Jovanka Houska (2387) vs Chris Bak (1969)
Reykjavik Open | ? | 16 Mar 2016 | Round 10
[Event "Reykjavik Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.16"] [Round "10"] [White "Jovanka Houska"] [Black "Chris Bak"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2387"] [BlackElo "1969"] [ECO "D02"] [Opening "Queen's Pawn: 2.Nf3 Nc6"] 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nbd2 {After the game she told me everyone was very well-prepared against her so she just wanted to play a non-theoretical game. Fair enough!} Nf6 {It makes more sense to develop the bishop first in order to get e6 in as soon as possible, but nevertheless this move can't be bad.} 4.c4 Bf5 5.cxd5 {White claims central superiority before black can play e6.} Qxd5 6.e3 e6 {Playing automatically in the opening is not a good idea unless you're in book. I only started to think about e5 a couple of moves later but it could have been played immediately.} (6...e5 7.Bc4 Qd6 8.dxe5 (8.d5 { must be checked, but it does not work here.} Nb4 9.e4 Nxe4 $15) 8...Nxe5 9.Nxe5 Qxe5 $11 {Black has equalised.}) 7.Bc4 Qd6 8.O-O Be7 9.a3 {It was at this point that I started thinking about e5. I decided it wasn't good. But what to do instead? If black plays normally, white will play b4, Bb2 and Nb3 with a great position. I felt that I should at least try to cut across that plan.} a5 (9...e5 {I analysed} 10.dxe5 {10. d5 is clearly better, but I hadn't noticed this was possible.} Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 12.Nf3 {is what put me off. Black is a tempo or two down compared to the 6..e5 variation. Where does the queen go? If} Qd6 {then} 13.Qe2 {and Rd1 is coming. I was worried about my lack of development but I looking at the position with frehs eyes, I don't see how white can achieve anything before black consolidates.}) 10.b3 e5 { Compared to the previous variatio, Qxe5 would gain a tempo on the rook. But I had not anticipated white's next move!} 11.d5 {If this works tactically, it is the move that should be played. It does work tactically, and it was played.} Nb8 {White has a nagging space advantage, but I was fairly happy, thinking that the black pieces would find comfortable homes with good play. However, this takes time, and currently black's pieces are awkwardly placed. Furthermore, white has a clear plan of playing on the c-file, strengthened by the fact that b5 is under white's control. I did not appreciate this at the time, but this means white is better.} 12.Bb2 Nbd7 13.Re1 Ne4 (13...O-O 14.e4 Bg4 15.Be2 {Nc4 is a big threat, so black has to go for} Bxf3 16.Bxf3 $16 {with a cramped position.}) 14.Rc1 O-O 15.Nb1 {The knight is heading to the important b5-square.} Qf6 16.Nc3 Bd6 (16...Nxc3 {makes a lot of sense. Black is telling white that she has spent two whole tempi to achieve almost nothing. Furthermore, white must recapture with the rook to keep a3 defended. The move seems obvious to me now, but I doubt it even occurred to me during the game.} 17.Rxc3 {Perhaps I was worried about white playing e4, but black has a couple of ways to prevent this.} e4 18.Nd4 Bd6 {Black is absoluely fine.}) 17.Nb5 Rfe8 18.Bd3 Ndc5 19.Bb1 {Black's position is slightly unpleasant, but he is still in the game and anything could happen in this complex middlegame. It's messy positions like these in which the stronger player often demonstrates their superiority.} Rad8? {A meaningless move that increases white's advantage to nearly winning.} (19...Re7 {is a move I considered, which defends against the Nxc7 tactical idea, but white plays as in the game with} 20.Rc4 {and black is suffering in a way similar to the game.}) (19...Bg4 { is the computer's recommendation.} 20.Rc4 Bxf3 21.gxf3 {Forced, otherwise 21. .Nd2 is coming. Now black can retreat the knight to a safe square with} Qg5+ 22.Kf1 Nf6) 20.Rc4? {A logical move, placing more pressure on black's centre, but white missed a hard-to-spot combination, giving black a chance to get back in the game.} (20.Nxd6! Qxd6 {other captures are met in the same way.} 21.b4 axb4 22.axb4 $16 Nd7 23.Nh4 {White has removed one defender of the e4-knight, and now she removes the other. Black's best is} Bg6 24.Nxg6 Nef6 25.Nxe5 (25.Nh4 Qxb4 {is the subtle point of black's last move. Black gets the piece back, but he is still worse.}) 25...Nxe5 {Black will recover the pawn, but white is much better mainly because of the two raging bishops.}) 20...Ng5? {Black had one move to equalise, and this is not it!} (20...c6 $142 {gets rid of the cramping pawn.} 21.dxc6 Bb8 { The bishop escapes from the sight of the knight with tempo, and black will recapture the pawn with a fine position.}) 21.Nxg5 {The start of a powerful combination. Once a player sees this, there's no need to look for anything more, but there is an even flashier tactic that wins on the spot.} (21.Nxd6 $142 cxd6 22.Rf4! {Credit to Stockfish for spotting this move, exploiting two pins at once!}) 21...Qxg5 22.Nxc7! Bxc7 23.Bxf5 {The correct move order.} (23.Rxc5?! {is less precise. Black's position is worse but tenable after} Bd6 24.Rxa5 e4) 23...Qxf5 24.Rxc5 {White has an extra pawn and the better minor piece, a near winning advantage.} Bb6 25.e4 Qf4 26.Bc1 Qh4 27.Rc2 Rd6 28.Be3 Red8 29.Bxb6 Rxb6 {White is now technically winning. I try to stir up some trouble but white can easily cover all the bases.} 30.Qf3 Qe7 31.a4 Qb4 32.Rc3 Rf6 33.Qe3 h6 34.g3 Rdd6 35.Rec1 Rb6 36.Rc8+ Kh7 37.R1c3 Qa3 38.Kg2 Rb4 39.Re8 Qb2 {I thought I had managed to achieve something here. f2 is falling! But in reality white has the position completely under control.} 40.Rxe5 Rxf2+? 41.Qxf2 {Now I saw the writing on the wall, but it's too late to do anything. The game was lost anyway, so I was not too displeased at my tactical error.} Qxc3 42.Qf5+ Kg8 43.Re8# 1-0
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