USATE 2008

Alan Briones - Michael Goeller [B00]

US Amateur Team East/Parsippany, NJ USA (6) 2008

1. e4 Nc6

I had prepared 1...e5 for USATE, but decided at the last minute to play my old favorite Nimzovich against my young opponent, figuring he would be less prepared for that. Based on the time he took on the opening moves, it was a good choice.


2. Nf3 d6

This move was played with some success by Tony Miles. I have probably tried everything in this position at one time or another, including Christoph Wisnewski's recommendation in "Play 1...Nc6!": 2... Nf6!? 3. e5 Ng4 4. d4 d6 5. h3 Nh6 but positions like 6. e6!? fxe6 7. Bxh6 gxh6 just do not sit well with me, even if Wisnewski can show that Black might actually be doing well long term.


3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. Bb5

5. Be3! is probably best, when I considered the little-known 5... d5!?


5... a6 6. Bxc6+ bxc6 7. Qe2

a) 7. h3 Bxf3 (7... Bh5!?) 8. Qxf3 e6 9. Bg5 Be7 10. O-O d5 11. e5 Nd7 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Rad1 c5 14. dxc5 O-O 15. Qe3 Qxc5= Erdogdu,M-Minasian,A/Antalya 2004 (64)

b) 7. Bg5 Qb8!? 8. Rb1 Nd7 Fuzishawa,R-Zavanelli,M/England 2002 (59)


7... e6 8. Be3?!

The Bishop is misplaced at e3, since it blocks the Queen's defense of the e4 square. Much better is 8. h3! Bxf3 9. Qxf3 d5 (9... Be7 10. O-O O-O 11. b3 d5 12. Rd1 1-0 Kekov,A-Podymov,A/Podolsk 1992 (49)) 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. O-O-O Rb8 1-0 Salov,S-Storm,R/Germany 1998 (40)


8... d5! 9. Bg5!?

Admitting his mistake struck me as a very mature decision, though White probably has more interesting options.

a) 9. exd5 cxd5 10. O-O Bd6

b) 9. h3 Bh5!? (9... Bxf3 10. gxf3 Qb8 is also possible) 10. g4!? (10. Bg5 Be7 is similar to the game) 10... Bg6 11. Ne5 Bb4!? looked interesting if rather sharp.

c) 9. e5 Nd7! ( I spent most of my time looking at 9... Ne4!? 10. O-O Bb4!? 11. Na4!) 10. h3 Bh5 11. g4 Bg6 12. O-O-O Qb8


9... Be7 10. e5 Nd7 11. Bxe7 Qxe7

Black basically has a very good French, with his light-squared Bishop outside of the pawn chain, two c-pawns with which to eventually take over thed4-square, an open b-file, and a very secure King. What's not to like?

12. Qe3

12... Qb4?!

More precise was 12... Bxf3! 13. gxf3 (13. Qxf3 Qb4 wins a pawn) 13... Qb4 14. Rb1? c5! 15. a3 Qxd4 winning a pawn. I had overlooked White's zwichenzug in the game line.


13. Rb1

13. b3 Bxf3 14. a3! Qb6 15. gxf3 c5 16. dxc5 Qxc5


13... Bxf3 14. a3

I had looked forward to an early dinner after 14. gxf3? c5! 15. dxc5 d4 16. Qe4 (16. a3 Qxc3+!!) 16... Rb8!


14... Qb6 15. gxf3 c5 16. Ne2

16. dxc5 Qxc5 17. Qxc5 Nxc5 leaves White plenty of hope for a draw in a long ending, especially with my stomach grumbling.


16... cxd4 17. Nxd4

17. Qxd4 Qxd4 18. Nxd4 Nxe5


17... c5 18. Nb3 Qc7!?

18... O-O 19. O-O f6 20. f4 fxe5 21. fxe5 Rf5 22. f4 Raf8


19. f4 O-O 20. Qh3?!

After this, Black's f6 break will be even more powerful.

20. O-O f6 21. Rbe1 fxe5!? 22. fxe5 Rf5 23. f4 Raf8 with ideas like d4, Nb6-d5 perhaps.


20... Rae8! 21. Qh5!?

21. Rg1 f6 22. Qh6 Re7


21... f6

21... g6 22. Rg1 f6 23. Rxg6+!


22. Qe2

I thought White's idea was 22. exf6? Qxf4! (22... g6!? 23. Rg1 Rxf6 is also good, but not 22... Rxf6?? 23. Qxe8+) 23. fxg7? Qe4+ 24. Kd2 Rxf2+


22... fxe5 23. fxe5 Nxe5 24. Qxa6?

White manages to maintain material equality but at the cost of his King.


24... Nf3+! 25. Kd1

There is no hope for White in any other move either:

a) 25. Ke2 Qe5+ 26. Kd1 c4

b) 25. Kf1 c4 26. Na5 Nd2+ etc

25... c4!

Shutting the door on White's Queen, which can no longer get back to aid with defense.


26. Nc1

26. Qa5!? Qf4 27. Nc5 (27. Nd2 Nxd2 28. Qxd2 Qf3+) 27... d4! and White has no satisfactory defense to 28...c3, shutting the door for good.


26... Qf4 27. Qa5 Qd4+ 28. Ke2 Ng1+! 29. Ke1

29. Rxg1 Qxf2+ ( I suspected that 29... Rxf2+! 30. Ke1 Ref8!! forces mate, as Fritz confirms) 30. Kd1 Qxg1+ 31. Qe1 Rf1 was the rather picturesque conclusion I had hoped for.


29... Qxf2+

29... Rxf2! still forces mate says Fritz.


30. Kd1 Qf3+ 31. Kd2 Qxh1 32. Ne2 Nf3+

and White resigned. This game, coming in the final round and helping my team to go 5-1 for the tournament, made me feel much better than I did following our loss to the 3-GM team and my forfeit win in the previous round (followed by hours of just waiting around). It was a good way to end the tournament.


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Copyright © 2008 Michael Goeller