WACy - Offwhite, The Chess Knights 2006, Sicilian Defence 1-0
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This may be the most creative game of chess that I have ever played. It was an online correspondence game with a time control of 14 days per move - and at a number of points I used most of that time. Reference material was allowed but no computer engines. - WAC

[Event "Chess Knights CC Game"] [Site "The Chess Knights"] [Date "2006.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "WACy"] [Black "OffWhite"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B95"] 1. e4 c5 {The Sicilian Defence is less a defence and more of a counterattack. Rather than passively defend a symetric pawn structure, Black immediately stakes out space on the queenside while allowing White to dominate the kingside and the centre. This asymmetrical approach demands strong nerves as both players hurry to launch their own attacks. The winner is usually the one who arrives first with the most firepower. Understanding this basic overview will go a long ways toward explaining what happens to Black in this game.} 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 {In return for giving up some central control, Black has gained the half open c-file to use in his queenside counterplay.} 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {This move identifies the opening as the Najdorf variation. The idea is quite logical - Black intends to eventually launch a pawn storm on the queenside with ...,b5. However the idea also comes with a price - Black has already fallen behind in development of his minor pieces. It takes enormous skill and old fashioned hard work to find sufficient tactical compensation to offset this development lag. It should probably come as no surprise that the two most notable players of the opening were the geniuses, Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov. We lesser mortals tend to flirt with it for a while and then eventually give it up in frustration. It is not known if my opponent switched to something less exciting but more solid after this experience.} 6. Bg5 {The Richter-Rauzer idea is intended to dissuade Black from playing the more aggressive lines (featuring a fianchetto of the Bishop on g7) by simply threatening to take on f6, seriously weakening Black's pawn structure.} 6... e6 {This is the most common reply, and probably the best. 6...,Nbd7 is met by the Sozin idea 7.Bc4 and White gets an enormous pull. The combination of Black's cramped development and White's ideally posted minor pieces are a sure recipe for a nasty sacrificial attack. The modest 6...,e6 trades a little aggressive potential for a much more solid defensive structure.} 7. Qd2 {This is not a popular choice among GMs. Perhaps it is because databases suggest that Black gets at least equality with so-called best play. As we will see, I disagree with this assessment. I was following the correspondence game Pineault - Horvath K44 (Canada) in which Black attempted to improve upon Karpov - Kavalek, Bugojno 1980. White achieved a firm grip on the game and smoothly converted in 36 moves.} 7... h6 {So much for my model game! Both Kavalek and Horvath chose the safer 7...,Be7. The text is extremely rare, probably for good reason, but strangely enough is assessed as leading to equality or an advantage for Black! I strongly disagree with that assessment as well. Weakening the kingside pawn structure, where White intends to attack, cannot be correct.} 8. Bxf6 {8.Bh4 is also reasonable but the capture presents Black with a serious positional problem. If he recaptures with the pawn, it further weakens his kingside structure. However recapturing with the Queen brings its own set of problems as soon becomes apparent.} 8... Qxf6 {This is apparently supposed to lead to easy equality or even a plus for Black based on an handful of GM games. The Chess Assistant CAP assessment echoes a small Black plus. I do not agree with the assessment. The Black Lady is misplaced on the kingside. Black's space and counter-chances are on the queenside in the Sicilian. The Queen on f6 is exposed to attack from the White minor pieces and White's soon to advance centre pawns. Black will also find castling difficult now since ...,Be7 will cut of the Queen's retreat. This all means that Black must fall even further behind in development in order to secure and redeploy the Queen.} 9. O-O-O Nd7 {N - This move is a novelty but in my opinion it is not a good one. In the database games that I am aware of after 9. 0-0-0, Black continued with either 9... Nc6, seeking to blunt White's control of the d-file by contesting the d4 square or the prudent 9... Qd8, securing the Lady and preparing to swing back over to the queenside but falling behind another move in development.} 10. f4 {Already White has a virtually decisive threat to push to f5 since ...,Qg5 would simply drop a pawn and ...,e5 would invite the Nc3 into the d5 outpost with tempo. Of course, opening the e-file after f5 would surely be suicidal since White would get both the d5 square and the open e-file with the poor Black King still stuck in the centre.} 10... Nc5 {Black makes yet another move with his Knight, presumably to shore up the e6 square. However this second move with the Knight compounds the normal development lag in the Najdorf and must surely be incorrect. White has more central control, an enormous lead in development and the Black King is trapped in the centre of the board. Basic chess opening principles advise that when you have a lead in development and your opponent's King is trapped in the centre, you MUST play to open the centre in search of lines for attack, even at the cost of material. Black's exposed King and undeveloped pieces will be no match for White's coordinated army once those attacking lines are available.} 11. e5 {Since Black could now have met 11.f5 with 11...,Qg5 then this line opening pawn sacrifice must be the correct advance.} 11... dxe5 {Declining the gift merely loses more time retreating the Queen and gives White more open central lines at no cost.} 12. Ndb5 {Boom! It is not an original attacking theme vs the Sicilian but the follow up was almost surely not anticipated by Black. The first point is that the open d-file rules out 12...,axb5 13.Bxb5+ and moving the King gets mated on the spot. Swapping Queens with 12... Qxf4 just drops the Exchange for no compensation after 13. Qxf4 exf4 14. Nc7+ etc. Meanwhile White threatens mate in 2 beginning with Nc7+. Black's reply is forced.} 12... Qe7 13. Na4 {Sonic Boom! While the position would make for a nice diagram, the move is actually quite logical and not so difficult to find. When one has invested material in an attack it is important not to give your opponent a chance to catch his breath and consolidate his defenses. Thus all active ideas must be examined no matter how ludicrous they may appear at first glance. In this case, White is threatening to simply take the Nc5 since Black gets mated on d8 if he recaptures with his Queen. If Black tries the obvious 13...,Nxa4 he runs into 14.Qa5, pinning the a-pawn and threatening to either regain the piece or deliver a decisive check from the other Knight on c7. That only leaves Black one option - the immediate capture on b5. As we will see, that leads to a lengthy but virtually forced line leaving Black without a viable defence.} 13... axb5 14. Nb6 {The hasty and inattentive 14.Bxb5+ first would throw it all away after 14...,Bd7.} 14... Rxa2 {In for a penny, in for a pound. However, Black has nothing better.} 15. Kb1 Qc7 {Black needs to give his King an escape square and would be more than happy to see 16.Kxa2,Qxb6 with two pieces for the Rook and reasonable expectations of eventually securing his King. White has other ideas.} 16. Bxb5+ Bd7 17. Nxd7 {Of course. White has no interest in seeking to restore some dubious material equality when the Black King is firmly in the cross hairs.} 17... Ra5 18. Nf6+ {The double check and the unfortunate position of Black's Queen makes White's peripatetic Critter into a real (K)nightmare. Combine the Knight's ability to maneuver effectively in tight quarters with White's domination of the open d-file and the future looks grim for the Black King.} 18... Ke7 19. Ne8 Qb6 20. Nd6 {No rest for the weary... the threatened Knight fork on c8 leaves no time for Black to capture the powerfully posted Bishop with the Rook.} 20... Ra8 21. fxe5 {White now calmly secures the Critter on d6 while opening yet another file against the exposed Black King. At this point, I had not calculated the mate, but I could smell it. For those still hung up on material count- yes, White has already restored material equality too without having to give up the attack. Black is obviously busted and White finishes the game energetically.} 21... f6 {I expected 21... f5. trying to give the King some air and keep the central files closed but 22.exf6+ e.p. would lead to ideas similar to the game continuation.} 22. b4 {The poor misplaced Knight on c5 dare not move since 23.Nc8+ would either win the Queen or mate on d7.} 22... Qc7 23. exf6+ gxf6 24. Qf4 {Most accurate. White gains a move preparing Rd7+ ideas by again threatening to win the poor Black Queen by 25.Nf5+ Note how Black is not given even a moment to try to organize some defence.} 24... Qb8 25. bxc5 {With the Black pieces now completely passive, White simply removes the only piece that is preventing a quick mate. Black could have resigned here in good conscience but perhaps he wished to avoid losing a miniature.} 25... Bg7 26. Rhe1 {With the last undeveloped White piece joining the party, the end is in sight.} 26... Kf8 27. Rxe6 {Black had seen enough. White is again threatening to win the Queen as well as Rxf6+ mating quickly. Kudos to my opponent OffWhite! One does not get an opportunity to win such a game unless the opponent is quite strong.} 1-0

The Inspiration

[Event "K44"] [Site "Corr. (Canada)"] [Date "1987"] [Round ""] [White "Pineault, Denis (CAN)"] [Black "Horvath, Steve (CAN)"] [Result "1-0"] [Eco "B64"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.O-O-O O-O 9.f4 h6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nb3 e5 12.g3 Bg4 13.Re1 a5 14.a4 Rc8 15.Nd5 Be6 16.Kb1 exf4 17.gxf4 Bxd5 18.exd5 Nb4 19.c3 Na6 20.Bb5 Nc7 21.Qd3 Nxb5 22.Qxb5 b6 23.Re4 Re8 24.Rhe1 Rxe4 25.Rxe4 Kf8 26.Ka2 g6 27.Re2 g5 28.fxg5 hxg5 29.Nd2 Rc5 30.Qd3 Be5 31.Ne4 Rc7 32.Qh3 Bg7 33.Qg4 Bh6 34.Qh5 Kg7 35.h4 Qd7 36.b3 1-0

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