Board One Blunder-Fest

In Round 5 of the US Amateur Teams East, our Kenilworth team made it to Board One with a perfect record. I was able to win my game and I thought at the time it was rather well-played. The rest of the team drew, so we won the match and they will play for the championship in the final round (the only team at 5-0, with Bob Rose on Board Four this time). Though I'm still happy with the result, I'm none too happy with the game, which looks like a blunder-fest under the harsh glare of the computer. But that's what late round games can be like. At this hour, I'm still waiting for word on whether we won in the last round...

Michael Goeller - Andrew Hellenschmidt [B23]

USATE 2010/Parsippany, NJ USA (5) 2010

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3

The Left Hook Grand Prix, which I have written about many times before in these pages. He sidesteps my analysis and soon I'm out of "book" and blundering.


5... Nd4!? 6. Bc4 d6 7. O-O e6

7... Bg4? 8. Bxf7+ Kxf7 9. Ng5+ Ke8 10. Qxg4 Nxc2 11. Ne6 Bd4+ 12. Kh1


8. d3 Ne7 9. Be3?

This is the beginning of one of the most terrible cases of mutual misconception I have seen in any of my games. Both players overlook that Black can win a piece with d5! over the next three moves. Bizarre and embarrassing. The funny thing was that during the game I kept thinking, "I wonder why I've never thought to play this natural set-up before..." Probably best is 9. Nxd4 cxd4 10. Ne2 O-O 11. Ng3 d5 12. Bb3= which is equal. I wanted to avoid the trade and make him move the Knight.


9... O-O?

9... d5! 10. exd5 exd5 11. Bxd4 cxd4 12. Bb5+ Kf8 13. Ne2 Qa5


10. Qd2?



10... b6?

10... d5! 11. Ba2 Nxf3+ 12. Rxf3 d4


11. Rae1? Bb7?


11... d5! still wins!


12. Bxd4!

From this point on, however, I begin playing some good chess!


12... cxd4 13. Nb5 d5!

Black is other wise losing a pawn or being forced to open up the a2-g8 diagonal. I had calculated 13... e5? 14. fxe5 dxe5 15. Ng5 a6 16. Nxf7! and 13... Nc6? 14. Qf2 e5 15. Ng5! as winning, overlooking his more active defensive idea, which the computer seems to like.


14. Bb3 dxe4 15. dxe4 d3!?

I thought this was a good way to surrender the pawn while getting some initiative. Not 15... Nc6 16. e5 but 15... Ba6! 16. a4 Qd7 17. Rd1 Rad8 might have been best, though the pawn should eventually fall.


16. cxd3

The computer likes 16. c3!?


16... Qd7 17. a4 Rfd8 18. Bc4

18. Ne5! Bxe5 (18... Qc8 19. Rc1 Nc6 20. Nxf7!! Kxf7 21. f5) 19. fxe5 Qxd3 20. Qf2 Rf8 (20... Qxb3 21. Qxf7+ Kh8 22. Qxe7) 21. Re3


18... Rac8

18... a6 19. Nc3 Bc6!? 20. Qf2! (20. b3?? b5!) 20... Bxa4 21. Ne5 Qe8 22. Qxb6


19. Qf2 a6!?


I thought during the game that 19... Nc6 was forced, but White has strong attacking ideas here too: 20. e5!? (20. f5! a6 21. Ng5!) 20... Bf8 21. Qh4 a6 (21... h6 22. Nd6!?) 22. Nd6! Bxd6 23. exd6 Qxd6 24. Ng5 h5 25. Nxf7 Qd4+ 26. Kh1 Kxf7 27. Rxe6


20. Ne5! Bxe5?

After this I win by force. Necessary was 20... Qe8 when I wasn't sure how to make progress, though it looks good after 21. Nc3 (I also considered 21. Qxb6? but I'm glad he didn't tempt me to play it due to axb5 22. Bxb5 Bxe5! 23. Bxe8 Bd4+) 21... Rd6 22. Re3!?


21. fxe5 Nc6

Relatively best. His teammates thought he should grab the piece, but I had calculated that to a clear win:

a) 21... Rxc4? 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Nd6 Rc7 24. Qf6+ Kg8 25. Nf7 Nf5 26. Nxd8

b) 21... axb5? 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Qf6+ Kg8 24. Bxe6+


22. Nd6 Nxe5 23. Nxc8 Rxc8 24. Qxb6 Nxc4 25. dxc4 Rc6 26. Qb4 Qd4+ 27. Kh1 Rb6 28. Qe7 f5 29. Rd1

and he resigned since he must lose the queen or get mated. I thought I had played a pretty good game, so I was stunned to discover how terribly I had botched the opening. But you can't argue with the result. Let's hope the team can pull it off in the final round.



[Michael Goeller]

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Copyright © 2010 by Michael Goeller