Mid-Sussex League Division 1 2018-19: Horsham 1 – Worthing 1

Horsham 1 secured a good win away against Worthing 1 earlier this month. In that match I played Black against Dave Graham, and was somewhat fortunate to escape with a draw, although ultimately the result of my game wouldn’t have affected the overall result.

I give the game below with some notes:

Graham, David B – Mansson, James C, Mid-Sussex League (Division 1), Worthing 1 – Horsham 1 2018.11.19

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5

4… Be7 is the pure Two Knights solution, but there is of course nothing wrong with heading for the Guioco Piano.

5. c3 a6 6. Bb3 Ba7 7. Nbd2 d6 8. h3 h6

This is perhaps not necessary; Black could just castle.

9. Nf1!?

White hopes to save time by moving his knight to g3 before castling, but Black has an effective response.

9… d5!

This apparently loses a move, but White is in no position to exploit it.

10. Qe2 O-O 11. g4!? dxe4

This is sound enough, but Black was not forced to take on e4.

12. dxe4 Qd6 13. Ng3 Be6 14. g5 hxg5 15. Bxg5 Bxb3 16. axb3 Nh7?!

This is a waste of time as there is no real threat to the bishop on g5.

16… g6 at once was better.

17. Nf5 Qe6 18. Rg1 g6!

18… Kh8? looked too risk after 19. Nxg7! and now:

  • 19… Kxg7? 20. Bh6+! Kf6 (20… Kxh6? gets mated, e.g. 21. Qd2+ Kh5 22. Rg5+ Kh6 (22… Nxg5 23. Qxg5#) 23. Rg4+ Kh5 24. Rh4+ Kg6 25. Qh6#; 20… Kh8? 21. Bg7+ Kg8 22. Bf6+ Ng5 23. Rxg5+ Kh7 24. Rh5+ Kg6 (24… Kg8 25. Rh8#) 25. Qd2 forces mate.) 21. Ng5! with a winning attack.
  • 19… Qxb3 20. Nh5 leaves the Black king terribly exposed.

19. Be3 Bxe3 20. Qxe3 Ne7 21. N3h4

  • 21. Nh6+ Kh8 22. O-O-O was also possible, with attacking chances.

21… Kh8 22. Qh6 Rg8 23. Nxe7 Qxe7 24. O-O-O Qf6!?

24… Rgd8 looks safer, stopping Rd7.

25. Rd7 Rac8 26. Rg3 Qf4+

26… Rg7 is also possible, but it is natural Black wants to swap queens.

27. Qxf4 exf4 28. Rg1 Rgf8?

This is wrong in light of White’s strong response.

28… Rg7 keeps the f8 square open for the knight. Black is passive but solid.

29. e5!

This ties Black up. Black now struggles as best he can, but without real effect for a long time.

29… g5 30. Nf5 Rce8 31. Ne7 c5 32. Rxb7 Rb8 33. Rc7 Rxb3 34. Rxc5

34. Nc8 looks clearer.

34… Rfb8 35. Rc8+ Rxc8 36. Nxc8 Rb5 37. Nd6 Ra5 38. Kc2 Kg7 39. Nc4 Rc5 40. b3 Kh6 41. Rd1 Nf8 42. Rd6+ Ng6 43. Rxa6 Kh5 44. e6 fxe6 45. Rxe6 Rf5 46. b4 f3 47. Ne3 Rf8 48. Ng4 Rh8 49. Re3 Nh4 50. b5 Ng2 51. Re7 Nf4 52. Ne5 Nxh3 53. Nxf3 Nxf2 54. Re5 Nh3 55. c4 Kg4 56. Nxg5?

White hoped that his connected pawns would be too strong, but Black is able to deal with them.

56. Nd4 was better, when the Black g-pawn is not a threat, but the extra knight, compared to the game, will prove decisive.

56… Nxg5 57. b6 Nf7 58. Re7 Nd6 59. c5 Nf5

59… Rc8 is simplest. 60. Rc7 (60. Re5 Kf4 61. Rd5 Nb7 wins the c-pawn.) 60… Rxc7
61. bxc7 Nc8 followed by bringing the Black king over results in a draw.

60. Rc7 Nd4+ 61. Kd3 Ne6 62. Rc6 Kf5 1/2-1/2

Here the game was stopped. Subsequent computer analysis showed this to be clearly equal, so a draw was agreed.

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