I threw away games this year like a drunken rummy, and that was no more true than in this years’ CCCR Championship, which was my worst ever. In this game from round four, give all the credit to my opponent, Dan Burnside. He never faltered in his management of the Black pieces.
Championship of the Community Chess Club of Rochester
October 25, 2017
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. g3
3. g3 This was a spontaneous decision, I’ve never played it or even thought of it before. I normally don’t play openings spontaneously, I usually try to have an opening plan going into the game. But I suddenly realized that I had faced a Slav Defense against Dan earlier this year, and though I won I didn’t know the line at all well and hadn’t done any homework on it. And I began to wonder if he had. So I went for this crazy 3. g3 line. After the beating I took in this game though I’m not sure I’d recommend anyone try it at home or at the club.
3...Nf6 4. Nf3
4. Nf3 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 is the usual move order for this particular variation.
After 4. Bg2 Bf5 5. Qb3 Qb6 6. Nc3 e6 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 e5 9. Nf3 e4 Black eventually won in Alburt-Short, Foxboro 1985.
4...e6 5. cxd5
5. cxd5 As I don’t have any idea where this is going with White’s fianchettoed position, I decide to steer this to the usually tepid waters of the Slav Exchange. It might not have been the best idea.
5...cxd5 6. Bg2 Nc6 7. O-O Bd6 8. Nc3 O-O
8...O-O There are a number of games you can find in databases with this position but very few if any with grandmasters.
9. Bd2 This is a pretty lame move, isn’t it? 9. Bg5 or 9. a3 are much more to the point.
9...Bd7 10. Re1 Rc8 11. Rc1 Re8 12. a3 Na5
12...Na5 A good, enterprising move.
13. Na2? This is a clunker. My thinking was really quite confused during most of this game, but I assure you, unlike several of my games this year I was thinking and trying very hard.
13…Nc4 There does not seem to be any hope of ever getting the knight off this comfy outpost square.
14. Bc3 Ne4
14...Ne4! Yikes, two knights converging together in my territory. It was like watching Twister at the point where the tornado splits in two.
15. e3 Qe7 16. Re2 Rc7 17. Nd2
17. Nd2? Black can now pick up a full pawn thanks to those outposted knights.
17...Nexd2 18. Bxd2 Nxb2 19. Qb3 Nc4 20. Bb4 Rec8 21. Bxd6 Qxd6 22. Rec2 Nb6 23. Rxc7 Rxc7 24. Rxc7 Qxc7 25. Bf1 Nc4 26. Qc3 b5 27. Bd3 Qa5 28. Nb4 Qxa3
28...Qxa3 And now two pawns down White will just be driven into extinction.
29. Qxa3 Nxa3 30. Kf1 a5 31. Na2 Nc4 32. Ke1 b4 33. Kd1 Nb2+ 34. Kc2 Nxd3 35. Kxd3 Bb5+ 36. Kc2 Bc4 37. Nc1 a4
37...a4 It’s maddening that those two knuckleheads on a4 and b4 are having the times of their lives while my king and knight can do nothing.
38. Kb2 Kf8
38...Kf8 Dan has played an excellent game and from here he knows just exactly what to do.
39. f3 Ke7 40. e4 Kd6 41. e5+ Kc6 42. f4 a3+ 43. Kb1 b3 44. g4 b2 45. h4 bxc1=Q+ 46. Kxc1
a2 47. Kb2 Kb5 48. f5 exf5 49. gxf5 Kc6 50. Ka1 Kd7 51. Kb2 Ke7 52. h5 a1=Q+ 53. Kxa1 Bd3 54. f6+ gxf6 55. exf6+ Kxf6 White resigns.