Geoffrey McAuliffe - Michael Goeller [C53]

KCC Summer Tourney/Kenilworth, NJ 2008

I spent some time analyzing this game after it was played, and thought I'd share my thoughts. A speculative piece sac creates difficulties for my opponent that he is unable to overcome at the board, and just when things start to look bad he calls it a day.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Bb6

This was Euwe's method of reaching the closed Giuoco lines that usually follow 4...Qe7. The Bishop retreat will have to be played anyway, while 4...Qe7 5.d3!? makes the Queen move look less well placed. White should now go in for the pawn sac 5.d4 Qe7 6.d5 Nd8 7.d6! which is certainly the most challenging for Black to meet.


5. a4 Nf6 6. d3 d5

I was thinking during the game that this move might be a little risky, though it is often correct in these type of positions.


7. exd5 Nxd5 8. O-O

8. b4 a6 9. Qb3 Be6 10. a5 Ba7 11. Ng5 is probably the best way of questioning 6...d5!?


8... O-O 9. Re1 Bg4!?

The position now resembles the Marshall Gambit against the Bishop's Opening where White typically wins the e-pawn, though Black has some compensation. Not 9... Qd6? 10. a5! Bxa5 11. Bxd5 Qxd5 12. b4 Bb6 13. c4 Qd8 14. c5


10. Nbd2

During the game, I thought White should definitely try to win the e-pawn, despite the weakening of his kingside after

a) 10. h3 Bh5 (10... Be6!? 11. b4 (11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Rxe5 Bxf2+!) 11... a6 12. Ng5 Qf6 13. Ra2) 11. g4 Bg6 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 (12... Bxf2+? 13. Kxf2 Nxe5 14. Rxe5 Qf6+ 15. Rf5!) 13. Rxe5 c6


b) 10. b4!? a6 11. a5 Ba7 12. h3 Bh5 (12... Be6!? 13. Ng5!) 13. g4 Bg6 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Rxe5 c6 16. d4

10... Nf4!?

A bit rash but hard to resist. Best is probably 10... a6= 11. h3 Bh5 and if 12. g4?! Bg6 13. Nxe5? Bxf2+! wins.


11. h3?!

I don't think Geoff would have played this if he had considered my next. Best was 11. Nb3! threatening to trap the Bishop, which forces 11... a5 12. Bxf4 exf4 13. d4 and leaves White with a clear structural superiority.


11... Bxh3!?

I knew during the game that this probably wasn't technically best, but it looked like it would create a difficult game for White without much risk of losing since I did gain three pawns for the piece. And I always find it hard to resist interesting piece sacs. Better, though,was 11... Be6! 12. Nxe5?! (12. Nf1 Bxc4 13. Bxf4=) 12... Nxh3+!! (12... Nxe5? 13. Rxe5 Nxd3 14. Bxd3 Qxd3 15. a5!) 13. gxh3 Bxf2+! 14. Kxf2 Qh4+ 15. Kg1 (15. Kg2? Bxh3+!) 15... Qg3+ 16. Kh1 Qxh3+ 17. Kg1 Qg3+ 18. Kh1 Nxe5! (18... Qh3+=)


12. gxh3 Nxh3+ 13. Kg2!

This may actually turn out to be the best defense, though during the game it looked to me like a mistake. Black gets a scary attack and good chances well into the endgame after 13. Kf1 Nxf2 14. Qe2 Qd7! 15. d4 Qh3+! (also interesting are 15... exd4 16. Qxf2 dxc3 17. Qg2 cxd2 18. Bxd2 Nd4 or 15... Ng4!?) 16. Kxf2 exd4 17. Qf1 dxc3+ (17... d3+ 18. Nd4 Qh4+=) 18. Ke2 Nd4+!? (18... Rfe8+ 19. Kd1 Qxf1 20. Rxf1 cxd2 21. Bxd2) 19. Nxd4 Rae8+ 20. Kd1 (20. Ne6!?) 20... Rxe1+ 21. Qxe1 cxd2 22. Qxd2 Rd8 23. Kc2 Rxd4 and the attack goes on and on.


13... Nxf2

Fritz tells me that most accurate was probably 13... Nf4+! 14. Kf1 Nxd3 (14... Qd7 15. Ng1) 15. Bxd3 Qxd3+ 16. Qe2 Qf5, but I did not see why my move was not the best. I also looked at 13...Qd7 during the game.


14. Qc2?

Fritz likes White after 14. Qe2 Qd7 15. Ng5! (15. d4 Qh3+! 16. Kxf2 exd4 is analyzed above) 15... h6 (15... Na5!?) 16. Nde4! and Black's attack is at an end. If I had seen this I would have played 13...Nf4+.


14... Qd7! 15. Kf1?

White has two better tries which seemed unclear to me during the game:

a) 15. d4!? exd4! (15... Qh3+? 16. Kxf2 exd4 17. Ke2!) 16. cxd4 Nxd4 17. Nxd4 Qh3+! (17... Bxd4?! 18. Ra3!) 18. Kxf2 Bxd4+ 19. Ke2 Qg4+ 20. Nf3 Rfe8+ 21. Kd2 Qf4+ 22. Kd1 Qxf3+ 23. Be2 Qd5


b) 15. Ng5! Qg4+ (15... h6 16. Nde4!) 16. Kf1 h6 (16... Qxg5 17. Ne4 Qf5 18. Nxf2) (16... Nh3 17. Nde4!) 17. Nde4 Nxe4 18. Nxe4 Na5

15... Qh3+ 16. Ke2 Ng4!

White will have to give back at least the Exchange after Qg2+ and Ne3+, leaving Black with a winning edge due to his passed pawns on the kingside. My opponent therefore did not see much point in continuing to the bitter end.



Game in PGN