Saturday, September 24, 2011

You gotta love it

This sort of victory is probably at least partially responsible for my poorer tournament results, but you’ve still gotta love it when something like this happens:

Shernoff-Count Mulningsvelin, FICS blitz 2011
I am giving my opponent the title of Count, because he generously did his best to make me look like Paul Morphy in that opera box...

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 Qc7 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. Nf3 b5 9. O-O b4 10. Ne2 Bb7 11. Ng3

We have a fairly normal Sicilian

11...Nc5 12. Qe1 a5 13. Bb5+ Bc6 14. Bxc6+ Qxc6 15. e5 dxe5 16. fxe5 Nfe4 17. Ng5 Nxg5 18. Bxg5 Ne6 19. Be3

It’s now an even more typical Sicilian in that Black has (a) no development (b) no presence in the center, but is still okay. But now Black goes crazy and starts grabbing pawns – not a recommended action when your opponent can bring all three major pieces to the center, where your king is.


I was anticipating 19... g6 20. Qf2 Nd8 and I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Fritz then makes the easily-findable moves 21. Bb6 Qe6 22. Ne4 Bh6 and awards White a clear advantage from opening up the queenside with 23. a3!
After Black's capture, I considered preserving my precious queenside pawns with 20.Rf2 and Qf1, with threats against f7 and b5, but I decided that my queen would be better off on d1, ready to come to f3 which is strong...

20. Rc1 Qxb2??
I didn’t give Black’s previous move a question mark because Fritz actually thinks it’s the best move! But that’s only because it follows up with 20... Qd3, keeping my queen off d1.
21. Qd1 Qxe5?
and here f3 is of course still a winning possibility; but Black’s kind capture on c2 has opened up a new diagonal for my queen:
22. Qa4+

22... Kd8 23. Rfd1+ Qd6 24. Bb6+ Nc7 25. Bxc7+

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