Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Red Bull Round 5 Anton Taylor, 1999 - CM Billy Woodward, 1990 Ruy Lopez (Spanish), Schliemann Variation (C63)

2017 Red Bull Round 5 
Anton Taylor, 1999 - CM Billy Woodward, 1990 
Ruy Lopez (Spanish), Schliemann Variation (C63)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 Billy hesitated briefly before playing this move. No doubt he remembered the last game we played in this variation and assumed I had done my research after that loss. Once more I have a horrible confession to make. I did look at the opening after that game but I did not come to a concrete conclusion or approach it in any kind of systematic way to put it into my memory. So, once more I was in the awkward position of playing by my own calculation ability right out of the opening. 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. exf5 e4 Here is where I particularly diverge from the strongest continuation against this variation. By far the best move here is Ng5! 6. Qe2 Qe7 7. Ng5?? This move is not only inaccurate but losing. Fortunately, my opponent failed to find the winning line. 7. ... Nd4 8. Qd1 h6? NxB followed by d5 is just clearly better for black here. 9. Nh3?? Nd5 is an interesting choice as after Nxd5?? Qh5+ wins. However, white in that case in merely "better" as the capture on d5 isn't forced. 9. ... c6 10. Be2 d5 11. d3 Bxf5 Black is just better here for all kinds of reasons. It boils down to the fact that white's pieces lack mobility and he has no clear target to attack. In theory black should just ground white into dust given enough time. 12. Nf4?? O-O-O? 12. ... g5! followed by d4 likely wins a piece or at the very least leaves white's king out in the open to be hunted. 13. Be3 Nxe2 14. Ncxe2 exd3 15. Nxd3 d4 16. Bf4 g5 17. Bg3 Re8 18. Kf1 Rd8? Although this move wastes time black is still winning. That fact demonstrates his superiority in the position. 19. Qd2 Ne4? I thought b6 might be necessary as Qa5 seems to be the only path to white's salvation. 20. Qa5 Nxg3+ 21. hxg3? I played this far too quickly. the knight recapture is far better. Komodo spots far off tactics but the move just looks "messy" and the knight recapture looks "clean" to my human eyes. 21. ... Bxd3 22. cxd3 Bg7? The simple Kb8 removes all the complication white can muster. 23. Qxa7 Rhf8 24. Qa8+ Kc7 25. Qa5+ Kb8 26. Rc1 Rd5 27. Qd2 I thought this was a nice way to deal with black's threats but it turns out there is a hidden "cook" that wins for black here ... 27. ... Qe3! and all of white's replies lead to a losing position. It's the sort of tactic that a computer program spots easily but a human has great difficulty seeing. 27. ... Rdf5 28. f3 Re8 29. Kf2 Qd6 30. g4 Rfe5 31. Ng3 Rf8 After all the rook shuffling around White emerges having made quite a bit of improvement for himself. Komodo recommends that for his move 32 white could move either rook to the e-file and be winning. I play an equal but interesting move. 32. Nf5 So, it turns out that sacrificing a rook for this knight is a likely road to equality for black. Or at least his best chance for it. The longer he leaves the knight on f5 the worse it gets for him. 32. ... Qg6 33. Rhe1 Rb5 34. a4 Rbxf5 35. gxf5 Qxf5 36. Qb4! the best way to play for the mate as well as prevent black from making any unraveling maneuvers. The threat of Re7 constructing a mating net is impossibly strong. 36. ... g4? This loses quickly but all roads get white to the W. 37. Re7 b5 38. Qd6+ Kc8 39. Qxc6+  Qc7 and Rxc6 are both mate in 1 but I had a sense of humor. 1-0

I decided to do some preparation since it is obvious I'm going to see this variation again from Billy. I came across an interesting little game from several years ago played by one of my long-time facebook chess friends Jacob Aagaard.

2010 49th Denmark Team Championship Round 9
GM Jacob Aagard, 2534 - GM Jonny Hector, 2576
Ruy Lopez (Spanish), Schliemann Variation (C63)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. exf5 e4 6. Ng5 d5 7. d3 h6 8. Ne6 Bxe6 9. fxe6 Qd6 10. dxe4 Qxe6 11. O-O dxe4 12. Bf4 Bd6 13. Bxd6 cxd6 14. f3 e3 15. Qd3 O-O-O 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Rfe1 Rhe8 18. Qa6+ Kb8 19. Qxc6 Rc8 20. Qb5+ Ka8 21. Rad1 d5 22. Rd3 Rb8 23. Qa5 Qc6 24. a4 e2 25. Nxd5 Nxd5 26. Qxd5 Qxd5 27. Rxd5 Rxb2 28. Rc5 Rb4 29. a5 Rd4 30. Kf2 Rd2 31. Rc7 g5 32. Rc6 Kb7 33. Rxh6 Rxc2 34. Rh5 Rc5 35. h4 Rxa5 36. hxg5 Rae5 37. g4 R5e6 38. Rh6 Re5 39. g6 a5 40. Rh5 a4 41. Rxe5 Rxe5 42. g7 1-0

This game will be saved as a reference for a later encounter with this variation.

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