Chess9030, Quad Tournament. Round 1


ElCreyente VS. MusiqueWand,

Classical French, Steinitz / Modern variation.

Prior to our game, I studied my opponent a bit so I knew what variation he’ll play.
We went into the most complicated variation where theory has not yet established a firm grasp of what each side should do. Many players have suggested ideas in that line, including Anand, Shirov, Polgar, Morozevich and others. In this game I didn’t play any of these modern ideas. Instead I tried to stick to Old theory, simple strategy and thematic French play.

Just a few hours after this game MikeA and Uwak had their own 9030 game and that too was a French defence. Both games were very well played, exiting and interesting.

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.15"]
[White "ElCreyente"]
[Black "MusiqueWand"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2221"]
[BlackElo "2341"]
[ECO "C11"]
[Opening "French"]
[Variation "Steinitz variation"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Nce2 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Nf3 f6 


9. a3 

( Another line is 9.g3 and I think it’s slightly better but that’s a personal opinion. )

9… Be7 10. h4 O-O 11. Rh3 

( This is where theory has been debating for a while. As mentioned above many players have different ideas here. One thing is certain, if Black does not know this line it may end badly and swiftly for him but if he shows resilient defence he may even come on top. As you will see this game demonstrates some of the problems White faces in this line. Especially with his poor and if I may say, even stupid development. NOTE - when I say "stupid" It's not an insult to my opponent of course. It's just a way to describe the lack of play and deficient posts of White's pieces in this line. It's very "potent" and may become outrageously dangerous but sometimes, as seen in this game it is no more dangerous than any other cheapo! )


11… a5 

( There are many moves to suggest here, this one is well tested though. Black holds the Queen side at bay while preparing to redeploy his pieces to a more brutal construction. After all, centre demolition is what the French is about. )

12. b3 Qc7! 


13. Neg1

( This is the hallmark of this variation. Personally, I haven’t decided yet. It’s hard for me to say if this move is well calculated, well analyzed and deep indeed or simply a stupid move that wastes time. I honestly don’t know yet. It may be the case that in the future this line will force Black to consider other alternatives or that White’s entire plan with Rh3 and this move will be forgotten and briefly mentioned as a dubious cheapo. )

13… fxe5! 

( I chose not to participate with the current debate. Anand favors …b6 and you can read some other ideas in Watson’s book or in Gulko’s book. I just find this to be thematic. Black will get the f-file and a massive centre. classical thematic French plan. )

14. fxe5 Ndxe5! 

15. dxe5 Nxe5

( Aside from getting these two beautifully placed centre pawns. Black has numerous tactical lines here. Of course we can see that Black has f-file pressure all the way down to the f2 square. The possibilities of e6-e5-e4 are so strong, both positionally but it also frees the LSB to attack the Rook and the Queen pointing straight onto the g3 square. As you will see Black can even improve on that! NOTE - this Nx-centre is very thematic in the French. ) 


16. Nxe5? 
( This move was a crucial error. It strikes me as an uneducated move as well. How do you think that MusiqueWand?? Where shall I start… for start it’s optimistic. White “thinks” that this will allow him A) to bring his g1 Knight into play and B) to trade Queens, which he “believes” will help him simplify the game. This is an uneducated perception. A strategic misconception that if not understood will cost you many games where you find yourself in material imbalance. In fact White should grave the up coming endgame. It is well known that the value of material is not an exiom. A Knight, by itself is worth roughly 3 points, that is correct but at the start of the game when nothing has been played the Knight’s value is closer to 5 pawns! As the game progresses the minor pieces can improve their value via positional posts or decrease it by time and material loss. In the endgame a minor piece can be (and often is) worth less than one single pawn. This is not merely the pawn’s ability to stride across the board and become elevated to a Queen, which in itself has a greater value than a Knight. This is true but the pawn in itself is very often too far for the Knight to attack or by “just being there” maintains certain play that allows the opponent maneuvering capabilities that saves the game. Any piece in itself has “existing” value of 1 to 2 points. This is why we need to remember that chess is not about the material that left the board but rather the material that stays on it. In this case we’re not talking about 1 pawn we’re talking about 2 connected central pawns!! Such a plus is surly better than any minor piece including a Rook. And all that is without taking into account the the dynamics and game-control that Black will have by owning the centre. what else is there?? okay, well the reason I found this idea optimistic is because after Black recaptures …Qxe5 and White plays his optimistic and uneducated Qe2 we find that there are several things to consider and they are all bad for White. A) His f1 Bishop and g1 Knight, for lack of other words are stupid pieces to have. Moreover, the Queen on e2 is not really best placed. Black can and should decline this offer of trade. Why help him?? As you will see Black refuses to help White in the next few moves and maintains full game control. )

16… Qxe5+ 17. Qe2 

( Silly pieces mark silly plans. NOTE - again, this is not meant to be directed towards my opponent. Not at all, this is a remark about the variation and its minuses. Besides, how else can we truly call such inferior pieces? )


17… Qc7! 18. Bg5 Bd6! 

( This formation of pawns with the Queen and Bishop is something you often find. I call it the Bow and Arrow. It is extremely potent and hard to break. )


19. Rf3 Bd7 

( Finishing development. Very important. )

20. a4?! 

( The move is understandable but it is also dubious at this stage. There are many continuations for both sides. Many captures and lines to consider. I don’t know if it will do any good to name them all. I think that the strategy is important to understand and from there we all have different tastes for tactical lines. I chose to check the King now because I was worried that otherwise he may find some plan to keep him safe and out of reach. Black is almost free to decide when to play ... Rxf3 / ... e5. other more positional moves are ... Qb6 which attack the Queen side and has really annoying lines. in the end I chose to check the King and reclaim another pawn. Rybka seems to like this sort of thinking =D )


20… Bg3+ 21. Kd1!! h6! 22. Bd2 Bxh4 

( Material balance, positional plus. Black is clearly better. )

23. Kc2 Bf6! 

( Refusing to allow any trades and redeploying the Bishop to a better square. Now that it points straight to the White King, Black can start thinking about a concentrated attack via … Qb6 and …e5 and …c4 and … Rc8. whichever best suits the position. )


24. Qd3!!? 

( I thought this to be a really good move. I was wrong but I still think it deserves a "!" Because it’s a very good practical try. Suddenly White is threatening his own attack via Qg6 and Bxh6 and what is Black to play?? It appears that Rybka has a fetish fancy for …Qb6. over the next few moves it keeps offering it as the clear first. Dunno, seemed risky to me. I’m a Petrosian fan after all, I prefer to parry my opponent’s threat long before they realize them. …Qd6 would also make some sense here, instead I chose to play …Be8 to stop White from penetrating and to free the d-file for …Rad8 which supports the d-pawn and allows …e5. Like I said, I like Petrosian. The reason this move Qd3 also got a "!?" from me is that once that smoke has been cleared and there is the mentioned continuation to consider the Queen is badly placed as you will see in the game.)

24… Be8 25. Nh3 Rd8 26. Nf4 

( Woaa, this guy is very stubborn about his plans! =D … again, Rybka prefers … Qb6 or … Qd6 or …Rac8 but I tried to keep the situation under control rather than to attack. I felt that my attack is coming either way and there’s no way to stop it so if I have the time why not use it to secure the King side? )


26… Bf7 27. Ng6?? 

( A ProblemBot exercise! Black to move and win. )


27… c4! 28. bxc4 dxc4 29. Qe4 Qc6! 0-1

* I think he should have played a few more moves. White had excellent practical tries here. For instance: 30. Qg4 h5 31. Rh3! Qb6 (31... Rxd2+ 32. Kxd2 Qd6+ 33.
Kc2 Bxc3 34. Rd1 (34. Kxc3 Qb4+ 35. Kd4 Rd8+ 36. Ke4 c3+ 37. Ke3 Qc5+ 38. Kf4
Rd4+) 34... Qb4 35. Ne7+ Qxe7 36. Qxc4) 32. Rd1 (32. Bxc4 Rxd2+ 33. Kxd2 Qb2+
34. Ke3 Qxa1) 32... Bxg6+ 33. Qxg6 Qb3+ 34. Kc1 Be7 35. Qxe6+ Rf7 36. Qxe7 Rxe7
37. Rh4 Qa3+ 38. Kb1 Rd3 39. Bxd3 Qb3+ 40. Ka1 (40. Kc1 cxd3) 40... Qxd1+

As usual you can find this game on my ICC library, game number 40

The other game in this 9030 tournament was played Between MikeA and Uwak.

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.15"]
[White "MikeA"]
[Black "Uwak"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ndf3 Qb6 8. Ne2 f6 9. g3 Be7 10. Bh3 cxd4 11. Nexd4 fxe5 12. fxe5 Ndxe5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. O-O Bf6 15. Qh5+ Nf7 16. Be3 O-O 17. Rae1 Qd6 18. Nb5 Qe7 19. Bg2 a6 20. Nd4 Bd7 21. Qe2 Rac8 22. Rf2 Rfe8 23. Qg4 Kh8 24. Qd1 Nd6 25. Qb3 Nc4 26. Bc1 Qd6 27. Ref1 e5 28. Nf5 Bxf5 29. Rxf5 b5 30. Qd1 Rcd8 31. b3 Qb6+ 32. Kh1 Ne3 33. Bxe3 Qxe3 34. Bxd5 Qxc3 35. R5f3 Qb4 36. Rd3 e4 37. Qg4 Bc3 38. a3 exd3 39. axb4 Rxd5 40. Qf3 Rdd8 41. Rd1 Re1+ 42. Kg2 d2 43. h4 Bxb4 44. h5 h6 45. Kh3 Rxd1 46. Qxd1 Bc3 0-1

A very good day for the French!!