Irving Ellner Memorial, Round 5

By Michael Goeller

In the fifth round of the Irving Ellner Memorial tournament at the Kenilworth Chess Club, I faced young Max Sherer, against whom I had prepared the Advance Variation, knowing that he played the Wade Variation exclusively. All went according to plan, and I had a clear advantage. But I missed a critical move (17.h6!) that would have completed my dark square dominance and made it easier to win. As the game progressed, things got more complicated, with me having potentially weak pawns at d6 and h5. What's more, a commotion in the playing hall was a real distraction at the end of the game, so when my opponent offered a draw I took it. Likely it was the right move, but White definitely was for choice.

Michael Goeller - Max Sherer [C02]

Kenilworth CC, Irving Ellner Memorial/Kenilworth, NJ USA (5) 2012


1. e4 e6 2. d4

I am told that Max prepared something special against 2. f4 with which I had won our last encounter.

 

2... d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. a3

 










All of this was my preparation before the game. I used to play the Advance Variation, following the repertoire offered by Sam Collins, and I returned to it here knowing that Max always plays the Wade Variation, which made him easy to prepare against.

 

6... cxd4

a) 6... a5 was a move Max had played in a previous game at the club, which I used as my main preparation: 7. b3 cxd4?! (better to keep the tension with 7... Nc6! 8. Be3!? Nh6! 9. Bd3 Ng4 but I knew Max would not go that way) 8. cxd4 Bb5 9. Bxb5+ Qxb5 10. Nc3 Qa6 (10... Qd7 11. O-O   Ne7 12. Qd3 (12. Ne2!? Nf5 13. g4 Ne7 14. Nf4 g6 15. Bd2 h5 16. h3 Nbc6 17. Kg2 Bh6 18. Nd3) 12... Nec6 13. h4 h6 14. Bf4!) 11. Ne2 (The Knight blocks the Queen's diagonal to allow castling, but it also has kingside ambitions of Nf4 and Ng3. In fact, the main idea I came up with here in preparation is to play Ng3-h5 and pressure Black's kingside in annoying fashion.) 11... Nc6 (11... Ne7!? 12. O-O Nf5 (12... Ng6 13. h4 h5 14. Ng3! Be7 15. Bg5 Nc6 (15... Bxg5 16. Nxg5 Nxh4 17. Qc1 O-O 18. Qf4) 16. Bxe7 Ngxe7 17. Ng5 Qa7 (17... g6 18. Qf3) 18. Qf3 Rf8 19. Nxh5 Qxd4 20. Nxg7+ Kd7 21. Nh7 Rh8 22. Nf6+ Kc7 23. h5 Qxe5 24. Rfe1 Qg5 25. Nfe8+! Raxe8 26. Qxf7!) 13. g4 Ne7 (13... Nh6 14. Bxh6 gxh6 15. Nf4! Nc6 16. Qd2 Qb5 17. Nh5 O-O-O 18. b4! axb4 19. axb4) 14. Ng3 Ng6 15. Nh5!) (11... Nd7 12. O-O Ne7 13. Ng3! (13. Nf4!? with the idea of routing to d3-c5 supporting b4 possibly, while also keeping open the idea of Nh5. 13... g6 14. Nd3 Bg7 15. a4 O-O 16. Ba3 Rfe8 17. Rc1 Nc6 18. Nc5?! (18. Rc3 Qa7 19. Nc5 Nxc5 20. Bxc5 b6 21. Bd6 Rac8 22. Qd2 Ne7 23. Rfc1 Rxc3 24. Qxc3) 18... Nxc5 19. Bxc5 Rac8 20. Qd2 b6 21. Bd6 Na7 22. h3 h6 23. Rfe1 2007 1/2-1/2 Neukirch,D (2294) -Puschendorf,S (2209)/ Germany) 13... Nc6 (13... h5 14. Bg5! O-O-O?! 15. Qc1+ Kb8 16. Qf4) 14. Nh5! g6 15. Nf6+ Nxf6 16. exf6 Bd6 17. Bh6 O-O-O 18. Qd2 Kb8 19. Bf4) 12. O-O Nge7 13. Bd2 (13. Ng3!) 13... Ng6?! 14. h4 Be7 15. h5 Nh4 16. Nh2?! (16. Nxh4! Bxh4 17. h6!) 16... Nf5 (16... h6) 17. Nf3 Qa7 18. Bc3 Bd8 19. Qd3 Bb6 20. b4 O-O? 21. b5 Nb8 22. g4 Ne7 23. Ng5 g6 24. hxg6 hxg6 25. Qh3 Rc8 26. Qh7+ Kf8 27. Qxf7# 1-0 Carrelli,D-Sherer,M/ Kenilworth, NJ USA 2011.

 

b) 6... Bb5 is most often played, but it invites complications by 7. c4 (also possible is 7. b4!? cxd4 8. Bxb5+ Qxb5 9. cxd4 or 9. Nxd4!? ) 7... Bxc4 8. Bxc4 dxc4 9. d5.

 

7. cxd4 Bb5 8. Bxb5+ Qxb5 9. Nc3 Qb6?! 10. O-O   Ne7 11. Qd3 Nbc6

Not 11... Nf5? 12. Nxd5!

 

12. b4 Ng6 13. h4 Be7 14. g3

Probably strongest is to attack immediately by 14. h5! Nh4 15. Nxh4! Bxh4 16. Rd1 (16. Be3!? h6 17. Na4 Qa6 18. Qxa6 bxa6 19. Rac1 planning to double on the c-file is also strong) 16... h6 (16... O-O 17. h6) 17. Qh3 Be7 (17... Bg5 18. Qg4!) 18. Qg4! with some annoying pressure on both sides of the board.

 

14... Bd8?

Black has to check the h-pawn with either 14... h5 or 14... h6.

 

15. Nb5

15. h5 Nge7 16. Nb5 Nc8!? is less clear.

 

15... Be7?! 16. h5 Nf8 17. Bg5?!

A little premature. Here I missed the perfect culmination of White's dark square strategy: 17. h6! g6 18. Bg5! a6 19. Nd6+! Bxd6 20. exd6 Nd7 21. Qe3 with strong play on the dark squares -- though it will likely require some sacrificial action in pursuit of Black's king.

 

17... a6!

I had overlooked this possibility. If it were not for this move, Black is lost.

 

18. Nd6+

Too dead equal is 18. Bxe7 Qxb5 19. Qxb5 axb5 20. Bxf8 Rxf8=.

 

18... Bxd6 19. exd6 h6! 20. Bf4 Nd7

At this point a major commotion erupted around Mr. Bean's game, when his clock suddenly stopped (or so he claimed), requiring the TD and others to lend assistance while he loudly complained about the situation. This disruption continued through the next two moves.

 

21. Rab1! Nf6

 










With this move, Max offered a draw. Distracted by the continuing commotion at the nearby board and seeing that my h-pawn is likely to fall and my d-pawn is in long-term peril, I accepted. However, White actually might have the better chances with precise play.

 

21... Nf6 22. b5! (22. Be5!?) 22... axb5 (22... Na7?! 23. bxa6 Qxa6 24. Qxa6 bxa6 25. Rb7 O-O 26. Be5 Nxh5? 27. d7) 23. Rxb5 Qa6 (23... Rxa3?! 24. Rxb6 Rxd3 25. Ne5! (25. Rxb7 O-O (25... Rxf3 26. Rc1) 26. Ne5 Nxe5 27. Bxe5) 25... Rc3 26. Rxb7 O-O 27. Bd2 Rc2 28. Rc1) 24. Rfb1! O-O! (24... Nxh5?! 25. Qe3! Qxa3 26. d7+! (26. R5b3!? Qa4 27. Rxb7 O-O 28. Bxh6! Na5!) 26... Ke7 (26... Kxd7? 27. Ne5+ Nxe5 28. Rxb7+ Ke8 29. Qxe5) 27. R5b3 Qa4 28. Bc7!! Nf6 (28... Kxd7? 29. Ne5+!) 29. Qf4) 25. Qe3 Nxh5 26. Bxh6 Qxa3 27. Kg2! Qxe3 (27... Qxd6 28. Rh1) 28. Bxe3 Rfd8 29. Rxb7 Na5 (29... Rxd6? 30. R7b6) 30. Rc7 Rxd6 31. Ng5

 

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[Michael Goeller]

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Copyright © 2012 by Michael Goeller