Since the first attempt at this was good fun, I’ll just keep it up!
As promised, the second game is one where I am the one facing a kingside attack – playing black and having castled short. The server of RedHotPawn had a nervous breakdown but I’ve managed to reconstruct the part of the game that went south.
So, here goes!
I’m skipping through the early opening – White doesn’t play particularly energetic, but there is little sense in highlighting this.
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.h3?! 0–0 5.d3 d6 6.a3?! Be6 7.Ba2 d5 8.Qf3?! c6 9.Bg5 d4 10.Nce2 Nbd7 11.Ng3
Here I decided that my opponent was unlikely to be very tactically alert so it was worth having a shot with:
11…Qa5+!? 12.b4 Bxb4+?
Heh yes, Deep Shredder drily informs me that, indeed, 12…Qxa3 is truly crushing.
13.axb4 Qxb4+ 14.Bd2 Qb2
That was the point; Black wins back the piece and is left two pawns up but with the queen stranded. I also missed that White can at least win back the exchange later. Fortunately White will not only miss that in advance, like me, but even during the game.
15.Qd1 Bxa2 16.N1e2 b6
Because I didn’t fancy the mess after …Be6 Rb1 followed by Rxb7.
Here I started to realise that my queen wouldn’t be able to escape after 17…c5 and 18…Be6, for example 17…c5 18.Nf5 Be6 19.Rb1 Qa3 Ra1, so I had to wait with …c5 leaving the a3-f8 diagonal open as an escape.
17…Be6 18.Rb1 Qa3
Of course White should now have played Bb4 to win the exchange, and I think the bishop and two pawns balance against the rook. I don’t think either of us saw it during the game.
Deep Shredder meanwhile thinks 19.f4 isn’t a mistake, but 20.Nxf4 is. Minor detail, I think.
After this Bb4 doesn’t work anymore of course because of …c5. What follows is a lengthy part of manoeuvring where White realises he has to win via a direct attack on the kingside, being two pawns down on the queenside, and Black is trying to prevent White from getting a foothold. White starts by losing time.
21.Qf3? Ne5 22.Qe2 Nfd7 23.Nfh5 Ng6 24.Qf2 c5 25.Nf5
A slightly nervy moment but I calculated a bit and concluded there wasn’t any real danger.
25…Bxf5 26.exf5 Nge5 27.Bf4 f6
My point: I think this makes the pin on my knight harmless. I can unpin by moving the queen and the knight on d7 keeps both f6 and e5 covered. The problem is that this does immobilise that knight for a while to come, in effect making it difficult for me to get anything done.
28.Qg3 Rf7 29.Bh6 Qe7 30.Nf4? Kh8
Now white loses the trapped bishop.
31.Ne6 gxh6 32.Qh4
Now I’m a piece and a pawn or two ahead but I’m stuck with an extraordinarily tight-knit defensive clump of pieces. At least I won’t be losing but I have to find a way to extricate myself.
32…Nf8 33.Nf4 Nfd7
Realising that that wasn’t going to work…to be honest I’m still struggling to come up with a reasonable plan if White would repeat with 34.Ne6. Maybe something like 34.Ne6 Qd6 35.Rbe1 Rg8 36.Re2 Nf8 37.Nf4 Rg5 to get either that pesky knight or the f-pawn. In this line if ever White plays Qxh6 I’ll follow the same plan as in the game: central break combined with pressure on g2.
34.Rbe1 Qd6 35.Qxh6 c4
Again a calculated risk. This might not be the best plan and it might lose me a pawn (d4 becomes chronically weak), but I reckoned that my opponent was unlikely to be good enough to truly punish me.
In my experience, weaker players when material down and faced with a sudden change in the position (a counterattack, for instance) often go into “defence mode” which usually is what they shouldn’t do… but that’s what they do.
Finally, I had gathered from the earlier part of the game that tactically he wasn’t so great – he had missed the complications after 11…Qa5+, missed 19.Bb4 and played 30.Nf4? Opening up the position to get into calculating waters therefore didn’t seem such a great risk.
36.Kh1 Rg8 37.Re2 cxd3
This at least gives me a target as well; d3 I can reach, c2 I couldn’t. The alternative was to play for a queenside pawn avalanche with …b5, …a6 but that seemed too slow to me.
This is what I had in mind; pawn d3 needs constant care although because of the weakness of e6 there is no direct threat of me capturing it.
White will have none of this however and goes for a mate that isn’t there; I strongly suspect that he missed my 42nd move, too, which gives me an instant win.
39.Rxe5? Qxe5 40.Ng6+ Rxg6 41.fxg6 Rg7 42.gxh7 Qg5!
Not so difficult to see as the moves up to here were forced. This forces the queens off the board, leaving me with an easy endgame win. Due to the rook being on g7 White can’t even occupy the 7th rank to get some counterplay, and because I can recapture with the f-pawn he also has no counterplay on the kingside (two connected passed pawns might have become a nuisance for my knight).
The plan is simply to get the a- and b-pawns rolling, but first I’m preventing his rook from entering via the e- and f-files.
43.Qxg5 fxg5 44.Rd1 Kxh7 45.Kh2 Re7 46.Rd2 Kg6 47.Kg1 a5
Now the pawns can start to move, protected from the side by the rook.
48.Rb2 Re6 49.Rd2 a4 50.Kh2 b5 51.Rb2
By now the a-pawn is so close to promoting I can simply push it:
51…a3 52.Rxb5 a2 53.Ra5 Ra6
The point behind Black’s 51st move.
At the time of writing this game hasn’t finished but the only risk is me stalemating him; in any case that wouldn’t diminish any of the value – if any – of the game up to here.