[Event "2024 St. Albans Chess Congress: Round 3:"] [Site "?"] [Date "2024.04.13"] [Round "3"] [White "Cowell, Louis"] [Black "Monroe, Harvey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C02"] [Annotator "alanl"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2024.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 e6 {Sveshnikov thought that this was an inferior response to the c3 Sicilian, but it turns out he really just didn't like the transpositional potential into the French, because he thought the French was plain bad. There's not much practical evidence to support the view that this is a bad response to 2. c3.} 3. d4 cxd4 $5 {This might not be best though. White's biggest problem was that the c3 pawn blocked their knight on b1, and Black just solved it for them while ridding themselves of the c5 pawn that can be so annoying in Advance French positions. From here, Black plays some fairly natural-looking Frenchlike moves and still lands in a bad position.} 4. cxd4 d5 5. e5 Nc6 6. Nf3 Qb6 7. Nc3 Nge7 8. Bd3 {[%csl Rd4] This is the first of many attempts in the game to get my opponent to capture a loose pawn. This one was particularly crude.} Bd7 (8... Nxd4 $2 {Not this, which drops a piece.} 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 $4 10. Bb5+) 9. Be3 {[%csl Rb2] Second attempted pawn sac.} Ng6 (9... Qxb2 $2 10. Nb5 $1 {[%csl Gc7,Gd6][%CAl Gb5c7,Gb5d6] Threatening to either win the a8 rook or go Nd6+ and win the other one. There isn't really a good defence. Say} Nf5 {, arguing that 11. Nc7+ can be met with some tricky complications, White could just go} 11. O-O {instead, and although} Nxe3 {is tempting,} 12. fxe3 {exposes Black's f-pawn.} Rc8 13. Rb1 Qxa2 {This looks remarkably similar to some of the trappy Two Knights French lines.} 14. Ng5 {[%csl Rf7][%CAl Rg5f7,Rf1f7] with a clear advantage to White.}) 10. Qd2 {Not out of any particular concern for the b2 pawn, it's just easier to not have to calculate it.} Bb4 11. a3 Bxc3 12. bxc3 {I was quite happy to pick up the bishop pair here.} Rc8 13. O-O Na5 14. Rfb1 Qc7 15. Qe2 {[%csl Rc3] My third pawn sac attempt.} b6 $6 {And third denial. I don't think this is right though, because Ba6 is now possible, breaking up Black's coordination.} (15... Qxc3 16. Bd2 Qc7 17. Bxa5 Qxa5 18. Rxb7 {I think this was my plan, although to be honest I can't see what's all that great about it now. I think I might've outright missed Black's next move} Bc6 {, which seems to render my whole conception pretty lame.}) 16. Ba6 Rb8 17. Nd2 $6 {[%csl Rc3] My fourth and final attempt to sacrifice a pawn, and finally Black caves. If they hadn't have taken the poisoned pawn, I guess my idea here was that the knight lends defence to the key squares b3 and c4, but according to the engine this is inaccurate and after 17...O-O Black would've basically been equal.} (17. h4 $1 {I had been pondering this move quite a lot, but it never really seemed to be working. Apparently this was the time to play it. Castling is now quite dangerous for Black, as after} O-O $2 {there is} 18. h5 Ne7 19. h6 {Driving a pawn right into the heart of Black's kingside.} g6 {[%csl Rf6,Rg7,Rh8] White could now think about launching a nasty attack on the dark squares.}) 17... Qxc3 $4 18. Rc1 Qb2 19. Qd3 $1 {The move that my opponent missed.} Ba4 20. Rab1 Qa2 21. Bb5+ Bxb5 22. Qxb5+ Kd8 23. Ra1 {Resigns.} 1-0