Downend & Fishponds Chess Club




Eastwick-Field 0-1 Mordue

2022-10-06 - Eastwick-Field, Stephen 0-1 Mordue, Tyson

[Event "BCA AGM TOURNAMENT"] [Site "BLACKPOOL"] [Date "1991.03.16"] [Round "3"] [White "EASTWICKFIELD, S."] [Black "MORDUE, AT."] [Result "0-1"] [Annotator "Mordue,Tyson"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "16.??.??"] {The opposition here is not very strong but Black misplays the opening. White has a strong initiative and Black has to untangle very carefully. His 21st move is the beginning of a complete strategical regrouping and is worth studying.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. d5 d6 4. e4 g6 5. Bb5+ {On the database this is classified as A45 Queen's Pawn Game but I personally regard it as a form of the Benoni although there are likely transpositions to the Modern and Pirc Defences.} Bd7 $6 {This is the most popular move in this position, but the accurate move is regarded as 5...Nfd7. This threatens to force White to give up the Bishop pair with 6...a6. If White retreats then 7...b5 is part of Black's natural Queenside expansion. Of course White can first play 6 a4 to slow Black down and he has the option of that in the game. After 5...Nfd7 Black's other Knight goes via a6 to c7 where it supports both ....b5 and .... e6 breaks. The combination of Knight on d7 and Bishop on g7 also holds up White's intended central thrust e4-e5. The problem with the text is that White doesn't have to swap on d7 which would relieve Black's cramped position slightly and facilitate his development. The best reply as already indicated is 6 a4 but his choice in the game is okay. The annoying thing is that I knew 5...Nfd7 was the right move and thought that White, graded 80 BCF points below me, would gladly swap Bishops. To my surprise he didn't and this disconcerted me.} 6. Qe2 Bg7 7. Nf3 {This is okay but 7 f4 is more aggressive and ambitious. } O-O 8. O-O {Departing from established theory on the database although the games there were played after this one. 8 Bxd7+ was played but that just gives Black the chance to play ... Nfxd7 with improved control of e5 and develop the other Knight to c7 as suggested earlier. There's nothing wrong with White's move though.} Bxb5 9. Qxb5 Qd7 {Once again offering a swap, this time of Queens ...} 10. Qb3 $5 {.. and once again White declines. The choice of retreat square is odd but justified. From here Her Majesty looks at b7 and e6 and gives the d5 Pawn extra support should White venture e4-e5. The point of looking at b7 and e6 is relevant because firstly if 10...e6 11 dxe6 Qxe6 12 Qxe6 fxe6 13 e5 just leaves Black with an isolated Pawn, while secondly 10... Na6 can't be followed by an immediate 11... Nc7 because b7 is en prise and the White Queen currently has an escape square on c6. All this can be traced back to the swap of light-squared Bishops. Now my immediate concern was twofold: 1) that White was about play 11 e5 when after 11...dxe5 12 Nxe5 Black has to spend another tempo moving his Queen which is tied to the defence of b7, plus the fact that White's position looks very good; 2) that I couldn't find a sensible plan! Somewhere around here I felt that White was playing like a 200+ player and I was playing superficially. Unfortunately it continued like that for a while!} Na6 {Probably deciding that 11 e5 was best met by 11...Ng4. If White swaps on d6 then the Knight can always return to f6 in due course. Fair enough but what about 12 e6? Deep Rybka and I came up with the line [11.e5 Ng4 12.e6] 12.. .fxe6 13.dxe6 Qc6 14.Nd5 Rae8 15.c4 Nc7 16.Bg5 Nxd5 17.cxd5 Qa6 and the engine claims that this is just about equal! On the premise that the centre is completely static, albeit White is significantly advanced, while Black has a potentially mobile Queenside majority I can understand the evaluation to some extent, but I wouldn't think many humans would want to take on Black's position here. Very interesting though and worth exploring.} 11. Re1 {Solid preparation for the e4-e5 advance. White seems to be in no particular hurry, nor should he be. Get fully developed first before doing anything critical.} Nc7 $5 {This looks like it drops a Pawn but after 12.Qxb7 Rfb8 13. Qc6 Qxc6 14. dxc6 Rb6 15.e5 Ng4 16.exd6 exd6 Black is going to round up the c6 Pawn without any significant damage having been done to his position. The d6 Pawn looks weak but if it can get to d5 and then d4 unhindered Black will be okay. Nevertheless the engine says that after 16...exd6 it's just about equal which I'm not totally convinced by. However, looking a bit further there is 17 Bf4 Rxc6 18 Rad1 but then 18...Rb6! gives White concern over his b2 Pawn and his c3 Knight. Once again worth examining.} 12. e5 {Deciding to push now. Does this make any difference to the situation with regard to the b7 Pawn?} Ng4 { Apparently not. The move e4-e5 featured in the variation given in the previous note, so it's only a transposition if White grabs on b7 now. Deep Rybka suggests 12...dxe5 13 Nxe5 Qd6 14 Nc4 Qa6 claiming equality again. It adds that after 14 Qxb7 Rfb8 15 Qc6 Nfxd5 White is forced into 16 Qxd6 exd6 and that Black stands better. I agree with the second line but I have doubts about the first. Indeed because of the odd Queen positions one might say that both sides stand badly!?} 13. Bf4 {Again a decent, solid developing move that supports e5 and puts pressure on d6. This means that b7 is probably really en prise as in turn d6 would be en prise after the Queen swap on c6. White would probably have to start with exd6 before taking on b7 but Black's next is obvious. He defends the b-Pawn by expanding on the Queenside.} b5 {Despite Black's misgivings over the opening things are now okay. Unfortunately it didn't feel like that at the time. Deep Rybka says it's equal and suggests that White plays 14 exd6 exd6 15 Ne4. After 15...c4 Black is going to get the d5 Pawn in return for the d6 one and he should be fine. Instead White makes an obvious move which turns out to be an error, but Black doesn't see the refutation.} 14. h3 $2 Nh6 $2 {An abject retreat instead of playing the logical 14...Nxe5. What I'd failed to see was that after the sequence 15.Nxe5 dxe5 16.Bxe5 Bxe5 17.Rxe5 there was 17...Qd6 when 18.Rae1 fails to 18...c4 19. Qa3 b4 winning a piece. Here 19.Nxb5 cxb3 20.Nxd6 exd6 leads to the same result. Deep Rybka suggests 18 Re3 so that 21 Rxb3 is possible in the last line but Black is still up a Knight for two Pawns. After the text White is just clearly better and the engine evaluation is +0.7.} 15. Rad1 $16 a5 { Further Queenside expansion and the threat of 16...a4 17 Qa3 b4 provokes a crisis. Deep Rybka says that White should simply play 16 Ne4 and that it's +1.} 16. exd6 $5 exd6 {Making the straightforward recapture instead of getting embroiled in the complications with 16...a4. Then 17.Rxe7 Qxe7? 18.dxe7 axb3 19.exf8Q+ Kxf8 20.axb3 White is two Pawns up for nothing. Instead after 16... a4 17 Rxe7 Qf5 White should play 18.Nxa4! bxa4 (if 18... Rxa4 19 Bxh6 followed by a capture on c7 is great for White , while 18...Qxf4 19 dxc7 bxa4 20 Qb6 Nf5 and now White has either 21 Ree1 with a +1 evaluation or the incredible 21 d6! with a +2 evaluation.) 19.Qc4 Na6 20.d7 and White has a great position despite being a piece down. Look at the Black Knights! I didn't see all of this but as 16 Ne4 was a simple alternative then I judged that White must have thought that the text was even better. Hence the practical recapture and at least the annoying Pawn on e5 has been eliminated. The engine says that White's plus is now only 0.3 to 0.4, so the tactical speculation invested in 16 exd6 has cost him some of his advantage.} 17. Ne4 Nf5 {Deep Rybka points out the amusing 17...c4 18 Qe3 Nf5 19 Qb6 and once again the White Queen is in the heart of the Black Queenside, this time with some good effect. Another line is 17...a4 18 Qe3 Nf5 19 Qc1 defending b2 from behind. However, this may be better than the text as White's next muffles the Black Bishop, gives the White Queen a more natural retreat square and takes control of d4 so a Black Knight can't get in there.} 18. c3 a4 $6 {Another small error by Black. In a lot of the forthcoming notes there are repeated suggestions of c3-c4 by White in an attempt to bolster the d5 Pawn. Instead of the text 18...c4 rules that option out. Perhaps I was sensitive about giving up control of the d4 square to White. As the game goes White never plays c3-c4.} 19. Qc2 Ne8 {Not a nice move to have to play. Deep Rybka suggests the more sensible moves 19... Ra6 with lateral defence of the d6 Pawn, or 19...h5 to hold up 20 g4 pushing the Knight away from the defence of the same Pawn. The concern was that on a6 the Rook may find itself out of play, while 19...h5, although a natural move to try to preserve a Knight on f5, is clearly weakening the Kingside structure. With the Knight on e8 it is no longer feasible for Black to oppose Rooks on the open e-file if White doubles Rooks there and, in fact, shortly Eastwickfield sensibly does just that. First he grabs some more space. Right here Deep Rybka says that White is better by roughly 0.4. It felt like more!} 20. g4 $6 {I failed to appreciate at the time how weakening a move this was. However, Black can't take immediate advantage of it and for that reason White would probably do better to continue building up more slowly. The obvious method is doubling Rooks on the file so that after g2-g4 the reply ... Nf5-e7 is then answered by Ne4xd6 winning a Pawn because the e7 Knight is loose. Of course Black has two tempi to try to negate this and this includes an immediate 20...Ne7 after, say, 20 Re2. the problem with that is after 21 Rde1 the only move I can see to avoid an effective 22 Nxd6 is 21... Nc8. Admittedly the d6 Pawn now has adequate protection. Then Black could consider ... Ra6-a7-e7 and try to counter the e-file pressure. Swapping all the Rooks would be nice so Black would have to organise that with, say, ...Ne8-c7 and ...Rfe8 and then a prod with ....f7-f5. Okay, this is all conjecture but see the note to Black's 21st!} Ne7 {Now Deep Rybka evaluates the position as almost even. This seems odd as White has a clear space advantage in the centre and Kingside while Black has several pieces that clearly aren't on good squares.} 21. Bg3 $2 {This move isn't bad but the timing is. Deep Rybka suggests 21 Qe2 with the threat of 22 Nxd6. This probably forces 21...Nc8 and then 22 Bg3 is fine. The difference is that after {21 Qe2 Nc8 22 Bg3 the reply 22...f5 can be met by 23.Neg5 fxg4 24.hxg4 Qxg4 25 Qxb5 when 25...Rxf3 26 Nxf3 Qxf3 has left the e8 Knight loose. The position may still be level though after 25...Nc7. After 21 Qe2 the immediate 21...f5 fails to 22.Nxd6 fxg4 23.Qxe7 Qxe7 24.Rxe7 Nxd6 25.Bxd6 Rxf3 26.Bxc5 Bf8 27.Rc7 gxh3 28.d6 and White is much better. This is a typical Benoni scenario where the d6 Pawn is liquidated and the newly passed Pawn on d5 becomes a menace. While Eastwickfield was mulling over the text I had left the playing room in an attempt to get my mind straight and start playing some decent chess against someone graded well below me. It seems that my strategical concept is okay but I promptly missed another tactical opportunity. It's worth studying this position from both perspectives} Kh8 $5 { This is the start of a long unwinding procedure of which the emphasis is on controlling both e6 and e7 to ensure that White doesn't get pieces to these squares. This involves all the moves played by Black up to at least move 28. This procedure may seem incredibly slow but Black only has one real weak point, the Pawn on d6. The break ...f7-f5 will be strong if the White Knight on e4 and Pawn on g4 are still there when it is executed. What I failed to see was that the immediate 21...f5! is very strong. I think I was blinkered by the fact that a White Knight could get to e6 via g5 very quickly but after 22 Neg5 fxg4 the open f-file is useful as 23 Ne6 is simply answered by 23...Rxf3. If instead 22 gxf5 then 22...Rxf5! because now 23 either Ng5 is answered by 23... Rxd5 and the outpost support is liquidated before a steed even gets there. It was probably this last move that I overlooked. So White's impulsive 20 g4 gives Black immediate counterplay, but I failed to take the opportunity. However, the following regrouping is instructional even if the text move looks passive. The point of it is to remove the e7 Knight from the glare of doubled White Rooks on the e-file. The whole process is siege mentality but ultimately it works. After the game Eastwickfield said he felt encouraged by Black's next few moves, but he added that he failed to see that it was part of a constructive regrouping.} 22. Kg2 Ng8 23. Re2 f6 {{Denying White use of the g5 square and creating space for the f8 Rook to go to f7 and the Bishop to go to f8. From here this poor piece at least defends the weak d6 Pawn while the Knights can find more useful places to go. Eventually the intention is face off Rooks down the e-file.} 24. Rde1 Rf7 25. Qd3 {The first of a series of moves that ultimately prove to be unsatisfactory. Her Majesty doesn't seem to be doing anything more here than on c2. The engine suggests 25 c4 and keeps on doing so over the next few moves. Of course Black now has the option of ... c5-c4 with tempo gain ruling out c3-c4 and emphasising the weakness of the d5 Pawn. However, there is a very subtle point to this move although it is not immediately apparent. I'm not certain if either of us actually saw the variation that is given in the note to Black's 27th, but if it had occurred it would have been utterly sensational and probably resulted in the biggest scalp of Eastwickfield's chess career!} Bf8 {So the King had to move to make way for the Knight so that I could advance the f-Pawn to create a square for the Rook so that I could retreat the Bishop to give extra defence to the d6 Pawn. And the thigh-bone's connected to the knee-bone etc etc. However, there was method in my madness.} 26. Nh2 $2 {Here Deep Rybka highly recommends 26 c4. I was going to suggest first 26 Nfd2, which is definitely an improvement on the text to bolster c3-c4 but it might be that Black replies 26...c4! which artificially isolates the d5 Pawn. White has no way of defending it with a minor piece while Black has chances of targetting it with two Knights if he can get one to f6. The text is a precursor to a Kingside advance but although the Knight supports g4 it is out of play and, crucially, blocks the White Bishop's retreat.} Nc7 {Black's last five moves have been played with the object of allowing this specific move. If White has one clear and attackable weakness in his camp it is the d5 Pawn. This is why the engine insists on playing c3-c4 around here, and also why I probably should have played ...c5-c4 earlier. The text also provides an extra defender for b5 should the Black Queen move and, additionally, it covers the hole e6. Of course this wasn't a weak square until Black ventured ...f7-f6, but the latter is an essential part of Black's regrouping so I couldn't avoid creating said weakness. Then again Black has it adequately covered before White has even had a chance to occupy it. Now every square from e8 to e5 has good Black cover so White's Rooks are all dressed up with nowhere to go. However, Black still has a bit of tidying up to do. The a8 Rook and g8 Knight need to find something to do. Deep Rybka evaluates this position as +0.68 to White. No surprise there as it's apparent at a glance that White still has a clear space advantage and better co-ordinated pieces. Then again what is he actually doing? At this point Eastwickfield decides on a wholesale Kingside Pawn advance.} 27. h4 {This looks natural but potential holes start to appear in the White Kingside. The idea is to advance g4-g5 and establish f6 or h6 as possible outposts for the White Knights. However, Black is well prepared for this because the Knight on g8 that seems to be doing nothing is actually controlling these two squares! What's more after Black's reply he's almost ready for a counterattack. The suggestions made by Deep Rybka are intriguing. The first one was 27 c4 to give solid support to d5. Naturally this doesn't work after the simple 27....bxc4 and Black has the open b-file for his previously redundant a8 Rook to work down. The next suggestion was 27 b3 to give proper support to the c3-c4 advance. More logical but of course Black can swap on b3 and then the Rook on a8 is looking down the open file and it hasn't even had to move. Eventually it settles on 27 a3 of which the only point is to hold up Black's ...b5-b4 advance. As it probably makes this more effective when it arrives - two contact points instead on one - this seems silly. As it goes Black is actually concentrating on the Kingside because of White's slightly exposed King, which is a bit more draughty after the text. Of course Black could consider playing on the Queenside. After all he has a space advantage on that wing. It would need more preparation but as the Kingside is where most of his pieces are, and White's of course, it seems that the major battle will be on that side. Despite all this Deep Rybka returns to recommending 27 c4 giving an evaluation of +0.8 to White. It's not clear why. However, after the text it says Black is +0.18, then after seeing Black's reply raises it to nearly +0.4.} h6 $1 {Black intends ....f7-f5 so rules out Neg5 in reply. Also if White should play g4-g5 himself then now Black has the strategic flexibility of taking with either Pawn and then pushing past with the other. Which way he does it will depend on exact circumstances, but the likely way is ...f6xg5 to open the f-file and then after h4xg5 play h6-h5 to seal the h-file. Note that this works with the Pawn on h6, but with the Pawn on h7 the advance ....h7-h5 can be met by taking en passant. I should add that the text is still part of the plan conceived at move 21. White's current problem is twofold. 1) the advance ...f6-f5 not only hits the e4 Knight but also threatens ...f5-f4 winning the g3 Bishop, the consequence of 26 Nh2; 2) After the ...f6-f5 advance Black also has ...Ng8-f6 attacking the d5 Pawn for a second time and White has no second defender. The point of the engine's suggested c3-c4 was that after ...b5xc4, Qxc4 such an attack could be answered by putting a Rook on the d-file to provide that second defender, and even a third one by doubling if necessary. Now this all begs the question why can't Black play the immediate 27...f5? The answer is very subtle. First there is 28 Ng5 f4 29 Qf3! pinning the f4 Pawn. Now 29... fxg3 is answered by 30 Nxf7+ (defended by the Queen) 30...Kg7 31 Ng5 and White has won the Exchange. This works because the obvious 31...gxh2, apparently getting a second piece for the Rook, is met by the thunderbolt 32 Re7+! If Black takes with Knight or Bishop then mate follows after 33 Qf7+ and 34 Qxh7, while 32...Qxe7 33 Rxe7+ only delays the process by one move. These neat lines show that there is poison in the White set-up hence Black's precautionary text. } 28. f4 $2 {This poor advance completely blocks the White Bishop, gives up the last bit of Pawn shelter around the White King, and seriously weakens e4, e3, g4 and g3. Out of this selection it's only e4 and g4 that really matter, probably because after Black's next the g8 Knight has easy access to f6. As for alternatives I'm greatly surprised to see that Deep Rybka suggests 28 Nf3 simply leaving the g4 Pawn en prise. Surely White's position isn't that bad? Other moves are 28 Rd1 and 28 Nd2, but they are all defensive moves.} f5 $1 { Black finally gets this counter-blow in and White is in trouble. Weak squares all over the place and the d5 Pawn probably dropping. While Black was carefully regrouping from moves 21 to 27 Eastwickfield thought that I was merely creating more weaknesses. Meanwhile White was apparently assuming a more aggressive posture. Instead it's White who has the weaknesses and there is actually a clear lack of co-ordination between his pieces.} 29. Nf2 {29 gxf5 can be met by both 29...Rxf5 winning the d5 Pawn directly or by 29...gxf5 and then the aforementioned 30...Nf6 (or e7) also winning the d5 Pawn.} Nf6 30. gxf5 $6 {White had to try to keep lines closed with 30 g5. Black can comfortably either capture on g5 immediately and then take on d5 or play 30... Nfxd5 straight away. The open g-file comes back to haunt White in a few moves.} gxf5 31. Nf3 Nfxd5 32. Nh3 {Giving the f4 Pawn an extra defender in anticipation of ...Rg7 pinning the g3 Bishop. However, 32 Kh2 would have been simpler.} Nf6 $1 {The Knight has done its first job by capturing on d5. Now this return to f6 heralds penetrations on g4 or e4 while ...Qc6 will take control of the long diagonal.} 33. Nh2 {This Knight had only left this square two moves ago. This is effectively surrender as the White minor pieces merely take flight squares away from the White King.} Qc6+ 34. Kg1 Ne4 35. Bf2 $2 { Total collapse. It had to be 35 Rg2 but White is a Pawn down with a horrid position, quite a contrast to his lovely set-up after his 15th move. He has over-stretched and the Black pieces are pouring through the holes into the spaces left behind.} Rg7+ 36. Kf1 Nxf2 $1 {It's an exchange of a good Knight for a bad Bishop but now tactical sequences outweigh positional factors. Although bad the Bishop was defending the dark squares and with its demise White is left defenceless.} 37. Rxf2 {If 37 Nxf2 preventing 37...Qh1+ then 37.. .Qg2 is mate instead, while 37 Kxf2 is answered by the trivial 37...Qg2+ 38 Ke3 Rg3+ 39 Kd2 Rxd3+ and 40....Qxh3+} Qh1+ 38. Ke2 Re8+ {The long-awaited introduction of the Queen's Rook decides matters.} 39. Kd2 Qxe1+ {Playable precisely because we swapped off the White Bishop on f2. Weaknesses on one colour complex invariably lead to a collapse on the other colour complex once invasions start. Now a Rook has already gone and after 40 Kc2 Re3 wins more material. If 41 Qxf5 Re2+! is forcing mate in a few moves.} 0-1

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