Irving Ellner Memorial
By Michael Goeller
In this second round game in the Irving Ellner Memorial tournament at the Kenilworth Chess Club, I played Michael O'Connor (1845 USCF), who has had a string of tournament successes of late. Michael's "Rapid Chess Improvement" appears mostly to have been based on his tactical sharpness and his willingness to enter into complicated situations. In the following game, I use the "threat" of simplifying the position to gain a strong advantage.
Michael O'Connor - Michael Goeller [C21]
KCC Irving Ellner Memorial/Kenilworth, NJ USA (2) 2012
The Svenonius Defense, the chief idea of which is to support pawn to d5 while avoiding getting hit by White's pawn to e5, as would be the case with Nf6; here e5 can be met by Nf5 to assail the critical d4 square.
3... Qe7!? is another challenging defense that requires sharp opening preparation to meet.
More common are:
b) 4. cxd4 d5 5. e5 (5. Nc3!? dxe4 6. Bc4 Nf5 7. Nge2 might be White's best try for an interesting game)
5... Nf5 (also fine are 5... Nbc6 6. Nf3 Bg4= and 5... c5!?= Collijn)
6. Nc3 Be7 7. Nf3
Collijn judges this position as equal.
Best was 6. Nf3 Nc6 7.
Retreating moves are often overlooked.
Probably the best move, but also very strong psychologically. If White exchanges Queens he will be faced with the harder side of a likely draw. But if he avoids the exchange, then Black will have centralized his Queen and will quickly castle queenside with a clear advantage. I suspected my opponent would choose to avoid the exchange of queens because of his "tactical, gambiteer style," so this move seemed especially strong.
Necessary was 12. Qxd5 Nxd5 13. Nbd2! (13. Bg5 f6! or 13. a3
Black clearly has a strong edge in development, and White's loose bishop at f4 makes an interesting target.
I could not resist this move, though it is certainly too risky on close examination. In the end, however, it was another psychologically strong move. Who would want to open up the g-file on his own King? Certainly not a player who would prefer to be the one attacking...
There were two simpler options:
It was absolutely necessary to take the pawn.
A miscalculation, overlooking Black's knight retreat. As I note above, those retreating moves are often tough to see. Better 17. Nbd2 Nb4! -- but Black's Knight is headed to d3 and there is h4 coming, so this is also very unhappy for White.
White had obviously overlooked this simple retreat which wins at least a piece.
Stopping any tricks on the b-file.
Mate is unavoidable.
Game in PGNCopyright © 2012 by Michael Goeller