Irving Ellner Memorial 2012, Round 4

By Michael Goeller

In Round 4 of the Irving Ellner Memorial at the Kenilworth Chess Club, I faced NM Mark Kernighan. I rather expected we would be discussing the Chigorin Defense, but I did not expect the 3.Bf4 line from him. Usually he plays 3.c4 against me. We both played a tight game until late, when Kernighan overestimated his edge and over-reached, giving me the chance to win, and I took it. One of my more solid performances.

Mark Kernighan (2200) - Michael Goeller (2050) [D02]

Kenilworth CC, Irving Ellner Memorial/Kenilworth, NJ USA (4) 2012


1. d4 Nc6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Bf4 Bf5

My special line, which I prefer over the more usual 3... Bg4.

 

4. e3 e6 5. Be2

This slightly passive Bishop placement gives Black at least equality. Better is 5. Bd3=.

 

5... Bd6 6. O-O Bxf4!? 7. exf4 Qd6

Trying to make something of White's damaged pawns.

 

8. Qd2

a) 8. Ne5?! Qb4 9. Nxc6 Qxb2

b) 8. g3 h5!? 9. c3 h4!? 10. Nxh4 Rxh4 11. gxh4 Qxf4

 

8... h6!?

A typical opening error on my part, trying to get creative where simple development is best. This move is a little too slow and too full of fantasy. I mostly had the idea of sacrificing a pawn with g5, probably after O-O-O, and I justified it to myself because it also secures a place for my Bishop to retreat if attacked by Nh4. But best is to develop toward the center with 8... Nf6! 9. Nc3 Ne4 10. Qe3 (10. Nxe4? dxe4 11. Ne5 Qxd4) 10... Nxc3 11. Qxc3 (11. bxc3? Bxc2) 11... Qxf4!? 12. Ba6! (without this cool move, White would be in trouble) 12... Nd8 13. Bxb7 Nxb7 14. Qc6+ Ke7 15. Qxb7 Rhb8 16. Qc6 Qd6 17. Qc3 Rb6 and Black has at least a slight initiative due to his better development.

 

9. Nc3 a6 10. Rfd1

10. a3?! g5!? 11. Ne5! (11. fxg5?! hxg5 12. Qxg5 (12. Nxg5?? Qxh2#) 12... Nxd4!) 11... gxf4.

 

10... Nf6 11. Ne5! O-O

As Black can no longer castle queenside due to the pressure on f7, this makes the most sense. The position is about equal, but now the maneuvering begins.

 

12. Kh1!?

White clearly has fantasies of g4-g5 to scare up a kingside attack.

 

12... b5!?

Threatening b4, when Black gets in Ne4 for free.

 

13. a3

13. g4!? Ne4 14. Nxe4 Bxe4+ 15. f3 Bh7 (15... Bg6!? 16. a4 Nxe5 17. fxe5 Qc6) 16. Rg1 f6 17. Nxc6 Qxc6

 

13... Ne7 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nxe4

 










15... Bxe4?!

This allows White a slight initiative. I had actually intended to play dxe5 but chickened out in the end from damaging my pawns because

after 15... dxe4! though Black suddenly has a great square for his Knight I did not think he had anything concrete to compensate for the structural damage, e.g.: 16. g3! (16. g4?! Bh7 17. g5 f6 18. gxf6 gxf6 19. Ng4 Nd5) 16... f6 17. Ng4 Bxg4 18. Bxg4 Nd5 However, due to the pressure at b4, it looks like this line allows Black time to fight off White's a4 play that he gets in the game. Meanwhile, the e4 pawn can always be defended by f5. For example: 19. f5 Ne7! 20. fxe6 f5 21. Be2 Qxe6

 

16. f3 Bh7 17. a4! f6 18. Nd3 Bxd3 19. Bxd3 c6 20. Re1 Rae8 21. Re2

21. axb5! axb5 22. Ra6 with threats of Bxb5 and Rea1 makes most sense.

 

21... Nc8 22. a5!? Re7

Here I offered a draw, as I had a time advantage but White clearly has the more comfortable position. The draw offer, however, may have precipitated his attack.

 

23. f5!? e5 24. Rae1 exd4

Easier is 24... Rfe8! 25. dxe5 Rxe5 26. Rxe5 Rxe5 27. Kg1 Rxe1+ 28. Qxe1 Kf7=

 

25. Rxe7 Nxe7 26. Re6 Qd7 27. Qf4 Ng6!?

I think we both overlooked that Black can defend the pawn with 27... Qa7!

 

28. Qxd4 Ne5 29. Qb6

This premature attack probably lets Black off the hook. Better 29. Qe3! Kf7! (29... Re8?? 30. Rxe8+ Qxe8 31. f4) 30. Bf1 Re8 31. Qb6 (31. Rxe8 Qxe8 32. Qa7+ Qe7 33. Qxa6 Qxb4 34. Qa7+ Kg8 35. a6 d4 36. Kg1 Qd2=) 31... Qc8 32. Qa7+ Nd7 33. Rxe8 Kxe8 34. Qe3+ Kf8 35. Qe6.

 

29... Re8! 30. Rxe8+

30. Qxa6 Nxd3 31. cxd3 Rxe6 32. fxe6 Qxe6 33. h3 Qe1+ 34. Kh2 Qe5+=

 

30... Qxe8 31. Qe3?!

a) 31. h3 Nxd3 32. cxd3 Qe1+ 33. Kh2 and Black has at least a draw with 33... Qe5+ (33... Qxb4!?)

b) 31. Bf1? Nc4 32. Bxc4 bxc4!

 

31... Kf7 32. Bf1 Nc4! 33. Qa7+ Qe7?!

33... Kg8! keeps the edge.

 

34. Qf2??

If White wants to win, he will have to try 34. Qxa6! Qe1 35. Qa7+ (35. Kg1?? Ne3) 35... Kg8 36. Qg1 Qxb4 37. a6 Qa3 38. a7 c5 39. a8=Q+ Qxa8 40. Qxc5 Qa1 41. Kg1 Kh7 42. Kf2 Qe5

 

34... Qxb4 35. Bxc4 bxc4 36. h4 c5 37. Kh2 Qxa5 38. Qe3 Qc7+ 39. Kh1 d4?! 40. Qe6+ Kf8 41. Qxa6?

41. Qxc4! a5 seems more difficult to win for Black.

 

41... c3

The remainder of the game was played in time pressure for both players and was reconstructed as best I could.

 

42. Qa8+ Kf7 43. Qa2+ c4 44. Qa6 d3 45. cxd3 c2! 46. Qe6+ Kf8 47. Qe1 cxd3 48. Qb4+ Kg8 49. Qb3+ Kh7

and Black won.

 

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[Michael Goeller]

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Game in PGN

Copyright © 2012 by Michael Goeller