A French Encounter

[Event "ECC"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.02.12"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Body, Giles"]
[Black "Earnshaw, Terry"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C02"]
[PlyCount "90"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 {The Advance Variation, usually leading to a slow and
mysterious struggle on the wings.} 3... c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 (5... Bd7 {
is my preference.}) (5... Nge7 {and}) (5... Nh6 {are also played.}) 6. Be2 (6.
a3 {John Watson} 6... c4 (6... f6 {John Watson I have suggested this move as a
good weapon in every edition of 'Play the French', and I'm continually
surprised that so few people have used it.} 7. Bd3 fxe5 8. Nxe5 Nf6 9. O-O Bd6
10. Nxc6 10... bxc6 {with a good game, Yilmaz,M-Sutovsky, E/Bursa TUR 2010.})
7. Nbd2 7... Na5 {Grischuk,A-Apicella,M/Bordeaux FRA 2003. (10) In view of the
closed state of the centre Black is more concerned with restraining a b2-b3
breakthrough by White than with rapid development.}) 6... Be7 {
Not very pointed - and almost unknown in this position.} (6... cxd4 $1 7. cxd4
7... Nh6 $1 {John Watson} 8. Nc3 ({Better than} 8. Bxh6 $2 8... Qxb2 {or}) (8.
Na3 Bxa3) ({Also worthy of attention is} 8. Bd3 $5 8... Nf5 9. Bxf5 exf5 10.
O-O {with balanced chances, Harikrishna,P-Meier,G/Merida MEX 2007. (12)
Harikrishna simply castles, whereas Adams in a similar position versus
Vaganian edged his king along the back rank to g1. Evidently the English GM
wanted to keep his rook on h1 to help deter a future g7-g5 break out by Black.
The big question is: can White get away with castling, or can Black burst out
with his kingside pawns?}) 8... Nf5 9. Na4 {White has to adopt some awkward
looking manoeuvres to prevent the loss of the d pawn, but it appears he
emerges with a slight advantage. If} (9. Kf1 9... Ncxd4 $2 10. Na4 $1 {
and White was winning in Minasian,A-Petrosian,D/Batumi GEO 2001}) 9... Qa5+ 10.
Bd2 Bb4 11. Bc3 {
Again this looks odd but in fact it is the only way to hold onto the d pawn.}
11... b5 12. a3 $1 12... Bxc3+ 13. Nxc3 b4 14. axb4 Qxb4 15. Bb5 Bd7 16. Bxc6
Bxc6 17. Qd2 17... Bb5 {getting rid of the bad bishop. Is it equal or has
White kept an edge? See Nunn,J-Schmittdiel,E/Dortmund A 1991. More dynamic for
Black is} (17... O-O {Shirov,A-Ivanchuk,V/Monte Carlo MNC 2005.})) (6... Nh6 $2
7. Bxh6 $1 7... Qxb2 $2 8. Be3 Qxa1 9. Qc2 {
and Black's Queen is stuck. Black must play ...cxd4 first}) 7. a3 {Often playe
d before and without Be2. White usually goes for piece play after Be2, and
follows up with O-O and b3.} 7... c4 $1 {
Else b2-b4 will tie up the Queen's-side.} 8. O-O (8. Nbd2) 8... f6 $5 (8... Bd7
9. Nbd2 9... Na5 {
is a more usual approach, hoping to invade on the Queen's-side holes, e.g.,}
10. Rb1 Nh6 11. b3 $6 11... cxb3 $1 12. Nxb3 12... Ba4 $1 13. Nfd2 Rc8 14. Qc2
Qc7 15. Qb2 Nxb3 16. Nxb3 Qxc3) 9. Nbd2 Na5 (9... fxe5 10. dxe5 10... Bc5 {
is another idea in these positions.}) 10. Rb1 Nh6 11. b4 11... Nc6 $6 {
White seems to have won the Queen's-side argument, but can he make anything
count on the otherwing?} (11... cxb3 $1 12. Nxb3 12... Nf7 $14) 12. Re1 O-O 13.
b5 {Playing on the wrong side, I think.} 13... Na5 14. Qc2 Nf7 15. exf6 15...
Bxf6 {That has changed the terrain completely. Black now has a half-open
f-file but a weak Pe6.} 16. Nf1 Nb3 17. N1d2 Nxc1 18. Rexc1 Bd7 19. Nf1 Qd6 20.
a4 Ng5 21. Rd1 {White's Bishop is supposed to be good!} 21... Rf7 22. Qc1 Nxf3+
(22... Ne4) 23. Bxf3 Raf8 24. Ra1 h6 25. Bh5 Re7 26. Bf3 Bg5 27. Qc2 27... Ref7
{Black is making better use of his advantages than is White. But again, can
anything be made to stick?} 28. Qe2 Bd8 29. Re1 29... Bc7 {
Now I think Black could usefully send the other Bishop around to g6.} 30. Ra2
h5 31. Qe3 h4 32. h3 Rf4 33. Bd1 Qe7 (33... Re4 $1 34. Qd2 Rxe1 35. Qxe1 35...
e5 {frees Black's position, but I don't think it gets any advantage} 36. dxe5
Qxe5 37. Qxe5 Bxe5 38. Rc2 Bf5 39. Rc1 Bf4 40. Ra1) 34. Bg4 Re4 ({
I think the way forward is} 34... e5 $1 35. Bxd7 {(else ...e4)} (35. b6 $1
35... axb6 36. Bxd7 Qxd7 37. dxe5 37... Re4 $1 38. Qd2 38... Qe6 $1) 35... Qxd7
36. dxe5 36... Bb6 $1 {breaks through on f2, with advantage.}) 35. Qd2 Ref4 36.
Qe3 Re4 (36... e5 $1) 37. Qc1 Rxe1 38. Qxe1 Qf6 39. Re2 {
Now White has ganged up on e6, the position swings back the other way.} 39...
Re8 40. Bf3 Rf8 41. Qd2 Rf7 42. Nh2 42... Bxh2+ {
A choice of evils: allow Ng4, or lose the good Bishop.} 43. Kxh2 Re7 44. Qe3
Re8 45. Bg4 Re7 (45... Re7 46. Qe5 {
and White has all the chances in the endgame.}) 1/2-1/2

Chess Quotes

"Play your best chess by post..."
— BCCA