Saturday, 31 July 2010

Morra That, Please!

This morning, I got up, showered and got the early train into Canterbury. I then ate enough bacon to make a vegan cry and washed it down with a bottle of - oh wait. This isn't the Staunton Memorial. Less of this.

Mark C. Rich (2166) - (2074) Philip J. Makepeace

It's never pleasant playing a clubmate and friend in such an important arena. Ideally you'd like to play for an hour or so, suggest going for a pint and shake hands. But we knew that wasn't going to happen today. Smarting after tough defeats yesterday, we both wanted something's flesh.

1.d4 c5 2. e4

An excellent choice, avoiding all my 2...f5 hooey. I suppose I should have possibly smelt a rat and replied less predictably, but hey, sometimes you've just got to man up.

2... cxd4 3. c3 d3 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Qxd3 Nc6 7. Bd2 Nf6 8. Rd1 O-O 9. a3 Ba5?!

9...Be7 instead would treat the position more like a Nimzo-Indian, with d6, b6 and Bb7 to follow.

10. Be2 Bb6 11. b4 a5 12. b5 Ne5 13. Qg3 d6 14. Bg5 Bc7?

Objectively, probably worth two question marks, but I'd simply missed the follow-up.

15. c5 h6 16. cxd6 hxg5 17. Qxe5 Bb6 18. Qxg5 e5!?

Being a tricky sod can be fun, even when two pawns down. Eric can be taken but I guessed Mark would want to shore everything up and castle before building on his advantage.

19. Nf3 Bc5 20. O-O Bxa3 21. Qh4?

With two pieces on an unprotected pawn, it can definitely be taken. Mark was worried about 21. Nxe5 Bb2 22. Na4 Bxe5 23. Qxe5 Re8 but 22. Qd2 looks more than good enough.

21... Re8?

21...Bb4 was necessary to deflect the knight from the d5 square. Now Mark can start to harass my king.

22. Ng5 Be6 23. f4 Qb6+?

Played immediately. It's very natural to want to get out of a pin with tempo but there really was nothing wrong with the immediate capture on d6 - it is in fact white who gains a tempo. Rats.

24. Kh1 Bxd6 25. f5

Missing a win with 25. fxe5! Bxe5 26. Rxf6 Bxf6 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Rd7! and forced mate.

25... Bb3 26. Rd3?!

26. Rb1! a4 27. Rxb3! axb3 28. Bc4 is devastating. Whether the rook goes to e7 or f8 to defend f7, the king becomes trapped.

26... Bb4 27. Rh3 Kf8 28. Nd5 Bxd5 29. exd5 Qd4?

Rubbish. 29...Bd2 would have kept white honest for a little longer. I don't resign immediately purely out of inertia.

30. Qh8+ Ke7 31. Qxg7 Qxd5 32. Rh6 Ng8 33. Re6+ Kd7 34. Qxf7+ Re7 35. Rxe7+ Nxe7 36. Rd1 Bd2 37. Qxd5+ Nxd5 38. Rxd2 Kd6 39. Bc4 Kc5 40. Bxd5



  1. I'm not sure f5 deserves an exclamation mark when there is a much better move available.

    25 fxe5 blows black out of the water
    25.. Bxe5 26. Rxf6 Bxf6 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Rd7 is forced mate.

    26...gxf6 27. Qh7+ kf8 28. Nxe6+ Qxe6 29. Nd5 leaves black with only ...f5 30. exf5 Qd7 31.g4 and it looks all over.

    Interesting game though with entertaining comments.

  2. Ah. Good point. Engines are wonderful things, I should probably use them. I'll amend it, but given you've not left your name, I'll take the credit. ;)


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Release The Kraken by Philip Makepeace and Christopher Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.