Two KnightsC55

J Edge, Halesowen
M Wildboar, Warley Quinborne

BDCL Individual Competition, Division 1

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 Oops - end of preparation. When I played for Warley Quinborne, Mike was playing the Latvian Gambit (2 ...f5) 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. e5 Initiating the Max Lange attack against blacks two knights defence 6... d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+ Be6 9. Ng5 Qd5 Not 9...Qxf6 10. Nxe6, fxe6 11. Qh5+ winning the Bishop on c5 10. Nc3 taking advantage of the pinned pawn (still all from book) 10... Qf5 11. Nce4 O-O-O I'm undecided how to continue now because I don't like playing down the main line of this opening. The last time that I tried it some years ago was against Mark Hebden which resulted in a tournement brilliancy prize (for him). Normally I deviate from the book with so-called 'unsound' lines but I know that Mike is pretty familiar with this opening and would respond strongly. Hmm .. having spent 10 minutes pondering, I decide after all to go for the ancient main line as played by Pillsbury and other players of his generation 12. g4 Preparing to expand quickly on the K-side. The pawn cannot be taken as it would leave the c5 bishop en pris. 12... Qe5 13. fxg7 Rhg8 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15. Bh6 The plan is to tie Black down with the advanced Pawn, solidify the centre and get the Rooks into play. 15... d3 16. c3 Be7 17. Qd2 Blockading the pawn. I could maybe have instead played f4 and Qf3 17... Qd5 18. f4 I cannot let the Black Knight get to e5 18... Rd7 Preparing N-d8-f7 19. g5 I would have taken this move back if I could. I had become obsessed with Nf6 which in hindsight is not a good move anyway 19... Nd8 20. Qe3 Attacking the a-pawn. Not 20. Nf6 as ... Bc5+ is terminal 20... Kb8 21. Nf6? Having spent some moves preparing it, this move is still just bad. 21 b3 undermining Blacks d-pawn and starting to free Whites QR is better 21... Bxf6 22. gxf6 Too late, I realise that I have opened the way for 22 ... Qh5 which is difficult to counter e.g. 23 Bg5, h6 but luckily Mike does not play it 22... Qf5 This move is still awkward to meet though. Black is threatening d2 and Rd3 getting behind my advanced pawns and opening up my King. It must be advantage Black at the moment 23. Bg5 If instead 23. Qe5, then Black can play Qg4+ with at least a perpetual and maybe more 23... d2 24. Red1 Not 24. Rf1, d1=Q 25. Raxd1, Rxd1 26. Rxd1, Qg5+ followed by ... Qxd1 24... h6 25. Bh4 Rd3 26. Qf2 Qd5?! I was relieved when Mike played this move to preserve his d2 pawn. I was afraid of Rh3 (or Qg4+) forcing the Bishop to retreat to g3 after which I face a nasty K-Side attack 27. Qg2 Both sides are in time trouble. I play this and look confident, as I don't really want the Queens off but Mike probably hasn't got time to calculate whether it is good for him or not. 27... Qd7 28. b3 Undermining the centre and finally getting my Queenside Rook out 28... Nf7 29. bxc4 e5 30. Rab1 c6?? A decisive error on the stroke of the time control. b6 was better though White can wrest the initiative with Rb2 or Rb5 to win the d2 pawn. 31. fxe5 Nxe5 Quickening the end but the alternative was to leave me 2-3 pawns up plus Terry Walker, the controller, was getting the adjournment envelopes out. 32. Bg3 Qd6 33. f7 33. Bxe5, Qxe5 34. f7 wins more material but I was not certain of the position after 34 ... Rd3-d8 35. Pxg8=Q, Rxg8. I can now see that I could have inserted 35. Rxd2 into this line but the move was played was good enough and also easier to work out. 33... Rxg7 34. f8=Q+ 1-0