Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seven Brutalities 7

My opponent in this game is a rated expert with an aggressive style of play who has victimised a number of masters, myself included. I decided to play the Scandinavian Defence because unless White knows some exact theory he can easily overreach himself. However it soon becomes evident that White is playing for a draw.

P.Burke - D. Scoones
Labour Day Open, Langley 2007
Scandinavian Defence B01

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxd5 4.Nxd5?!

This ill-considered exchange gives Black's queen a central position from which she cannot be easily dislodged. More common is 4.Bc4 Nb6 5.Bb3 when Black must tread very carefully.

4...Qxd5 5.Nf3

If 5.Qf3 the best remedy is 5...Qe6+ 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Qxe6 Bxe6 8.Bb5 Bd5! 9.Nf3 0–0–0 which favours Black after 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.d3 e5 12.Be3 Bd6.

5...Nc6 6.d4 Bg4 7.Be2 0–0–0 8.Be3

White's best try is 8.0–0 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Qxd4 11.Rb1!? with some compensation for the pawn.

8...e5 9.0–0 exd4 10.Nxd4 Bxe2 11.Nxe2 (diagram)

Time for an assessment. Black has an edge in development and before it fades away he must try to turn it into something more concrete.


The alternative 11...Qb5 12.Nc3 Qxb2 13.Nd5 Qe5 wins a pawn but this would give my opponent an open file against my king and some cheapo potential.


If 12.b3 Rxd1 ( 12...Qh4!?) 13.bxc4 Rxa1 14.Rxa1 Ne5 with continuing problems for White.

12...Bd6 13.b3 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Kh1 Qf5

Also possible was 15...h5 16.Ng1 Qf5.

16.f3 Rhe8 17.a3 Bc5

Here Black can play 17...Bxa3!? with the idea of 18.Rxa3 Qd5 but as before I did not want to give my opponent any open lines against my king unless his queen is exchanged or at least driven to a passive position.

18.Nf4 Ne5

A preventive move directed against 19.Nd3, blocking the d-file.

19.Qc1 g5 20.Ng2 f6

Also possible was 20...Nxf3 21.Bxg5 Re2 22.Qf4 Qxg5 23.Rxf3 Qxf4 24.Nxf4 Rxc2.

21.Be3 Bxe3 22.Qxe3 Nc6 23.Qf2 Nd4 24.Ne3 Qc5

Time for another assessment. In order to meet Black's concrete threats White has had to make a number of pawn moves but that has not relieved the pressure. Black has a definite advantage but notching the full point will not be simple... unless White makes further mistakes...


Stronger was 25.Rad1 Qxa3 26.Rd3 Qc5 27.c4 with some counterplay for White. The text also gives up a pawn but has the added drawback of allowing an effective simplifying combination.

25...Qc3 26.Rfe1 Rxe3!

Black has a winning rook ending after 27.Qxe3 Qxe3 28.Rxe3 Nxc2 29.Rae1 h5 30.R1e2 Nxe3 31.Rxe3 Rd1+ 32.Kg2 Rd2+ 33.Kg1 Kd7. My opponent decided he had seen enough and stopped the clocks.


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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.