Blast from the Past: Kennerley – Mansson, BPCF Open Championship Semi-Final Round

My game as Black against R.Kennerley was a short draw. My opponent allowed the Marshall Attack, but chose an innocuous line and agreed a draw while we were still in book.

The Marshall Attack has featured in four of my correspondence games. In three, where I was Black, I drew. In the other, where I was White, I won as my opponent chose a line that had been refuted; indeed, I allowed the gambit precisely because I though he might go down that line!

Kennerley, R – Mansson, James C., BPCF Open Championship S??

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.Bxd5 cxd5 13.d4 Bd6 14.Re3

The idea of this system is to allow White to meet …Qh4 with h3 rather than g3, which is supposedly less weakening. However, the line is rather toothless and it is not surprising that the game soon ended in a draw.

14…Qh4 15.h3 g5

15…Qf4 is the most common choice, but the move played was recommended in Nunn’s 1989 book on the Marshall Attack, which was my main source at the time.

16.Qf3 Be6 17.Qf6 Rfe8 18.Nd2

18.Na3 Qh5 19.Bd2 Be7 and now:

  • 20.Qf3 Qg6 21.Rae1 g4 22.Qg3 gxh3 23.gxh3 Bd6 24.Qxg6+ hxg6 25.Nc2 Kg7 26.Nb4 Bxb4 27.cxb4 Rh8 28.Rc1 Bxh3 29.Rc7 Rac8 30.Rxc8 1/2-1/2, Huebner – Nunn, Haifa 1989.
  • 20.Qe5 Qg6 Black has typical long-term Marshall compensation based on his bishop pair and White’s weakened light squares. (20…Rad8?! allows White to exploit the pin on the g-pawn. 21.f4! Qg6 22.fxg5 White has won a second pawn. I am not convinced that Black had enough for two pawns here, but White could not make it count in the following game. 22…Bf5 23.Qg3 Be4 24.Rf1 Bd6 25.Qh4 Re6 26.Re2 Rde8 27.Rfe1 f6 28.Rf2 Be7 29.gxf6 Rxf6 30.Ree2 Rxf2 31.Qxf2 Rf8 32.Qe3 Bh4 33.c4 Bd3 34.Bb4 Bxe2 35.Bxf8 Bd3 36.Bb4 Be4 37.g4 bxc4 38.Qf4 h5 1/2-1/2, Wolff – Hellers, New York 1990)

18…Qf4 19.Qxf4 Bxf4 20.Re1 Bxh3 1/2-1/2

Black offered a draw here, despite still being in “book”. This line leads to a draw, as in the following two practical examples:

  • 21.Rxe8+ Rxe8 22.Nf3 Bxc1 23.Rxc1 Bg4 24.Nxg5 f6 25.Nh3 Bxh3 26.gxh3 Re2 27.b4 1/2-1/2, Kuporosov – Lukacs, Budapest 1990.
  • 21.Nf3 Rxe1+ 22.Nxe1 Bxc1 23.Rxc1 Bf5 24.Nc2 Bxc2 25.Rxc2 Re8 26.Kf1 h5 27.Rc1 f6 1/2-1/2, Zagorovsky – Nyman, corr. 1968.


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