Horsham Club Knockout 2017-18: Mansson – Forster

My first replay against Mike Forster in the knockout final also ended in a draw. Out of the opening I had a slight advantage, but expanded too quickly on the queenside, allowing my opponent to generate counterplay. Later, after some complications, I went wrong, allowing my opponent the chance to establish an advantage, but fortunately he underestimated his position and agreed to a repetition of the position. The game therefore ended as a draw, and we had to arrange to finish the final a week later.

I give the game below with some notes.

Mansson, James C – Forster, Michael C, Horsham Club Knockout Final (1st replay) 2018.06.19

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Bg7 5. c4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 d6 8. Be2
Bd7 9. O-O Nxd4 10. Bxd4 O-O 11. Qd2 Bc6 12. f3 Nd7 13. Be3

White avoids the swap of dark-squared bishops as he is the one who is potentially weak on the dark squares.


Black’s strategy in this line is to restrain White’s expansion on the queenside; White’s is naturally to achieve it under favourable circumstances.

14. b3 Nc5 15. Rab1 Qb6 16. Nb5 Rfc8 17. Rfd1 h5 18. a3 Qd8 19. b4?!

When I played this, I overlooked 21…Ba4!

19. Nc3 was better, maintaining White’s edge.

19… axb4 20. axb4 Bxb5 21. bxc5 Ba4!

This strong move disrupts White’s pieces.

22. Rdc1 Qc7 23. cxd6 exd6 24. c5!?

This leads to lively play, but Black’s position proves solid enough.

24… dxc5 25. Rxc5 Bc6 26. Bb5 Qe7 27. Bxc6 Rxc6 28. Rcb5 Rc7 29. Rd5 Ra1 30. Rxa1 Bxa1 31. Bf4 Rc8 32. Bd6 Qf6 33. Bb4?

This allows Black’s next, which pushes the White king to an awakward square.

33. h3 is better, creating a safe square for the White king.

33… Qb6+ 34. Kf1

34. Kh1? Qxb4! wins material as 35. Qxb4? Rc1+ forces mate.

34… Qa6+

Black decided to repeat the postion, but it was possible to play on, as White’s pieces are
now awkwardly placed.

34… Bg7 looks very promising for Black as it is not clear how White should continue.

35. Kg1 Qb6+ 36. Kf1 Qa6+ 37. Kg1 1/2-1/2

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