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

I suffered a bad loss with White in last night’s league match against Worthing 1. We are currently 2-1 down in the match with two games unfinished. In a sharp line of the Dragon, I failed to paly the strongest continuation, then blundered a couple of moves later, leading to a swift defeat.

I give the game below with some notes.

Mansson, James C – Graham, David B, Mid-Sussex League (Division 1) Horsham 1 – Worthing 1, Horsham 2018.02.20

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2
Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. Qe1

This is a popular alternative to the capture on d5 with the pawn. White opens up the opposition of rook on d1 to queen on d8, which is awkward for Black. Also, the queen can now move to h4/g3/f2 as appropriate.

10. exd5 leads to the traditional main lines.

10… e5

10…e6 is the main alternative.

11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. exd5 Nxd5

12… cxd5 is the alternative, but after 13. Bg5 Be6 14. Bc4 the Black centre is under

13. Bc4 Be6 14. Kb1

This is generally a useful move in the Sicilian.

14. Ne4 has been played most often.

14… Rb8 15. Bxa7

At this point I was not sure what to play next. After a long thought I decided that it
was safe to take the a-pawn, but I had not appreciated an important point in
what follows.

15. Ne4 is generally regarded as best here.

15… Rb7 16. Bf2

This is not the most challenging move.

16. Bc5:

  • 16… Qa5 was the move I did not like, but White has the simple 17. Ne4 when Black lacks compensation.
  • 16… e4 17. Na4 is unclear.

16… e4 17. Bb3?

This allows Black to launch a winning attack on the queenside.

17. Bxd5 cxd5:

  • 18. Bd4?? at once fails to 18… Bxd4 19. Rxd4 Qb6
  • 18. b3 had to be tried. Black’s bishops look dangerous, but White now has Bd4,
    neutralising the bishop on g7.

17… Nxc3+ 18. bxc3 Qa5 19. Bd4 Ra8

Now it becomes clear what I had missed: the pin on the b3 bishop means that …Qxa2+ is a threat!

20. Kc1

  • 20. Bxg7 Bxb3 wins
  • 20. c4 Rxb3+ wins

20… Bxb3 21. axb3 Rxb3 22. Bxg7

22.cxb3 Bh6+ 23. Be3 Qa1+ 24. Kc2 Ra2#

22… Rb1+

22… Qg5+! is quicker:

  • 23. Qd2 Ra1#
  • 23. Rd2 Ra1#

23. Kd2

23. Kxb1 Qa1#

23… Rd8+ 0-1

White resigned because of 24. Bd4 Rxd4+ exploiting the pin.

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