Game of the Month (just squeezing into December!)

Hi guys,

As I wrote earlier I forgot to do the Game at the start of the month but here’s my game against Slavin as promised. I finished it a couple of days ago but was waiting for Sue to fix the pgn problem. I hope you enjoy and an update about the European Blitz and Rapid will be up shortly.

###pgn###
[Event "London Classic Open"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.09"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Jones, G."]
[Black "Slavin, A."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B21"]
[WhiteElo "2635"]
[BlackElo "2400"]
[Annotator "GJ"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2011.07.25"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 c5 2. d3 {The so called Big Clamp – although not sure where that name
came from. The ideas are very similar to the Grand Prix Attack but of course
there are important differences. Firstly the bishop on f1 can no longer be
developed actively to c4 or b5 and so must be content to be relatively passive
on e2 or else fianchetto. Secondly White lacks control over the d5 square
meaning Black can gain space quicker. However there’s also a plus; in the 2…
e6 lines of the Grand Prix the knight often gets in the way on c3 and
sometimes even has to drop back to b1 to develop to a more active square.
White can sometimes get away without moving his b1 knight at all and instead
focus on developing his kingside. Finally the theory on 2.d3 is still
undeveloped and so Black players have to come up with a plan immediately.} Nc6
3. f4 g6 {Of course fianchettoing isn’t forced but is a logical choice.
Instead 3…e6 is playable but then White can claim something due to his
knight still sitting on b1.} 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 {This is the way I have always
chosen to play the variation. The principles of the Grand Prix remain while
the structure reminds me of a Reversed Classical Dutch.} d5 {This must be
critical. Black tries to exploit the fact that White has less control over the
centre.} ({White players should be happy to play against} 5… d6 {Here Luke
McShane played a model game and defeated the strong Ivan Cheparinov in a
miniature.} 6. O-O Nf6 (6… Bg4 {was played against me at the British but
following} 7. Qe1 c4 $6 {Too optimistic.} 8. dxc4 Qb6+ 9. Kh1 Bxb2 10. Bxb2
Qxb2 11. Nc3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Qb4 13. Rb1 Qxc4 14. Rxb7 {I already had an
overwhelming advantage. I’ll leave the rest of the game in as it’s not often
that I manage to mate in less than 25 moves :)} Nd4 15. Nd5 Rc8 16. Rxa7 Nxc2
17. Qb1 Qc5 18. Qb7 Qc6 19. Nc7+ Kd7 20. Qxc6+ Kxc6 21. e5+ Kb6 22. Rb1+ Kxa7
23. Rb7# {1-0 Jones,G (2606)-Bates,R (2373) Sheffield 2011}) 7. Qe1 O-O 8. Qh4
{Typical Grand Prix play.} c4 {A logical way to get counterplay but Luke shows
a flaw with exchanging c pawns.} 9. Kh1 cxd3 10. cxd3 Bg4 11. Nc3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3
Qb6 13. Bd1 $1 {A beautiful idea. The bishop gets out of the way of the rook
on the f file and is ready to reroute to the strong a2-g8 diagonal.} Qa6 14.
Rf3 Rfc8 15. Rh3 h5 16. f5 Ne5 17. Bg5 Kf8 18. fxg6 fxg6 19. Bb3 Nxd3 20. Rf3 {
and Black resigned as the threats to his king are too strong. 1-0 McShane,L
(2615)-Cheparinov,I (2667) Novi Sad 2009}) 6. O-O e6 {Slavin decides to
develop his knight to e7.} ({Previously I’d had a couple of games where my
opponent tried} 6… Nf6 7. e5 Nd7 ({My well prepared team mate, IM Richard
Palliser, later deviated with} 7… Ng4 8. c3 (8. Nc3 $5 {with the idea of
playing a subsequent d3-d4 should also be considered.}) 8… f6 9. d4 Qb6 10.
Kh1 O-O {White’s centre looks forbidding but Black has a lot of pressure on my
position.} 11. dxc5 Qxc5 12. Nd4 fxe5 13. Nxc6 Nf2+ 14. Rxf2 Qxf2 15. Nxe7+ Kh8
16. Nxd5 exf4 17. Bd2 $6 {Taking on f4 was a better way of playing but then I
thought Black had great drawing chances with the bishop pair on an open board
compensating for my extra pawn.} f3 $1 18. Bxf3 Bg4 19. Nf4 Bxf3 20. Qxf3 Qb6 {
when the fact I hadn’t got round to developing my b1 knight was skillfully
exploited. I eventually managed to win but here I was definitely in trouble.
Jones,G (2578)-Palliser,R (2448) 4ncl White Rose vs Pride and Prejudice 2011.})
8. c4 {This is a fairly typical idea in the Big Clamp borrowed from the King’s
Indian Attack. White fights back in the centre and aims to gain control of e4
and d5 squares.} (8. Nc3 $5) ({and} 8. c3 {are interesting alternatives.}) 8…
Nb6 9. Be3 d4 10. Bf2 f6 11. Bg3 {An odd manoeuvre but keeping control of the
e5 pawn.} O-O 12. Nbd2 fxe5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. fxe5 Nd7 15. Nf3 Bh6 16. Qa4 Qb6
17. Rab1 Qe6 18. b4 b6 19. Nxd4 $1 {Using my lead in development to exploit
Black’s temporary weaknesses on the light squares.} Be3+ 20. Kh1 Bxd4 21. Rxf8+
Kxf8 22. Rf1+ (22. Bf3 $1 Rb8 23. Rf1 {was a more accurate move order when
White would have an extremely dangerous attack.}) 22… Kg7 23. Bf3 Qf5 (23…
Bb7 $1 {was a move neither of us considered. It’s hard to simply offer a
bishop for a tempo but following} 24. Bxb7 Rf8 {Black suddenly has good
compensation for his pawn deficit.}) 24. Qc6 Rb8 25. e6 Ne5 26. Qc7 Nxf3 27.
Qxe7+ Kh6 28. Rxf3 Rb7 29. Qd8 Qxe6 30. Bf4+ Kg7 31. Be5+ {1-0 Jones,G (2578)
-Gallagher,J (2500) European Individual Championships 2011. I analysed this
game in depth for CBM if you want to find more details.}) 7. c3 Nge7 8. a4 {
Apparently up to this point I was still following one of my own games but here
I deviated.} ({In the previous one I’d chosen to play without a2-a4.} 8. Na3 b6
9. Be3 O-O 10. Qe1 Ba6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. e5 Rfd8 13. d4 cxd4 14. Bxa6 dxe3 15.
Nb5 Qd7 {Jones,G (2624)-Nikolova,A (2268) Rome 2011, when I should have chosen}
16. Nd6 f6 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. Ne4 $1 {a move I’d overlooked in my analysis,
when White is more comfortable as Black has some long term problems with her e
pawn.}) 8… O-O 9. Na3 {This is a fairly typical position arising from 2.d3.
Objectively White can’t have any advantage but it’s quite hard to come up with
a plan for Black while White can slowly improve his position followed by
either breaking with b2-b4 or else Qd1-e1-h4 and f4-f5 in true Grand Prix
spirit.} d4 {I think this advance is premature as it cedes White too many
squares.} ({During the game I thought} 9… a6 {with …b7-b5 ideas was
probably Black’s best.}) 10. Bd2 (10. Qe1 {was the move I wanted to play but
with} Na5 $1 {Black will get to exchange off my dark squared bishop.}) 10… b6
11. Nc2 dxc3 {Again Slavin is forcing the position which doesn’t really work.}
({However the problem for Black is that after} 11… Bb7 12. Qe1 {it’s not so
easy to see how he makes further progress.}) 12. Bxc3 Nd4 13. Ncxd4 cxd4 14.
Bb4 {From a different structure completely the game starts to resemble
McShane-Cheparinov seen earlier in the notes. My bishop on e2 might look
pretty lousy at the moment but just watch to see the butterfly it becomes.} Re8
15. Qe1 Nc6 16. Bd2 ({I was also considering} 16. Ba3 {but then I thought
Black could break back in the centre with} e5 $1) 16… a5 ({Now} 16… e5 {
doesn’t make as much sense as f4 is defended.}) 17. Rc1 Bb7 18. Bd1 $1 {The
bishop starts to activate itself. Remember this rerouting, it’s very important
in these structures and was underestimated by my opponent.} Qd7 19. Bb3 Ba6 20.
Ng5 $5 {Ignoring the threat to the d3 pawn. I think White’s attack is simply
too strong in practice.} Nd8 {Slavin agrees with me but now I get a strong
attack for free.} ({It was necessary to call my bluff with} 20… Bxd3 $1 {
although} 21. Rf3 Ba6 22. Qh4 {really does look very scary.} h5 (22… h6 23.
Nxf7 $1 Kxf7 24. f5 {shreds Black’s kingside apart.}) 23. Nxf7 $5 {Anyway!} (
23. f5 {is also possible and looks dangerous but the computer might find some
defence.}) 23… Kxf7 24. f5 Kg8 $1 25. f6 Ne5 $1 26. Rg3 Qf7 $1 27. fxg7 Rac8
{and Black holds on.}) ({Most of my time was focused on} 20… h6 {when the
knight sacrifice} 21. Nxf7 $1 {is very strong:} Kxf7 22. f5 Kg8 {when I’m
proud to see that my intended} 23. Qg3 $1 {is apparently the only way the
computer sees to create a decisive advantage. It’s hardly surprising that
Black can’t defend here with every single one of White’s pieces pointed at his
king.}) 21. f5 $1 {A thematic pawn sacrifice and one that should have been
quite easy to play. However just at this point a simul by Victor Korchnoi was
starting in the same room as the Open and the legendary figure was talking
very loudly, breaking everyone’s attention.} exf5 22. Qg3 $1 {Not only is
Black’s king in jeopardy but I’m also threatening Rc1-c7 trapping the queen.}
f4 23. Rxf4 Rf8 24. Nxh7 $1 {All the pressure was on f7 but I found another
use for the bishop on b3. The next few moves are all forced.} Kxh7 25. Rh4+ Kg8
26. Qxg6 Re8 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Bh6 Bxh6 (28… Ne6 29. Bxe6 fxe6 30. Bxg7+ Qxg7
31. Rf4+ {is no better.}) 29. Qxh6+ Ke7 30. Qg5+ Kd6 31. Rh6+ Qe6 ({I was
hoping for the picturesque finish} 31… Ne6 32. e5#) 32. Qg3+ {I wasn’t
interested in merely the queen as my spoils of war.} Ke7 33. Rc7+ {with mate
next move. 33…Qd7 can be met by 34.Qd6 mate while 33…Kf8 34.Rh8 mate also
finishes this game. I was pleased with my attack in this game and think the
Big Clamp is a much more dangerous attacking weapon than it looks.} 1-0
%%%pgn%%%

One Response to “Game of the Month (just squeezing into December!)”

  1. Barone (Italy)
    December 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    The Guardian gives explanations to GM Jones’ lack of time for more entries in the blog:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/dec/23/chess-gawain-jones-david-howell

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