USATE 2010, Round 2: Massey's Moeller
NM Scott Massey got to play an exciting game in the "romantic tradition" during the second round of play at the US Amateur Teams East 2010. He could not recall his opponent's name when he gave me the score, so I give him as "anonymous" in the tradition of such games.
NM Scott Massey - NN [C54]
USATE 2010/Parsippany, NJ USA (2) 2010
Scott said he had chosen the famous Moeller Variation on the spur of the moment, having enjoyed looking at it with a student a few days ago. But he confessed that he actually did not know more about the line than what he had learned over a decade ago from Andrew Soltis's Winning with the Giuoco Piano and Max Lange Attack. I am convinced he was telling the truth, because I had recently completed a review of the theory myself and so was asking him if he were familiar with various published analysis, none of which he knew.
This is one of my favorite moves in chess theory.
The current GM recommendation, discussed by Jude Acers in Italian Gambit and Glenn Flear in "Calming the Romantics" in Dangerous Weapons 1.e4 e5, both of which Scott confessed were among the unread volumes in his enormous chess library. He was only vaguely aware, also, that Tim Harding had done a three-part series on the Moeller at ChessCafe. He was familiar with Soltis, and maybe that's all he needed anyway.
The line Scott had been reviewing was 9... Bf6 10. Re1 Ne7! (10...
Scott said he had only the vaguest recollection of the theory on 9...Ne5, but this looked right. The rest of the game was completely figured out on his own at the board, which impresses me.
a) 14... Nfe4! is the only way to make a game of it: 15. Nd2
b) 14... Kd8? was the line that entertained Scott the most in his calculations: 15. Bg5 Nde8 16. Rxe8+ Kxe8 (16... Rxe8 17. Bxf6+ Re7 18. Re1) 17. Re1+ ( Scott pointed out also 17. Bxf6!? Rg8 18. Re1+ Kf8 19. Ng5 Rg6? 20. Nxh7+ Kg8 21. Re8+ Kxh7 22. Rh8#) 17... Kf8 18. Bh6+ Kg8 19. Re5 Ne4 20. Re8#
b) 17. Nh4!? followed by f3 is the computer's pick.
Scott will be sad when I show him what the computer found instead, which would have saved him another hour on the clock:
24. Bg7+!! Ke7 (24... Kg5 25. f4+ Kxf4 (25... Kg4 26. Ng6 mates) 26. Nf3 Nf6 27. Rh4+ Ng4 28. Bh6# or 24... Kf7 25. Be5+ Kg8 26. Rg7+ Kf8 27. Ng6+ Ke8 28. f3) 25. Be5+ Kd8 26. f3 and White picks up a piece due to the back rank threats, making for an easy win.
and White went on to win the ending. A rather spectacular example of how you can still win even slow games with the old theory.
Game in PGNCopyright © 2010 by Michael Goeller