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No. of Recommendations: 3
Manfreud x Georgi Kostadinov (rating 2210) October 2002

1.d4 b6
2.e4 Bb7
3.Nc3

The immediate fianchetto of the bishop to b7 is called Owen's defense, and it might transpose to Queen's Indian when White plays c4. The fact that I played e4/Nc3, instead of my usual space-grabbing c4/Nc3 indicates that I want to reach new positions. This is the first time in tournaments that I have my Nc3 in front of the c-pawn. The advantage is that White has an easier time castling queenside, because there is no future b5 opening a line against the king; the trade off is less control of d5.

3.... e6
4.Bd3 Nc6
5.N(g)e2 g6

A flexible move to allow a future f3 or f4. If Black played 5....Nb4 to kill the Bd3, I would just go Be3 and focus on superior development, possibly playing f3 later. The same goes for 5....Bb4.
With 5....g6 Black introduces a suspicious double fianchetto system, but he confessed to me after the game that he wanted to experiment since it was the last round.

6.Be3 Bg7
7.a3 N(g)e7

Now a3 is an important move so that White can play Qd2 without disturbances, in other words: if 7.Qd2 Nb4 8.0-0-0 N:d3 9.Q:d3 the queen has to waste another tempo going to d2.

8.Qd2 a6

Now I noticed a subtle psychological game being played here: Black is delaying 0-0 until White commits. He is aware that if he castles kingside I can play f3/g4/h4, and at this point he might even be considering keeping his king in the centre. His 8...a6 is not just a waiting move, he is signalling that after white castles queenside he will proceed b5/b4 to open a line. In any case, this psychological game is a foreshadow of his next move, the origin of Black's problems.

9.Bh6! Rg8?

Of course not 9....B:d4?? 10.N:d4 N:d4 11.Bg7.
Black had to concede and play 9....0-0 going into the game where White attacks with f3/g4/h4 and Black with b5/b4, with an edge to White.

10.B:g7 R:g7
11.Qh6 Kf8
12.h4 d6
13.0-0-0 Ng8
14.Qe3 h6
15.f4

This move and the next are very important, opening the "e" and "f" files.

15.... Nf6
16.f5 e:f5
17.e:f5 Ng4
18.Qf4 g:f5
19.B:f5 h5
20.Ng3

Notice how White never lets go of the initiative, meanwhile improving the position of its minor pieces.

20.... Nf6
21.N(c)e4 Ne7

Since Black is strategically lost (the h5 square is impossible to hold), this is an attempt to complicate. The normal continuation would be 21.... N:e4 22.B:e4 followed by N:h5 (or Qh6 first).

22.N:f6 N:f5
23.N(g):h5

Inferior are 23.Q:f5 R:g3 or 23.N:f5 Q:f6 pinning the knight.

23.... Bc8
24.g4!

Harder to see because there are other appealing candidates (e.g.Rde1 or N:g7). White eliminates the defender of the h6-square, so that if the knight moves, Qh6 is a fatal pin.

24.... Rg6

Oh my god, has White missed something? Humm....no :)

25.Nh7+ Kg8

Black's king cannot go to the e-file without either getting mated or losing a lot of material.

26.e:f5 K:h7

Unfortunately for Black, 26....Rg2 is answered with 27.Rag1! R:g1+ 28.R:g1+ K:h7 29.Rg7+ Kh8 30.Qh6++
Rather than resign and show some respect, Black decides to go to the bitter end... So, what's new?

27.f:g6+ f:g6
28.Qf7+ Kh6
29.R(d)g1!

More than threaten the mate on g6, this move covers the escape square on g4, so that mate is unavoidable.

29.... Bf5
30.Qg7+

1 - 0

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Why not move Be5 somewhere around move 19 or 20, before black played 20. ... Nf6? I might be a little short-sighted here and not playing through enough moves...

Inferior are 23.Q:f5 R:g3

I assume you mean Rxg2 here...

26.e:f5 K:h7

Likewise, here I assume you mean 26. gxf5...

Chris...<sigh of relief>...finally caught up...
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"Why not move Be5 somewhere around move 19 or 20, before black played 20. ... Nf6? I might be a little short-sighted here and not playing through enough moves..."

You mean Be4 for White? Your turn to get the square wrong, ha ha :)Why should I play it? The answer to why not Be4 resides on why I played every single move on the middlegame. (the riddler)


"Inferior are 23.Q:f5 R:g3

I assume you mean Rxg2 here..."

No, there would be a knight hanging on g3.


"26.e:f5 K:h7

Likewise, here I assume you mean 26. gxf5..."

Thats right, 26.g:f5 (I have a feeling I wrote e:f5 on the scoresheet, I had better check).
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