Panjwani, R. - Coppin, W., Kingston Whig-Standard 2002, Nimzo-Larsen Attack 0-1
 Return to: Annotated Games

"Beat them while they are young or forget it!" So goes the sage advice when facing a chess prodigy. By the time this game was played, Raja was already an Expert rated over 2100. These days, his Canadian rating is over 2500, he has earned the International Master title from F.I.D.E. and has picked up at least one Grandmaster norm. In this tournament, the young Raj was beating up on local players with the Nimzo-Larsen Attack (1. b3). Quixote's Horse prepared accordingly.

[Event "Whig-Standard Open"] [Site "Kingston, Canada"] [Date "2002.10.28"] [Round "4"] [White "Panjwani, Raja"] [Black "Coppin, Wayne"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2148"] [BlackElo "2070"] [Opening "Nimzo-Larsen's Opening"] 1. b3 {Notes by W. Coppin. I figured that Raja was reserving this opening for bashing the rabbits. However I had prepared a line just in case.} 1... e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bd6 {As seen in Shutalev (2140) - Shibaev (2306) 4th Stage Russian Cup 2002. The idea (with colours reversed) is similar to the Anti-Sicilian system that was used successfully as White by IM Dr. Danny Kopec: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 followed by 3. Bd3!? with the idea of playing c3, Bc2 and d4 building a classical Big Centre. Super GM Fabio Caruana even played it against GM Topalov. Topalov suffered for 85 moves before finally securing a draw.} 5. Ne2 {Shutalev took aim at Black's Bd6 with 5. Na3 Na5 7. Nc4 Nxc4 8. Bxc4 0-0 and Black had no problems. (0-1 in 21)} 5... O-O 6. Ng3 Re8 {In order to meet 7.Nf5 with Bf8 followed by g6 and Black is at least equal.} 7. d3 {To develop the Nb1.} 7... Nb8 {!? Because of the threat to trap the Bb5, Black forces White to move the d-pawn a second time. This balances Black's loss of tempo but the change in central pawn structure will be a net gain for Black.} 8. d4 c6 9. dxe5 {Any Bishop retreat is met by ...,Bc7! followed by d5 and Black's development is slightly more aggressive than White's. Raja decides to swap off the dark squared Bees instead in hopes of drumming up play against the exposed Re5.} 9... Bxe5 10. Bxe5 Rxe5 11. Bd3 d5 {White's Bd3 is better placed than Black's Bc8 but Black's control of e4 offsets the slight development lag.} 12. O-O Nbd7 13. Nd2 Nc5 14. Be2 Qe7 {?! Too cute by half. The simple ...,Bd7 eliminates any tactical tricks along the d-file and prepares ..., Nce4 with a very slight pull. The text is a completely unnecessary exchange sacrifice offer.} 15. Nf3 Re6 16. Nd4 Re5 17. Nf3 Re6 {There is nothing better for Black so in light of White's repetition a draw was offered... and refused! I now expected Raja to grab the exchange by 18. Nd4 Re5 19. f4 Rxe3 20. Nf5 Qe8 20. Nxe3 Qxe3+ followed by 21... Nce4! with excellent attacking chances for the small material investment. Instead Raja continues to play for complications.} 18. Nf5 Qf8 19. N3d4 Re5 20. g4 {? Frustrated by Black's solid central control, White turns loose the hounds. However Black calmly refutes the weakening aggression.} 20... Nce4 21. g5 Nc3 22. Qd3 Nxe2+ 23. Qxe2 Ne4 {Now 24. f4? Rxf5! is winning for Black. White has no choice but to retreat and cough up the g-pawn.} 24. Ng3 Rxg5 25. Qf3 {?! Again 25. f4? Nxg3 wins for Black. If the White Queen stays on e2 then Black will play ...,Bg4 or perhaps ...,Bh3 with a strong attack. In time trouble, White decides to offer his own exchange sac. but he does not get enough.} 25... Nd2 26. Qg2 Nxf1 27. Rxf1 Qe7 28. Nf3 Rg6 29. Kh1 Bg4 30. Rg1 Qf6 31. Ne1 Re8 {Black's pieces now slowly migrate in the direction of White's King.} 32. f3 Bd7 33. Qf2 Qe5 34. Ng2 c5 {When the Bee reaches c6, White can forget about pushing the f-pawn. Raja finds a good practical try to keep punching but it too falls a little short.} 35. Rd1 Bc6 36. b4 {!? For another pawn, White regains control of d4 for both defensive and offensive purposes.} 36... cxb4 37. Rd4 {Protects against ... Qa1+ and keeps Black's Bc6 buried.} 37... a5 38. f4 Qe7 39. Nf5 Qf6 {! Now that White has weakened the h1-e4 diagonal, Black can win most quickly by giving back the exchange... for a price.} 40. Ngh4 Bd7 41. Nxg6 Bxf5 42. Nh4 Be4+ 43. Nf3 Qg6 44. Qg2 Rc8 45. Rd2 {Or 45. Qxg6? Bxf3+ wins.} 45... Qh5 46. Rf2 Rc3 {White is virtually in zugzwang. The end is near.} 47. Kg1 h6 {White was threatening 48. Qg5 forcing off the Queens and offering some small survival chances.} 48. Qg3 Rxe3 {White has escaped the pin on the diagonal but now a pin on his third rank maintains the bind.} 49. Rg2 g6 50. f5 Qxf5 51. Qb8+ {White could resign here in good conscience.} 51... Kh7 52. Rxg6 Qxg6+ {Black resigns. Raja went on to win the tournament anyway by 1/2 point over yours truly and Geoff McKay. Later that year, he finished only a point back of the winner at the Canadian Open and has never looked back. Yup - get them while they are young... or forget it!} 0-1

The Inspiration

[Event "Cup Russia"] [Site "Samara (Russia)"] [Date "2006"] [Round "6"] [White "Shutalev Mikhail (2195)"] [Black "Shibaev Aleksey (2325)"] [Result "0-1"] [Eco "A01"] 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.Na3 Na5 6.Nc4 Nxc4 7.Bxc4 O-O 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.a4 c6 10.O-O Bc7 11.Ba3 d6 12.h3 e4 13.Nd4 c5 14.Nb5 Bb8 15.d4 a6 16.Nc3 d5 17.Bxd5 Qd6 18.f4 Nxd5 19.dxc5 Nxc3 20.cxd6 Nxd1 21.Raxd1 Bd7 0-1

 Return to: Annotated Games