Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Comeback Kid

Jan annotates his Monday-night victory

photo: Betsy Dynako

[Update, 10/31: This game has won the USCL Game of the Week! Congratulations, Jan!]

IM John Bartholomew vs. IM Jan van de Mortel
U.S. Chess League / Internet Chess Club
October 26, 2009

annotations by Jan van de Mortel

[Go here to see the game and annotations in PGN.]

1.e4 A slight surprise as Bartholomew had only opened with d4 or Nf3 lately.

1...c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.h4 Rfc8 13.h5 By now I figured my opponent had seen my game with Albert Chow from a few years back.

13...Qa5 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.a3 Rab8 16.Bd3 b5 17.Qg5 This line is supposed to be trouble for Black (White scores about 75% in my database.)

17...Rc5?! 18.Bxc5 dxc5 [18...b4? is very tempting and a variation I looked at a decade ago with the USCL Commissioner Greg Shahade. We concluded it was unsound in the line 16.Bd3, and a bit more playable in the line 16.g4. We also tried the game continuation and what I vaguely remember is that it is unplayble in the line 16.g4 (as Nd7 will be under attack by the rook), and a bit more playable in the line 16.Bd3. 19.Be3 (19.axb4? Rxb4 20.Be3 Qa3 is what Black wants, for example 21.Kc1 Rxb2 22.Kd2 Qxc3+ 23.Ke2 (23.Kxc3 Nxe4# ) 23...Bc4^ ) 19...Bf5 (19...Qxg5 20.Bxg5 bxc3 21.b3 is insufficient compensation for Black.) 20.Nb5! Chow refutes the rook-sacrifice over the board. 20...bxa3 21.exf5 axb2 (21...Ne4 22.fxe4 Qb4 23.Bc1 axb2 24.Be3 Qa5 25.c3+- ) 22.c3+- although I somehow managed to win this game on time (Chow-Van de Mortel, Chicago 2005)]

19.Qxc5 Nd7 20.Qb4 [20.Qxe7 b4 21.axb4 Rxb4 22.Qe8+ Nf8 and Black's attack is overwhelming]

20...Qc7 21.Nd5 taking the pawn on b5 is risky, but might very well be OK for White too.

21...Bxd5 22.exd5 Nc5 23.Rhe1? [23.d6!? This pawn-sac brings both the d- and e-file in play for the White rooks. 23...exd6 24.Rh4 (24.Rhe1!? a5 25.Qh4 Kf8 ) 24...a5 25.Qd2 Qe7 26.Rg4 Qf6 27.Qc1 b4 28.axb4 axb4 29.Bc4+/- Swinkels-Citak, Gibraltar 2007; Perhaps the best is 23.Rh4! a5 (23...Bf6 24.Rdh1) 24.Qf4 and Black might have to trade queens into a bad endgame to avoid getting trampled, for example 24...Be5 25.Qh6 Bg7 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.Bxg6! fxg6 28.d6! exd6 29.Rf4++- ]

23...a5 24.Qh4 Bf6 25.Qh6?! [25.d6! Qxd6 26.Qh6 Bg7 (26...Qc7 27.Bxg6 fxg6 28.Qxg6+ Kf8 29.Rd5! and Black is under attack, as 29...b4 30.Qh6+ Kg8 (30...Kf7 31.Qh5+ Kf8 32.Rxc5 ) 31.Rh1 bxa3 leads to checkmate 32.Rg5+ Kf7 33.Qg6+ Ke6 34.Qf5+ Kf7 35.Rh7+ Kf8 36.Rh8+ Kf7 37.Rg7+ Kxg7 38.Qh7# ) 27.Qg5 Na4 28.c3 Bxc3 29.Bc2 Qf6 30.Qxf6 Bxf6 31.Bxa4 bxa4 32.Re2+/- and White is clearly better due to the weakness of the a-pawns.]

25...Qd6! Black is finally OK!

26.Bxg6! Since my own attack is ready to launch, White has to go for it. [26.Rh1 Qe5 27.c3 b4 28.f4 bxc3 29.fxe5 Rxb2+ 30.Kc1 Nb3# ]

26...fxg6 27.Qxg6+ Kf8 [27...Bg7 28.Qxd6 exd6 29.b3! b4 30.a4 is a safe way to play when White's queenside is under control, though Black should be able to withstand the passed pawns.]

28.Rh1 Qe5 [28...Bg7 29.Qf5+ Qf6 30.Qxf6+ Bxf6 31.d6 is bad news for Black as the White rooks will get very active.]

29.c3 b4 [29...Na4? 30.Rh7 Bg7 31.d6! exd6 (31...e6 32.f4 ) 32.Rxg7 Qxg7 33.Qxd6+ ]

30.axb4? Under time pressure White goes for an 'automatic' in-between trade, missing Black's reply. [on 30.Rde1 I was planning 30...Qxd5 (Very tempting, but not sufficient is 30...bxc3? 31.Rxe5 Rxb2+ 32.Kc1 Nb3+ 33.Kd1 c2+ (Black does not have time for 33...Bxe5 34.Qf5+! Kg8 35.Qc8+ Kf7 (35...Kg7 36.Qh8+ Kf7 37.Rh7+ Kg6 38.Qg8+ Kf5 39.Rh5+ Kf6 40.Rh6+ Kf5 41.Qg4# ) 36.Rh7+ Bg7 37.Rxg7+ Kxg7 38.Qxc3+ and White wins) 34.Qxc2 Rxc2 35.Kxc2 Nd4+ 36.Kd3 Bxe5 37.Rb1 and White is winning due to the weak a-pawn.; Even more tempting, and maybe playable is 30...bxa3!? 31.Rxe5 Rxb2+ 32.Kc1 Nb3+ 33.Kd1 a2 (33...Rd2+ first is also possible 34.Ke1 a2 35.Qh6+ (35.Rh8+ Bxh8 36.Rf5+ Bf6 37.Rxf6+ exf6 38.Qxf6+ Kg8= ) 35...Ke8 36.Rxe7+ Kxe7 37.Qe3+ Kf8 (37...Kd8 38.Qb6+ Kc8 39.Qc6+ Kb8 40.Qe8+ Kc7 41.Rh7+ and White checkmates) 38.Qh6+ Ke7= ) 34.Qh6+ Ke8 35.Rxe7+ Kxe7 36.Re1+ Kf7 37.Qh5+ Kg7 38.Qg4+ Kf8 39.Qc8+ Kg7 40.Qd7+ Kg6 41.Qe8+ Kg7 and somehow White has nothing better than perpetual check! 42.Re7+ Bxe7 43.Qxe7+ Kg8= ) 31.Qh6+ Kf7 32.Qh7+ Ke8!? (32...Kf8 33.Qh6+= ) 33.Rd1 Qf7 (33...Qb3 34.Qh5+ Kf8= ) 34.Qxf7+ Kxf7 35.axb4 axb4 36.c4 and Black might be a hair better.; White's best way to safety is 30.Rh7 Bg7 31.d6! (31.Rh5? bxc3! 32.Rf5+ (32.Rxe5 Rxb2+ 33.Ka1 Nb3# ) 32...Bf6 33.Rxf6+ (33.b4 c2+ 34.Kxc2 Qb2# ) 33...exf6-+ ) 31...bxc3 (31...exd6 32.Rxg7 Qxg7 33.Qxd6++- ) 32.dxe7+ Qxe7 33.Qf5+ Kg8 34.Rxg7+! Qxg7 35.Qd5+ Qf7 36.Qg5+ Qg7 37.Qd5+= ]

30...Rxb4! Threatening Rxb2 with checkmate.

31.Rd4 [Nothing else helps, for example 31.Rc1 Na4 32.Ka1 Qe2 33.Rc2 Nxc3! 34.Qh6+ Ke8 35.Qg6+ Kd7 36.Qf5+ Kd8 37.b3 Qe3 and it's all over.]

31...Rxd4 32.cxd4 Qxd4 33.Qc2 Qxd5 34.Rd1 Qb7 35.Rd2 Qb4?! Even though I saw the best reply, I took a little gamble as White was struggling to stay alive on the clock as well. [objectively better is 35...Ne6 36.Qg6 a4]

36.Re2? [White could have put up a lot of resistance with 36.Rd8+ Kg7 37.Qf2 Be5 (37...Ne6 38.Qg3+ Ng5 39.Rb8 and White's pieces are coordinating nicely) 38.Qe2 Qf4 39.Rd5 Bd6 and the pressure on pawn b2 is gone.]

36...Na4! 37.Qc8+ Kg7 38.Qg4+ Qxg4 39.fxg4 Kg6! [39...Nxb2 40.g5 ]

40.Rf2 Nxb2 41.Rf5 a4 42.Ra5 Bd4 with the plan e7-e5 to cut off the rook from the fifth rank.

43.Ra6+ Kg5 44.Re6 Bf6 45.Re4 Nd1 46.Kc2 Nc3 47.Rc4 a3 48.Rc5+ [48.Kb3 a2 49.Kb2 e5! ]

48...Kxg4 49.Ra5 a2 50.Kb2 Kg3 51.Ra8 Kxg2 52.Ra5 White is hoping for stalemate or a chance to test my KBN vs K skills.

52...Kf2 53.Ra8 Ke2 54.Ra5 Kd3 55.Ra8 Bd4 56.Re8 e5 57.Rxe5 Bxe5 58.Ka1 Bd6 59.Kb2 Ne2 60.Kxa2 Kc2 61.Ka1 Bf8 The Dragon bishop returns home! 0-1

Go here to see the game and annotations in PGN.]

Oh, yes, and please leave some comments below. Thanks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said... is currently in the progress of choosing chess blogs/clubs to receive recognition from as Top Resources. This award is not meant to be anything other than a recognition that your blog/Clubs gives information about tactics that directly or in directly raise Chess awareness. Simply place the award banner code on your site and your resource will be listed as a Top CHESS Resources on once you place it. is a Private Global Chess Server which offer FREE Chess Games and Guidelines for learning chess and whose goal is to promote Chess (which game has lost his fan base) through the spread of information globally. Thank you for your dedication to your Club/blogs. Please reply me back with the subject line as your URL to avoid spam and to make sure that you only get the award banner.