Greg Tomkovich - Michael Goeller [A40]
Kenilworth Chess Club Ch, Open/Kenilworth, NJ USA (3) 2006
You think you have played a nice game, but then you look it over with Fritz or some other silicon monster and you recognize that you missed half of what was going on and the only reason you won was because your opponent missed three-quarters... This game is a perfect illustration of that, though I still think it was rather nice.
The Two Knights Tango
This has all become standard theory. I am quite comfortable on the Black side in this position, which I do not consider White's most challenging line.
a) 6. Bd3 Bc5 7. Nge2? (7. h3!?)
7... Ng4 8.
b) 6. Be3! is likely White's best, reserving the Saemisch option of Pf3.
The "positional" option,
reminiscent of lines in the Nimzo-Indian or my favorite Grand Prix Attack
6... Bc5 7. Bd3
Stoyko said, "not bad, but not necessary in an unprovoked manner." Why not hope that White will waste a tempo with a3 first? Personally, though, having put the Bishop on b4 rather than c5 I want to seize the positonal opportunity to double his pawns. In Steve's view, the position now becomes a Zurich Nimzo-Indian where his pawn is at a2 (useful in some lines for supporting the Knight maneuver Nd2-b3, encouraging an exchange by Nc5xb3 when axb3 makes a nice structure). White is considered slightly better in those lines.
It is standar d to prevent Bg4, but White must follow up correctly to secure his kingside structure with Re1, Bf1, and Kh2 so that he can drive out a marauding Knight at f5 with an eventual g3 push.
"A two piece attack," Stoyko puffed. But one known to be effective. White's position is certainly less easy to play, while Black's pieces find natural attacking squares. And, as Fritz shows, Black gets a lot of strong attacking ideas.
"Why do you want to provoke ...b6? He wants to do that anyway to stop c5," notes Stoyko. I thought this move was practically a blunder and it comes back to haunt White in many ways in the game. 11. Be3 Nhf4 12. Re1 (12. c5!?) 12... b6 13. Bf1
I'm in no hurry.
This seemed stronger than f6, since now I threaten an immedate attack by f6, Ngf4, and Qg6 hitting the vulnerable g2 square. But we all overlooked a possibility for White. Better 12... f6 13. Be3 Nhf4
A very bad square for the Queen, which cuts off the Bishop's retreat in some lines and does not help guard light squares around the King. White also overlooks an interesting try.
But we all missed the annoying possibility here of 13. c5! dxc5 (13... bxc5?! 14. Bb5 Bd7 15. Bxd7 Qxd7 16. Nxe5!) 14. Bb5! Bd7 15. Bxd7 Qxd7 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. Qxh5 though 17... c4! probably keeps a slight edge for Black.
Better 13... Nhf4!
14... Nhf4 keeps his Knight out of h4.
Position after 17.Qxd3
Second or third best according to Fritz, who points out the wonderful line 17... Nf4! 18. Bxf4 fxe4!! the zwichenzug I missed! 19. Qe2 (19. Qxe4?? Rxf4-+) 19... exf4-+ winning a pawn and continuing Black's initiative.
Black switches to a long-term plan of prying open the h-file, since now White must play g4 to hold the pawn at f5, allowing an eventual h7-h5xg4 after suitable preparation. Better was 20... e4 21. Qe2 Nf6! (I rejected this line based on 21... Rxf5? 22. g4! fxg3+ 23. fxg3 Rxf1 24. Rxf1 Qg6 25. Qg4 and White is better) 22. g4 Qe5 23. f3 Rae8 -- as we see below, I had overlooked some counterplay ideas for White involving an h4 push.
Black should prepare a little more before breaking, with first 22... Qa4 and maybe even K7 and Rh8 and only then h5.
Playing along with Black's plan. 23. Rg1! may be a better idea, trying to use the g-file when it opens.
Fritz points out the wonderful idea 25. h4!! hxg4 26. hxg5 which, at the very least, turns the tables on Black, who is now the one attacked along the h-file. Obviously Black's plan would have benefitted from more preparation!
Still 26. h4! was the move.
Now things are back on track and Black's plan is unstoppable.
...dreaming of Bxf4 with possible attacks on the e-file.
White is lost in any event...
Chomp. White resigns. The win was satisfying at the time due to the nice finish, but it is very discouraging to review it with a computer!
Game in PGN