Friday, June 01, 2007

Remember this ~ Chess is fun

It’s time for some more fun. No chess tips or praise of players past and present. The following game is from the Whitehorse Open in 2000. I have already posted some games from this tournament, including another Vienna game.

This particular game is strictly coffee-house chess, intended for entertainment purposes. We sometimes forget why we play chess: Because we enjoy it.

I had the White pieces, and was drawn to play Anton Nincevic. I had played Anton before in a Box Hill Club Championship game (1999; I was a reserve for that one night - replacing a player who was ill – see a previous posting).

Anton was in his late fifties or early sixties; an old fashioned, East European player of average club strength; he is also one of the few players these days who plays e5 in response to e4, expecting endless versions of the Giucco Piano or Ruy Lopez.

And why not? Do we all have to play closed games or tiresome asymmetrical openings? Don’t you think the pendulum has swung too far the other way in chess? I do, and play the ‘romantic’ openings when I get a chance. Chess would be so much more fun if leading players…oops. Sorry. I am preaching again. But seriously, how about some thematic tournaments for the leading Grandmasters? Seeing Leko handle a King’s Gambit, Kramnik with a Vienna, Anand with an Evans. Why not? Sponsors, are you reading this? The fans (who pay the money) would love it.

G. Eraclides (1629) VERSUS Anton Nincevic (1425)

Vienna Gambit

1. e4 e5
2. Nc3 Nf6
3. f4 exf4?

This is bad. White just gets a very good version of the Vienna Gambit.

4. e5 Ng8

So many players of average to below average strength play the hideous 3...exf4? instead of the correct 3...d5; perhaps they believe that White's
2. Nc3 is an inferior attempt at a King's Gambit and just play in that fashion.
In fact, as we Vienna afficionados know, 2. Nc3 and 3. f4 are the beginning of a very strong attack. Anton had previously played against me 3...d6 leading to a form of the King's Gambit Declined, where I obtained a strong attack against his King side.
Note that 4...Qe2; 5. Qe2 Ng8 6. d4 can be even worse for Black as in some variations White plays Nd5 attacking the Black Queen with gain of tempo.

5. d4 d5

Letting White regain his pawn for a chance to develop. Black will still remain in an inferior position.

6. Bxf4 Bf5
7. Nf3 h6?

Coffee-house chess - wasting time in a pointless prophylaxis. One of the maxims of this style of chess is that you must never allow a pin if you can avoid it - however much time you waste. White's position soon becomes overwhelming.

8. Bd3 Bxd3

Perhaps he should have just got on with some developing move and allowed White to exchange if he so wished. Sometimes a pawn on f5 (or c5 as can happen in other openings) adds strength to the centre in compensation for being doubled.

9. Qxd3 a6?

See note above. White has exchanged Black's best piece and now is granted even more tempi.

10. 0-0 Bb4
11. Rae8!

Who cares about this pin in this position?

11. ..........Ne7
12. Bd2

12. e6 does not achieve anything yet; I was already thinking along the lines of a future Bxh6. The move played blocks the pin and allows the Rooks to link up for an attack.

12. ..........c5

Expected, but he should have tried Nc6 and Qd7 with 0-0-0 to come; 12...Ng6? would be a blunder due to 13 e6!

13. a3!

Putting the question to the Bishop.

13. ..........c4?!

13. ..........Bxc3 14. bxc3 is OK for White, as another of Black's few well developed pieces is exchanged; 13...cxd4 14. axb4 dxc3 15. Bxc3! is also good for White. However, both of these options were preferable to the move actually played.

14. Qe2 Ba5
15. Kh1! 0-0?

Castling into it. White has cleared the decks for an all out attack. Black should have played Nc6/Qd7/0-0-0.

16. Nh4 Nc6
17. Be3

17. Bxh6 is still not quite right, so White must defend d4. Black tries to get something going on the Queen-side but to no avail as White's attack almost plays itself. There is nothing for Black to do except wait for the blows to fall.

17. ............b5
18. Qg4 Kh7
19. Rf3 Qc8
20. Qh5 Qe6?

20...Qe8 was better.

21. Rf6! Qd7

Best. If 21...gxf6? 22.Qxh6+ Kg8 23. exf6! Qg4 24. Bg5! and it's goodnight Irene.

22. Bxh6 Ng6

Necessary, because: 22…gxf6 23. Bg5+ Kg8 24. Bxf6 Ng6 25. Qh6!
Or: 22...gxh6 23. Rxh6+ Kg7 24. Rxh7+ Kg8 25. Rh8+ Kg7 26. Qh6++ or Qh7++

23. Bxg7 Kxg7 (Necessary)
24. Nf5+!

If 24. NxN fxg6 25. Rxg6+ (or 25. Qxg6+ Kh8 26.Qh5+) also wins.

24. .............Qxf5

The only move as 24...Kg8 is followed by 25. Qh6 and he will have to play Qxf5. White retains the two Rooks.

25. Qxf5 Nxd4
26. Qg4! Bxc3

He is nervous about Re2 and Nxd5. Black now plays for the clock as White was behind in time (a defining characteristic of mine).

27. bxc3 Ne6

He has no time for pawns - defence is everything. Even though I was behind on time, I enjoyed the rest of the game enormously.

28. Ref1 Ra7
29. h4! Rh8
30. h5! Kf8
31. RxNg6 Ke7
32. R6f6 Rf8
33. h6 Raa8
34. h7 Rae8
35. Kg1! Nd8
36. Qf5 Rh8
37. Rxf2+ Nxf2
38. Qxf2+ Kd8
39. Qxd5+ Kc8

If 39...Kc7 40. Rf7+ Kb6 41. Rb7+ Ka5 42. Qc5++

40. Rf7! Resigns

White was in a spot of time trouble, hence the exclamation marks - because the moves had to be found and played quickly.

I was over the moon and heading for the Oort Cloud after such an attacking game. It even attracted a few strong players who gathered around to see the denouement (every chess player loves a bloodletting). The Vienna was 2 for 2 for me in this tournament.

Spielmann (the original and the best) would be very pleased that his favourite weapon of attack can still yield so much fun at my level of play.

I felt good after my win against Anton. He had been so amazed at the game that he congratulated me more than was necessary; he was very gracious in saying I had ‘seen everything’ (which I had not); but it was a good game to have played - better for our level of chess than one of those ‘I win a pawn and grind out the win’ type of games.