4NCL Online – A Fine Way to End the Season?

It's always nice to wrap up the season on a win.  Unfortunately, that is not how the 4NCL Online Season ended for me, or for the Anglia Avengers first team!  Here's the game that cost us victory in the concluding round. Commentary by Andy Lewis & Martin Walker.
[Event "4NCL Online - Season 2"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.11.17"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Bott, Simeon"] [Black "Lewis, Andrew P"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B65"] [WhiteElo "1671"] [BlackElo "1944"] [Annotator "Andy Lewis / Martin Walker"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Warwick University A"] [BlackTeam "Anglia Avengers 1"] [TimeControl "2700+15"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 $1 {Based upon my 4 decades of experience with this opening, this is the most promising response to the Classical Sicilian.} e6 7. Qd2 Be7 {The most solid option for Black.} ({ An alternative approach, which has been my main response to the Richter-Rauzer over years, is the gambit:} 7... a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f4 h6 10. Bh4 g5 $5 { However, notwithstanding my impressive score with this line, I've become concerned that this is just too risky to play against a well-prepared opponent. }) 8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 O-O 10. f4 Bd7 $4 {A truly awful move - walking into an obvious tactic on the d-file. The only explanation (not an excuse) I can offer is that I was attempting to follow the line in my 2017 game against Justin Tan - but transposed in my memory Black's 10th and 11th moves.} ({Normal and good is:} 10... Qa5 {- which is the move I have found on at least 4 (!) occassions. eg:} 11. Bc4 Bd7 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Bc6 14. Bd2 Nd7 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 17. Rhe1 Rfd8 18. Qg4 Nf8 19. h4 Qc5 20. Bb3 Ng6 21. Qg3 { Tan,J-Lewis,A 4NCL: Oxford v AA [1] 1-0 and after:} Ne7 {Black would have achieved at least equality.}) ({An interesting alternative is:} 10... h6 $5 { which leads to a wild game between 2 World Champions after:} 11. h4 $5 hxg5 12. hxg5 Ng4 13. Be2 e5 14. Qg1 exf4 15. Bxg4 Bxg4 16. Qh2 f5 17. Qh7+ $16 { Anand,V (2725)-Kasparov,G (2795) PCA/Intel-GP rapid 1995 (3.2) 0-1}) 11. e5 ({ Also to be considered is:} 11. Bxf6 {forcing the compromising recapture.} gxf6 (11... Bxf6 12. e5 Be7 13. exd6 $16) {White has now various good moves. But the simplest is:} 12. Bb5 $16 {when Black doesn't even have the 2Bs by way of compensation for his sub-prime P-structure.}) 11... dxe5 12. fxe5 Nd5 (12... Qa5 $2 {is met simply by:} 13. Bxf6 $18 (13. Bc4 $143 Bc6 14. Bd2 Nd7 15. Nd5 Qd8 {returns to the Justin Tan game.})) 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Nxd5 exd5 15. h4 $5 ( 15. Qxd5 Bc6 $44 {helps Black.}) ({My first thoughts turned towards:} 15. Bd3 $14 {restricting Bd7. One can already envision a highly favourable ending in which all major pieces are exchanged and the White K lands on d4.}) 15... Rfe8 16. Re1 Bf5 {The threat of ...Be4 now practically forces:} 17. Bd3 Bxd3 18. cxd3 {After the exchange of Bs I thought I should be fine - but I had not reckoned on this recapture. The plan is Pd4 to bolster Pe5 - which may creates a permanently favourable P-structure for White.} b6 19. Kb1 Rad8 20. Qf4 Qe6 ({I was looking at ideas based upon:} 20... f6 $5 {However, I felt that the Q would prove superior to the 2Rs in a position with Ks exposed. eg:} 21. exf6 Qxe1+ $2 (21... Qxf6 $142 22. Qxf6 gxf6 {with a tenable endgame for Black.}) 22. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 23. Kc2 $18) 21. d4 Rc8 22. g4 (22. h5 $14 {would have been my preference, preventing a Q check on the b1-h7 diagonal.}) 22... Qg6+ 23. Qf5 (23. Ka1 {looks much better. White will follow up with Ph5 with a K-side initiative. Meanwhile, Black has little counterplay against the unweakened White Q-side.}) {Now I spied an opportunity to break up White's impressive P-structure.} 23... Rc4 24. Rd1 f6 $5 25. b3 ({Black avoids the Q-exchange before playing ...Pf6, since:} 25. e6 $2 {blunders Pe6 to:} Rxe6 $17 ) 25... Rc3 26. Qxg6 hxg6 27. Rhe1 Rg3 {This was my plan initiated with 23... Rc4. Unfortunately, I had completed missed my opponent's reply!} 28. g5 $1 { Black indeed wins a P. But it's a miserable doubled-P: the powerful protected-passed Pe5 is more than compensation.} fxg5 29. hxg5 Rxg5 30. Rc1 Rg4 31. Red1 Rf8 32. Kb2 {A good, safety move. White avoids any possibility of any 7th-rank counterplay against the White-K.} g5 {Black is strategically lost, and has to play as actively as possible.} 33. Rc7 Rf7 34. Rc8+ Kh7 {I was still playing for the win, and had completely overlooked:} ({Now was time to play:} 34... Rf8 {and settle for the draw.} 35. Rc7 Rf7 36. Rc8+ Rf8 {etc.}) 35. Rd8 {Yikes! Black is in deep trouble. He is going to lose Pd5, and then Rd1 will turn out to be powerfully placed to support the newly created passed-P.} Rf2+ 36. Ka3 Rgg2 37. Rxd5 Rxa2+ (37... a5 38. Ka4 (38. Z0 $140 Rxa2#) 38... Rxa2+ 39. Kb5 Rgb2 40. Kxb6 Rxb3+ 41. Rb5 $16) 38. Kb4 a5+ $6 ({ Here is where Black started to go wrong in the double-R endgame. After:} 38... g4 39. Rd7 a5+ 40. Kb5 Rgd2 41. Rg1 Rg2 42. Rh1+ Rh2 {Black's passed pawn is as fast as White's. But Black's cannot be stopped: White's can! So White is the one fighting for a draw.}) 39. Kc3 ({Now white goes wrong!} 39. Kb5 Rg3 40. Kxb6 Rxb3+ 41. Rb5 {is winning.}) 39... Rge2 40. Rb5 g4 41. d5 $1 {A nice tactic by White.} Rxe5 ({After} 41... Rac2+ 42. Kd3 g3 43. d6 g2 44. d7 g1=Q 45. Rxg1 Rcd2+ 46. Kc3 Rxd7 {, black is slightly better.}) 42. d6 $1 Re8 { Black is simply lost after this move.} ({A more spirited resistance was provided by:} 42... Rxb5 $1 {After} 43. d7 Ra3 $1 ({Even after} 43... Rc5+ $6 44. Kd4 Rcc2 45. Kd3 Rcb2 46. d8=Q Rxb3+ 47. Kc4 Rb4+ 48. Kd5 Rh2 {, winning for white will be no easy matter against all those pawns.}) 44. d8=Q Raxb3+ 45. Kc2 Rb2+ 46. Kd3 (46. Kc1 $2 Rb1+ 47. Kd2 R5b2+ 48. Ke1 Rxd1+ 49. Qxd1 Rb4 $1 50. Kf2 g3+ $1 {is a remarkable draw - as Rb4, backed up by Pa5 & Pb6 creates a fortress. The White K cannot advance, and the lone Q can achieve nothing by herself.}) 46... Kg6 {when the well coordinated-Rs and the exposed White K give Black decent defensive chances.}) 43. d7 Rd8 44. Re5 g3 45. Re8 Rxd7 46. Rxd7 g2 47. Re1 Rf2 48. Rg1 Kh6 49. Rd2 Rf3+ 50. Kc2 g5 51. Rdxg2 Rf5 52. Rh1+ Kg6 53. Rd1 Kh5 54. Rd4 b5 55. Kd2 Rf3 56. Rd5 {Black resigned} 1-0
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