Friday, November 2, 2007

Seven Brutalities 3

At the time of this encounter, my opponent was a young B-class player. Today he is a rated master.

Scoones D - Vitko G
Portland 1976
Sicilian Defence B22
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Qe4 d6 8.Nbd2 Qc7 9.Nc4 dxe5 10.Ncxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 (first diagram) 11...Nxc3 12.bxc3 Qxc3+ 13.Kd1 Qxa1 14.Bb5+ Ke7 15.Qb4+ Kf6 16.Ng4+ Kg6 17.Qe4+ Kh5 (second diagram) 18.Nf6+ Qxf6 19.Be2+ 1-0

Theory and practice have established that 7...f5!? is the strongest reply to White's move 7.Qe4. I think anyone coming upon this position for the first time would have a hard time agreeing to take on a backward d-pawn. It looks far more natural to exchange White's advanced e-pawn than to set it up as a future target.

In the position of the first diagram Black should play the defensive move 11...a6, preventing a bishop check on b5. Instead he is drawn into a tactical operation that wins the exchange. Unfortunately, it also leaves Black dangerously behind in development. After 13...Qxa1 White is able to strike immediately.

Instead of 15...Kf6 Black can play 15...Kd8 but this does not get him out of trouble. White follows up with 16.Nxf7+ Kc7 17.Qc4+ Kb8 18.Kc2! intending a decisive bishop check on f4. Black can then resign with a clear conscience.

After 17.Qe4+ Black may have been planning to put up a defence with 17...f5. Unfortunately for him this fails to the non-standard mating move 18.Be8.

White's final task is to jettison his knight in order to clear the way for his bishop. That is accomplished with the desperado move 18.Nf6+. After 18...Qxf6 the attractive switchback 19.Be2+ ends the game immediately.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Nice write-up Dan, I still remember this game, 8th grade, 31 years ago, ..... Ouch !

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Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
National master (Canada) since 1984. B.C. Champion 1977 and 1984. Runner-up 1991 and 2002. B.C. Open Champion 1972 and 1982. B.C. U/14 Champion 1964-65-66. Mikhail Botvinnik once wrote that publishing your analytical work forces you to be accurate because it exposes you to criticism. Hence this blog.