Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kick Me!

I have had many duels with Knights that have used the e5 square for a resting place before hopping off (usually to the g4 square) to harass my Queen. This time I avoided my usual knee-jerk f2-f4 and still found a way to effectively deliver the boot.

perrypawnpusher - mikelars
blitz, FICS, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6


The "nudge". White invests a move to drive Black's King back. If the second player is going to ever develop his Rook currently sitting on h8, he will eventually have to return the move with ...Kf7 or ...Ke7.

7...Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Nf6

I have had this position in 24 games previously, and scored 77%.

In an earlier game my opponent had challenged me with 9...Ne5, either a provocation or a heavy-handed way of preventing e4-e5. Our game continued 10.0-0 Nf6 11.f4 Neg4 (11...Nfg4 12.Qg3 Ng6 13.f5 N6e5 14.d4 c6 15.dxe5 Qb6+ 16.Kh1 Nxe5 17.Qxg7 Rf8 18.f6 Be6 19.Qe7 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - Kotimatka, blitz, FICS, 2010) 12.Qe2 Qe7 13.d3 Rf8 14.Nc3 Nh5 15.Nd5 Qd7 16.f5 Ngf6 17.Bg5 h6 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Nf4 Qb5 20.c3 Bd7 21.Rae1 Qa5 22.a3 Bb5 23.e5 dxe5 24.Qxe5+ Kd7 25.Qe7+ Kc8 26.Qxf8+ Black forfeited on time, perrypawnpusher - mikelars, blitz, FICS, 2010.

10.0-0 Qe7

I noticed in The Database that mrjoker (Louis Morin) had this position 5 times in 2009, playing 11.d3 four times (2-1-1) and 11.Nc3 once (1-0),

11.Nc3 Ne5
Again (see our earlier game, above) mikelars' Knight seems to scream "Kick me!"
12.d4 Nc4 13.Qd3 Na5

This did not look right to me: the steed must retire instead to b6. I forced myself to spend time to analyze my next move, as this was an opportunity that I did not want to miss.
14.Qb5+ Nc6 15.d5 a6 16.Qa4 b5

I had anticipated this, but less bad was 16...Bd7, i.e. 17.dxc6 Bxc6 and White is up a pawn.

I think my opponent's incomplete analysis of this tactical position may have been another example of the negative "halo effect" that the Jerome Gambit inspires  if my early moves are bad, many of my later moves must be bad, too, (and they can be defeated with little thought or effort).

17.Nxb5 Ne5

Again, Black needed to bail and concede the piece with 17...Kf7 18.dxc6 Rb8 19.Nc3 although my three extra pawns will then keep me better.

18.Nxc7+ Kf7 19.Nxa8 Bd7

White is going to come out of this up the exchange and a handful of pawns. The next few moves I focused on exchanging pieces to reduce counter-play; then I played "simple" moves to avoid throwing the game away.

20.Qxa6 Nxe4 21.Nb6 Nc5 22.Qe2 Rb8 23.Nxd7 Ncxd7 24.f4 Ng6 25.Qxe7+ Nxe7 26.c4 Nf5 27.b3 Ra8

A visual assessment is that the pawns win, but I wanted to have my time a bit more under control, too, so I continued to play simply.

28.Bb2 Ne3 29.Rf2 Nc5 30.Bd4 Nd3

My opponent believed that I had overlooked the loss of the exchange, but he was really giving up two pieces for a Rook.

31.Bxe3 Nxf2 32.Kxf2 Kf6

33.g4 h6 34.Bd4+ Kf7 35.h4 Re8 36.Re1 Ra8 37.Re2 Rf8 38.Kf3 Kg6 39.a4

The outside passed pawn wins, but so does 39.Re7 or 39.Re6+.

39...Rb8 40.Re3 h5 41.Re6+ Kh7 42.gxh5 Rf8 43.Rxd6 Rf5 44.Rd7 Rxh5 45.Rxg7+ Kh6 46.d6 Rxh4 47.d7 Rh3+ 48.Ke4 Rxb3 49.d8Q Rh3 50.Qh8 checkmate

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