THE ROAD TO CHESS MEDIOCRITY
Dave P asked me to send this game to him. Dave’s post-match comments are always so generous, he makes any patzer go home feeling like a GM, so I thought I would send the game in with a few comments.
The game below was a top of the table clash, in what looks like being a marathon internal club tournament. I was drawn against one of the higher rated players in the club, and was was looking forward to this one. Before the game I had had consumed a big fry-up, I like to keep the bean well-fuelled, and was raring to go. Karl reckons we have played before, but it must have been far back through the mists of time, as I can’t remember it.
Karl Lockett v Martin Burns 20.10.2021
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 b4 O-O 5 Bb2 d6 6 g3 e5
So Karl goes for the English. Openings are never my strong point but I come out of this one all nicely developed and comfy.
7 Bg2 Nc6 8 b5 Ne7
I didn’t like this move, as my knight looks ok on e7 so why push it there?
9 O-O Be6 10 d3 h6 11Qc2 Rb8
I wanted to keep the rook off that white bishop’s scope, and at some point the b file might open. Deep, eh? Or is it just a move while I am trying to find a plan.
12 a4 Qd7 13 Rfe1
Karl obviously fancies his white bishop’s chances too.
13…Bh3 14 Bh1 c5
If he doesn’t take it, the the centre looks closed so maybe I can think about a king-side attack, the position is dead level.
15 bc bc 16Rab1 c5
I wanted to stop him playing c5, as that would weaken my e pawn, downside is that bishop on h1 looks good; swings and roundabouts
17 Ba3 Nc6 18 Qd2 Nb4 19 a5 I
Karl does not want me to play a5, which glues in a knight that he can never take, as if he did I
would have a supported passed pawn. I fancied my chances of bagging his a pawn soon. I was starting to feel pretty confident here.
19…Nc6 20 a6 g5
Bit distracted here, the idea of a crushing k-side attack kept catching my eye, Qg4, Nh5, all that bluster; should have just started to work on that a pawn.
21 Rec1 Rfd8
I am back in the room, want to defend the d pawn if he does try Nb5, as my queen is going , err , somewhere.
22Ne1 Nd4. I could not resist sticking the knight in, then he gives me the exchange on the next move. Fritz, my old german mate, thinks Karl has a bit of compo. It does feel a bit like the big priest on h1 is getting his bible out, but I felt I could take the material with a clear conscience.
23Nc2 Nb3 24 Qe1 Nc1 25 Qc1 Bf5
Not good, my bish can just get attacked, next move.
26 Ne3 Be6 27 Rb7 Rb7 28 Bb7 Rb8 29 Nb5 Bf8 30 Na7 Rb7 31 ab Qb7 32 Nb5 Bh3
Karl has played the last few moves nicely and forced me to give back the empty exchange, but never mind, now I am about to demonstrate my fabulous end game skills, with the bishop pair black is clearly err winning, a-hem.
33Nbc3 Qb3 34 Qb2 Qb2 35 Bb2 Be6 36 Nb5 Be7 37 Nc7 Bd8 38 Ne6 fe
I read somewhere about the “clump of central pawns” being an advantage, so am doing the classic swap of one advantage for another.In my head I’ve got the cuban heels on and am grinding him into the floor, Jose Raul is smiling down on me; Fritz is just bored and wants to go home.
39 f3 Kf7 40 Kf2 Kg6 41 h3 Bb5 (Ba5 makes more sense, the bish has more squares)
42 Ng4 Ne7 43e4 Nb8 44Ne3 Nc6 45 Ke2 Ba5 46 Nc2 h5 47 g4 h4
so now I have a nice looking outpost on f4, if I can ever use it.
48 Na3 Bd8 49 Nb5 Be7 50Ke3 Bf8 51 Kf2 Kf7 52 Bc1 Be7 53 Bc7 Bf6 54 Nb5 Ke7
At this point I was running out of time, so thanks to Dave H for keeping the score. Everyone else in the club had finished playing, some had gone home, Dave P had got to the bottom of his bottle of red, Karl was wondering why this idiot was playing on.
55 Nc3 Kd7 56 Ne2 Nb4 57 Ke3 Nc6 58 Bd2 Ne7 59Nc1 Ng6 60 Ke2 Kc6
OK, bit of indecision again: I am not totally sure if should go for the exchange; I always prefer a bish to a knight, but as Karl said, the position is a bit blocked, and sometimes a knight is right,
61 Nb3 think at this point Karl offered a draw; no way jose!
61.. Nf4 there you go.
62 Bf4 fe 63Kd2 Kb6 64Kc2 Be5 (would like my king to be on e5, or as close to, and then think about d5, still a very level position).
65 Nc1 Kc6 66 Kb3 Bd4 67 Ka4 Bf6 68 Ka5 Bc3 69 Ka6
I thought this was good for me, his king has wandered off-centre, but then I realised I was being stubborn: there was no pawn break for me and I needed to be careful. If I try d5 he does not take and there is no way for my king to get in.
70 Ne2 Bf6 71 Nc1 Bd8 72 Nb3 Bf6 73 Na5 Kd7
Argh!,Kc7 was the move. Just like that, my tea’s out.
74 Kb7 Bd8 75Nc6
Karl smells blood, it’s all over. Bc7 is no use, as 76 Nc8 Bc8 77 Kc8 kd8 78Kc7 Kd7 K c6 and the white king will get to c6.
75..Bf6 76 e5
Brutal. The vulture’s were circling.
76…de 77 Na5 Kd6 78 Nb3 Be7
There are loads of ways to lose this one; fritz found this one later If 78 … Bd8 79 Ka6 Kc6 80 Na4 Ba4 71 Ka4 Kd6 Kb5 and you get the idea.
79 Kb6 Bd8 80 Kb5 e4 81de Ke5 82 Kc5 Be7 83 Kb5 Kd6 84 c5 Kd7 85 Nd4 Kc7 86 Kb6 Bd8 87 Kb7 Bf6 88 c6. Finally black resigned.
Well played Karl.