ...Nb8-c6-a5.; That leaves us with other R moves. 12...Rfe8 protects the Q and readies her retreat to f8, in case White brings the B back to h4 or meets ...e5 with Nh4-f5. But, on the minus side, it loses a tempo in future ...Nh5, ...g5 + ...f5 lines.; 12...Rab8!? , which has the benefit of protecting the Bb7, keeping c8 open for him and preparing ...b5, seemed too phony at the time and would have put the R in the Bf4's sights. But, it could have saved me 2 tempi vs. the game. All 10 moves, though, are playable and at least =.]

This makes White's l.s. B bad. [>=13.h3 Nh5 14.Bh2 although Black can take/force a draw with 14...Bxf3 15.gxf3 Qg5+ 16.Kh1 Qh4 ]

13...e5 14.h3!?
[14.Rfe1 was an alternative.]

Some more temporization. [I could have grabbed a P with 14...exd4 15.cxd4 Bxe4 but that would have repaired White's structure and freed his game.]

This shuts my Bb7 out of play for a while but closing the center and yielding the c5 square is exactly what I want. [>=15.Rae1 maintaining the duos (c4+d4, d4+e4) and tension.]

15...Nh5 16.Bh2
[>=16.Bh4 Qf8 17.Rfe1 Nf4 18.Bf1= ]

16...Nf4 17.Qd2?
>= Bxf4 =/+, here or on his next 2 turns.

[>=17...Nxd3! 18.Qxd3 Ba6 19.Nd2 c6-/+ but I didn't see the benefit of trading good N for bad B.]


A big tactical mistake. White gets away with it once... but not twice.

Overly concerned with preventing Ba4... [... I miss 18...Nxh3+!-/+ /\19.gxh3 Qxf3-+ ]

Now I see the trick but, in this version, my opponent has a R-lift, gets several tempi & doesn't lose a 2nd P.

19...Nxh3+! 20.gxh3 Qxf3 21.Re3 Qf6 22.Kh1
White is going to double on the g-file. So, I might as well move my K off it.

22...Kh8 23.Rg1 Ba6 24.Qe2 Rg8
This primarily defends the g7 focal point but a K-side build-up with ...g5 + ...Rg6 & ...Rcg8 may be in the position.

[>=25.Rg4-/+ ]

[I wanted to play 25...Bxc4 26.Qxc4? Qxf3+-+ but had a hallucination...; ... and somehow thought ( 25...Bxc4 ) 26.Qe3 Qe7 27.Qxh6+?? was +-. No you smart-asses, this time I had my glasses on.]

26.Rfg3 Kh7?!
[>=26...Qh4 ]

[>=27.f4 exf4 28.Rg4 ]

/\s of ...b5 & ...Bc8Diagram

[>=27...g5 , keeping the Bh2 out of play & my e5-d6-Nc5 complex intact, but I didn't want to weaken f5 & h5.] Hold onto your hats! The game is about to blow open on both sides of the board.

[28.a4? trying to stop ...b5 28...Bc8 29.R4g3 Bd7-+ would have given me a new target and forced him on the defensive.]

28...b5 29.fxe5 dxe5 30.Qe3?
[>=30.cxb5 Bxb5 31.Qe3+/= ]

If my K was still on h8, White would really have 31.Qxh6! gxh6 32.Rxg8#. So, you see, my concern at move 25 had some basis.

31.R4g2 bxc4 32.Bxe5 Qxe5 33.Qxc5 Bxh3 34.Rh2 Rb2?

[34...Bd7-/+ was right.]

[>=35.Qf2! Bd7 (35...Rxc2!? 36.Qxc2 Bd7=/+ ; 35...Qxc3!? 36.e5+ (36.Rg3 Rxc2 37.Rxc3 Rxc3=/+ ) 36...Kh8 37.Rg3 Qxe5 38.Rhxh3=/+ ) 36.Qxf7 Be8 37.Qf5+ Qxf5 38.exf5 Rxa2 39.f6+ Kh8 40.Rhg2 g6=/+ ] Now Black wins.

35...Rxc2 36.Qxc4 Rb8?!
[After 36...Qf4 /\ ...f5, White would be in near-zugzwang.]

[>=37.Qd4 was a much better try.]

Threatening mate in 2 at h2.

38.Qg3 Qxg3?!
Trading down to R+5 vs. R+3 (on moves 38-41) is good enough... [... But 38...Qxe4+ 39.Rg2 Rxg2 , when Black, at the very least, wins Q for R, was more convincing.]

39.Rgxg3 Rc1+?
[>=39...Rxa2 /\40.e5 Re2 41.d6 cxd6 42.exd6 Rad2 & Black nets a 3rd P.]

40.Rg1 Rxg1+
[>=40...Rbb1 41.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 42.Kg2 Re1 ]

41.Kxg1 Rxa2

White resigns Houdini claims the final position is just -/+ but Fritz 12 says it's -2.71 and HIARCS 11 judges it -1.75. Some of the free UCI engines, even strong ones, can't access endgame tablebases. That certainly is the case here. Time left - Tomkovich 50:41, Moldovan 20:14 Estimated time used - Tomkovich 37:44, Moldovan 68:11 Longest think by White - 4 minutes for 30.Qe3 Longest think by Black - 5 minutes for 12...Rac8 With the win, I finished clear 3rd, with a 3.5-1.5 score & a mediocre 1826 PR. 0-1