Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The wandering king 2

In an earlier article we looked at a madcap king rush through the centre by Boris Shashin from a 1973 game against Viktor Korchnoi. Today we present another, even crazier example played in a Dutch open tournament a few years ago.

T.Burg (2268) – W.Spoelman (2461)
Scotch Game C45
Amsterdam (ACT) 2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6

Also possible is 8...Nb6, which I believe is the best move here. The problem with 8...Ba6 is that Black must play very accurately if the bishop is going to stay in play and not get stranded, so to speak.

9.Qe4 Nf6 10.Qe2 Nd5 11.Qe4 Nb6

As the higher-rated player, Spoelman has no interest in making a quick draw by repetition.

12.Nc3 Qe6 13.b3 Bb4 14.Bd2 Bxc3 15.Bxc3 d5 16.Qh4 dxc4 17.Rc1

Simpler is 17.Be2; for example, 17...0–0 18.0–0 Qf5 19.Rfe1 Rfe8 20.bxc4 Na4 21.Bd2 Rxe5 22.Bf3 with a slight edge to White. With the text move Burg is playing for complications – often a good policy if one is trying to win against a stronger opponent, but of course the opposite result is equally possible.

17...Qg6 18.bxc4

It is tempting to try to nail down the opposing king with 18.Bb4!?, but Black is doing fine after 18...Nd5 19.Ba3 Rb8 20.bxc4 Nb4 21.Bxb4 Rxb4 22.Rd1 Rb8; for example, 23.Bd3!? Qxg2 24.Be4 g5! 25.Bxg2 gxh4 26.Bxc6+ Ke7 27.Rd4!? Rb2! and Black is better.

18...0–0 19.Be2 Qxg2


Objectively speaking this is leading with the chin, as they say in boxing. But psychologically – well, it's something else entirely. It's a bold attempt to freak out the opponent... and it works!

White could maintain equality with 20.Bd3 h5 21.Be4 Qg4 22.Qxg4 hxg4 23.Rg1 Bc8 24.Bxc6 Rb8 25.c5 Nd7 26.Rxg4 Nxc5 27.Rd4.

20...Rad8+ 21.Ke3 Qg6 22.Rcd1 Rxd1?!

Here is where Black starts to go wrong. He should not exchange rooks but instead he should open more lines with 22...f6! It is hard to see how White could survive after that.

23.Rxd1 Qc2?

Here too 23...f6 was stronger. The text is a bad mistake which is clearly based on a miscalculation – almost a hallucination in fact.

24.Bd3 Nxc4+

Black has seen this far, but unfortunately White doesn't have to take the knight.


Even stronger is 25.Kd4! when Black is pretty well forced to resign immediately.

25...h6 26.Bxc2 g5+ 27.Kf5 Bc8+

27...gxh4 28.Rg1+ Kh8 29.e6+ f6 30.e7 Nd6+ 31.Kf4 Rf7 32.Bb3 and White wins.

28.Kf6 gxh4 29.Rg1+ Kh8 30.Ke7!

Completing the king's epic journey in triumphant fashion. Black has no defence and was forced to resign here. 1-0

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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.