1993: Research

Game Lane,PCR - Heath,C, Exeter Club Championship (1), 1993

Research

I arrived in Exeter as a post-graduate student to do research towards a PhD. This was my first game in the club, and that against a one-time club champion. Luckily, I had seen Chris play the Modern Benoni in a county match, and so looked up the sharpest variation... — PCRL

Modern Benoni, Taimanov Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. f4 Bg7 8. Bb5+ Nfd7 9. a4 O-O 10. Nf3 Na6 11. O-O Nc7

[11...Nb4 also 12. Re1 a6 13. Bf1 with Be3-f2 and e5 is also good for White. ]

12. Be2 b6

of course, 12... a6 13.  a5 blocks the Q-side. 

Now White needs a plan for forcing e5, perhaps Be3-f2 as in the line above.  Instead, I play a move more relevant in a different position!

13. f5?! Ne5 14. Nxe5

[14.  Bg5 is not possible, and so White has to struggle against e5. ]

14...Bxe5 15. Bf4 Qe7 16. Qe1 Bd7 17. Qg3 Rfe8 18. h4 a6

Black can afford to wait. 

19. Bg4

I try to swap the light-square Bishops

[19. h5? 19...Bxf4 20. Rxf4 g5 and ...f6, and White is losing]

19...Rad8 20. Rf3 Bxf4

White was planning Qf2-Raf1 and an attack down the f-file, hence Black must exchange some pieces. 

21. Qxf4 Qe5 22. fxg6

+-----------------+
|.+.4r+k+|
|+.hb+p+p|
|p0.0.+P+|
|+.0P1.+.|
|P+.+P!B)|
|+.H.+R+.|
|.).+.+P+|
|$.+.+.I.|
+-----------------+

22...Qxf4?

better is [22...fxg6 23. Qf7+ Kh8 24. Bxd7 and Black regains his piece by 24...Re7 25. Qf6+ Qxf6 26. Rxf6 Rexd7 with a good endgame. Play might continue: 27. e5 dxe5 28. Rxb6 a5 when White's Pawns are weaker]

23. gxh7+ Kxh7 24. Rxf4 Bxg4 25. Rxg4 Rg8 26. Rxg8 Rxg8

+-----------------+
|.+.+.+r+|
|+.h.+p+k|
|p0.0.+.+|
|+.0P+.+.|
|P+.+P+.)|
|+.H.+.+.|
|.).+.+P+|
|$.+.+.I.|
+-----------------+

White has managed to gain a won endgame from Black's blunder.  Black can play on the weak e-Pawn, and try for Q-side counterplay, but with few hopes of success against a careful White. 

27. Rf1 Kg6 28. h5+ Kg7 29. Rf4 Rh8 30. g4 Ne8 31. Nd1 f6 32. Kg2 b5 33. axb5 axb5 34. Nc3 Nc7 35. Kg3 b4 36. Nd1 Nb5 37. Ne3 Nd4 38. Rf2 Re8 39. Kf4 Rc8 40. Nc4 Nb5 41. Rf1 Ra8 42. Rh1 Ra7 43. h6+ Kg6 44. h7 Rxh7 45. Rxh7 Kxh7 46. Kf5 Kg7 47. Ke6 Kg6 48. Kd7! 1-0

[48. Nxd6?? Nxd6 49. Kxd6 c4 and Black wins!]

[Notes by Peter Lane]

Chess Quotes

"After black's reply to 1.e4 with 1..e5 leaves him always trying to get into the game"
— Howard STAUNTON
"After white's reply to 1.e4 e5 with 2.f4 the game is in its last throes"