The Czech Pirc Defence
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Haven't heard of it? It has a number of aliases: the Ufimtsev-Pytel variation of the Pirc, others call it the Pribyl Defence. Even more shifty, the opening will sometimes transpose to a French, Caro Kann or good Philidor Defence. Best of all, it thrives on particularly aggressive opponents. This may be just what you are looking for ... but be cautioned - it can lead to positions that are not for the faint of heart. The following games have barely scratched the surface of the theory today. Don't try this opening without first doing your own research. Fair warning has been given.

First, the Big Boys

[Event "Ch Moscow"] [Site "Moscow (Russia)"] [Date "1952"] [Round "13"] [White "Averbakh Yuri L (RUS)"] [Black "Simagin Vladimir P (RUS)"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B07"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 {Rather than 3... g6, this is the move that defines the opening. More on the theory in the following games. This one is intended to show that even one of the top Grandmasters in the world when this game was played, can underestimate the counter-punching threat of this mild looking opening.} 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 e6 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Nd2 {Hyper-aggressive and quickly regretted by White.} 7... Bxe2 8. Qxe2 Nxe4 9. Bxe7 Nxc3 10. Qg4 Kxe7 11. bxc3 Kf8 12. Rb1 Qc7 13. Qg3 Na6 14. O-O Rd8 15. f4 d5 16. Qh3 g6 17. g4 Kg7 18. f5 exf5 19. gxf5 f6 20. Nf3 b6 21. Ng5 Rde8 22. Ne6+ Rxe6 23. fxe6 Re8 24. Rxf6 Kxf6 25. Rf1+ Ke7 26. Rf7+ Kd8 27. Qxh7 Rxe6 28. Rxc7 Nxc7 29. Qf7 Kc8 30. Kf2 Kb7 31. Kf3 a5 32. Kg4 a4 33. a3 Re2 34. Kg3 Rxc2 35. Qxg6 Rxc3+ 36. Kf2 Rxa3 37. h4 Ra1 38. Qc2 a3 39. Kg3 Nb5 40. Qd2 a2 41. Kh2 Rh1+ 42. Kxh1 a1=Q+ 43. Kg2 Qxd4 0-1

A Strong A-class Club Player

[Event "2008 Kingston Fall Swiss"] [Site "Kingston, Canada"] [Date "2008.10.27"] [Round "4"] [White "Coulon D"] [Black "Coppin W"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B07"] [Opening "Czech Pirc Defence"] 1. e4 {Notes by WAC. The Time control was Game in 90 minutes. My A-class opponent has recently moved here from Quebec so his opening repertoire is not well known. My Canadian database revealed 8 or 10 games in which he seemed to favour the French as Black and 1.e4 as White.} 1... d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 {This is the Czech system of the Pirc. It is a perfectly playable alternative to the almost universally played 3...,g6. Some lines will transpose to favourable variations of the Philador or the Caro Kann or even the French. The more independent lines see Black adopting a counter-punching strategy making it ideal to play against very aggressive opponents.} 4. f4 {Sure enough - White chooses the hyper-aggressive pseudo-Austrian Attack.} 4... Qa5 {This is the move that justifies 3...,c6.} 5. Bd3 {White's best move in this line... and played fairly quickly.} 5... e5 {This is simply the best move in this position. Black takes on the White centre directly while fixing that pawn on e4 that is blocking in the White Bee on d3. An important point to note: since d4 is now hanging, Black is clearly already trying to steal White's first move initiative... classic counter-punching.} 6. Nf3 {Black was well prepared for all the possible exchanges or advances in the centre. Indeed, in the early days of this defence, White used to score well with 6. dxe5, dxe5 7. f5. Black has since come up with more than adequate ways to meet White's intended kingside pawn storm, most notably leaving the d7 square avail. for the Nf6 to retreat to as required. Instead White tries a currently popular alternative that keeps the tension in the position. It too was played very quickly. Now the theoretical recommendation is 6..., Bg4. There is of course nothing wrong with that move but my instincts were telling me to try something even further off the beaten path in the hope that my opponent may not be too familiar with the underlying strategic ideas.} 6... exd4 {Black's idea is to find play on the dark squares, flexibly await middlegame developments while forcing the White pieces into a more passive position on the queenside. This not what an aggressive attacking player wants. If you can keep your opponent psychologically uncomfortable, he will always play less strongly than his capabilities. The use of psychology is something that all players should have in their arsenal of tournament weapons.} 7. Nxd4 Qb6 {Forget the so-called opening rules. They are just guidelines. Stronger players all know when and how to break the rules when the situation demands it. First point - the natural 8. Be3 is not possible in this position. Unlike in similar positions in the Sicilian Defence, sac'ing the b2 pawn here does not give White enough compensation... in great part because the b5 square is not available for a White minor piece or Rook. The pressure against the b2 square virtually forces White to settle for the slightly awkward 8. Nb3... not a move that an hyper-aggressive player wants to play. Second point - the pressure along the a7-g1 diagonal is not trivial. It will keep the White King in the centre until White finds a way to get his Bc1 to e3. This will also slow down White's aggressive intentions.} 8. Be2 {!? So - White would rather undevelop his Bee and weaken e4 than retreat to b3 with the Critter. I would have followed up with 8. Nb3, a5! When White would almost have to play 9. a4 weakening the b4 square. I then intended ..., Na6-b4 with more pressure on the White queenside. Instead, White's move allows another counter-shot. US GM Akobian tried 8..., Be7 here but could not grind out more than a draw against Russian Dmitry Batsanin 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 Qa5 5.Bd3 e5 6.Nf3 exd4 7.Nxd4 Qb6 8.Be2 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.a3 Bd7 11.Be3 c5 12.e5 cxd4 13.Bxd4 Qd8 14.exf6 Bxf6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Nd5 Qxb2 17.Qd3 Nc6 18.c3 Bf5 19.Qxf5 Qxe2 20.Rae1 Qc4 21.Re3 Qc5 22.Kh1 g6 23.Rg3 Kh8 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.Qg5 f6 26.Nxf6+ Kg7 27.Nd5 Rae8 28.Rh3 Rf7 29.Qh6+ Kg8 30.Nf6+ Rxf6 31.Qxh7+ Kf8 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Rh7+ Rf7 34.Re1+ Ne5 35.Rxf7+ Kxf7 36.Qh7+ Kf6 37.fxe5+ Rxe5 38.Rf1+ Rf5 39.Qh8+ Kf7 40.Re1 Re5 41.Rf1+ Rf5 42.Qh7+ Kf6 43.Qh4+ Kf7 44.Qh7+ Kf6 1/2-1/2} 8... d5 {! Logically attacking the e4 pawn again and freeing the dark squared Bee. White was now moving much more slowly as he sought a way to get his Bee to e3. Perfect.} 9. a3 {!? Here is White's interesting solution. He will next play 10. Be3 and 10..., Qxb2 would run into the embarrassing 11. Na4! Fair enough. But a pawn is a pawn... particularly a centre one. US GM Joel Benjamin tried the more testing idea of pushing to e5 in a similar position against the amateur Belliciro and easily won in 29 moves: 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 Qa5 5.Bd3 e5 6.Nf3 exd4 7.Nxd4 Qb6 8.Be2 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 d5 11.e5 Ne4 12.Be3 Nxc3 13.bxc3 c5 14.Rb1 Qd8 15.Nb3 b6 16.Bf3 Ba6 7.Re1 Nc6 18.Bxd5 Rc8 19.Qf3 Qc7 20.Rbd1 Bb7 21.Qg3 c4 22.Nd2 Na5 23.Bxb7 Qxb7 24.f5 Kh8 25.Bd4 Bc5 26.Ne4 Rcd8 27.f6 gxf6 28.Bxc5 bxc5 29.exf6 1-0 In this particular position, 9. e5, Ne4 would be very comfortable for Black. Ideas such as ..., Nd7 and ..., c5 and ..., Na6-b4 and eventually ..., Bf5 would be in the works. The game would be incredibly sharp and White would constantly have to solve difficult strategic and tactical problems.} 9... dxe4 10. Be3 {So White has finally achieved his goal. However it has cost him a centre pawn and his dark squares remain shaky, particularly that unprotected Bee on e3.} 10... Qd8 {Not only is this a prudent escape from any White discoveries, but it is also another of those psychologically annoying moves to deal with for an aggressive attacker. For his pawn, White has an huge lead in development. Turning that into an attack is not so easy however, given that Black's only real exposed target is that extra pawn on e4. Now White must seek a way to use his well placed pieces without allowing a Queen exchange or too many minor piece swaps when he would find himself facing a lost pawn down ending.} 11. O-O Bc5 {Black must not play passively or White really will build a winning attack. Since White has weakened dark squares around his King, Black naturally has targeted that unprotected Bee on e3. Remember - White is not particularly interested in swapping too many pieces due to his pawn deficit. That too can be exploited.} 12. b4 {?! The start of a dubious plan but certainly attractive to an aggressive player. The downside is that the move weakens c3 and offers yet another target on b4 after a later ..., a5.} 12... Bb6 13. Na4 {?! It is said that a bad plan is better than no plan at all. Perhaps... but I doubt it. This consistent move is the natural followup to the previous weakening move. Now if the Bee retreats, White can play 14. c4 or 14. Nc5 and even a later Nb3 if necessary with a very strong position. However never underestimate the Czech Pirc's resources, from either side. Think about what White has just left behind.} 13... Nd5 {! A nasty, sharp and almost surely an unexpected shot. The Critter attacks the unguarded Be3 and the weak c3 square. Of course after 14. Bf2 e3! White is getting into all kinds of trouble. After a long think, my opponent saw that he had no real choice but to enter a forcing variation that ultimately favours Black.} 14. Qc1 {Why here and not d2? Simple - to eventually free up that Nd4, White must leave the d-file or allow the swap of the Ladies. Hence the text rather than 14. Qd2. He intends to answer the capture on e3 with a capture on b6. Black has seen that this finesse can be exploited too.} 14... Nxe3 15. Nxb6 {Forced, or White just loses outright to 15..., Qxd4. However, that move is coming anyway.} 15... Qxd4 16. Nxa8 {All as both players have planned. Unfortunately for White, he failed to factor in his exposed King.} 16... Nxf1+ {! Much stronger than 16...,Nxc2+ etc. Now White will soon see that the extra pawn is more than just an endgame advantage... it is an attacker too! Note also that his Knight on a8 is trapped in spite of the potential check at c7! Black finishes with a series of accurate moves that leave White helpless.} 17. Kxf1 e3 {Boom! Not hard to find but satisfying nonetheless. The extra pawn is a monster. Now 18...,Qxf4+ is on tap.} 18. g3 Bh3+ {Off the bench and right into the game. Seemingly from out of nowhere, White is in a mating net.} 19. Ke1 Qe4 {Such creeping Queen move moves can be hard to spot since the Lady is more generally seen as a powerful long range attacker. White has no defence.} 20. Bd3 {Equally hopeless was 20. Nc7+, Kd8 21. Qd1+, Kxc7 and White is down a piece and a pawn without a good move to his name.} 20... Qf3 {One more creeping move and that is all she wrote. This game is a quintessential example of the Czech system's counter attacking potential. White's aggression was turned right back on his own head with a series of accurate counter blows by Black. The role played by that extra e-pawn was perhaps Karma.} 0-1

A promising Kingston junior at the time

[Event "President's Challenge"] [Site "Kingston, Canada"] [Date "2010.08.08"] [Round "2"] [White "Huang J"] [Black "Coppin W"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B07"] [Opening "Czech Pirc"] 1. e4 {NOTES by WAC} 1... d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 {The Czech System of the Pirc presents White with surprisingly difficult problems to solve. eg. 4. Bc4 is met well by 4... d5 while Black can meet 4. Bd3 or 4. Bg5 with 4... e5 and get a good Philidor type position. Last but not least, if White tries the hyper-aggressive 4. f4 then 4... Qa5 is the unsettling reply. In short, although we are surely still within Jayson's so-called book analysis, Black has maintained maximum flexibility for the coming middlegame.} 4. Nf3 {Somewhat of a surprise - Jayson relies almost exclusively upon his "book" preparations and has played the Austrian Attack ie. f4 vs the standard 3... g6 Pirc for more than a year. Thus I was expecting the Pseudo-Austrian Attack here against the Czech System. It is the most aggressive book line. Instead, Jayson invites a line that I had recommended the year before for Black in one of my student handouts. The move is surely White's most solid try.} 4... Bg4 {As played by Kasparov vs the Yuko computer. The idea is to steer the game into strategic lines where proper planning will trump White's considerable ability to calculate.} 5. Be2 e6 {Obviously the idea is to play a quick ... d5 and transpose into a favourable French defense in which Black has managed to get his Bad Bee outside the pawn chain. Kasparov crushed his computer opponent with the plan so the idea is not particularly original but it is very good for Black.} 6. O-O Be7 7. h3 Bh5 {The last book move according to Fritz [the analysis engine of choice at the time - WAC]. The move is perfectly logical: if White wants to chase the Bee then he will have to seriously weaken his kingside.} 8. a4 {This is a typical book move and probably White was still in his pre-game preparations. Black has a cramped position according to Fritz. That is objectively true at the moment. However, Black also has created no obvious targets for White to use to help come up with a plan. Such positions are like a compressed spring... it LOOKS small or slightly cramped but it has the potential to quickly expand violently. White's move is playable but it seriously weakens his queenside and must be followed up extremely actively and accurately. That requires well honed strategic instincts... not the strength of most developing juniors.} 8... d5 9. e5 {White admitted after the game that he normally avoids the Advance Variation when facing the French and here he finds himself more or less tricked by transposition into a favourable version of that line for Black.} 9... Nfd7 10. Nh2 {Freeing up the f-pawn is a reasonable idea. However it does lose a little time thanks to the move order transposition trick by Black.} 10... Bxe2 11. Nxe2 {11. Qxe2 O-O retains a very slight opening edge for White according to Fritz. However I believe that the Nc3 is misplaced in the Advanced French so White's move is probably better than the computer recommendation. Jayson is certainly experienced enough to recognize that Black intends to start pressuring the White centre with ... c5 so he simply freed up the c-pawn to help defend d4. Alert.} 11... c5 {As Nimzo advises, one must attack the pawn chain at its base. Black has read "My System"... many times. :-)} 12. c3 Nc6 13. f4 {So far, White has played in what seems to the inexperienced eye to be a quite reasonable fashion. However the problem with playing "pretty picture" type moves is that the DISADVANTAGES in the position are invariably not properly evaluated or even recognized. Here Black understands the weaknesses that White created on both sides of the board when pushing those Rook pawns and now that f-pawn push has seriously weakened the g1-a7 dark squared diagonal.} 13... cxd4 14. cxd4 Qb6 {Fritz says that 14... O-O 15. f5 maintains White's slight opening pull. Black understands that there is no hurry to castle. The King is perfectly safe in the middle of the board in such closed centre positions and thus Black first plays to maximize the immediate pressure on the pawn chain. Note also that White cannot push to f5 since the e5 pawn would hang. That much was probably obvious, however note that Black is also now leaning on that backwards b2 pawn and particularly on the vulnerable b3 square.} 15. Nf3 O-O {The Black King was reasonably safe in the centre, so why castle now? The answer is found in HOW a stronger player looks at the board. Black already has good pressure on White's centre and queenside. The pressure against the White centre will be increased with an eventual ... f6 and that will pry open the f-file allowing Black to increase the potential threats to exploit the weakened kingside. The reasoning is that sooner or later, White will find it harder to coordinate his pieces to defend ALL the threats on all sides of the board... and that is exactly what happens.} 16. Kh1 {White sees the danger of that pin along the g1-h7 diagonal and prudently tucks the King into the corner eliminating tactical tricks based upon unexpected captures of the e5 pawn.} 16... f6 {Thematic. Black has no other way to reasonably increase the pressure on White's central pawn chain. Fritz suggests that 16... Rfc8 17. Bd2 is also slightly better for Black. That may be true for a 3000 rated computer that only understands tactical play but strong players tend to reject purely tactical based piece deployments when a consistent strategic based line is available. Humans do not think like computers. :-)} 17. Nc3 {Anti-positional - for better or worse White probably should have considered the Fritz suggestion to continue actively on the kingside eg. 17. f5 dxe5 18. fxe6 e4 19. exd7 exf3 although the computer gives Black the edge. Of course, if that is the best that White has in the position, then obviously White must rethink his opening strategy. The databases cough up three similar games in which White manages to hold on for a draw ... but no more. In practical over-the-board chess, White must seek better prospects with the first move in order to be successful at the Expert or better levels of play.} 17... Rac8 18. g4 {Dubious. Jayson admitted after the game that he was unable to come up with a plan in position. That is the problem with relying upon opening books and a natural flair for incidental tactics. The text move *looks* aggressive but in fact it is extremely weakening of the kingside. He has already weakened his queenside and lacks any effective piece co-ordination. Black's pieces are developed harmoniously and it is now the time to start opening the position to exploit that superior development and the weaknesses in the White camp. The computer suggests 18. exf6!? Rxf6 19. Bd2 is equal but Black was intending either 18... Bxf6 or 18... gxf6!? with complications that can only favour Black.} 18... fxe5 {Fritz correctly evaluates that Black has greatly increased his advantage. The pressure on d4 and the c-file and now the f-file will be too much for the poorly co-ordinated White pieces to handle.} 19. fxe5 Na5 20. Ra2 {Another dubious piece deployment. White reacts to the threat to park the Critter on the weak b3 square with another poor positional move. However Fritz suggests an alternative that is also almost winning outright for Black: 20. Qd3 Nb3 21. Rb1 Nxc1 22. Rfxc1 Nb8 etc. The contrast between Black's co-ordinated positional based development and White's simple tactical reaction to concrete threats is clearly demonstrated in this position. White almost surely calculated that the "safer" 20. Rb1 would eventually drop that impudent button sitting uselessly on a4. In fact, it was around here that White fell well behind on the clock - Black was about 5 minutes late in arriving at the board and had also used more time to play the opening than White.} 20... Rc4 {Now White's d-pawn and a-pawn are both enormous targets. The silicon wonder correctly evaluates 20... Qb3 21. Qxb3 Nxb3 22. Be3 as being -/+ but I did not want to swap Queens given the tactical potential to exploit White's weaknesses on both sides of the board. It was a good psychological choice since White immediately heads down a losing tactical path. Some wit once observed that, "A bad plan is better than no plan at all." I strongly doubt that!} 21. Nb5 a6 22. Na3 {It was virtually inevitable that White would blunder sooner or later under the pressure. Just look at the position: White's pieces are scattered all over the board. They are not working together well at all. The White d-pawn is a permanent target, the a4 pawn is a target. The White kingside has been seriously weakened and his King is looking very exposed. Meanwhile, Black has control of the c-file with enormous pressure both vertically along the file and horizontally from the Rook on c4, the other Rook is pressuring that loose f3 Knight along the open f-file, that weak b3 square is just asking for occupation by a Black piece. Herr Fritz suggested giving up a button with 22. Nd6 Bxd6 23. exd6 but that was also losing. Instead Black recognized a likely fatal reality in this position: White's pieces are probably at the most disorganized that they can be while Black's pieces are almost as ideally placed as they can be. An experienced player will ALWAYS take some serious time in such positions to see if there is a concrete tactical way to win. After about 30 seconds, the winning shot suggested itself. A few more minutes of hard work spent in actually calculating the tactical variations revealed that White had no adequate defence.} 22... Rxc1 {! Even Fritz awards the shot with an exclamation point. "The final destruction.", says the machine. It is satisfying that this shot exploits the open c-file, the weak b3 square and the open f-file... just as they draw it up on the chalkboards. White actually looked startled for a second and then his natural tactical ability started to quickly confirm the bad news.} 23. Qxc1 Qb3 24. Ra1 {The tireless machine gives the following losing try: 24. Kg1 Nc6 25. Ra1 Rxf3 26. Rxf3 Qxf3 27. Qc3 Nxd4 28. Qxf3 Nxf3+ 29. Kf1 Nfxe5 30. Rc1 etc. I expected 24. Qc3 Qxa2 25. Qxa5 Qxb2 and White loses too much material. The text limits the immediate material loss to a couple of pieces for a Rook but the exposed White King quickly comes under fire.} 24... Rxf3 25. Qc8+ {Fritz dryly notes that 25. Qc2 does not win a prize after Rxh3+ etc. Other moves also get mated fairly quickly. Jayson keeps punching but the issue is decided.} 25... Nf8 26. Rxf3 {No better is 26. Qc2 Rxf1+ 27. Rxf1 Qxh3+ 28. Kg1 etc.} 26... Qxf3+ 27. Kh2 Bh4 {Machines are annoying. Fritz coughs up the following forced mate: 27... Nc6 28. Qxc6 bxc6 29. Rc1 Qf2+ 30. Kh1 Bg5 31. Rc3 Bf4 32. Rg3 Qxg3 33. Nc4 Qh2#} 28. Rg1 Bf2 {Another forced mate was 28... Bg5 29. Rg2 Bf4+ 30. Kg1 Be3+ 31. Kh2 Qf4+ 32. Kh1 Qf1+ 33. Kh2 Bf4+ 34. Rg3 Qf2+ 35. Kh1 Bxg3 36. Qxf8+ Kxf8 37. Nc4 Qf1# Obviously Black was uninterested in such nonsense over-the-board since a simple winning plan is available.} 29. Rg2 {Poor Fritz stubbornly suggests 29. Qc3 instead.} 29... Bxd4 0-1

A lesser experienced club strength opponent

[Event "Rated challenge game"] [Site ""] [Date "2017.09.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Lewis Carroll"] [Black "WACy"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B07"] [Opening "Czech Pirc"] 1. e4 {cc: 7 days per move. Notes by WACy} 1... d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 {This quiet looking move defines the opening. Some databases call it the Ufimtsev-Pytel variation of the Pirc, others call it the Pribyl Defence. I prefer to call it the Czech Pirc. It was the Czech Grandmasters Pribyl, Janser, Pytel and Hausner who played it regularly in the 1980s, contributing substantially to the theory. In return for conceding central space to White as in the Pirc proper, Black also maintains great flexibility with many opportunities for counter attack should White become a little too frisky. It is particularly dangerous if White treats it as a normal Pirc and plays the hyper-aggressive Austrian Attack with 4. f4 when 4... Qa5 already threatens to win a centre pawn while immediately contesting the initiative. Other lines might see a transposition to a good Philidor with an early ... e5. Of course 4. Bc4 is out of the question due to either 4... d5! or even the so-called 'Centre Pawn Fork Trick' 4... Nxe4!?. This game demonstrates the recommended way to meet 4. Nf3. White seems to become confused by the unusual opening and starts solidly enough in classical style but soon turns belatedly aggressive, only to drop material to a typical Czech Pirc counter attack in the line.} 4. Nf3 Bg4 {White is handling the opening in classical style. It is perfectly fine. That is often the case when the opponent does not know the theory. They are just playing chess. Against this I recommend following Kasparov's approach here - i.e. pin the Nf3, play ... e6 and a quick ... d5 to arrive at a good French or Caro Kann with the Bc8 already outside the central pawn chain. Kasparov's logic is that if the French or Caro are good openings with Black with the Bc8 trapped, then it must be even better to have it developed productively. Kasparov's inspiring victory over a computer is included for reference.} 5. Be2 e6 6. O-O Be7 7. Re1 d5 8. e5 Nfd7 {Notice that d7 was deliberately left available for that Knight retreat. That too is a finesse that is important in some lines. We have now transposed to a good Advance French structure for Black in which that usually buried Bc8 is well employed on g4. A quick ... c5, ... Nc6 and perhaps ... Qb6 and even a later ... f6 will give Black at least equality and good chances to play for more.} 9. a3 {This is the kind of move that one often sees when an opponent is unfamiliar with an opening or position and does not really understand what their plan should be. The central pawn chains stake out space on the wings and thus point to where each side should be playing i.e. the kingside by White and the queenside by Black. Note also that while Black is ready to play ... c5 to start undermining the White centre, that Nc3 would much rather be on d2 where it would not be blocking the c-pawn. Black may well be a little better already.} 9... c5 10. Nb5 {Perhaps recognizing his positional problem, White now turns belatedly aggressive. However, after Black castles here the peripatetic Critter will have no future on d6. Worse, after 10... 0-0 White cannot even play 11. c3 since the Nb5 would have no retreat thanks to that 9. a3 move. In that case, White would have to play 11. dxc5 already giving Black a central majority of pawns. Finally, we note that White is 'attacking' with one piece on the side of the board where Black has the most power. Barring some ingenious concrete idea, it does not seem to be a promising principle based strategy.} 10... O-O 11. Bd2 {White is consistent; presumably playing for a quick b4. However, as suggested, it is Black's pieces that will be better placed for queenside play.} 11... Nc6 12. c3 {Perhaps White wanted his cake and to eat it too. In any case, Black can now actually win material.} 12... Bxf3 13. Bxf3 {No better is 13. gxf6 a6 14. Nd6 cxd4 and White's position is imploding.} 13... Qb6 {Just as French Defence players draw it up on the chalkboards with the added bonus that White is dropping a button for nothing.} 14. Nd6 cxd4 15. cxd4 Qxd4 {Now e5 is hanging and 16. Nxb7 Rfb8 is hopeless for White.} 16. Bc3 Qxd1 17. Raxd1 Ndxe5 {There goes the last of White's once proud centre.} 18. Nxb7 Nxf3+ 19. gxf3 {All endings are now lost for White. He struggles on but has no realistic chances against even club level technique.} 19... Rab8 20. Na5 Nxa5 21. Bxa5 Rxb2 {Many players would resign here - Black is already up two pawns and the rest of White's pawns are isolated targets.} 22. Rd3 Rc8 {Perfectly natural. Black can now double along White's 2nd rank. A later ... Bc5 is also still possible. The only possible concern that Black must have is for back rank tricks.} 23. Red1 Rcc2 {Now 24. Bc3 loses to either 24... Ra2 or probably even 24... Rb3 so White will have to swap Rooks on d2 or play the ridiculous 24. Be1 when 24... Bc5 is crushing. Note that 24. Bd2 Bxa3 is a simplifying tactic as well.} 24. R3d2 Rxd2 25. Bxd2 Bxa3 {Now 3 pawns up.} 26. Ra1 Rb3 {A cute invitation to resign - The White Rook is locked out play completely.} 27. Bc1 {OK - some wit once asserted, "All Rook endgames are drawn." Of course what that is really saying is that Rook and pawn endings can be trickier than they look. However, that most assuredly does not include positions in which one side is 3 rock solid pawns to the good!} 27... Bxc1 28. Rxc1 {Maybe Black will overlook that back rank mate threat...} 28... g6 {and maybe not.} 29. Kg2 a5 30. Rc8+ Kg7 31. Ra8 Ra3 32. Kf1 Ra2 33. Ke1 a4 {And White resigned. The Black King will soon be joining the party of course.} 0-1

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