[Event "Wednesday"] [White "Clif Kharroubi"] [Black "Toby Rizzo"] [Site "RCC"] [Round "1"] [Annotator ""] [Result "0-1"] [Date "2021.06.30"] [WhiteElo "2108"] [BlackElo "2080"] [PlyCount "92"] [TimeControl "80"] {Hello everyone, this is TJ, because Lev is moving to NYC to study at NYU (congratulations Lev!) he will not be able to continue analyzing a community chess club Game of the Month, so I will be taking over to select and analyze a Game of the Month in his stead. While I am not nearly as strong a player as Lev, I will try my best to give clear and sound analysis (with the assistance of Stockfish 14 NNUE) and to select interesting and dynamic games.} 1. e4 {This game was the cliche battle between the master and the apprentice. Clif has coached Toby for years, and right before this game Toby's live rating caught up to Clif's for the first time, they were both rated exactly 2128.} c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 {One of the strongest points in Clif's game is his understanding of openings and the ideas behind them, so Toby has to be careful.} 4. Nf3 g6 5. 0-0 {Both sides playing simple chess, developing and fighting for the center} a6 6. Bc4 Bg7 7. Re1 d6 8. d3 e6 {Toby's idea is to play Ne7 rather than Nf6 blocking the bishop, and e6 also restricts the c4 bishop further.} 9. a3 $5 {Clif's idea here is to give the bishop a square to retreat to, the idea is good but white could have also played a4 which also prevents Black's queenside advance b5.} (9. a4 )Ne7 {This move is good, but black (Toby) also could have played another strong idea instead} (9... Nxf3+ 10. Qxf3 b5 11. Ba2 Bb7 )10. Nxd4 {White now prevents black from ever playing Nxf3+, and white will attack black's d4 pawn.} cxd4 11. Ne2 0-0 {Toby makes sure his king is safe before the center opens} 12. Ba2 d5 {Black makes a strong break in the center, the position is still about even} 13. f3 $6 {White supports his e4 pawn but weakens his dark squares and his king. White is still alright but I personally think there was no need to do this. Instead with white I would prefer to attack the center with a move like c3.} (13. c3 Nc6 14. cxd4 Nxd4 {The position is balanced} )dxe4 $1 {Trading off the doubled pawn and further opening the center, this is a strong move} 14. fxe4 Kh8 {Toby played this move to prepare f5, which he intends to play to further break down whites center and maybe even attack on the kingside. However, this idea is very double edged and gives white a lot of chances to counterattack as well. This certainly isn't wrong, but a calmer way to play is to just continue development.} (14... Bd7 15. c3 Nc6 )15. Bg5 $5 {This move leads to some very interesting complications} h6 16. Bh4 g5 {A very double edged way to play, gaining space on the kingside and hitting the bishop but potentially weakening the black king, because the pawn on g5 no longer covers the h5 square which white might look to infiltrate on with the knight or queen.} 17. Bf2 f5 {Black breaks the position open with f5, white needs to respond carefully.} 18. Ng3 $6 {I don't like this move. White wants to get in on h5 immediately, but after f4 white will have a very difficult time dealing with the strong h6-g5-f4 pawn chain.} f4 $1 19. Nh5 Be5 $1 {Even though this is the 'bad bishop' in the sense it is on the same color as blacks pawns, black wants to preserve it because it helps hold together blacks strong kingside pawn chain. Bad bishops often protect good pawns. The e5 bishop also discourages c3 for white counterattacking in the center, and the bishop can potentially come alive later in the game.} 20. g4 $2 {White wants to cement his knight on h5, but I'm not quite sure why, it has no moves and black can play around it without too much difficulty. After g4 white will also never be able to try to break down the pawn h6-g5-f4 pawn chain with g3.} fxg3 $2 {There is no need to give up the strong f4 pawn and open up the position, by keeping things closed black retains a large advantage because of his space and white's immobile knight on h5.} (20... Qd6 21. Rc1 Bd7 22. Kh1 a5 23. c3 Rac8 {And Black has an advantage on the queenside, and kingside, and center, because of his extra space and better placed pieces} )21. hxg3 Qd6 22. Kg2 {Now white can activate some of his pieces and get counterplay on the h and f files, which he wouldn't have been able to do if the position was still closed.} Ng6 23. Rh1 $1 {Activating the rook on the semi open h file. White is doing just fine again.} Kh7 24. Qe2 Bd7 25. Rh3 $6 {White wants to double on the h file, but this isn't best. White needs to also challenge the black rook on f8, after this move black will be able to take complete control of the f file.} (25. Raf1 a5 26. Be1 )Rf7 26. Rah1 $2 {This is the real mistake because white still could've tried Rf1 here to challenge the f file, but white made his intentions clear already with Rh3. White will now have a lot of difficulty challenging the f file after black plays Raf8. The f file is a highway for black to attack the white king, and white would have counterplay on the h file if it were not for the fact that whites knight is stuck on h5 blocking whites rooks.} Raf8 27. Be1 {Now this looks like a huge advantage for black unless white could somehow sacrifice the knight and checkmate on the h file (which may have been Clif's original intent) but White doesn't have the goods.} (27. Nf6+ $4 Rxf6 28. Rxh6+ Kg7 29. Rh7+ Kg8 30. Rh8+ Nxh8 31. Qh5 Rxf2+ )Nh4+ $4 {This move lets white right back into the game after the text. Black should just tuck the king on g8 and keep control of the important f file.} (27... Kg8 )28. gxh4 $1 g4 29. Rg3 $1 Bxg3 30. Nxg3 $1 {Clif brings his knight back into the fight and now has 2 pieces for a rook, but white has to be careful because the black rooks on the f file are difficult to deal with. The position is on a razors edge.} Rf3 31. Rf1 {White misses the very strong idea here of Nf1 to play the bishop to g3, kicking the queen off of the deadly diagonal and securing the white king. White would have a big advantage there.} (31. Nf1 $3 Bc6 32. Bg3 Qe7 33. Nh2 )Bc6 32. Bf2 Qe5 33. c3 dxc3 34. bxc3 Qf6 35. Nh5 Qf7 {Black could have gotten an advantage by playing Qe7 in one move as the knight wasn't all that dangerous on h5, and black can kick it with Be8. The game could still easily go either way from here.} (35... Qe7 )36. Ng3 $1 Qe7 37. Nh1 $1 {Protecting h4} Bb5 38. Bb1 Qxa3 {Now that the bishop on b1 no longer attacks e6, the black queen can swoop in and take this pawn. White still has resources however} 39. c4 Be8 40. Ng3 $2 {White could have still been alright after d4} (40. d4 e5 41. dxe5 )Qe7 41. Nh1 {This second move of the Knight to h1 isn't as good as the first one was on move 37.} Bh5 $1 {Lining up the bishop with the queen and preparing to break through to the king with g3. Now Black's pieces are perfectly coordinated and white's position quite suddenly falls apart.} 42. d4 g3 43. e5+ Kg8 44. Qc2 gxf2 45. Nxf2 Qg7+ 46. Kh1 R3f4 {Clif called it quits here. Blacks heavy pieces will checkmate the exposed white king in short order. This was a fascinating game to watch both over the board and to analyze. Both sides (who are both better players than I am) had their chances and played strong, interesting chess. While Toby managed to win this one, Clif may have the last word at the upcoming CCCR Championship in October.} 0-1