1996: Urgent measures

Game Blackmore,M - Pittman, East Devon Major, 1996

Urgent measures

From the same tournament, Mark shows some of the fighting spirit that has seen him leap up the grading list these last three years.  — DR

French Defence, Advance Variation

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 Bd7 7. Bc2 h6

To prevent Ng5 after ...O-O-O. 

8. O-O O-O-O 9. a3 g5 10. b4?

+-----------------+
|.+k4.gn4|
|0p+b+p+.|
|.1n+p+.0|
|+.0p).0.|
|.).).+.+|
|).).+N+.|
|.+B+.)P)|
|$NGQ+RI.|
+-----------------+

Oops.  I spent ages working out why Pittman couldn't play ...Nxd4 after ...g4, Ne1, completely forgetting that he could play ...Qxd4 instead and my Rook is hanging.  Desperate measures are now required. 

10...cxd4 11. cxd4 g4 12. b5

[12. Ne1 Nxd4? [12...Qxd4!] 13. Be3]

12...Na5 13. Ne1 Bxb5 14. Bd3 Qxd4 15. Qc2+ Bc4

+-----------------+
|.+k4.gn4|
|0p+.+p+.|
|.+.+p+.0|
|h.+p).+.|
|.+b1.+p+|
|).+B+.+.|
|.+Q+.)P)|
|$NG.HRI.|
+-----------------+

Letting me off the hook. 

[15...Nc4 stops Bb2]

16. Bb2 Qc5 17. Nd2 Kb8 18. Rc1 Rc8 19. Bxc4 Nxc4 20. Nd3 Qc7 21. Qa4?!

21...Nxb2

[21...Nxd2 may have been better]

22. Nxb2 Qd8 23. Nd3 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 h5

Even with two extra Pawns, Black now looks distinctly unhealthy.  Still, the choice was fairly stark: win it now, or get stuffed in the endgame. 

25. Nb3 Ne7 26. Nbc5 Nc8

+-----------------+
|.in1.g.4|
|0p+.+p+.|
|.+.+p+.+|
|+.Hp).+p|
|Q+.+.+p+|
|).+N+.+.|
|.+.+.)P)|
|+.$.+.I.|
+-----------------+

I could hardly sit still at this point.  Cheapo ahoy!

27. Nd7+ Ka8 28. Rxc8+ Qxc8 29. Nb6+ Kb8 30. Nxc8 Kxc8 31. Qe8+ 1-0

More luck than judgement, admittedly. 

[…but there were some grown-up decisions taken to throw the game out of a particular 'natural' continuation — DR]

[Notes by Mark Blackmore & DR]

Chess Quotes

"She hung up and I set out the chess board. I filled a pipe, paraded the chessmen and inspected them for French shaves and loose buttons, and played a championship tournament game between Gortchakoff and Meninkin, seventy-two moves to a draw, a prize specimen of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, a battle without armour, a war without blood, and as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency."
— Raymond CHANDLER, The Long Goodbye, Chapter 24, final sentences.