Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Game 37: Columbia Club Championship Rd. 5

Columbia Chess Club Championship
C42: Petroff Defence: 3 Nxe5 and unusual White 3rd moves
White: Dan Quigley (1807)
Black: Paul Potylicki (1494)
Columbia, SC, Round 5, G/75, 30 sec. bonus, Mar. 21, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6

The Petrov Defense. I am seeing this more often at the club lately because I think 1…e5 players there may know how well prepared I am for 2…Nc6 3.Bc4 (Evans Gambit with 3…Bc5 4.b4 or Two Knights Defense 3…Nf6 4.Ng5) and prefer to steer for calmer waters.


This is the most popular response and the one whose lines I first studied in the 1980s and know the best. Still, there are four good alternatives for White, all of which are favorable for White statistically: 3.Nc3, 3.d4, 3.Bc4, and 3.d3. Of these, most impressive to me is 3.d4 and I have put in some work on lines stemming from this move in some server-based games. However, it has been a long time since I played and looked at those games, and I didn’t think I could remember the lines. Next time will be a different story.

3…d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 Bg4

The main line is 5…d5, but to an opponent who is not versed in opening theory 5…Bg4 would be more logical than moving the same pawn twice in the opening. The problem with 5…Bg4 is that this move is played in order to put pressure on the d4 pawn. There is no way Black can develop pressure on this pawn. Therefore, 5…Bg4 is somewhat nonsensical. All that is “threatened” is to trade a Bishop for White’s Knight, which would not harm White in the least.


I could have ignored the Bishop and played 6.Bd3, but I like putting the question out there. If Black backs up, then I can undo the pin whenever I wish with a later g4.

6…Bh5 7.Bd3 Nf6 8.0–0 Be7 9.Re1 0–0

10.c4!? TN

In this position, White usually plays 10.Nbd2. I considered this move, but it looks drawish to me. Why play in cramped style? White has a space advantage right now and my move is designed to grab even more space.

10…Nc6 11.Be3 Qd7

Black really needs to consider playing 11...d5 in order to uncramp his position and to try isolating my pawn on d4. I still like my position after 12.Nc3 though. I have read Baburin’s now difficult to find modern day classic Pawn Structure Chess, and have some ideas of what to do with the isolani on d4.


To prevent …Nb4. Probably better was 12.Nc3. If 12…Nb4 13.Bb1 and then a3 frees my position. I didn’t want to bury my Queen Rook this way though.


Black could try to equalize with the more complicated 12...d5 13.cxd5 Nxd5 14.Ne5 Bxd1 15.Nxd7 =


White prepares to occupy d5 himself. Also promising was 13.Nbd2 d5 14.c5 +/=


A poor move. Black creates weaknesses around his King for no good reason. A later g4, Bg6, Bxg6, fxg6 should give White a promising attack on the Kingside. Best for Black was 13...d5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.Nxd5 Qxd5 16.Rc1=


Black has a cramped position, but taking advantage of this is far from automatic. Probably best for White was 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.cxd5 Nd8 and White is better because he can post both Rooks to half-open files to generate pressure.

14...a6 15.Be2

I could not find a plan for White. If 15.d5 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Ne5 and …Nxd3 chops a lot of wood. Probably best was still 15.Nd5, hoping for 15…Nxd5 16.cxd5 Na7 17.Rc1 +/=


I never dreamed White would play this move. My last move was in preparation for 15...d5 16.Ne5 Bxe2 17.Rxe2 +/=

16.d5 Na7

Amother idea is 17.Ra2, so that after the f3-Knight moves and Black plays …Bxe2, White can double Rooks on the e-file.

17...Bf6 18.Rac1 b6

Consolidates c5.


I played this move intending Rg1, g4, g5, g6, etc.

19…Bg6 20.Bd3?!

The g4 plan was a chimera that never really goes anywhere, e.g. 20.Rg1 Nc8 21.g4 Bxc3 22.Qxc3 Nf6 23.g5 hxg5 24.Nxg5 Ne7, intending …Nf5 and Black has no worries. The way to play with a space advantage like the one White currently enjoys is to move pieces into nice positions. Best was 20.Nd4, intending 21.Bg4, and Bf4 and Nf5 to follow along with a Queenside pawn advance, if needed. Black’s position would be under tremendous pressure then and something would probably give.


Black seeks to improve the position of his most inactive piece, a really good idea.

21.Bxg6 fxg6 22.Nd4 Qf7 23.Re2

If 23.Ne6, Black would just offer a trade via 23…Nf8 +/=

23...Ne7 24.Rce1 Be5+ 25.g3?!

Secures f4, but weakens f3. Best was 25.f4 Bxd4 26.Bxd4 Nf5 27.Bf2 with a miniscule edge for White. Black has done a really good job of hanging in there all game and is now rewarded by a chance to put some pressure on White, which is met by inaccurate play.


I saw neither the danger, nor the solution. Counter-intuitive as it may be, 26.Qxd4!? was essential. Then, on 26...Nf5 (26…Ng5? 27.Bxg5 +/-) 27.Qd2 is equal.

26...Ng5 27.Rxe7??

This makes a bad game worse. Best was to just let Black win the exchange: 27.Kg2 Nf3 28.Qd3 Nxe1+ 29.Rxe1. Black should still win this, but there is still chess left to play.


White is completely lost. Given the rating disparity, I play on only in the hope of swindling the game away from Black somehow, but it wasn’t meant to be this time.

28.Rxe7 Nf3+ 29.Kg2 Nxd2 30.Rxf7 Kxf7 31.c5 Nb3 32.Be3 bxc5 33.b5 Nd4 34.bxa6 Rxa6 35.Bxd4 cxd4 36.Nb5 Ra4 37.Kf3 Kf6 38.Ke4 g5 39.Nxc7 Rxa3 40.Ne8+ Ke7 41.Nxg7 d3 42.Ke3 Ra2 43.Nf5+ Kf6 44.Nxd6 Ke5 45.Nf7+ Kxd5 46.Kxd3 Rxf2 47.Nxh6 Rf3+ 48.Ke2 Rxg3 49.Nf7 Ke4 50.Kf2 Rf3+ 0–1

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