CICL Playoffs: Pawns 5, Rogue Squadron 1

This game has nothing to do with the Chicago Chess Center, but hey, it's a blog. 

http://www.viewchess.com/cbreader/2017/5/10/Game46205890.html

 Prude,Sedrick - Brock,William [B23]

CICL Playoffs Chicago (1), 09.05.2017

As convincing as Sedrick Prude's win on Board 1 was, Tom Murphy played an even better game to beat Rob Eaman's tough defense on Board 2. We got rolled 5–1. Thanks to Vito Vitkauskas for keeping us from getting shut out.

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 6.0–0 Nxb5 7.Nxb5 d5 8.d3

8.exd5 a6 9.Nc3 Nf6=

8...Nf6

8...a6 9.Nc3 Bxc3 10.bxc3 dxe4 11.dxe4 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Nf6 and Black may have a slight pull in this sterile ending.

9.Nc3!?

Black to play

Black to play

I found this move annoying. It was not in my opening file "Big Pawn Prep"! 9.e5 Nd7 10.Qe1 Nb8!? regrouping to pressure the magical d4 square.

9...dxe4

9...0–0 principled 10.e5 Nd7!? (I was planning 10...Ne8 11.d4 c4 (11...cxd4 12.Qxd4 Nc7 13.Be3 f6 14.Rad1²) ) 11.Nxd5 Nxe5 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.Nxe5 Re8 with compensation.

A more radical version of the same idea is 9...b6!? 10.e5 Nd7 11.Nxd5 Nxe5 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.fxe5 Bb7. As in the game, I get two bishops for a sacrificed pawn. Unlike the game, the two bishops have good lines.

10.dxe4 0–0?!

10...Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Bg4 12.Be3 Nd7 and Black is close to equality (or 12...b6).

11.e5 Ng4 12.h3

12.Qe2 b6 13.Rd1 Qe8 14.Nd5 Rb8™ 15.h3 Nh6 16.c4 Bb7 17.g4 f5 18.g5 defensible, but no fun for Black.

12...Nh6 13.Be3?!

This move lets Black off the hook: 13.Qe2!

13...b6 14.Qe2 Bb7 15.Rad1 Qc8 16.Nd5

Black to play

Black to play

 

16...Nf5!?

16...Kh8!? 17.Nxe7 Qe6 (My first though was 17...Ba6? but 18.c4! refutes) 18.f5 (only move) Nxf5 19.Nxf5 gxf5: interesting stuff: I did not reach this position in my analysis, or I might have tried it.

17.Bf2 Re8

Or 17...e6, but I was afraid to allow the monster pawn on f6 18.Nf6+ Bxf6 19.exf6 Qc6 20.Rd2 Rad8 21.Rfd1 Rxd2 22.Qxd2 (22.Rxd2? Qa4! with Black advantage) 22...Qa4;

Or 17...Kh8 18.c4 e6 19.Nf6 Qc6.

18.c4 Qc6?!

I missed my last chance: 18...e6! 19.Nf6+ Bxf6 20.exf6 Qc6 21.Rd2 Rad8 22.Rfd1 Rxd2 23.Qxd2 (23.Rxd2 Qc7 24.Ne5 Rd8 25.Qd1 Rxd2 26.Qxd2 Nd6=) 23...e5 24.fxe5 Rxe5!= An important trick!

19.g4! Nd4

This may be best, which shows how sad Black's position has suddenly become. 19...e6 (I did not consider this) 20.gxf5 exd5 21.cxd5 Qa4 22.Qe3 Bh6 23.Bg3 Rad8 24.d6 and I don't think Black will survive (looks too ugly for a human to consider);

Or 19...Nh6 20.Bh4!±.

20.Bxd4 cxd4 21.Nxd4 Qc8 22.Nb5!

Black to play

Black to play

 

Two knights dominate two bishops!

22...a6

The only move

23.Nbc7 Bxd5 24.Nxd5 Rb8 25.b3 b5

I had hopes of counterplay based on Black's airy king, but White has a space advantage and an incredible activity advantage.

26.Rc1 Qb7 27.e6 Bd4+?

I'm clearly busted after this check. 27...bxc4 28.exf7+ Kxf7 29.Qxc4 e6 30.Nc7 Re7 31.Nxa6 Ra8 32.Nc5 Qd5 33.Na4 Black has some practical drawing chances; White has two healthy pawns.

28.Kh2!+– bxc4 29.exf7+ Kxf7 30.Qxc4 e6

White to play

White to play

 I was still dreaming of holding the draw.

31.Nc7!

Star move.

31...Re7

White's beautiful point is 31...Rbc8? 32.Nxe8! Rxc4 33.Nd6+

32.Rfe1 Qb6 33.Nxe6 Rxe6 34.Rxe6

After playing fifteen perfect moves in a row, Sedrick finally gives me a breather. But the game is already gone. 34.f5! Be5+ I assume that we both saw this move 35.Kh1! ...and missed this killshot. But White's alternative wins easily enough. (The automatic recapture 35.Rxe5?? gives Black unjustified drawing chances. 35...Qf2+ 36.Kh1 Qf3+ 37.Kg1 Qg3+ 38.Kf1 Qxh3+ 39.Ke1 Qg3+ 40.Kd2 Qh2+ 41.Kd3 Qxe5 42.fxe6+ Ke7 43.Qc7+ Qxc7 44.Rxc7+ Kxe6 45.Rxh7) ]

34...Qxe6 35.Qxd4 Rb7 36.Rd1 Re7 37.Qd2 h5 38.Kg3!

Back to precision play. 38.gxh5? Qe2+ is probably still lost, but Black would have undeserved drawing chances.

38...Qe3+

38...a5 was a better try (I was down to seconds), but 39.Qd5 is simple enough. 

39.Kh4 hxg4 40.hxg4 Kf6

Time for coffeehouse tricks.

41.Qxe3 Rxe3 42.Rd6+

1–0