Stowmarket’s David Green has sent in a recent game he played in Suffolk League Division 3 against Dominic Carter from Saxmundham. This happens to be the third game featuring Dominic in as many weeks!
Here’s the game, with David’s own annotations below:
English Opening: Franceys Allen plays this against me quite a lot so I have checked out some lines to get at least equality for White. According to Rybka the game somewhere became a line from the King’s Indian.
12 R(a)b1.. Just getting off the long diagonal and looking to support activities on the queen’s side.
13 d5.. aimed at kicking the knight to an unsuitable square and strengthening my centre.
13… Ne5 A poor move as it results in the doubling of the Black e-pawns and their eventual isolation and loss.
15…Nh4 The knight is aiming for f4 where it would be well placed but 16 g3 leaves it stuck on the side of the board and now prevents Black from playing f5 safely. The slight weakening of the white squares around White’s king cannot be exploited as there is no black bishop on the white squares.
16… f5 Black plays this assuming he can take back with the g pawn which would give him a strong centre but there is a tactical refutation and so the doubled e-pawns become isolated and weak on a half open file.
17 exf5… and only here did Dominic realise that he could not take with the g3 pawn.
17…gxf4? 18 Qf3! Attacking the loose knight which cannot be defended so has to move, but its only safe square f6 leaves the f5 pawn hanging. Looking a bit further because of the possible discovered attack on the queen when the f-pawn is taken reveals no desperado discovery moves for the knight. The only capture on d5 loses to Qe6 check and the knight is done for. Dominic has to take with the rook and the black e-pawns now look awful.
18 Ne4 heading for the juicy e6 outpost via g5 while also blockading the e-pawn, thus keeping the Bishop blocked from the use of the long diagonal.
18….. Rdf8 pressures the pawn on f2. There is a potential e6 fork of queen and rook but I could not work out the complex consequences of 19 Ng5 e4 which threatens the White queen and makes the c-pawn feel a bit unsafe. It also liberates the fianchettoed bishop and is generally unpleasant for White, not bad for a doomed pawn! I have a deal of respect for Dominic as a player and he had thought long and hard over this move. Could he have seen something that I had not? I chickened out and played safe.
19 Be2.. Attack and defence supports f2 attacks c5 for the second time and seals off the third rank from an invading rook on f3. This was the right decision as Rybka gives me +1.22 for this move and does not mention Ng5.
20 Ng5 here comes the knight looking at e6. Compare the active White knight with the poor horse out to pasture on h5. Here Dominic sank into a very long think of about 20 minutes duration and came up with the pawn sacrifice 20… e4.
Here it was my turn to burn some time. Options? Take or not? If take, what with? Move the queen?
Maybe I was seeing phantoms in the mists but there is a possibility of a knight fork on g3 if I take with the queen. What happens after the bishop comes to d5 and black sacs the exchange on f8 after the fork on e6? Is the concentration of a queen & bishop battery, a rook and a knight on my king’s defences going to be survivable?? I could not tell so I played safe and just took the pawn with the knight, further protecting my f- and g-pawns. After all a pawn is a pawn. This was the start of a steady loss of the black pawns.
The following moves were played when Dominic was in time trouble; he was down to some 3 minutes for five moves in a quite complex position. He loses the game here.
26… Rf3xf6 puts the rook on an awkward rank as White begins a queenside attack.
27 b4 Rc6 and the Black rook is not happy here. Now Black’s bishop controls the entire long diagonal but there is nothing to attack. White’s centralised bishop defends f2 and attacks on the queenside.
28 Rfd1 grabs the open file and looks to seize the seventh rank. It also keeps Black’s c6 rook on the sixth rank or the white rook will grab it and attack the roots of black’s pawn position.
28… g5 recognising the sixth rank problem and getting the g6 pawn to a defended square but at the cost of allowing a pig to appear on the seventh rank.
29 Rd7 a nightmare piece for Black that holds his king on the eighth rank for a while and is to be joined by its partner on move 31. Doubled rooks on the seventh, a good centralised bishop, a king that is safe and a pawn up. White is simply winning. Rybka agrees and scores white +1.44.
32 a4 putting the White pawn on the opposite colour to black’s bishop.
32…. Rd6 Dominic understandably wants to get some play of his own and this move seems to do it by making White either get rid of one rook on the seventh or give up the d file. Unfortunately it is just a mistake that loses another pawn due to a rook fork along the sixth rank. It also allows white to swap off the bishops and get into a winning rook and pawn endgame. White gladly reduces forces as he gets a 3 to 2 majority on the kingside and an outside passed pawn way over on the a-file.
37 Bxc5 there goes another pawn.
Now the winning method was fairly simple; to push the a-pawn, draw the king far away from the kingside to stop it and win by taking all Black’s poor kingside pawns. If I can swap the rooks at the same time then the king and pawn game is winning.
46 Rg8 abandoning the a-pawn, forcing the Black king to take it and attacking g4 mistakenly weakened by 39….g4 some seven moves earlier.
So another pawn falls and black has a solitary rook pawn against White’s healthy three kingside pawns.
The next few moves see Black’s king rushing back to defend his pawns while White plods slowly forwards and eventually kills pawn number 8. Now Black is facing three connected passed pawns supported by king and rook. No contest.
While my play from here on was not the most efficient it gave Black no opportunity for perpetual check or stalemate. When king and pawns appeared on the sixth rank with a rook that had free roam of the board then mate threats were everywhere. One of them ended the game.
So two games played one after the other saw Dominic Carter first keeping all his pawns for a very long time and then losing every single one!