C18 French Defense
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Somewhat of a surprise. He's played the Exchange and Advance more.
3...Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Another pleasant turn. Instead of taking a side street with Nf3, as in previous games, my opponent drives the main road. [RR 5.Nf3 Ne7 (5...cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Qg4 jariv -CarlosKerber : FICS Team League 01/17/2012 7...Ne7 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 Qc7 ) 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.Bxd7+ Nxd7 9.bxc3 cxd4 10.cxd4 0-0 11.Bd2 Nb6 12.Rc1 Nf5 13.Ba5 Qd7 14.Bxb6 axb6 15.c4 Rxa2 16.Qb3© Ra6 jariv - Gianuzio : G/20+20, FICS 09/22/2011]
5...Bxc3+ [5...Ba5 the Armenian Variation 6.b4 cxb4 7.Nb5 ; & 5...cxd4 6.axb4 dxc3 7.Qg4! are inferior. (‹7.bxc3 Qc7 ) ]
6.bxc3 Qa5 I now think this is the best approach... [... but will keep 6...Qc7 and 4...Qd7 & other lines in my bag of tricks ;-)]
7.Bd2 Qa4 This blockades the a4P and menaces the one on d4.
8.Qb1 White counters with a threat of his own: 9.Bb5+. But I can nullify that, keep his light-squared B out of d3 and safely castle on the K-side. [8.Qg4 looking to induce dark square weaknesses /\8...g6 (8...Kf8!? ) 9.Qd1 is probably best.; 8.Nf3 (?!) 8...b6! & ...Ba6, to trade-off the bad B, is good for Black.]
8...c4 [‹8...a6 9.Nf3 Ne7 10.Qb3 Qxb3 11.cxb3 Nbc6 12.Bd3 Na5 13.Bc2 c4 14.b4 Nac6 15.0-0 f5 16.h4 Bd7 17.a4 Nd8 18.g3 Nf7 19.Kg2 h6 20.h5 Kd8 21.Rh1 Kc7+/= Ljubojevic - Kavalek : Montreal 1979]
9.g3 [9.Ne2 /\ Ng3-h5; & the similar 9.Nh3 /\ Nf4-h5 seem more dangerous.; On the other hand, f4 + g4 & Bh3 (suggested by a post-mortem kibitzer at the Kenilworth CC) is too caveman-like. 9.f4 Nc6 10.g4 Nge7 11.Bh3 h5! is =/+.]
9...Nc6 10.Bg2 The B does little on g2 and eventually moves again. [I would have preferred 10.h4 Nge7 11.Bh3 ]
10...Nge7 [10...Bd7! /\11.Qxb7?? (>=11.Nh3 Nge7 12.Nf4= ) 11...Rb8 12.Qc7 Nge7-+ , threatening to trap the enemy Q with 13.-- Qa6 14.-- Rb7 15.Qd6 Nc8 16.Qc5 Rb5 , was a good alternative.]
11.Nf3 0-0 This is okay but castling on the other wing would likely have given me more active play. [11...b6 12.0-0 Bd7 13.Ra2 Gauthier - Lazo : Paris 2010 13...h6 /\ ...0-0-0 is one option.; 11...b5N /\ ...Bd7, ...Nc8-b6 and ...0-0-0 is another.]
12...Rb8N [This varies from the 12...h6 13.Qb2 b5 14.Rfe1 Bb7 15.h4 a6 16.Bh3 Rad8 17.Re2 Kh7 18.g4= of Neuvonen - Lumley : correspondence, ICCF 2000; If Black is okay with a draw, he can also play 12...Bd7 13.Qxb7 Rab8 14.Qxd7 Rfd8 15.Qc7 Rbc8 16.Qb7 Rb8 17.Qc7 Rbc8 , etc.]
13.Nh4 Ng6 14.Nxg6 hxg6 [>=14...fxg6 15.h4 Bd7 16.Qd1 Rf5 giving my Rs some space.]
15.Qd1 Bd7 16.h4 Ne7 17.g4 This is double-edged. [17.Ra2 Qa5 18.h5 was more circumspect.]
17...Qa5 18.h5 gxh5 19.gxh5 Nf5 >= Kh7 =, here or next.
20.Bh3 Qd8 Diagram
21.Qg4 This obstructs the Bh3. [21.Bxf5 exf5 22.h6 g6 23.h7+ Kh8 24.Qf3 would have given him an edge.]
21...Qh4 22.Kh1 [I thought he was going to play 22.Kg2 Qxg4+ 23.Bxg4 /\ Rh1 & h6.]
22...Ba4 23.Rg1? White over-rates his attack. With the Qs coming off, there was no good reason to sac the c2P. [>=23.Rac1= ]
23...Qxg4 24.Rxg4 Bxc2 25.Rag1 Be4+ [25...Bd3 may improve.]
26.Kh2 Kh7 27.Rg5? [>=27.f3 Bd3 (‹27...Bxf3 28.Rg5 Kh8 29.Bxf5 exf5 30.Rxf5 Be4 31.Rf4© ) 28.R4g2 Rg8 29.Bxf5+ Bxf5 ]
27...Rg8? [>=27...Nh4! 28.Rxg7+ Kh8-/+ with ...Nf3+, picking-up an Exchange, to follow.]
28.Bxf5+ White offered a draw here, probably expecting a mass trade-off starting at move 29. [>=28.f3 Bd3 (Not 28...Bxf3? 29.Bxf5+ exf5 30.Rxf5 Be2 31.Rxf7 Bxh5 32.Rd7+/= ) 29.Bxf5+ Bxf5 30.R5g2=/+ ]
28...Bxf5 29.h6? Diagram [>=29.R5g3=/+ ]
29...g6! [‹29...gxh6? 30.Rxg8 Rxg8 31.Rxg8 Kxg8 32.Bxh6© & an opposite Bs ending.]
30.Ra1 [>=30.R5g2 ]
30...Rbf8 [>=30...Rgc8-/+ ]
31.Rgg1 f6 32.exf6 Rxf6 33.Bg5 Rf7 34.a4 Rgf8 35.a5 Be4 36.f4 Diagram
36...Rxf4? This Exchange-sac fails to get the desired 3 Ps in return because if I take the h-pawn, he gets 2 for 1 on the Q-side. [>=36...Rc8=/+ ]
37.Bxf4 Rf7?? A horrendous mouse-slip. [Of course, I meant to play 37...Rxf4 38.Raf1 Rf5© ]
38.Rg3 ??!! Instead of retreating his B and forcing my resignation, jariv, being a very good sport, circumvents the event's no-takeback rule and lets me capture it.
38...Rxf4© 39.Rh3 Bf5 I offered a draw here and after 40...Rg4+ but he wanted to play on.
40.Kg3! Rg4+ Gotta keep White's K out of my territory.
41.Kf3 Rg5 42.Rh2 Be4+ 43.Ke2 Rf5 Diagram [>=43...Rg3 ]
44.Rf1?? This loses the f-Rook & the game. [>=44.Rf2 Rh5 45.Rf7+ Kxh6 46.Rxb7 Rh2+ 47.Ke3 Kg5 48.Rxa7= with chances for both sides.]
44...Bd3+ White resigned. I feel bad about winning after the mulligan. In retrospect, I should have offered a draw before playing the skewer. Time left - jariv 3:27, Moldovan 7:29 Time used - jariv 51:13, Moldovan 47:11 Longest think by White - 5:19 for 27.Rg5 Longest think by Black - 3:48 for 12...Rb8 Start 11:02 a.m. EDT End 12:41 p.m. Duration 1:39:12 0-1