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

The next game I am going to look at is my other King’s Indian from the section, played against G.Green. I was White again and the game followed the same line as my game against M.Ali up to Black’s 12th move. While my 13th move in the other game was innocuous, my 13th move in this game was decidedly dubious. Soon afterwards, I made a definite mistake, which allowed my opponent to play a very strong sacrifice. Admittedly, he did not find the strongest continuation at one point, which would have led to a forced win. However, he maintained a clear advantage and I was unable to defend.

Mansson, James C. – Green, G, BPCF Open Championship S??

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.f3 f5 11.g4!?

I have already commented on this variation in my notes to my game vs. M.Ali.

11..Kh8 12.Kg2 Ng8 13.Rh1?!

White aims to play h4, but this looks terribly artificial. Black’s response exposes the downside of the move well.

13.Be3 was the move I played against M.Ali in the other game in this section. After 13…Bh6 Black was doing fine.

13.g5 is White’s main move.

13…fxg4 14.fxg4 Qh4

White now has plenty of things to worry about. Black is threatening to play …Rf2+ or …Qxf2+. The g4 pawn is weak. The Black queen stands well on h4, while the White rook on h1 is not doing much.

15.Bf3 Bh6 16.Nd3 Nc5 17.Nxc5?

White overlooked Black’s response.

17.h3 is better, although Black is doing well, e.g. 17…Nxd3 18.Qxd3 Bd7 and Black brings his pieces into the game. The weakness of the White kingside remains a permanent problem.

17…Bxg4!

This sacrifice leaves White in a terrible bind.

18.Bxg4 Rf2+ 19.Kg1 dxc5

White is nominally a bishop for a pawn up, but his rook on h1 is completely out
of play, so in practical terms Black is the exchange ahead, at least in the short term.

20.Bxh6 Nxh6 21.Be2 Raf8?

This is the most natural way to continue, leading to a position where Black is
clearly better, although not necessarily winning. However, there was a
surprising alternative suggested by the computer which does win by force.

21…Ng4!! threatens …Rxh2 or …Nxh2. 22.Bxg4 appears to win a piece, but after 22…Raf8!! Black threatens …R2f4, intending either …Qxf2# or …Rxg4+. White has no defence. 23.Qd3 R2f4 24.Qg3 Rxg4 is the computer’s “best” line, where Black wins a queen and pawn for rook and knight, and has the far more active pieces. 25.Kg2 Rxg3+ 26.hxg3 Qg5 27.Rad1 Qe3 28.Rhf1 Rxf1 29.Rxf1 Kg7 30.Rd1 h5 and White looks helpless against the advance of the Black kingside pawns, due to the lack of coordination between his pieces.

22.Qd3 Rxe2! 23.Qg3

  • 23.Qxe2? Qg5+ 24.Qg2 Qe3+ 25.Qf2 Qxf2#
  • 23.Nxe2? Qf2#

23…Rxe4! 24.Nxe4

24.Qxh4? Rxh4 followed by …Rxc4 will leave Black three pawns up.

24…Qxe4 25.Re1

  • 25.Rf1? Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 Qxh1+
  • 25.b3? loses in various ways, e.g. 25…Qd4+ 26.Kg2 Nf5 27.Qh3 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Nd4 with the idea …Ne2#

25…Qd4+ 26.Qe3 Nf5

26…Qxc4 is suggested as “better” by the computer, but Black loses control of the position somewhat after 27.Qxe5+ so the move played is understandable.

27.Qxd4 exd4

Black has two pawns for the exchange, including a protected passed pawn on d4.
White’s pieces are awkwardly placed, and he lacks an active plan. Black therefore seems to have a clear advantage.

28.h3 Ne3 29.Rh2 Rf3 30.b3 Kg7 31.h4

After this, White cannot really avoid losing the pawn as it is easy to attack on h4. However, if White just waits, Black will bring up his king and advance his d-pawn.

31…h5 32.Rf2 Rg3+ 33.Kh1 Rg4 34.Rh2 Nf5 35.Rg2 Rxh4+ 0-1

White decided to resign here. Neither reply holds out any hope:

  • 36.Rh2 Rxh2+ 37.Kxh2 Ne3 and White cannot cope with Black’s three passed pawns.
  • 36.Kg1 Ne3 and again Black’s three passed pawns look too strong.
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