Mike claims an FM scalp!

Here is Mike’s win from the recent 4NCL weekend, with his own notes.

Mike Usher (1721) – Mike Waddington (2112)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5

I usually play 2.Nf3 to avoid stuff like the Benoni, but for some inexplicable reason played 2.c4.  Now I was facing an FM with no prep! I remember thinking ‘and I bet he plays the Benko’…..!?

3.d5 b5 4.Nd2

I dragged this line from somewhere in my memory and hoped that at least we were both now out of our opening knowledge. The idea is to play e4 quickly. He thought for a while (encouraging!) before playing:

4…b4 5.e4 d6 6.Bd3 g6 7.f4 

Aggressive, but I figured there was no point waiting around for him to outplay me!

7…Bg7 8.Ngf3 O-O 9.h3 Nh5 10.Nf1 e5 11.fxe5 dxe5 12.Be3 Nd7 13.Qd2 Nf4 14.Ng3 Bh6 15.O-O Qe7 16.Ne2 g5 17.Ng3 Nf6 18.Bc2 Rd8 19.Qf2 g4 20.Bxc5 Qe8 21.hxg4 Nxg4 22.Qe1 a5 23.Nh4 f6 24.Qd1 Bg5 25.Nhf5 Bxf5 26.exf5 h5 27.Ne4 Rac8 (see diagram)

Stockfish gives White a healthy advantage (+3.1) here, but I was feeling the pressure on the King-side and wanted to open up some lines to counter-attack, so I played:


and the evaluation turns to -2.2! I should have stuck with my first plan of 28.Ba4 Qf7 29.Bb6 Rxc4 30.Nxg5 fxg5 31.Bxd8 with a decent advantage (Stockfish suggests 31…Qa7+ 32.Kh1 Nf2+ 33.Rxf2 Qxf2 34.Qf3 Qxb2 35.Rf1 should still be winning).

28…Rxc5 29.Nxc5 Rxd6!

I was expecting 29… Nd3 winning back the exchange, but this came as a shock. Taking the rook leads to a pretty mate 30.Qxd6 Ne2+ 31.Kh1 Ng3+ 32.Kg1 Be3+ 33.Rf2 Bxf2⌗ so I continued:

30.Qe1 Rd2??

Black returns the favour. Accepting the rook now loses the queen to Nh3+, but there is a sting in the tail…!

31.Qxd2! Nh3+ 32.gxh3 Bxd2 33.Ne4!

33.hxg4 Be3+ 34.Kg2 Bxc5 was what my opponent had calculated, with advantage to Black. My move saves the knight and after:

33…Be3+ 34.Kg2

the Black knight can’t move because of Nxf6+ winning the queen, so White ends up with a healthy bunch of pieces for the queen. The game continued:

34…Qc6 35.hxg4 hxg4 36.Rad1 Bd4 37.b3 Kg7 38.Rh1 a4 39.Rh4 axb3 40.axb3 Qa6 41.Rxg4+ 

I actually missed a forced win here. After 41.Rdh1 the Black king is trapped on the back two ranks and can’t avoid mate. The text is also winning, but I had to be careful to keep his queen away from any chances of a perpetual check. Having reached the time control I now had some time to think. 

41…Kf7 42.Rg6 Qa2 43.Rxf6+ Ke7 44.Re6+ Kd7 45.Rd2 Qa1 46.Bd1 Qa8 47.Rxe5! 1-0 The bishop is lost and with it all hope.

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