Mid-Sussex League Division 1 2017-18: Horsham 1 – Eastbourne 1

Horsham 1 had a tough match against Eastbourne 1 on Tuesday. The current score is 3-1 to us, with one game outstanding, which means we have won the match, although the remaining game could well be a loss, so the margin will most likely be tight.

My game saw me win with Black against Paul Carpenter. There was a nervous moment in the middlegame when I allowed my opponent a strong possibility, but fortunately for me he did not take it; instead, he made some mistakes and folded rapidly.

I give the game in full below.

Carpenter, Paul J – Mansson, James C, Mid-Sussex League (Division 1) Eastbourne 1 – Horsham 1 2017.11.21

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. a3?!

This is not consistent with Ne1. If White wants to play for b4, then Nd2 is better, so that the knight can go to c4 after c5.

10…f5 11. f4?!

This does not look like a good idea, as it opens the long diagonal for the Black bishop and frees up the e5 square for a Black piece.

11…exf4 12.Bxf4 Nc5 13. exf5 Bxf5

While this move is not bad, it would be better to move the knight to f5, eying d4 and e3.

13… Nxf5! 14. Nd3 Qe7 15. Kh1 (15. Qd2?? fails to 15…Nb3 -+; 15. Nxc5 is met by 15…Ne3! 16. Bxe3 Qxe3+ 17. Kh1 Rxf1+ 18. Qxf1 Qxc5 Black intends …Bd7 and …Rf8, when he is very active.) 15… Ne3 16. Bxe3 Rxf1+ 17. Bxf1 Qxe3 18. Qe1 Qxe1 19. Rxe1 Nxd3 20.Bxd3 a6 and Black has a good endgame with his bishop pair. White cannot exploit his slight lead in development to get his rook to an active position. E.g. 21. Re8+ Kf7 forces the rook back or 21. h3 Bd7 22. Re7 Rd8 followed by …Kf8, forcing the rook back.

14. Rc1 a5 15. Nd3 Nxd3 16. Bxd3 Qd7 17. Bg5 Bxd3 18. Qxd3 Nf5 19. Rce1 Rae8 20. b4 axb4 21. axb4 h6?!

This creates an unnecessary weakness.

21… Rxe1 22. Rxe1 Nd4 23. Bd2 (23.Re7? Qg4 -+; 23. Be3?! Qg4 -/+) 23… Be5 is comfortable for Black.

22.Bd2 Bd4+ 23. Kh1 Bg7

I had originally intended to put my queen on g7, but decided here that it did not work.

23… Qg7? 24. Rxe8 (24. g4? Rxe1 25.Rxe1 Nh4 26. Bxh6?? Qxh6 27. Qxd4 Nf3 -+) 24… Rxe8 25. Nb5 +/-

24. Ne4 Ra8 25. c5 Kh7 26. Qh3

26. Bc3 +/= seemed more natural and promising. The exchange of dark-squared bishops will weakned the Black position further.

26… Qb5?

This is a mistake as it allows a strong possibility, which however White does not make use of.

26… dxc5 was better. Then 27. Ng5+ Kg8 28.Ne6 Rf7 is very murky.

27. g4 Nd4 28. Rxf8?

White clearly did not want to have to worry about captures on f1, but without a rook on f1, he do not have the possibility of taking the knight on f5 in a crucial variation.

28.Bxh6! is far more challenging although Black may be able to hold. 28…Rxf1+! (28… Bxh6? 29. Ng5+ Kg7 30. Re7+ Kg8 31. Rg1 is winning because of 31…Bxg5? 32. Qh7#) 29. Rxf1 Bxh6 30. g5 (30. Nf6+ Kg7 31. g5 Rh8 defends.) 30…Nf5 31. Nf6+ Kg7 32. Rxf5! (32. gxh6+ Kxf6 =; 32. Nh5+ Kh7 =) 32… Ra1+! (32… gxf5? 33. Qxh6+ forces mate.) 33. Kg2 Ra2+ 34. Kg1 Ra1+ 35.Rf1 Rxf1+ 36. Qxf1 Qxf1+ 37. Kxf1 Bxg5 38. cxd6 cxd6 39. Ne8+ Kf8 40. Nxd6 White wins a pawn, but after 40…Be7 41. Nxb7 Bxb4 the reduced material gives
Black drawing chances.

28… Rxf8 29. Bxh6

29. Ng5+ Kg8 30. Ne6 Nxe6 31.dxe6 dxc5 =/+

29… Bxh6 30. g5

30. Ng5+? Kg7 -+

30… Nf5 31. gxh6 Qxb4 32. Ng5+ Kh8 33. Re2?

The position has turned completely around and now White needs to be careful. The move played is a big mistake.

33. Rg1 was better, however after 33…dxc5 Black’s position is preferable.

33…Qxc5

33… Nh4! was a nicer way to finish, but the move played is fine.

34. Qd3 Qc1+ 35. Kg2 Qxg5+ 0-1

White now realised he had lost a piece, and so resigned.

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