ETCETERA / Chess

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An unexpected meeting of Masters in Division 1 of the Birmingham & District League this year.

White: K Arkell

Black: M Boguslavsky

Queen's Gambit.

Gone are the days when you could play in the local League and still avoid Russian Masters.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. cxd5

I felt no urge to invite the sharp Botvinnik System: 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5.

5 . . . exd5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Qc2 Na6 8. a3

I vaguely remembered a game - I think it was Ehlvest- Short - that continued 8. e3 Nb4 and ended soon after with Black sacrificing his queen for perpetual check. All things considered, it seemed wise to avoid such complications.

8 . . . g6 9. e3 Bf5 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Nc7 12. b4

I was tempted to play 12. Bh6, but after 12 . . . a5 my own Q-side play is slowed down.

12 . . . 0-0 13. b5

This weakens Black's pawns at the cost of leaving my knight awkward on b5.

13 . . . cxb5 14. Nxb5 Ne6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. 0-0 Qa5 17. Qb3

My opponent admitted to having overlooked this, which keeps White on top.

17 . . . Rac8 18. Rfc1 Qb6

18 . . . Rc6 would have been more accurate, though Black must still work to equalise after 19. Rxc6 bxc6 20. Nc3. The move played invites 19. Qxd5 Rfd8 20. Rxc8 Rxc8, which I disliked after 21. a4 a6 22. Qd6 (or 22. Na3 Qb2 23. Qa2 Qxa2 24. Rxa2 Rc1+ mating) 22 . . . Rc6 23. Qb8+ Kg7 24. Na7 Rc2.

19. Rcb1 Qa5

After 19 . . . Rfd8 20. Nc3 Qxb3 21. Rxb3 b6 22. a4 the threat of 23. a5 is very unpleasant for Black.

20. Qb4 Qxb4?

This allows a long sequence that wins me a pawn. He should have played 20 . . . Qa6.

21. Rxb4 a6 (see diagram)

21 . . . Be7 meets with Nxa7]

22. Nd6 Be7 23. Nxc8 Bxb4 24. Nb6 Bc3 25. Rb1 Rd8 26. Na4 Ba5 27. Rxb7 Rc8 28. g4 Rc4 29. Nb6 Bxb6

The alternative, 29 . . . Rc1+ 30. Kg2 Rb1 31. Rb8+ Kg7 32. Nd7 Ra1 33. Rb3 also leaves White with a clear extra pawn.

30. Rxb6 Ra4 31. Rb3 Nc7 32. Ne1 Kf8 33. Nd3 Nb5 34. Nc5 Rxa3 35. Rxa3 Nxa3 36. Nxa6

An extra pawn is usually enough to win a knight ending.

36 . . . Nb5 37. Nb4 Nc7 38. g5 Ke7 39. Kg2 f6 40. gxf6+ Kxf6 41. h4 Kf5 42. Kf3 Kf6 43. Kf4 h6 44. f3 h5 45. e4 Ne6+ 46. Ke3 dxe4 46. fxe4 g5 47. fxe4 g5 48. Nd5+ Kg6 49. Ne7+ Kf6 50. Nf5 gxh4 51. Nxh4 Kg5 52. Nf3+ Kg4 53. d5 Ng7 54. d6 h4

After 54 . . . Ne6 55. Nd4 Nd8, White decides matters with 56. e5.

55. Nd4 resigns.

(Graphic omitted)

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