Alekhine's DefenseB03

D Curry
D Scriven

Birmingham League Individual Competition (Semi-Final)
Division 4, 2003-4

1. e4 Nf6 Notes by Dave Scriven. This is the second game. I am Black. My first dilemma would be at move 1. I'm sure Don would have asked around to see what I play against e4. Do I use my usual Alekhine or do I try something else for a surprise? My Alekhine's biggest asset at my level is the surprise factor, when most players look horrified and generally play 2. Nc3. Even though I guessed Don would have researched the opening, I decided on the Alekhine. Don had researched an unusual line, thanks to a tip-off from Derek Digger. 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Bc4 This is an unusual move that threw me slightly. 4... Nb6 5. Bb3 dxe5 I expect Don's Queen to come out next move, because that is the type of game he plays. I am already starting to hope that once I weather the initial storm the pawn on e5 will become weak, though it will have a cramping effect at present. Watch what happens to my QB from now on. Was ...Bf5 playable before swapping the pawns. 6. Qh5 e6 7. dxe5 Nc6 8. Nf3 g6 Not sure this is the best to try and unravel myself, but at least I gain time against his lady. 9. Qg4 Bg7 From now on I am constantly watching out for Bg5, especially when my Queen has so few squares. Surprisingly, Don never plays it. 10. Qe4!? This surprised me. I thought the Q on g4 was better. There was always a chance of a Bishop sacrifice on e6 if ever I tried to break out with ...f6/f5. 10... O-O 11. O-O Been expecting this. Must watch for Rd1 in the future because the Queen has so few squares. It could be a real bind. 11... Na5 I decide to trade off the Bishop. The light squares will then be mine, especially with his e5 pawn on a dark square. I looked at the a-file opening but I couldn't see how his rook was going to get to the K-side quick enough to cause me any danger. I never considered the other dangers of opening the file. 12. Nc3 Must now watch for Rd1, but first I trade off the Bishop. Perhaps I should have created a better escape square for the lady first. 12... Nxb3 13. axb3 c6 Gives the Queen an escape square and allows her to attack e5, but my QB is now very bad and stopping my rooks from communicating. 14. Rd1 Qc7 15. Be3 Nd5 Looks a great square for the Knight, but was ...Nd7 better? I had been looking at the e5 pawn for a while, so was now the time to challenge it? 16. Na4 Obviously Don is heading for c5, but I can stop that. 16... Nxe3 Was this a wise trade, great Knigt for a Bishop? 17. Qxe3 b6 I take away the obvious c5 from the Knight and allow my Bishop to go to b7 next. What a good move that must be. I have the Bishop pair and I'm now untied with his Knight on the edge and out the game. I like my position. 18. Nxb6! I totally missed that because I was so convinced his Knight was heading to c5. Now I really dislike my position. Don later said he was going to b6 anyway, the pawn was a bonus. 18... Rb8 19. Nc4 My a-pawn is in trouble, his Rook is ready to invade and his Knight is heading to the fantastic d6. Can it get much worse? 19... Rd8 20. Nd6 Qb6 If I can take the Queens off and hopefully a rook my Bishop pair must give me some drawing chances. After offering this Queen exchange I went to the bar. I offered Don a drink, but he declined. Perhaps he had the foresight to realise he wouldn't have time to drink it. 21. Nc4 I returned from the bar to see Don play this move. I couldn't believe he had retreated his Knight from such a great outpost just to re-capture the Queen without disrupting his pawns. Unbelievable. I now have a chance to get material off, which will help my cause to get a draw. I instantly play the next move without looking. 21... Qxe3?? 22. Rxd8+ Oh sh*t. What the hell have I done? In the first game I suggested my tree of analysis was a bonsai. I now think my tree of analysis is actually a stick! I just assumed he had to re-take the Queen. My instant move has cost me a rook from a position that even the most junior schoolboy could have spotted the danger. I have already said to Stewart that I will forward the games for inclusion on the Halesowen web-site. To say my game against Derek was a veritable brilliance in comparison to this howler shows exactly how embarrassing this is. My place as the first inductee to the Halesowen Hall of Humiliation is now assured. With an awful position and a rook deficit there is only one honourable course of action. Resign. 1-0