Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Member Games - Steve Dauber

Steve Dauber is currently the strongest player at the Darlington chess club.  He plays top board for two of the teams and has to battle the strongest players from other clubs.  For some reason his grade never seems to represent his true playing strength.  I have seen him beat most of the regions top players at one time or another.  Perhaps his best game in recent times was a draw against IM Hawkins.

The following game was played in an important league match against Gateshead.  This was the last game to finish and the result of the match depended on the result of this game.

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

186 V Steve Dauber (169)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d3
Black has opened with a sicilian defence.  White by playing 3.d3 indicates that he wants to avoid a main line sicilian.  It can be tricky playing an off-beat opening if you wanted to play your favourite line.  All you can do is try and follow opening guidelines.
 2...Nc6 4. g3 With this move White introduces the king's Indian attack (KIA).  Some White players will play this set-up against anything Black plays and Steve will have seen this set-up before.
4...Bg4 Pins the knight on f3 and the bishop is not easily moved without further weakening the king's defence. 5. Bg2 e6 6. O-O Be7 
Most White players of the KIA will reach this position with the White pieces after their first six moves regardless of what Black does.  This of course, is what attracts club players to it.  A, it cuts down on theory and B, you always play your favourite set-up.

7. c3 keeps the Black knight out of d4 and will support the d4 advance that White will no doubt want to play. 7...Nf6 8. Re1 O-O 9. a4 With the pawn on c3 White wants to develop his knight to c4 via either a3 or d2, once there he doesn't want it 'tickled' with b5. Rc8 
10. h3 I'm not an expert on the KIA, but I would say that Black is at least equal here.  White seems to be mixing ideas.  a4 to play Nd2-Nc4, h3 + g4 to move the bishop and then Ne1 f4, sees a classic KIA king-side pawn storm. Ne1 is now difficult because of 8.Re1.  Perhaps White is going to try to play Nfd2/Nc4 and then f4

 Bh5 11. Nbd2 Nd7 Black retreats his knight to place extra pressure on the e5 square.  The f-pawn is freed to advance as well.  12. Qc2 White moves the queen from the awkward pin. b6 Hints at Black's intention to play for the d5 advance 
White now tries to regroup his pieces, but Black looks to annoy White's plan's.
13. Nf1 Bg6 Stares right at White's queen, just when White had moved it. 14. Qe2 Na5 Now that the knight has moved from d2 and the queen from c2 the b3 square is not protected and ideal for a knight to land on. 15.N3d2 Stops ...Nb3 f6? I'm not sure what Black is up to here, perhaps he intends Bf7, e5 to add pressure on light square complex of b3 and c4.  But when he played b6 I thought here comes d5, well perhaps after a bit of arranging.  It seems to me that Black is drifting a little and over the next few moves White definitely takes the initiative.

16. f4 Bf7 17. Ne3 Re8 18. g4 White is advancing on the king-side, just what KIA players love to do. Bf8
Black has tucked his pieces behind his 3 pawns on d6, e6 and f6.  He knows that White wants to advance further, but how can White do this?  Both e5 and g5 lose a pawn while 19.f5 e5 leaves a hole on f4.
 19. Qf2! This is a strong move.  White can now re-evaluate all his pawn push options, but if Black doesn't react quickly then Qg3, Rf1 and then f5 or g5 may break through. Nb8! Black prepares to relocate his knight to c6, where it will fight for the centre squares d4 and e5.  The knight was in the way on d7 and needed to be moved, but moving the knight back to b8 is a very difficult move to play, reminiscent of the great Capablanca who put his pieces on their best squares no matter what. 20. Kh1?! Nbc6 21. Rb1?! White has deviated from his king side plan.  Rf1, Qg3 and g5/f5 would have been more fitting.   d5!  Black strikes back
Both sides have been trying to place their pieces on the best squares before making a decisive pawn move.  Patients is a key part of a good chess player, so many of my own games are spoiled by me 'jumping in' when I think I have an advantage, only to discover I didn't have enough to win.
These two players have jostled for position, but when the time is right action must be taken.  Inability to act is just as bad as jumping in.
The pieces finally clash, note how all the pieces are still on, unusual at move 22.  As it is Black that has instigated this encounter you would have to say he has the initiative and the advantage.
22. Nc2 dxe4 23. Bxe4 dxe4 looks better, but Black has Qd3 which is awkward for White, as his pieces are poorly coordinated. Qd7 24. f5 e5 25. b4 cxb4 26. cxb4 Nb7
White is still uncoordinated, but at least he has harried Black's knights, a plan he continues with
 27. b5? Ncd8 28.Nb4 The knight was under attack Nc5 All of a sudden Black's knight springs into action and White realises that both his a pawn and d-pawn are under attack.  The a-pawn directly and the d-pawn tactically.
29. Nf3 Nxa4 
Black could have taken on e4 first 29...Nxa4, 30.dxe4 (30.Rxe4 Bxb4, 31.Rxb4 Qxd3) 30...Rc4, 31.Bd2 when Black can play Nb7 and Nc5, which should win the weak e-pawn
Back to the game
Black has swiped the a-pawn, but the centre pawn is more of a valuable prize.  Partly because a central pawn has more of a say on the central squares and partly because to capture it would leave a Black piece right in the centre.  Black's knight has to take time to re-group to get back in the action.

30. Bd2 Nc3 Good move as it more or less forces off White's bishop. 31. Bxc3 Rxc3 32. Nc6? Nxc6! 33. Bxc6 
It looks as though White has managed a tactical triumph of his own here.  Black has clearly seen this trick and calculated correctly that his bishop pair will be stronger than a knight and rook, don't forget he also has two pawns for this exchange.  If you count the points in the standard 3 for a knight 5 for rook etc then the count will more or less tally, but Black is much, much better now.  Just watch his two bishops go to work.

Qxd3 34.Bxe8 Bxe8 35. Ng1 Bxb5 Winning a second pawn helps Black 36. Rbc1 Bc6+ 
The bishop checks to force the White king out of his corner.
37. Kh2 e4! A little pawn move that opens up the dark squared diagonal to the helpless White king.
38. Rxc3 Bd6+ 
Black ignores the rook and calls check instead.  This is a very pretty position, can you see the finish?
39. Kh1 e3+  Wins the queen, at least 40.Rxc6 exf2
White resigns here, but there is no way to prevent further loss of material and in many lines mate.

No comments:

Post a Comment