Friedel's Fritz-Ulvestad Wins Again

By Michael Goeller

GM Josh Friedel continued his winning ways with the Two Knights Defense, Fritz-Ulvestad Variation (5....b5), to which he has returned since his loss to Nakamura with the more traditional 5...Na5 line. The line gave him an important point on his way to a tie for first in the Edmonton International Tournament earlier this month. His opponent was 16-year-old Canadian expert Keith MacKinnon of Saskatchewan, who commented on the game at his blog: "I didn't want to get slowly outplayed by a stronger opponent in my game against GM Josh Friedel, and so I tried to follow the game that Nakamura won against him at the US Championship this year. He played a slightly different line which I had looked at (but not nearly enough to play it against a GM in such a sharp position.) I lost quickly since my intuitive thirteenth move was actually a pretty big mistake." Actually, theory suggests that it was his 12th move that was the problem, and there followed a series of small errors that made Black's win look easy.

Keith MacKinnon (2125) - GM Josh Friedel (2551) [C57]

2009 Edmonton International/Canada (7.1) 2009

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5 6. Bf1 Nd4 7. c3 Nxd5 8. cxd4

8. Ne4 Ne6! 9. Bxb5+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Qxd7 is more standard, but taking the Knight has begun to look like White's best.


8... Qxg5 9. Bxb5+ Kd8 10. O-O

10. Qf3 Bb7 11. O-O transposes.


10... Bb7

10... exd4!? is an interesting alternative for Black should 10...Bb7 run into trouble.


11. Qf3 Rb8!

In a recent high level encounter, Black erred with 11... e4? 12. Qh3! Bc8 (12... f5 13. d3!) 13. d3! Qf6? (13... Qxc1 14. Qxc8+ Rxc8 15. Rxc1) (13... Nf4 14. Bxf4 Qxf4 15. Qe3 Qxe3 16. fxe3 Rb8 17. Nc3 and Dennis Monokroussos says "White is a clean pawn up without any downside.") 14. Qh5 Qxd4 15. dxe4 and Black's King got slaughtered in Charbonneau - Schneider, USCL 2009.



12. d3?!

A known error since at least Leonhardt - Englund, Stockholm 1908. The critical line appears to be: 12. dxe5! Ne3! (White is better after either 12... Nf4?! 13. Qg3 (13. Bc6!?) 13... Qxe5 14. d4 Nh3+ 15. Qxh3 Qxb5 16. Nc3 Qd7 17. Qh5 or 12... Nb4?! 13. d4 Qg6 14. d5! Bxd5 15. Rd1 Rxb5 16. Nc3 Qc6 17. Nxb5!? Qxb5 18. Qf5) 13. Qh3 Qxg2+ 14. Qxg2 Nxg2 15. d4 Nh4 16. Bg5+ Be7 17. Bxh4 Bxh4 18. Nc3 Bf3! 19. b3 Rb6 20. Bd3 Rg6+ 21. Bxg6 hxg6 and Pinski thinks that Black has compensation for the Exchange.


12... Qg6! 13. Qg3 exd4 14. Re1

Relatively best, but Black finishes his development with a strong attack that continues into the ending.

a) 14. Nd2?! Nf4 15. Qxg6 hxg6

b) 14. Na3? Bxa3 15. bxa3 Nc3 16. Qxg6 hxg6 17. Bc4 Ne2+ 18. Kh1 Ke7 Leonhardt - Englund, Stockholm 1908 -- there is nothing to be done about the attack along the h-file, which is a common theme in this line (as in the game).


14... Bd6 15. Qxg6

15. Qh3 Bc8 16. Qh4+ Be7 and Black wins material.


15... hxg6 16. g3?!

16. h3 Nf4 17. Bxf4 Bxf4 18. Na3 survives, but Black's Bishops will rule the board.


16... Ba8 17. Bc4 Kd7 18. Na3?!

a) 18. h4 Rbe8

b) 18. Nd2? Nb4 19. Rb1 Rxh2! 20. Kxh2? Rh8+ 21. Kg1 Rh1#


18... Rh3! 19. f3?

19. Re4 Rbh8 20. Rxd4 Nb4 21. Kf1 Bf3 22. Ke1 Rxh2


19... Rbh8 20. Re2



20... Bxg3!


download pgn

Game in PGN


Copyright © 2009 by Michael Goeller