IM Marc Esserman Smith-Morra Gambit Theme Simul

I have finally annotated the seven available games from IM Marc Esserman's 8-board Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simultaneous Exhibition at the Kenilworth Chess Club, which followed his lecture about the opening on April 15, 2010. Esserman won all of the games in under 90 minutes.

Game One

Marc Esserman (2509) - Mark Kernighan (2200) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 d6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Bc4 Be7 7. O-O Nc6 8. Qe2 Nf6 9. Rd1 e5

 










Hannes Langrock calls this "The Classical Main Line" and it is most often recommended by theory.

 

10. Be3

Langrock's recommendation also. Not 10. Bb5? Bg4 11. Qc4 O-O 12. Bxc6 Rc8! Lenderman - Gulko, US Open 2007, which was a bad advertisement for the Smith-Morra.

 

10... O-O

10... Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 (11... Bxf3 12. Qxf3) 12. g4 Bg6 13. Nh4 a6 14. Nf5 Bxf5 15. gxf5! Rc8 16. Rac1 Na5 17. Bd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Rxc1 19. Rxc1 Nc6 20. Qg4 Kelgiorgis - Rodrigues, Email

 

11. Rac1

Esserman's preference in a number of games, completing White's development before taking action. Langrock recommends this in his new edition.

In 2006, Langrock instead recommended 11. b4!? Bg4 (11... Nxb4 12. Nxe5) 12. a3 gaining space on the queenside.

 

11... Bg4

a) 11... a6 12. b4 (12. Nd5! Langrock 2011) 12... Bg4 13. h3 (13. a3!?) 13... Bh5 14. g4 Bg6 15. Nh4 Rc8 16. Nf5!? (16. a3 makes sense, but Esserman always attacks and never defends) 16... b5! 17. Bb3 Nxb4 18. a3 Nc6 19. Nd5 Nxd5 20. Bxd5 Bxf5 21. exf5 Na5 22. Rxc8 Qxc8 23. g5? (23. Rc1 Nc4 24. Qd3) 23... Qxf5 24. Qh5 Nc4 25. Bc1 g6 26. Qg4 Qxg4+ 27. hxg4 Rc8 and, unbelievably, Black eventually lost in 1-0 Borba (2800) - HyperJao (2696)/Internet Chess Club 2005 (41).

 

b) 11... Be6 12. b4! Bxc4 13. Qxc4 Rc8 14. Qb3 Langrock 2011.

 

12. h3 Bh5 13. g4 Bg6 14. Nh4! Kh8

a) 14... Ne8 15. Nf5 Bg5 16. Nd5 Bxe3 17. Ndxe3 Bxf5 18. Nxf5 g6 19. Nh6+ Kg7 20. Qe3 Qh4?! (20... Nd4) (20... Qb6) 21. g5!? (21. Nxf7! Rxf7 22. Bxf7 Kxf7 23. Qb3+ Kf8 24. Qxb7) 21... f6 22. Bb5 fxg5 23. Ng4 Nd4?? 24. Rxd4! Nf6 25. Rc7+ Kh8 26. Rxd6 Nxg4 27. hxg4 Qxg4+ 28. Qg3 Black resigns 1-0 Borba (2813)-BERTA (2868)/ Internet Chess Club.

 

b) 14... Rc8 15. Nf5 Re8 16. a3 (16. Nxe7+!? Langrock 2011) 16... Bf8 17. b4 Bxf5 18. exf5 Nd4 19. Qa2! d5!? 20. Nxd5 b5 21. Nxf6+ Qxf6 22. Bd5= Wills - Merillo, Correspondence 1996.

 

15. Nf5!?

15. Nxg6+ hxg6 16. g5 Nd7 17. Qg4 Nb6 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. Bxd5

 

15... Ne8

15... Bxf5 16. exf5 Na5 17. Bd3 h6 (17... d5? 18. Nxd5!! Nxd5 (18... Qxd5? 19. Bb1!) 19. Be4) 18. h4 Nh7 19. b4 Nc6 20. Be4

 

16. Nd5 Bg5 17. b4 Bxe3 18. fxe3!?

18. Ndxe3

 

18... Bxf5 19. exf5 Nf6 20. b5 Na5 21. Nxf6 Qxf6

21... Nxc4? 22. Ne4!

 

22. Bd5 Rac8 23. Qd2

 










23... Rxc1?!

After this exchange, Black suffers from some back rank problems. Best was 23... b6! 24. e4 Rc5! 25. g5 Qe7 26. Rf1 f6.

 

24. Rxc1 Qd8 25. Qc3

25. Bxf7!? Rxf7 26. Qxa5 b6 27. Qd2

 

25... Qb6?! 26. Bxf7! g6 27. f6! Qd8 28. Qc7?!

28. g5! Rxf7 29. Qxa5 b6 (29... Qxa5?? 30. Rc8+ forces mate) 30. Qa4 and White has a winning positional advantage.

 

28... Qxf6 29. Rf1 Qd8 30. Qxd8 Rxd8 31. Bd5 Rd7?!

31... Rc8! 32. Rf6! Nc4!

 

32. Rf8+! Kg7 33. Ra8

33. Rg8+ Kf6 34. h4 might be even stronger.

 

33... b6 34. g5 h6 35. h4 hxg5 36. hxg5 Kh7

 










Black is content to hold the position as a fortress. But White has a way in for his King along the h1-a8 diagonal.

 

37. Kf2 Kg7 38. Kf3 Nb7!?

This hurries things along, but Black probably will lose at least a pawn due to White's much more active pieces, e.g. : 38... Kh7 39. Rc8 Nb7 40. Bc6 Rf7+ 41. Ke4 Nc5+ 42. Kd5.

 

39. Rxa7 Nc5 40. Ra8!

40. Rxd7+ Nxd7 41. Ke2 is a tough ending to win in a simul.

 

40... Nd3 41. a4

The simple 41. Rb8 picks up the b-pawn without trouble.

 

41... Nc5 42. a5 bxa5 43. b6!?

Esserman is always looking for an opportunity to sac a pawn, but better is simply 43. Rxa5 and the passed b-pawn gives White a winning advantage.

 

43... a4 44. Ra7 a3 45. Be6 Rb7 46. Bd5 Rd7 47. Rxa3 Rd8 48. Ra7+ Kh8 49. b7 Nd7 50. Ra8 Nb8 51. Be6 Kg7 52. Bc8 Nc6 53. b8=Q Nxb8 54. Rxb8 d5 55. Rb7+ Kh8 56. Be6 d4 57. Rc7 e4+ 58. Kxe4 dxe3 59. Kxe3 Rb8 60. Rc8+

and Black resigned.

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Game Two

Marc Esserman (2509) - Ken Chieu (2166) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 d6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Qe2 O-O

A very original line from now NM Chieu! This line seems only to have been considered by theory with ...Nc6 included. Langrock analyzes the line 8... Nc6 9. Rd1 Qa5 10. Bf4! (not so good is the superficially attractive 10. Nb5 d5 11. exd5 exd5 12. Bxd5 Nxd5 13. Rxd5 O-O 14. Bd2 Qb6 15. Be3 Qa5 16. Nc3 Qc7 17. Rdd1 Be6) 10... e5 11. Be3.

 

9. Rd1 Qa5?! 10. Bf4!

10. Nb5 d5! looks complicated, like the line rejected by Langrock, while 10... Rd8 11. Bf4 transposes to lines considered below.

 

 

10... Rd8

 










11. a3!?

More incisive seems to be 11. Nb5! Ne8 (11... Nxe4? 12. Qxe4 d5 13. Qe1 Qxe1+ 14. Rxe1 dxc4 15. Nc7) (11... Qb6?! 12. Be3 Qa5 13. b4 Qxb4 14. Nc7) 12. Bd2! Qb6 13. Be3 Qa5 (13... Qc6 14. Nxa7) 14. a3! a6 15. b4 Qa4 16. Bb6 d5 17. exd5 Rxd5 18. Rxd5 Bd7 19. Nc3 Qc6 20. Bc5 Bf6 21. Ng5 Bxc3 22. Qh5 h6 23. Qxf7+ Kh8 24. Qf8# 1-0 Geyer,T (2260)-Nussbaecher,A/ Passau 1997.

 

11... a6 12. e5! dxe5 13. Nxe5 b5?

An error. Better 13... Nc6 but not 13... Nbd7?? 14. Nxf7!

 

14. b4!?

14. Qf3 Ra7 15. Bd3

 

14... Rxd1+! 15. Qxd1

15. Rxd1! Qxa3 16. Qf3 Ra7 17. Bd3

 

15... Qc7?!

15... Qb6 16. Bd3 Bb7

 

16. Ng6! Qd8 17. Nxe7+

17. Qf3! hxg6 18. Qxa8 bxc4 19. Bxb8

 

17... Qxe7 18. Bd6 Qe8 19. Bb3 Bb7 20. Rc1 Qc6? 21. Nd5 Qe8 22. Nc7

22. Nxf6+! gxf6 23. Qg4+ Kh8 24. Qf4! (24. Rc7) 24... Nd7 25. Rc7 Bd5 26. Rxd7! and White forces mate.

 

22... Qd8 23. Nxa8 Bxa8 24. Be7! Qe8

24... Qxd1+ 25. Bxd1 Nc6 26. Bxf6 gxf6 27. Bf3

 

25. Bxf6 gxf6 26. Qg4+ Kh8 27. Rc3 Nd7 28. Qh4 Bd5 29. Bxd5

29. Rh3 Qg8 30. Bxd5 exd5 31. Rg3

 

29... exd5 30. Re3 Qc8 31. h3 Qc1+ 32. Kh2 Qc7+ 33. Rg3 Qd8 34. Qh6 Qf8 35. Qxf8+ Nxf8 36. Rd3 Ne6 37. Rxd5 Kg7 38. Rd6 Nc7 39. Rc6 Nd5 40. Rxa6 Kf8 41. Rd6 Nc3 42. Rxf6

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Game Three

Marc Esserman (2509) - Michael Goeller (2043) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 a6

 










This line is often called the "Taylor System," after Tim Taylor's book How to Defeat the Smith-Morra Gambit: 6...a6 which recommended it. The move is best known from the game Smith - Evans, San Antonio 1972. One major change in the new edition of Langrock's book is that this popular line now receives its own chapter. The problems with 6... Nf6? 7. e5! are well known. With ...a6, however, White is prevented from playing Nb5 in his attack, so Black now need not fear this advance.

 

7. O-O!?

In 2006, Langrock actually gave this a "?!" mark; in the 2011 edition he recommends it! Most sources follow Palkovi and Burgess in recommending 7. Bg5 which Langrock in 2006 called "the only promising method to fight this variation," when theory goes 7... Nf6 (7... h6? 8. Qb3!) 8. Bxf6 gxf6 IM Richard Palliser points out in "Fighting the Anti-Sicilians" that these lines resemble Rauzer Sicilian lines but with the difference that Black has "already banked an extra pawn." 9. O-O e6 10. Nd4 Bd7 as given by Taylor(Palliser cites online discussion of 10... Be7!? with the idea of O-O, Kh8, and Rg8, but Langrock suggests 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Qg4!) 11. Kh1 (11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Qe2 Qa5 13. Rfd1 h5 14. Qf3 Qg5 15. Rac1 a5 16. Rc2 a4 17. Rcd2 Be7 Melton-Edwards, Correspondence 1996) 11... Be7 12. f4 Qc7 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. f5 h5! though the Black King is stuck in the center.

 

7... Nf6 8. b4!?

Palkovi calls this "extravagant" and "too optimistic. " Taylor himself only mentions this move in passing on page 58 of his book. It is, however, IM Lawrence Trent's recommendation on his ChessBase DVD. I wish I had paid closer attention to Palliser's discussion of the move.

 

a) 8. Bg5 e6 9. Qe2 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. Bg3 Nh5 was the continuation in the celebrated game Smith - Evans, San Antonio

b) 8. Qe2?! Bg4 also favors Black.

c) 8. Bf4! is Langrock's recommendation in the 2011 edition, following analysis by Bucker at ChessCafe.

 

8... Bg4

I have to admit, I was completely "out of book" and so just continued with this natural pin.

a) 8... b5!? 9. Bd5 Bd7 10. Be3 e6 11. Bxc6 Bxc6 12. Nd4 Bb7 13. Qd3 Be7 Palkovi

b) 8... Nxb4?! is terrible, as you can imagine: 9. e5! (not 9. Qb3? e6 10. Qxb4 d5) (but interesting is 9. Bxf7+!? Kxf7 10. Qb3+ Ke8 11. Qxb4) 9... d5 (9... dxe5? 10. Bxf7+) 10. Bb3! Nd7 11. a3 Nc6 12. Bxd5

 

9. b5 Ne5?

 

 

This move works against everything except White's very simple reply, which I am embarrassed to admit that I overlooked. In some ways, the simultaneous was like playing a blitz game, as Esserman raced around the tables.

a) 9... Bxf3 10. gxf3! axb5 (10... Ne5 11. bxa6! Nxc4 12. axb7 Ra7 13. Nb5 Rxb7 14. Qa4 Rd7 15. Qxc4 and White's outide passed pawn proved quite dangerous in Regan - Tisdall, Denver 1977.) 11. Nxb5! recommended by IM Lawrence Trent also(11. Bxb5 g6 Hardarson - De Firmian) 11... g6 12. Qb3 Ne5 13. Bf4 (13. Bb2!?) 13... Nxc4 14. Qxc4 Rc8 15. Qa4 Qd7?? (15... Nd7 16. Rac1 (16. e5!?) 16... Rc6 17. Bg5!?) 16. Rac1 Rb8 17. Rc7 Black resigns 1-0 Esserman (Borba),M (2920)-Gormally (Elgransenor),D (2952)/Internet Chess Club 2006 -- an embarrassing loss by a GM that makes my own embarrassing loss not look so bad.

 

b) 9... axb5 10. Nxb5! (10. Bxb5 g6 Taylor) 10... e6 11. Bf4 Be7 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 O-O (13... Ne5! 14. Bxe5 dxe5 15. Qg3 O-O 16. Qxe5 Rc8 Palliser) 14. Rfd1 Ra4 15. Rac1 Qa5 16. Nxd6?! (16. Bxd6 Bxd6 17. Nxd6 Ne5 18. Qb3 Nxc4 19. Rxc4= Palliser) 16... Ne5 17. Bxe5 Qxe5 18. Qb3 Bxd6! 19. Qxa4 Nxe4 (19... Qh2+! 20. Kf1 Bf4 Palliser ) 20. Qb3? Qh2+ 21. Kf1 Qh1+ 22. Ke2 Qxg2 23. Qe3 Ng3+ 24. Kd2 Nf5 25. Qb6 h5 26. Kc3 Be5+ 27. Kb4 Qg5 28. Kb3 Nd4+ 29. Kb4 Qe7+ 0-1 Esserman Marc (USA) (2259)-Taylor Timothy (USA) (2291)/Las Vegas (USA).

 

10. Nxe5! dxe5

Obviously not 10... Bxd1?? 11. Bxf7#

 

11. Qb3 e6 12. bxa6 bxa6 13. Bxa6!?

Always flashy that Esserman!

 

13... Bc5 14. Bb5+ Nd7?

14... Kf8 15. a4 Bd4 at least keeps Black in the game.

 

15. h3 Bh5 16. g4 Bg6 17. Rd1 Ra7?

It is never wise to create back rank problems when playing Esserman!

a) 17... Qh4 at least gets me some checks, but White wins easily after 18. Bxd7+ Kf8 19. Be3 Bxe3 20. fxe3 Qg3+ 21. Kf1 Qf3+ 22. Ke1 Qxe3+ 23. Ne2 Qxe4 24. Kf2

b) 17... Bd4 18. Be3

 

18. Bxd7+ Rxd7 19. Rxd7 Qxd7 20. Qb8+ Ke7

20... Qd8 21. Qb5+

 

21. Qxh8

and Black has got nothing for the missing Rook. An embarrassing loss, but more proof that the Smith-Morra is a dangerous beast.

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Game Four

Marc Esserman (2509) - Ian Mangion (1923) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7

Gulko's preferred move order.

 

8. Qe2 Nf6 9. Rd1 e5 10. Be3

10. h3 O-O 11. Bb5?! Bd7 12. Bg5 Qb8 13. Qd2 (13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Nd5 Bd8=) 13... a6 14. Bxc6 Bxc6 (14... bxc6!? 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Nh4! looks risky) 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Qxd6 Qxd6 17. Rxd6 Be7 18. Rd2 f6 19. Nd5 Kf7 20. Rad1 Rad8 1/2-1/2 (33) Tan - Mangion, USATE 2011.

 

10... O-O 11. Rac1 Be6!

All it takes is one slip against the Smith-Morra, as Tommy Bartell found out: 11... Bd7?! 12. a3 a6 13. b4 b5 14. Bb3 Be6?! 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nb8 17. Nxe5! dxe5 18. d6 Bxd6 19. Bc5 Bxc5 20. Rxd8 Bxf2+ 21. Qxf2 Rxd8 22. g4! a5 23. g5 Nfd7 24. Qxf7+ Kh8 25. Qe7 Rf8 26. Qxf8+! Nxf8 27. Rc8 1-0 Esserman - Bartell, USCL 2009.

 

12. b4 a6 13. a3

13. Bxe6!? fxe6 14. Ng5 Qd7 15. Na4 (15. Qc4 Nd8) 15... Nd4! 16. Bxd4 Qxa4! 17. Be3 Rfc8 (17... Qd7 18. Qc4 d5 19. Qc7 Qxc7 20. Rxc7 Bd6 21. Rxb7 d4 22. Bc1) 18. Nxe6 Qd7 19. Nc5 Qb5!

 

13... Rc8?

 










This is clearly an error, which gives White a solid initiative. Ian thinks best was 13... Ng4! 14. Bc5! (14. Bd2?! Nd4 15. Nxd4 exd4 16. Nd5 Bh4 17. g3?! Ne5!) 14... Qc7 (14... Qb8 15. Bb6) (14... Bxc4 15. Qxc4 Rc8 16. Qe2) 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Na5 17. Bxd6 Bxd6 18. Bd3 Qe7 19. bxa5.

 

14. Bxe6 fxe6 15. Qa2! Qd7 16. Na4 Nd4 17. Nxd4 exd4 18. Rxc8 Qxc8 19. Nb6 Qe8 20. Qxe6+ Qf7 21. Qxf7+ Kxf7 22. Rxd4

 

 

White has emerged from the complications with an extra pawn and a winning positional advantage to boot. Black's isolated pawn at d6 is such a weakling that Black is forced into passive defense.

 

22... Rd8 23. f3 Ne8 24. Kf2 Nc7 25. Rd3

25. Rc4!

 

25... Ne6 26. Rc3 Bf6 27. Rc4 g6 28. Nd5 Bg7 29. a4 Rd7 30. g3 h5 31. f4 Bh6 32. Ke2 Bg7 33. h3 Bf8 34. g4 hxg4 35. hxg4 Bg7 36. g5 Nd8 37. b5 axb5 38. axb5 Ne6 39. b6 Nd8 40. Rc7 Ke8 41. f5

with the end in sight, Black surrenders.

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Game Five

Marc Esserman (2509) - Donald Carrelli (1866) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 e6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 Ne7

Black foregoes playing the standard Nc6.

 

7. Bg5 a6 8. O-O b5 9. Bb3 h6 10. Be3 Ng6?

 

 

 

11. Nd4

11. Bd5! exd5 12. Qxd5 wins.

 

11... Be7 12. Nxe6!?

Always flashy! However, simple means are also strong: 12. f4 O-O 13. f5

 

12... fxe6?!

Better 12... Bxe6 13. Bxe6 fxe6 14. Qh5 O-O! (14... Kf7? 15. f4) 15. Qxg6

 

13. Qh5 Kf7 14. f4 Rf8 15. f5 Kg8 16. fxg6 Nd7 17. Bxh6

17. Bxe6+! forces mate, e.g.: 17... Kh8 18. Bxh6 etc.

 

17... Qb6+ 18. Kh1 Nf6 19. Rxf6 Rxf6 20. Be3!

winning the Queen due to the threat of mate by Qh7+ and Qh8#

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Game Six

Marc Esserman (2509) - John Moldovan (1847) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3

 










This was the starting position for the simul. Obviously, in a real game, one can ruin White's party by transposing into the Alapin Variation, with 3...d5 (?! MCO-13) or 3...Nf6.

 

4... e6 5. Nf3 a6 6. Bc4 Nc6 7. O-O   d6

According to the Schiller, in Standard Chess Openings (Cardoza, 1998), 7... Qc7 8. Qe2 Bd6 "is a somewhat awkward" but "highly effective defense."

 

8. Qe2 Qc7

There are many options here. The more logical 8... Nge7 9. Bf4?! Ng6 10. Bg3 Be7 & the little-seen, trade-forcing 8... Ne5!? 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Rd1 (Del Hoya Estades - Ilchev : Benidorm 2002) 10... Bd7 are but two.

 

9. Bf4 Nf6

9... Nge7 ...Ng6 + ...Be7

 

10. Rac1

 










10... Qb8?

After the correct 10... Be7 11. Rfd1 O-O Black is solid.

 

11. Nd5!?

This piece-sac is thematic...But 11. Rfd1 Fohler - H. Boecker : Lauda 1986, while 11. Rfe1 (Pruefer - Triger : correspondence, IECG 2001) has also been played.

 

11... Nxd5??

11... exd5 12. exd5+ Ne7 13. Rfe1 was necessary.

 

12. exd5 Nd8 13. Bg5?

13. dxe6 Nxe6 14. Nd4

 

13... Bd7?

13... f6 14. Bxf6! gxf6 15. dxe6 d5 16. Bxd5 Be7 was a better try.

 

14. Bxd8 Qxd8 15. dxe6 fxe6 16. Bxe6 Bxe6? 17. Qxe6+ Qe7 18. Qd5

Black resigns.

 

1-0

[Moldovan & Deep Rybka 3]


Game Seven

Marc Esserman (2509) - Joe Renna (1312) [B21]

Smith-Morra Gambit Thematic Simul/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2010


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 e6 5. Nf3 Bc5 6. Bc4 d6

Langrock calls this "The Demanding ...Bc5, ...d6 Setup" and it is a tougher nut to crack than you'd expect.

 

7. O-O Nf6!?

More normal are ...a6, ...Ne7 or ...Nc6. The Knight at f6 is exposed to a quick e5 advance or a pin by Bg5, but it also allows for counter-attack by ...Ng4 or even ...Nxe4!? followed by ...d5 in some lines, or passive defense of d6 with ...Ne8.

a) 7... Nc6 8. a3! Nge7 9. b4 Bb6 10. Bf4 Langrock, as White can meet 10... e5 with the powerful 11. Ng5!

b) 7... a6 8. a3! Ne7 9. b4 Ba7?! (9... Bb6 10. Bf4 Bc7) 10. Bf4! (10. Qe2?! O-O 11. Bf4 Ng6 12. Bg3 Nc6 13. Rfd1 e5! 14. Qd2 Bg4 0-1 Down,N-Chandler,M/Walsall 1992 (19)) 10... e5? 11. Ng5! exf4 12. Bxf7+! Kf8 13. Ba2 Qe8 14. Nf7 Langrock.

 

8. Qe2?!

Langrock points out that the standard O-O, Qe2, and Rd1 approach for White is generally not the best idea here.

Correct is probably 8. a3 O-O (8... a5!?) 9. b4 Bb6 10. Bf4 e5 11. Bg5 h6 (11... Be6 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Nb5 d5 14. Nxe5) 12. Bh4 Nc6.

 

8... O-O 9. Rd1?!










a) 9. Na4! might be White's best try at this point, going after the two Bishops, but Black can try to preserve the Bishop with 9... Bb4!? 10. a3 Ba5 11. b4 Bc7 12. Rd1 Bd7 13. Nc3 a6 14. Bf4 Qe7

b) 9. Bg5?! h6 10. Bh4 Nc6 11. Rfd1 e5! with control over the d4 square, e.g.: 12. Nd5 g5 13. Bxg5? (desperation, but White is worse after 13. Bg3 Bg4) 13... hxg5 14. Nxg5 Ng4! 15. h4 Bxf2+ 16. Kf1 Nd4! 17. Qd3 Bxh4 18. Nh3 f5! 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. Ne7+ Kg7 21. Nxf5+ Nxf5 22. Ke2 Nd4+ 23. Kd2 Bg5+ 24. Nxg5 Qxg5+ 25. Kc3 Nf2 0-1 Persson,S-Alasdair,A/corr IECG 1997.

 

9... Qc7?!

Better 9... Ng4! 10. Rf1 Nc6 11. h3 Nge5 and Black has a pawn and the initiative.

 

10. Bf4 Ng4 11. Bg3 Nd7?!

11... Bd7 12. Rac1 Qb6 combats White's immediate threats, for instance after 13. h3 Nf6 14. Rc2 Rd8 15. a3 a5 16. Rcd2 Ne8 and Black might manage to hold.

 

12. Rac1

12. Nb5! Qb6 13. Nxd6 wins back the pawn with a huge lead in development.

 

12... Nxf2??

A bad error in judgment. The rest of the game is a matter of technique.

 

13. Bxf2 Bxf2+ 14. Kxf2 Ne5 15. Bb3 Ng4+ 16. Kf1 d5 17. Nxd5 Nxh2+ 18. Kg1 Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Qe5 20. Ne7+ Kh8

 










21. Qxf7! Qf6 22. Qxf6 gxf6 23. Nxc8 Raxc8 24. Rxc8 Rxc8 25. Bxe6 Re8 26. Bf5 Re7 27. Rd7 Rxd7 28. Bxd7

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

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