Friday, 22 April 2011

Member Games - Niall Garner

Some of the members have been reluctant to publish their recent best games. One of the reasons was that they felt they were rubbing salt in wounds of their defeated opponent.  To avoid  this I decided to publish only the grade of the opponent and no other details.  That way we can enjoy the game without any salt rubbing.

Niall Garner is technically a junior.  His play is easily adult standard and has been for a long time.  As such he has been playing in some of the club's teams with some very good results, one we will see below.

Niall is receiving coaching and guidance from the regions most experienced coach Norman Stephenson.  Norman has provided one of Niall's gems complete with his usual effervescent and erudite annotations.

Play through the game with notes, or scroll to the bottom to play through the game using GameKnot's ichess viewer.

Niall Garner (117) V 150

1. e4 e6 {It begins as a French Defence ...} 
2. d4 c5 {- and then becomes a 'Franco-Benoni' - played now and again by GMs Larsen and Barcza ...} 

3. Nf3 {... and then a Sicilian (where black has avoided all the unusual 2nd moves by white)} 
3...cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 

5. Nc3 b5 {This is black's sharpest line ... he rushes to develop his queen's bishop and sets up the possibility of pushing white's knight away by - b4}
6. g3 {white will contest the long diagonal - an alternative line is 6 Bd3  (see Stephenson - Malupinh below)}
6...Qb6 {An unusual move - maybe black was hoping for 7 Be3 Bc5 which looks OK for
him. More pointed would have been 6 -b4 7 Na4 Bb7 8 Bg2 Nf6 when white's best
plan is to sacrifice his Pe4 for a lead in development by 9 0-0 Bxe4 10 Bxe4
Nxe4 11 Re1 d5 12  Nxe6 fxe6 13 Qh5+ with an attack} 

Back to the game

7. Nb3 Bb7 8. Bg2 Nc6 9.Be3 Qc7 {It's a feature of this line of The Sicilian that black's Q-sidepieces get developed first ... however, it's more usual to see a Hedgehog Structure with the knight's pawn on 'b6'} 

10. O-O Be7 {More prudent was 10...d6 to prevent white getting a bishop for his poorly-placed knight by Nc5 now or on the next two moves} 
11. a3 Nf6 12. f4 d6 {White now does a re-assessment and abandons the plan of Qe2/Rad1/h3 (see Stephenson-Neat below)  and tries instead to exploit black's Q-side pawn structure} 

13. a4 b4 14. Nb1 O-O?! {Black should have limited the damage by 14 - a5 when white could relocate his knight by Nd2/Nc4 with a slight advantage}

15. a5 Rac8 16. Bb6 Qd7 17. Qd3 {This is OK but 17 Qe2 (intending to harass the black queen further by Rad1) looks better} 

17...d5 {It was better to push the other pawn by 17 - e5 but black's position would still have been rather prospect-less} 
18. e5 Ne8 19. Nc5?! {White misses a tactical point ... he should just continue his development by N1d2 and Rae1} 

19…Bxc5+ 20. Bxc5 Ne7? {a case of contagious chess-blindness ... black also misses the discovered attack 20 - Nxe5 which would have solved all his problems} 
21. Bxb4 {White is now a pawn up with the better position as well}
21...f6 22. Nd2 Rf7 23. Be4 f5 {White's little manoeuvre has cut out any black counter-play along the f-file} 

24. Bg2 Bc6 25. c4 {A better way of avoiding the skewer (- Bb5) would have
been 25 Rf2 which cuts out a Q-check on the diagonal and guards the 2nd rank}
25...d4 26. Bxe7 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 Rxe7 {Black's passed pawn is blockaded and cut off while white's pawn majority can be mobilised ... it now becomes a matter of whether white has the technique to win from this sort of position}

28. Rfc1 Rb8 29. b3 Qc6+ 30. Kf2 Qc5 31. Ra4 Reb7 32. Rb1 Rb4 33. Rxb4 Rxb4 34.
Ra1 Kf7 35. Nf3 {another pawn goes ... black's task has been made more difficult by the awful position of his knight and the consequent lack of any counter-play} 

35...Rb8 36. Qxd4 Qxd4+ 37. Nxd4 h6 38. Ke3 g5 {A typical ploy in this sort of set-up is 39 h4 ... the sort of move that's easy to miss (the possibility of it arose in one of my old games - against the British Champion of the day!)}

39. Rg1 {This is a young player's move - unafraid to mix it - but an older head would have chosen 39 Rb1 and pushing that b-pawn! Both plans are winning.}

39...Ng7 40. g4 fxg4 41. Rxg4 Nf5+ 42. Nxf5 Rxb3+ 

43. Kd4 exf5 44. Rg3! Rxg3 45. hxg3 gxf4 46. gxf4 Ke7 

47. Ke3 Ke6 {Black's king is stuck inside the "squares of white's passed pawns" (see Passed Pawns and the square rule)... so white will just walk his own king round and win all of black's other pawns} 

48.Kf3 1-0 

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