Winning by Playing for a Draw

A few weeks ago I commented on the game Mangion - Kernighan where White played for a draw but because Black refused to cooperate White won. Something similar happened in a game I played against FM Steve Stoyko in the Kenilworth Summer Tournament. By playing for a draw in the Chekhover Sicilian, I think I made him overreach. This is the first game I've ever won against Steve.

Michael Goeller - Steve Stoyko [B50]

2011 KCC Summer Tournament/Kenilworth, NJ USA (2) 2011

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd7 7. Bxc6 Bxc6 8. Bg5 Nf6 9. O-O-O   Be7 10. Rhe1 O-O


11. Bxf6?!

Playing for a draw against the FM. All of the books tell you this is a bad idea, but my own experience is that it often makes the master push too hard to make something out of nothing.

a) 11. Qd3 was suggested by Steve, with the idea of Nd4 and f4-f5, and if 11... h6 maybe 12. h4!?

b) 11. e5 is Chris Baker's recommendation, but two Tal games showed Black is equal after 11... dxe5= (and equally good is 11... Bxf3=)

c) 11. Kb1 is Vasiukov's move, which I have played successfully before and written about here. White then tries to develop a kingside attack by pushing forward his pawns. But I suspected Steve would outplay me there.


11... Bxf6

11... gxf6!? 12. Qd3 followed by Nd4, f4-f5, and Re3-h3 with attack.


12. Qxd6 Qa5

a) 12... Bxc3 was what I had most expected, when I intended 13. Qxd8 (Steve thought White can get a good position by 13. bxc3!? Qa5 14. Qb4 Qxa2 and now play on the dark squares with Nd4, or maybe Ne5 and Rd4) 13... Bxb2+ (13... Raxd8!?) 14. Kxb2 Rfxd8 15. Nd4=

b) 12... Qb6 13. Qd2 Rad8 14. Qe3 Rxd1+ 15. Nxd1=.


13. Nd4

13. e5? Bxf3 (13... Rad8 14. Qa3 Rxd1+ 15. Nxd1 Qxa3 16. bxa3 Be7 17. Kb2 Bc5) 14. exf6 Bxd1 15. Qg3 g6 16. Rxd1 Rfd8


13... Rad8

Steve had the right idea, but slightly better was the immediate 13... Qg5+! when White has to play very precisely to maintain equality: 14. f4 Qxg2 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. e5! (16. Qd2?! Qxd2+ 17. Kxd2 Rab8!) 16... Rfd8 17. Qc5 Bh4 18. Qg1! Qxg1 19. Rxg1 Bf2 20. Rgf1 Be3+ 21. Kb1=


14. Nxc6 Qg5+

14... bxc6 15. Qg3 Bxc3 16. Qxc3 Qxa2 17. Qa3=


15. f4 Rxd6 16. fxg5 Bxg5+ 17. Kb1 Rxc6 18. Rd7


18... b5?

Steve's concentration was broken here by some of the spectators and he played a bit impulsively. Of course, Black has easy equality, though nothing more, after one of two moves:

a) 18... Rb6 19. e5! h5 20. g3 Rd8=

b) 18... a6! 19. e5! (19. Rxb7 Bd2=) 19... b5=


19. Nxb5

19. Rxa7?! Bd2 20. Re2 Bxc3 21. bxc3 Rxc3


19... Bf4!? 20. g3 Be5!? 21. Nxa7

Black has insufficient compensation for two pawns.

21. Rxa7 Rb8 22. a4 might be even simpler.


21... Rb6 22. b3 f5? 23. exf5 Rxf5 24. Nc8!

and the double threat of Nxb6 or Ne7+ means Black must lose the Exchange, so he resigned.



[Michael Goeller]

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Game in PGN

Copyright 2011 by Michael Goeller


Michael Goeller, Notes on the Checkhover Sicilian