Vann, Richard (1946) vs Dalley, Kevin (1873)
[Event "Ashby 1 v Kirby Muxloe 1 board 2"] [Site "Ivanhoe Club, Ashby."] [Date "2024.02.01"] [White "Vann, Richard"] [Black "Dalley, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "1946"] [BlackElo "1873"] [ECO "A22"] [Opening "English: Bremen, Smyslov System"] 1.c4 {My usual English. Now Black has a variety of systems, but Kevin chooses a popular one. I suspect he is now in his preparation.} e5 {The most active reply, leading to quick development.} 2.Nc3 {My usual second move, but 2 g3 and Nf3 and d3 and e3 come into consideration. Because 1 c4 is slightly passive, White does not hope to get an advantage from the opening. Just a playable game in White's preferred style.} Nf6 3.g3 Bb4 {Quite awkward for White. To allow doubled c pawns or not. That is the question. It is similar to a Nimzo, and I saw Botvinnik once play Qc2, so that's what I played here.} 4.Qc2 {4 Bg2 was the alternative, then 4...Bxc3 5 bxc3 leads to a different game. But after the trouble I had here, will have a look at the 4 Bg2 line in more detail.} O-O 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.e3 Bxc3 7.Qxc3 d5 {At this point I saw my problems more clearly. Black is way ahead in development and worse still, I may get a a backward d pawn, and even worse than that, if Black can play d5 -d4-d3 supported by e5-e4, then W is positionally lost. Or that's what I thought. Note the normal move 8 d4 looks bad after exd4, exd4 Re8+! Hence I needed to keep the position closed to suppress the activity of the Black pieces.} 8.d3 Re8 {Looks good on that file, but the innocuous -looking 8...Bf5 is almost winning. I was glad to see Re8 as now I switch to a Botvinnik-type set up with c4+d3+e4.} 9.e4 dxe4 {Kevin avoids completely blocking the centre with 9..d4 leading to a closed position. Such a closed position I would play as Black here, even though the advantage is slight.} 10.dxe4 Qd4 {I half expected this, and I had a reply.} 11.Ne2 {this refutes 10...Qd4 and leaves me with a level position.} Qxc3+ 12.Nxc3 Nd4 {Maybe Kevin thought this would create problems for me, True d4 is a strong point for Black but I can work around that. I felt quite comfortable here.} 13.O-O c6 14.Bg5 {My plan is to play f3, Kf2 (getting out of a possible N check), Ne2, Be3, Rs on d1 and d2 to counter the N on d4.} Bg4 {Helps me, as I gain a tempo in enacting my plan.} 15.f3 Be6 16.b3 Nd7 {The start of an intriguing knight journey. You may pause here to guess what it is.} 17.Rac1 Nf8 18.Be3 Rad8 19.Rfd1 Bc8 20.Kf2 Nfe6 {So the Black plan is clear: to over-protect d4, and if one N is swapped, the other will take its place.} 21.Rd2 Rd6 {Immediately I felt this was a mistake. If Rd7 instead, it's covered by Bc8, and then after Red8, the Nd4 can move if required.} 22.Rcd1 {At this point I had a fixation on swapping down to a Good Knight v. Bad Bishop endgame.} Red8 23.Bh3 {Here's the first move of the plan. I threaten Bxe6 and Black cannot preserve a N by Nxe6 as the Rd6 is hanging.} Kf8 {The King rushes in. My plan will not work with K on e7, hence I cannot delay even one move.} 24.Bxe6 Bxe6 25.Bxd4 {Here I went wrong. 25 c5 was considered, but I assumed Black would play a7-a5-a4 wrecking my queenside. But the line is quite simple: 25 c5 R6d7 26 Bxd4 Rxd4 27 Rxd4 exd4 28 Ne2 d3 29 Nf4 and the d3 pawn is lost, and my Q-side is safe, and Black has no counter play. The skill of chess is to get a small advantage, no matter how slight, and then allow your opponent absolutely no counter play.} Rxd4 26.Rxd4 exd4 27.Ne2 c5 28.Nf4 Ke7 29.Nd3 {So this is my Good N v Bad B plan achieved. One flaw. The N (or R or K) must stay on d3 to block the P on d4. However I noticed at this point, I do have another advantage, ie 4 v 3 on the King side. Hence the aim was to push those 4 pawns and hope the passer would win.} b6 30.h4 {We are now in a fiendishly difficult pawn battle. I thought I had the initiative, but Fritz thinks it's even or better for Black. It suggests moves like 30...f5 or ...a5.} f6 31.g4 g6 32.g5 {I am trying to keep hold of the black squares, but the position is equal.} Rf8 33.Kg3 Kd6? {Overlooking my next two moves. Here ...f5 is so level we could have agreed a draw.} 34.gxf6 Rxf6?? {So Black blunders, counterbalancing my blunder in our previous game.} 35.e5+ {#r} 1-0
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WhiteVann, Richard (1946)
BlackDalley, Kevin (1873)
OpeningA22 — English: Bremen, Smyslov System
DateFebruary 01, 2024
TournamentAshby 1 v Kirby Muxloe 1 board 2
LocationIvanhoe Club, Ashby.