338 ( +1 | -1 ) Yet another OTB game ...I think I'm getting the hang of it ... after a 2-year break, I had two, count'em, TWO games in a month!
White: A. Greenfeld Black: Yours Truly Regional team championship, round 3 Time control: Game in 2 hrs
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3
Whew, I'm glad he's playing the open Sicilian! At least I'll get to use my theoretical knowledge I worked so hard to obtain - plus, I hate being black vs. the closed Sicilian. Dragon or Najdorf, what shall it be ? Eenie meenie minie moe ...
5...a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6
Nope, I have no intention of chickening out by 7...Be7 or something like that.
White doesn't have to sac the b-pawn, but after 8.Nb3 Qc7 black is doing fine.
8...Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.Bxf6!?
Probably a bit premature. Theory recommends 10.f5 (main line) or 10.e5 (somewhat risky ... for both sides)
10...gxf6 11.Be2 Nc6 12.Rb3 Qa5
12...Qc5 looks more natural, but I didn't like 13.Nxc6 bxc6 (13...Qxc6? 14.Nb5! threatening Rc3 and the knight cannot be taken) 14.Na4 Qa7. My point was that on a5 the queen prevents Nc3 from becoming active.
13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.0-0 d5!?
An interesting attempt to make black's cental pawn majority felt. Of course with the king stuck in the center it takes guts to make a move like this!
15.exd5 cxd5 16.Qd3!
A simple, but very strong move, preventing black's attempt to exchange queens with d5-d4. At this time I took a big think of almost half an hour.
White doubles his rooks on an open file - the standard thing to do. But 17.f5 was the best here - Rf1 is placed ideally to support the attack, and there was no need to move it! After 17...Bc5+ 18.Kh1 Ke7 19.fxe6 fxe6 the position is very double-edged.
Defending b8 at attacking f4 at the same time.
The black king is feeling very safe in his little fortress of 4 pawns and 2 bishops. Here I felt white couldn't find any good ideas and began to "swim"
Much better than 19...Rab8 20.Rxb8 Rxb8 21.Rxb8 Bxb8 22.Bxh7 and white should be able to draw this (eg. 21...Bxf4 22.Nxd5+ Qxd5 23.Qxf4 Qxa2 24.Qb4+)
Now the time is right to offer a rook exchange - after 21.Rxb8 Rxb8 22.Rxb8 Bxb8 white cannot play 23.Bxh7? Qe1+ 24.Qf1 Ba7+. As for taking the a-pawn, I deemed that black can win in a simpler way, so why take any chances ?
A very strange move. White is playing without a plan. Now black can force an exchange into a clearly better endgame.