Game annotation, NFork VS. MusiqueWand ,G2, French

I was playing NFork before but I can’t recall how the game went and neither can he. Incidentally, I was feeling like chaotic “fun” play that day which these days is rare for me.

It turned out to be an insanely complicated game where imbalance will be an understatement. It’s hard to make a concrete analysis even with the help of top computer programs and books. many of the positions are arguably dynamically unclear and the compensation each side has, takes a Top GM knowledge to evaluate.

The opening is NOT sound, but then, it was never meant to be! Like I said I was on a “playing like an idiot” mood and felt like throwing things at him and complicate things more and more and then some more (Perhaps this is Brian's fault!). Not my usual style of play but occasionally I drop back to that sort of “practical” and mortal play. 

* Mind you that NFork’s rating is usually over 2400, he took part in a 24 hour 15 minutes tournament where you actually play without sleep for 24 hours. Obviously after a while you start losing games so this is how his rating dropped but I’ve seen him on ICC and in one day he gained back 130 ICC points so I feel certain that in a week or two he’ll bring it back to the 2400 mark. 

White: NFork
Black: Yours truly.
Opening: The French

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.11"]
[White "NFork"]
[Black "MusiqueWand"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2078"]
[BlackElo "2351"]
[ECO "C13"]
[Opening "French"]
[Variation "Albin-Alekhine-Chatard attack"]
[TimeControl "3600+30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6


( The classical French Defence. A long time favorite of mine. It mysteriously plays a tender tune in my heart. I used this defence to beat my first Master and to this day, my results with it are mysterious and unexplainable. I simply win more when I play the French and I have no logical explanation to that fact. The truth is that I do not believe it originates of my own virtues. It is my belief that the opening itself is just good. Strategically speaking, it is my “opinion” that aside from 1…e5 (which on the strategic front has to be accounted as Black’s finest reply) 1…e6 is as good or even best and certainly reliable. Why not the Winawer? Ahhh, dunno, I always preferred the Classical but I play the winawer as well. )

4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4! 

( The Alekhine-Chatard Gambit. I can’t, for obvious reasons, go into the depth of analysis here but it is safe to say that this is one of White’s best weapons and Should Black take-on the challenge he better know exactly what he is doing because White will unleash massive amounts of complications and tactics – some are very difficult to comprehend OTB had you never seen it before. there are loads of ideas for White, including sacrificial Knight or Bishop lines against the Centre. Dangerous Knight-paths and indirect attacking lines. Boglojubov played some fantastic games with the White pieces and introduced many tactical sacrifices. My advice to you, don’t bloody play it! I’m one of them odd people who strongly believe that the best way to refute a Gambit is not accepting it! I always felt that the best way to handle any position and any problem is to find the right strategy and play good chess! Shocking I know, almost heretical I should say. Who in his right mind want to play decent chess moves?! You have to be outrageously crazy right? The truth is that chess is a strategic game from which tactics should flow. Not a tactical one where you occasionally play a dull strategic move because there’s nothing useful to watch on the Telly. But hey, that’s just me, don’t listen to me… I’m just a Whacko! )


6… h6?!! 

( This move is considered bad, plain and simple, bad. Well, I’m not so sure. Is it dangerous – great maker yes! Does it create a weakness in the Black camp - great maker yes! Does it make any sense at all? great maker yes! Well, at least some logic. Why on earth would I play that?? I am in the midst of restudying the French since I have been playing the CK for a while now and I honestly need a deep refresh so I’m going over Gulko’s book on the Classical French. I was looking at this move with Rybka and it doesn’t seem to think it’s that bad. I was making some analysis which as you will see becomes very tactical and in all honesty I expected to lose this game. I just felt like playing crazy lines so here we go… )

7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. Qg4! 

( 7. Qh5 g6 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Qg4 a6 10. f4 h5 and Black can hold. Believe it or not this is actually somewhat of a TN by NFork and it is THE best move white has so thumbs up for the N-man! There are other lines for white, none of them are any better and this is more of an annotation rather than excessive analysis. If you’re interested, look at it with CB. The ideas are simple to understand but even more troubling is that they’re also simple to play! White intends Rh1-h3-g3 with a very simple and effective mate threat and f2-f4-f5 breaking into the Black camp and of course Bd3 etc. all pretty standard. Amazingly, Black can actually defend this which is why I played the next move…)


8… O-O!??!!? 

( I call this a “say what” move. Black is obviously suicidal right? Might as well eat a plagued frog and swallow a dead sneak. Or better yet, save White the trouble and shoot yourself instead, yes, that will be quicker. Ahh… yes anyway… the truth is that this is already unclear. It’ll take a lot more analytical tries to prove whether white is “really” winning here or is it just practically a good opening line. After all, Black does have …f5 and …c5 as resources right? After …f5 the Black Queen defends the g-pawn and with …Kh8 and …Rg8 things may turn around. Okay, I’ve said it, unclear! )


9. f4! 



( Nyam Nyam, what what?? Instead of the usual …c5 or …a6 or…f5 or …f6 ideas Black is giving away a  
   and for what exactly?? Ah, well, for something very intangible. It’s called positional compensation and practical chances. How so? Well this “Benko-plan” is actually something White should understand and understand well before he decides on a plan. White has committed his King side at a very early stage of the game. This is move 9 and white already spent 5 of these moves pushing pawns. His position is aggressive but he does not have justifiable piece play to make the attack a success. And what about his King? Where is this one going then? To the broken up King side where it can be attack via …f5 and opening lines? mhmmm, maybe to the Queen side? Oh wait, aha! So this is what this Benko move is about… making noise on the Queen side and opening up lines there as well. Suddenly it’s not very clear what white should do! If he takes the offered pawn he will find himself in a sharp game because he won’t be the only one attacking and if he doesn’t, Black gets to attack first. Not easy to say and not even clear. BTW, Rybka gives this position a score of 0.47, that’s all! So apparently the seemingly pawn sac is not without merits. and hey! it's only a pawn



10. Bxb5! 

( There was a nice trick here too. Had White played 10. Nxb5 Qb4+! 11. c3 [forced] Qxb2 12. Qd1 [forced!] a6 [image]  (the Knight is almost trapped!) 13. Rb1 Qxa2 14. Nxc7 Ra7 15. Ra1 Qb2 16. Nb5 Rb7 and Black is probably better. It’s also interesting to see that after the forced Qd1 White had to lose a tempo by moving the Queen again and with out the Queen on the King side his attack doesn’t really make sense anymore. )

10… Ba6! 


11. O-O-O!?? 

( Unclear, but probably a mistake in view of the fierceness of moves to come! Better was Bxa6 / Rh3 but White is starting to feel the psychological burden on his King and felt that he should Castle. In reality, White should accept the sharpness of this opening and keep his King in the centre. )

11… Bxb5 12. Nxb5 


12... Na6!? 

( The idea is not to play …c5 or …Nc6 or …f6 but to make way for a swift attack. Black is making way for Rb8 with Qb4 etc. )


13. Rh3!


13… Rab8 14. Rb3? 

( A mistake, unfortunately White fell for the psychological white-noise. Using his attacking piece as a defensive one? the simple Nc3 or Rg3 would make more sense. Now Black takes the initiative! )

14… Nb4! 

( it’s almost shocking but White's best move here is to bring the Knight back to c3. the problem is that it not only cuts the Rook's rank-play so it can’t go to g3 now but it also threatens the Rook itself! With …a5-a4 and …c5 with …Nxc5 etc. The Rook's future seems unpleasant. Clearly Rh3-b3 was a critical mistake in this game. Perhaps we can call it a strategic Blunder. ) 


15. Nc3


15… c5! 16. Nge2 a5!! 

( after this move I consider Black’s position to be superior with a clear plus for Black. Rybka does not agree with this assessment. )


17. f5! 

( It’s about time! )

17… exf5! 


18. Qxf5 cxd4! 

( I saw some simple ways of improving my position de-la-Nimzo-Petrosian style. After these captures my intention was to play the Knight to Nd7-c5-e6 with a blockade. To hit his pawns and to prepare …f6. )

19. Rxd4 

( As mentioned, 19. Nxd4 Nc5 20. Ra3 Ne6 will be good for Black as the Knight is well placed and protects the g7 pawn too. )


19… Qe6!! 

( This is where the complications get overwhelming for both players to fully calculate.

A) 19... Qxe5 20. Qxd7 Nxa2+ 21. Nxa2 Rxb3 22. cxb3 Qxe2 23. Qxd5 and white wins!

B) 19... Nxe5 20. Rbxb4 Rxb4 (20... axb4 21. Nxd5 Qd6 seems less clear and for reason I prefer White. ) 21. Nxd5 and again White wins.

C) 19... Nc5 20. Rbxb4 Rxb4 (20... axb4 21. Nxd5 Qe6 22. Qxe6 fxe6 23.
Nxb4 Rf2 24. Nf4 g5 25. hxg5 hxg5 26. Nfd3 Nxd3+ 27. Nxd3 Rxg2 with another unclear ending but despite being an Exchange down, the White Queen side pawn should be decisive. ) 21. Nxd5 and White is better or maybe even winning.

There are many tactical notes here, …Nd3+ followed by Rxb3 or …a4 or attempting to “force” White to play a3 himself in order to play …Nd3+ and Black has …f6 coming which will introduce new tactics and even mate threats. But in the mean time Black has to play good chess which is never easy. And extremely time consuming. Like always I was starting to go into time trouble. Rybka gives this position a score of 0.00. that can lead the viewer to think that this is a drawish position. Far far from it. It’s just the computer’s way of calling it dynamically equal. )

20. Qh5 

( QxQ fxQ will allow Black to penetrate with Rf2. it appears that it may still be the best White has here. The computer also suggests g4 but then Nc5 and Black is better. )

20… f6! 


21. a3!!? 

( Again, hard to say. perhaps this was White’s best try but you can see how such a move is not very appetizing. The Rook is already locked in and may be in danger. The whole position is like is on the verge of explosion. )


21… fxe5! 22. Rd1? 

( Slightly better but still losing will be 22. Nf4 exf4 23. axb4 f3 24. Qxd5 Qxd5 25. Nxd5 f2 26. Ne3 f1=Q+ 27. Nxf1 Rxf1+ )


( No, No, No, Nooooooooooooo!!!!! Why, why must I be an idiot!! I hate time pressure. I hate it! Missing the winning move!!! why why why…. Hoooffff… I need to learn to:
      Back to the game. Here the winning move was obviously: 22... Nc5 23. axb4 Nxb3+ 24. cxb3 axb4 25. Nxd5 Rbc8+ 26. Kb1 Qxd5 27. Rxd5 Rf1+ 28. Rd1 Rxd1+ 29. Nc1 Rdxc1+ 30. Ka2 Ra8# [image]  not all forced but proves the point with a beautiful finish that pretty much entails all the we talked about. Unfortunately, I missed it. I was under time pressure already as you can see from the next diagram. Despite feeling sorry for myself the game’s continuation is truly one to remember! We ended up playing a beautiful endgame. Not one that you get to see every day. )


23. Rxd3 Rxb3 24. cxb3 Rf5! 

( “Trapping” the Queen. Though this line is not winning, I am proud of myself for seeing this tactic at time pressure. It’s rather nice still. Unfortunately, NFork is a very strong player and his endgame technique is quite impressive so it went on to be a draw. A very beautiful draw! )


25. Nf4! 

( Less clear will be QxR with QxR Rxd5. hard to evaluate. Unclear dynamics. )

25… exf4 26. Qd1 Nf6 27. Kb1 Re5 

( at this point I considered my position to be better. This is not true, White’s Queen side pawn proved to be a major resource. )

28. Ka2 Re1 29. Qd2 Re3 30. Nxd5


30… Nxd5 31. Rxd5 a4 


32. Rd8+ Kf7 33. Qd7+ Qxd7 34. Rxd7+ Ke6 


35. Rb7 axb3+ 36. Rxb3 


36… g5 37. Rb6+ Kf5 


38. Rxh6 g4 39. Rh5+ Ke4 40. Rh8 g3

( Roughly the same will be 40... f3 41. gxf3+ gxf3 42. Rf8 Kd3 43. h5 Ke2 44. h6 Re7 but I felt that …g3 is slightly more conning.)


41. h5 f3 42. Re8+ Kd3 43. Rd8+ Ke2 44. gxf3 g2 


45. h6 Re5 46. Rg8 Kf2 47. b4 g1=Q 


48. Rxg1 Kxg1 49. Kb3 Kf2 


50. Kc4 Kxf3 51. b5 Rh5 52. a4 Rxh6 53. a5 Rh4+ 54. Kc5 Ra4 


55. a6 Ke4 56. b6 Rxa6 57. b7 Ra5+ 58. Kc4 Ra1 59. Kc5 Rb1 1/2-1/2

After the game he told me that I can't always play like a neanderthal. That I need to have a plan!   

Well, it was hard to explain to him that usually i'm a very solid player but occasionally I feel like playing silly chess.

We scheduled a 90 30 game for the next day and I won quite convincingly with the White pieces. I played the Catalan.


As usual you can find this game on my ICC library, game number 37