1.e4 Not much to usually say about
the very first move (especially a normal one like 1. e4), but this white player very rarely plays 1.
e4. This move was entirely to sidestep any possible preparation by his opponent and enter his own.|
1...e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 The Scotch Game. Employed by no less than Kasparov on occasion, but it is much more frequently found at the amateur levels and can lead to exciting and sharp games.
3...exd4 4.c3 White offers the Goring Gambit. To quote Murrel, "Back in my day, everyone knew the lines to the Goring." It has mostly fallen out of fashion at the amateur level and has rarely been seen at the highest level at any point in modern chess. White can offer (and black can accept) one or two pawns for a very sharp position.
4...dxc3 5.Bc4 The other main move here is Nxc3. White offers a 2nd pawn if black so desires with cxb2, but the developmental advantage of white can be difficult to humanly defend against over the board against a peer. Of course, an engine would happily gobble the material.
5...d6 d6 and Nf6 are the main moves here. Black prefers to prevent any potential e5 pushes before developing the knight to f6. This does hem in Black's dark square bishop, of course.
7...Qe7 Black needed to realize that between e7 and d7 (blocking in one bishop or the other), the light squared bishop is already tied down to b7 and the dark squared bishop could more easily develop to e7 and allow the king better safety after castling. Qd7 was the only good choice. Despite the material deficit, engines already prefer white.
My engine, Crafty, rated about 2700, valued Qd7 at about a half pawn better than Qe7 (-.1 to +.4), so this was not a game losing move. - Murrel
8.Nxc3 White now has to recapture to continue development of either his b1 knight or c1 bishop. White has regained one pawn, and has therefore only gambited one. With the awkward queen on e7, white will have a much easier game.
8...Be6 This unfortunate blunder just makes things easy on white as it drops a piece.
9.Qxb7 Qxb7 or Bxe6 followed by Qxb7 both win a piece after forking the unprotected a8 rook and c6 knight.
9...Rb8 10.Qxc6+ Qd7 Black could have tried to be tricky with Bd7 in light of if Qxc7 Rc8, and black skewers the bishop on c4. White saw this and wouldn't have fallen victim, but even still it would have chased the queen to a6 and kept the queens on the board. Objectively engines say Qd7 is fine (or even better than Bd7), but black is losing either way and trading your strongest piece when down a knight can only help your opponent breathe easily.
After Bd7, Crafty doesn't grab the c-pawn but rather wins the a-pawn after Qa6. Rc8 is met by Bxf7+ & Qxa7 which Crafty says is better for Black than exchanging Queens by a full pawn. - Murrel
11.Qxd7+ Kxd7 12.Bxe6+ fxe6 13.e5 e5 threatens to shatter Black's strong pawn center or chase the black knight to a worse square
13...Ne8 The knight enters exile with no immediate future.
14.b3 Simply to continue development without giving back any material or counterplay.
14...h6 To support g5-g4 and try and chase the f3 knight in time and offer the black bishop a future on the a1-h8 diagonal.
15.Be3 When it rains it pours. Even simple developing moves come with tempo. Bf4 also looks strong if not even preferable, but much liberty comes with being up a full piece.
15...a6 16.Rfd1 g5 17.exd6 To give the f3 knight a new home on e5.
17...cxd6 18.Ne5+ Kc7 19.Ng6 Perhaps trickier is Murrel's postmortem suggestion of Rac1 where black cannot happily recapture his long lost knight in light of Rac1 dxe5?? Nb5+ Kb7 Nc7 Rxc7+ Ka8 Ra7#. However, the text is fine and winning is winning. White is on autopilot with intent to trade down and end the game in the easiest way he saw without calculating.
19...Rg8 20.Nxf8 Rxf8 21.Rac1 e5 Now d6 falls too as all of White's pieces are coordinated and Black can only helplessly watch.
22.Ne4+ Kd7 23.Bc5 Black resigns as he is down a knight and soon to be more with inferior piece activity and king safety as well.
9...Qb4 10.Nfd2 b5 Very Risky. There is only a paper thin pawn between the White Bishop on g2 & Black's unmovable Rook on a8. The c6 Pawn is now also very weak.
11.a3 Ba3 is also playable with the same result. Black is forced to trade Queens, with a resulting destruction of his Q-side pawn structure.
11...Qa4 12.Qxa4 bxa4 13.Ne5 e6 14.Rfc1 Nfd7 15.Nxc6 Nxc6 16.Bxc6 And White has retrieved his pawn and maintains a huge lead in development and position.
16...Rb8 17.Nc4 f6 18.Bxa4 Kd8 19.Bc3 g6 20.Na5 Rc8 21.Nc6+ Ke8 22.Bd2 Bd6 23.Nxa7 And now an extra passed pawn should he need it.
23...Ra8 24.Rc8+ Ke7 25.Rxh8 Rxh8 26.Bb4 Nb6 27.Nc6+ Kf7 28.Bb5 Bc7 29.a4 Nd5 30.Bd2 Ra8 31.f3 Ne7 32.e4 Nxc6 33.Bxc6 Rc8 34.Rc1 Bh3 35.Bb7
3.d4 exd4 It
starts out as a Scotch|
4.Bb5 An unusual reply. Usual is Nxd4 going into the Scotch Game proper or Bc4 perhaps offering a Goring Gambit after c3.
4...Nf6 Bc5 before the Knight might be better here.
5.e5 Reminiscent of the Max Lange, but the Bishop is missing from c4 for the d5 reply.
7.Bg5 The d4 pawn is pinned
so c3 should be played.|
7...Be7 The Black Bishop has wasted a move by going to c5 first.
8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Bxc6 bxc6 Here dxc6 would be better, keeping just 2 pawn islands and opening a line for the Q-Bishop.
13.Rfe1 Rfe8 White
can win a pawn with Qa5 attacking both the a6-Bishop and the pawn on c7.|
14.Re3 Rab8 15.R1e1 Qb4 16.Qxb4 Rxb4 17.b3 Bb7 18.c4 c5 19.R1e2
[It is hard to find a good plan for either player here. If White wants to win he could
19.Rd1 If Bxf3 he replies
20.gxf3 and tries to win the d7-pawn.]
g6 Either both players turn
a blind eye to the board while watching the Rooks & Pawns battle, or there is a notation issue here.
Clearly Nxc5 wins but both players ignore this possibility. I had assumed that Black actually played
d6 and White followed with a missing move and the game restarted from there, but d6 is played later.|
23.g3 Kg7 24.Kf2 R6e7 25.Ke1 a5 26.Nb2 The Blunder sirens are finally silent.
26...Kf8 27.Kf2 d6 28.exd6 Rxe3 29.Rxe3 cxd6 30.Na4 Rc8 31.Nc3 Bc6 32.Ne4 Bxe4 33.Rxe4 Rc7 34.g4 Re7 35.Kf3 f5 And a draw was agreed.
6.Nf3 6.h4 is also playable.
The text is solid but not very aggressive.|
6...h6 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 e6 9.
14...Ng5 15.Kh1 Ne4 16.Qc1 g5 17.h4 White knows that Black wants to play f5, so White should play Ne5! first. If Nxe5 dxe5, Black cannot play f5 as White then has the en passant reply exf6.
17...f5 The thematic move in this position.
18.g3 leaves the Knight with no way home. Better would be 18.Ng3
18...Qe8 19.hxg5 White should play desperado with 19.Nf4 to get as much material as possible while keeping the road to his own King closed.
19...Qxh5+ 20.Kg2 hxg5 21.Rh1 Qg6 22.d5 cxd5 23.cxd5 e5 24.Qc7 Rad8 25.Nxe5 Nxe5 26.Qxe7 Rde8 27.Qxb7 f4 28.Bd4 Nd6 29.Qxa7 White has nothing better. Black doesn't need the pawns as he has a vicious K-side attack on the other side of the board.
29...Rf7 30.Qc5 Qe4+ 31.Kg1 Nf3+ 32.Kf1 Nxd4 33.Rh5 Qe2+ 34.Kg2 Qf3+ 35.Kg1 Ne2+ 36.Kh2 Qxh5+ 37.Kg2 f3+
2.g3 A flexible but unusual
variation. Allows for lots of transpositions. NOTE: Ron takes issue with my calling 2.g3 unusual and
points out that he has 3 books, one is actually a 3 volume set, on the English which recommend 2.g3.
According to chess.com 2.g3 is the 4th most common move played here, being played in over 7,000 games
in their database, making these first 3 half-moves only slightly less common than 1.b3. My point is that
it does allow for many transpositions into the Kings Indian Attack, the Catalan and other openings, as
well as an English. However, Ron is right, playing this opening with g3 is not a bad way to play. It
is important to play with a plan knowing where your pieces are best placed.|
2...d5 3.cxd5 3.Nf3 & Bg2 are more common. Taking the c4 pawn too early can give White a positional edge (See Pete Karagianis-Albert Li)
3...Nxd5 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bg2 c6 Assuming the rating difference is real, this is not in Black's best interest. It could create symmetrical pawn structures which will make it easier for White to draw in the ending. Nb6 or Nxc3 are usually played.
6.Nf3 Bg7 7.
9...N8d7 10.d4 a5 11.a4 c5 This move only works if White captures with dxc5. Drawbacks: makes the the White K-Bishop more powerful and it doesn't unwind Black's cramped position. Believe it or not, Fritz prefers moving the d7-Knight back to b8 and reappearing on a6! I would prefer moving that Knight to f6-d5.
12.Bf4 Giving up a pawn for questionable development.
12...cxd4 13.Nb5 e5
14.Bg5 only move 14...Bf6
16.Nd6 White should look to
the weak c7 square. Rbc1 (either Rook, really) and Nc7 should lead to a healthy advantage.|
16...Re7 17.Ne4 Re6 18.Bh3 Driving the Rook to his best square and leaving the Bishop exposed and unprotected. Unprotected pieces are always potential targets.
18...Rc6 19.Nxf6+ This capture can wait - White should contest the c-file with either Rook to c1.
19...Qxf6 20.Bg5 Qd6 21.Bh6 Nc5 The combination that wins the game - a discovered double attack on the Queen and Bishop!
22.Qa2 Bxh3 23.Ng5 Be6 24.Nxe6 Qxe6 25.b3 Ncxa4
|1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6|
|[3...Nf6 is more common. e6 Blocks Black's Q-Bishop. Locally we see Bf5 more often (trying to put the Bishop out in front of the pawn chain before closing it behind him), but it seems to be a poor choice in master play.]|
|4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 f5 6.cxd5 exd5|
|[6...cxd5 is preferred. It is easier to bring the Q-Bishop into the game via d7 and out the Q-side. With the text the f5 pawn remains to restrict the Bishop's activity.]|
[Trying to dislodge the e4-Knight via|
10.Qb3 threatening to capture on e4, but Black has
15.fxe5 Qg5 16.Qf3
16...Be6 17.a4 An
interesting idea. White is holding very nicely on the K-side, so he wants to push the a-pawn and play
17...Rf7 18.a5 Raf8 19.Qh3
|19...Bc8 20.c4 g6 21.cxd5|
[21.Rf4 is needed here. Black
only initiative is pushing the f-pawn and so White should stop that before proceeding.|
21...dxc4 is no threat as it loses material,]
21...f4 The attack on the
Queen puts all of White's plans on hold.|
22.e6 only move
[23.Qf3 wins! After|
23...Re7 24.e4 White will establish a healthy passed pawn pair in the center.]
Rh4 Again, Black finds the
25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.hxg3 Rxd4 27.Rxf8 Kxf8 28.Rf1 Ke8 29.d7 Bxd7 30.exd7 Rxd7 31.Be4 All the moves since the last comment were rated as best by Fritz when I did my blunder check.
31...Rd4 32.Bf3 Ra4
|[32...Kd7 to be able to protect the b-pawn with the King]|
34.Rxb7 With Black's Q-side
pawns broken, White is winning.|
34...c5 35.Rxh7 c4 36.Rc7 Rg5 37.g4 a5 38.Rxc4 Ke7 39.Kf2 Re5 Black breaks a Cardinal Rule: Don't trade your last piece if your opponent still has one on the board (unless you can Queen a pawn, of course).
40.Re4 Rxe4 41.Bxe4 g5 42.Bc2 Kf6 43.Ke3 Ke5 44.Bb3 Kf6 45.Ke4 Kg6 46.Ke5 Kh6 47.Kf6 Kh7 48.Kxg5 Kh8 49.Kf6 Kh7 50.g5 Kh8 51.g6 a4 52.g7 Kh7 53.g8=Q Kh6 54.Qg6
2.Bc4 The Bowdler Attack.
And yes, I had to look it up.|
2...e6 3.d3 Out of book so soon!
3...a6 4.a4 d5 5.exd5 exd5 6.Bb3 Nf6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.Nc3
[Other moves aren't much better. Fritz says|
23.Qb1 is best, but after
23...Bb8 Black still has a strangle hold on the long a7-g1 diagonal, worth about 3 pawns.]
5.d3 f5 Wayne's
new favorite move. Will it replace g4 or advancing the Rook pawn as his signature?|
6.e3 Nf6 7.Nge2 Be7 8.a3
12...Nxe7 13.e4 f4 14.gxf4 exf4 15.Nd5
[The f4 pawn is not free. On|
15.Bxf4 Black wins it back immediately with
15...Ng6 16.Nxf6 White
sails into dark skies and fails to see the looming storm. After the recapture White's loose King position
is too vulnerable against Black's 4 pieces and a pawn ready to strike.|
16...Qxf6 17.Qh5 Ne5 18.Bh3 Bf7 19.Qd1 f3 20.Re1 Qh4 21.Bf1 Be6 22.Qd2 Rf6 23.Kh1 Ng4 24.h3 Nxf2 25.Kh2 Nxh3 26.Qe3 Nf2 27.Kg1 Qg3
6.d3 Also common here are
0-0 and the gambit line f5|
6...a6 7.a4 a6 is usually answered with a4 to prevent Black's b5. If Black omits a6, White will omit a4.
10.Bb3 Qb6 11.Kh1
[Black is threatening a discovered check by pushing his c-pawn and win a Bishop. The
text is too passive just moving the King away and so misses a tactic. Correct is|
11.a5 Qa7 12.Be3 freezing the pawn in place.]
[Well, the Queen does have to move but selects, in my view, the wrong square.|
12.Qh4 would be my choice as it continues with the main (proven?) plan of an attack on the Black King.]
|[12.cxd3 Qxb3 is also playable. The decision is between which White Bishop should be retained for the attack. In either case the tactic has given Black an advantage.]|
|12...Nxc1 13.Raxc1 Nc6 14.e5 Na5 15.g4|
15.Ne4 Nxb3 16.cxb3 Qxb3 17.Nxc5 and White has some compensation for his pawn. Active play is better than passive play as it puts pressure on the opponent. I also don't like the text as it opens the long diagonal for c8-Bishop. This is a repeating theme in Grand Prix games won by Black.]
|15...Nxb3 16.cxb3 d6|
[Black can of course take the b3-pawn but he already has his pawn and expects to win.
The text holds on to the advantage, but|
16...d5 is even better, eliminating the backward Black d-pawn and bringing the g7-Bishop to life.]
|[17.Ne4 must be played, then occupying the d6 square with this Knight, with or without the pawn exchange. After the text Black has a commanding advantage.]|
|17...dxe5 18.fxe5 Qxb3 19.h4|
|[19.Ne4 is still the only move although it matters much less now.]|
Rad8 29.Ne4 Finally
played but only after breaking bad by surrendering a checkmate.|
29...Rd1+ 30.Rg1 Qxg1#
Defense, Advance Variation|
cxd4 5.cxd4 Nc6 6.Nf3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Development of the K-Bishop is usual here, whether to e2 or d3. White is open to the Q-side and so should want to castle K-side as soon as possible.
7...Nge7 The usual plan for this Knight is to attack the base d4-pawn via f5.
[Black cannot win the d4 pawn|
8...Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Bb5+ and White wins the Queen. After Black's text the check disappears and the threat is real.]
[White's best move is actually|
9.Be3 If Black takes the unattended b2-pawn
9...Qxb2 White has
10.Nb5 and the Black Queen is terribly misplaced while the White Knight goes Rook hunting.]
13...Qa7 I thought Qc7 was better with a tactical threat on c2, but there is nothing wrong with this move as it keep an eye on the d4-pawn.
14.Nc3 Qb8 15.Bd3 f6
[Is this move good? the engines don't hate it, but the Black King is still in the center
and this just opens the pawn structures.|
15...b5 operating on the Q-side seems to make more sense. Castling K-side is probably not a good idea as White has both Bishops, a Knight and his Queen pointed that direction. So the Black King is safest in the center - as long as it is closed.]
|16.exf6 gxf6 17.Kh1|
[While going over this game with Michael, he said he wanted to play|
17.Nh4 putting pressure on the g6-Knight. The move may seem silly at first, the h4-Knight would be unprotected and Black could play
17...Nxh4 but there follows
18.Qh5+ Ng6 19.Bxg6+ and the Bishop is immune from capture. Black's better choice would be to not take the "free" Knight.]
Bd6 20.Ne2 White
is playing defense but Fritz says that White was (after Kf7) wining by nearly 2 pawns. It's much closer
20...h5 21.Qc1 e5 22.dxe5 Ngxe5 23.Nxe5 Nxe5 24.Bc2 Ng4 25.Qe1
25...Nxh2 Re8 & Bb5 probably
win at least a piece.|
26.Bb3 Best move. White must find some counter measures or the game won't last long.
26...Bc6 27.Nc3 Re8 28.Qc1 Ng4 29.Rf1 Qa7
|[29...Bxa3 Steals a pawn via the Qh2 mate threat.]|
|30.Be1 Re5 31.Qc2 Ke7|
[Black wants to free his center pawn to advance and create winning opportunities.|
31...Kg7 holds onto the g6 square and is given a +2.5 by Fritz. The text allows White to enter on g6 and Black's advantage disappears.]
|32.Rd1 d4 33.Ne2 Bc5 34.Nf4|
|[34.Qg6 may be even better. Black must answer with either Rxe2 or Rg5. Either case leads to great complications with tactical shots for both sides.]|
|[35.Ng6+ Kd8 loses as the Knight doesn't have time to pick up the Rooks as his Queen is hanging.]|
[35...Qa6 holds for Black as
the White Queen cannot leave the diagonal due to Black's Qxf1#. So White must settle for a perpetual
36.Rxd4 Bxd4 37.Qc2 etc.]
[This ends the game.|
36...Qa6 still holds as White still has a perpetual. The text move removes the mate threat as the White King now has an escape square and White's Queen takes over the game.]
|37.Ng6+ Bxg6 38.Qxg6 Ng4 39.Qxh7 Kd6 40.Ba4 Re7 41.Qf5 Re5|
9.Bb5+ Most common here is
Bc4. According to chess.com, until this move both sides had been playing the most popular move at each
turn since move 3. This is a variation that Ron has been wanting to play since being taught by Dick Verber
many years ago.|
[and we are out of book.|
9...Nc6 trying to keep the Bishop pair at the cost of doubled isolated pawns follows the book.]
15...Nc6 16.Bxf7+ Kxf7 17.c3 Ne5 18.Be3 Rd8+ 19.Kc2 Nd3 20.Rad1 e5 21.f3 Rc8 22.fxe4 Nxc5 23.Bxc5 Rxc5 24.Rd7+ Kg8 25.Rxb7 Ra5 26.Rd1
[17...b5 is not a pawn sacrifice.|
18.cxb5 axb5 19.Nxb5 Qa5+ 20.Nc3 fxg5 and Black has a serious attack.]
19.h4 Qd7 Heading
the wrong direction? With a pawn lever on the b-file, 2 Rooks able to slide to the Q-side & a dragon
Bishop, Black should play Qa5!|
20.Ne2 e5 21.dxe6 Qxe6 22.Qd5 If the Knight were still on c3 this would be a good move. Here the new d5-pawn quickly becomes artificially isolated.
22...Qxd5 23.cxd5 f4 One of White's center pawns must fall.
24.Kd3 White decides to hold on to the center pawn at the expense of the b-pawn.
|[25.e4 Rb1 fails to fxe6 which exposes the White Knights to the Rooks.]|
25...b5 Suddenly Black's
Q-side looks very ominous.|
26.e4 f3 27.Ng3 Nf4+ 28.Kc2 Be5 29.Nxf3 This pawn is not free.
29...Nxd5 30.Nxe5 Nb4+ 31.Kb3 Rxe5 32.f3 White is only a pawn down. If his pieces were better placed he would still have drawing chances.
32...a5 33.a3 Nc6 34.Ne2 d5 35.Nc3 dxe4 36.fxe4 Nd4+ 37.Kb2 b4 38.Rxf8+ Kxf8 39.axb4 cxb4 40.Rf1+ Kg7 41.Re1 Drops the Knight and the game is realistically over.
41...bxc3+ 42.Kxc3 Nf3 43.Rd1 Rxe4
2.exd5 Nf6 This
is the Portuguese variation. The older standard main line was 2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 etc.|
3.d4 Bg4 4.Be2 Nf3 is normally played here, hoping that Black will surrender his Bishop pair early in the game.
[4.Bb5+ can also be played.|
4...c6 5.dxc6 Bxd1 6.c7+ Nc6 7.cxd8 Kxd8 8.Bxc6 Bxc2 9.Bxb7 Rb8 10.Ba6 of course, White is hoping for Bxd1, hope chess.]
10.Be3 e6 11.h3 Be7 12.a3 Rhe8 13.Nge4 Nd5 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Ng5 Bxg5 16.Bxg5 f6 17.Be3 Re4 18.b4 f5 19.g3 h6 20.h4 The game has seemed to have drifted with neither side finding a successful plan. Now we have drifted into an endgame which should be vary favorable to Black. The White Bishop is very bad and Black should do everything n hs power to keep it bottled up. The Black Knight on the other hand has two very fine outposts (c4 & e4) and possibly a third on g4.
20...Rg8 21.Rd3 g5 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.c3 g4 23...g4 was no where on my candidate list. It releases the Kracken. The Bishop is now free to go.
24.Kf1 Nd8 25.Ke2 Rh8 26.Rdd1 Re7 27.Kd3 Rh2 28.Rh1 Reh7 29.Rxh2 Rxh2 30.c4 dxc4+ With this exchange the only hope either side has for a win is for the opponent to blunder.
31.Kxc4 Kd7 32.Ra2 Nf7 33.Bf4 c6 34.a4
8...e5 9.Bg5 e4 10.Nh2 h6 11.Bf4 Nd5 12.g3 During the post game discussion Wayne admitted that he knew he could drop his Bishop but he figured he would get 2 pawns and an attack. Wayne gets the initiative he craves, however, the move is still unsound
12...g5 13.hxg5 hxg5 14.Bc4 Nb6
|[14...Be6 is also quite playable and makes Black position stronger but Nb6 is still better as it actually does more than just hold.]|
15.Bxf7+ Whee!! Here
[15.Qh5 appears to be the
stronger move as Black must then take the c4-Bishop|
15...Nxc4 and White can play the zwischenzug
16.Bxg5 and then take back on c4]
Qd7 At this point White's
attack looks menacing but he has no way of utilizing the white squares and the g7-Bishop holds the dark
|20.f3 Na4 21.Nb3 Nb4|
|[21...Na5 22.Nxa5 Qxa2 23.Nc4 exf3 24.Nxf3 Nxc3 and Black has blown up the White position!]|
[22.cxb4 The Nxa2 threat
is so strong that it must not be allowed at any cost!|
22...exf3 23.Rd2 and the game has been reset and is again even.]
|22...Nxa2 23.Kd2 Qxb3|
|[or just 23...Rxe4 and then taking the b3-Knight.]|
28.Rd2 Qc1 It
is much easier to find the moves relaxing at home while annotating. The fantastic pressure on the board
between the players should not be underestimated as a factor in the game. There are many difficult exchanges
to be calculated and kept straight.|
[Black does not see the continuation and so agrees to a draw. Best is|
28...Nb2 29.Rxf5+ the Bishop is lost in any event
29...Kg8 sidestepping the attack, Black still has a winning advantage.
30.Nf3 Qc1+ 31.Kf2 Ke2 allows the a2-Knight back into the attack via Nc3+
31...Nc3 with threats on the e4-pawn while whittling down White's attack.]
29.Rd1 Qc3 White
announced that he was intending to play Rd2 and the game was drawn by 3 fold repetition.|