[Event "Mombasa Open 2022"] [White "Gohil,Mehul"] [Black "Nsubuga,FM Haruna"] [Site "Mombasa Continental Resort"] [Round ""] [Annotator "Gohil,Mehul"] [Result "*"] [Date "2022.10.11"] [PlyCount "91"] [TimeControl "60"] {255MB, Gorilla I had played 5 previous classical games against Haruna. He had won them all. I took the preparation for this one seriously. The previous evening I had a look at his games on the database. And some things stuck out: a) Haruna almost never misses an opportunity to play actively. b) At first it appears his openings are at the level of Kawuma/Wanyama/Ssegwanyi. But a careful look shows his repertiore is wide but shallow. c) Haruna does not properly appreciate long term plans. Therefore I planned accordingly.} 1. d4 {[%emt 0:0:0] } d5 2. Nf3 {Haruna has a habit of deviating into side lines. I reckoned there was an 80% chance we will have a Slav but I did not want to play 2. c4 because I thought he could pull of something like the Alabin's Gambit. With 2. Nf3 it was either going to be a Slav or the Colle-Zukertort system (which I did not mind at all).} Bf5 3. e3 e6 4. c4 c6 {He goes for the Slav.} 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Nh4 Be4 {Haruna played exactly this in our very last game (Kenya Open 2022). The point of this move is to invite f3 thus creating some weaknesses around the K-side. On the flip side, in some lines white can build a strong centre with e4.} 7. f3 Bg6 8. Qb3 Qb6 $6 {Objectively there is nothing wrong with this move. But it came as a pleasant surprise to me. At the Kenya Open, Haruna played 8...Qc7. I expected him to play that -- keeping queens and extra potential for dynamism on the board -- it is very much in his style. Naturally, I had prepared for that. But he came out to b6 and I was mildly flabbergasted. Haruna wants to go into a technical queenless middlegame/ endgame? Be my guest.} 9. Nxg6 hxg6 {White gets the bishop pair. Black gets a solid position and counter along the h-file.} 10. Bd2 {Now, in case black decides to preserve the madam and drop back to c7, white comes in strongly with Rc1 with solid initiative. (taking on h2 means b7 will collapse). Gilruth had played like this (as black) against me at the Terrian Invitational Rapid held at the NSSF building in 2019. I crushed him.} Bd6 {Any chance to get active. We will witness more such Harunaisms shortly.} 11. f4 $5 { This was my prepared move. I was betting on Haruna simply being unable to resist playing an 'aggressive' knight sortie. Standard is to take on b6 here. But after that I don't think white really has anything. Now black's best is to take on c4 and then develop and utilise the weakened light squares (d5, e4, g4) .} Ng4 $2 {A Harunaism. But a bad move. The activity generated is psuedo. The attack on h2 is psuedo. Haruna played this quickly.} 12. c5 $5 ({The ultra precise move here is:} 12. Qd1 $1 {But the resulting position, though very good for white, is ultra sharp too. I actually had this position in the board in my room the previous evening. I played around with my Fritz. Fritz loves it. But I also felt Haruna would love it too. Just his kind of position. A sample line:} Nxh2 13. c5 Qd8 14. cxd6 Nf3+ {Etc. Thus I preferred something strong enough but more technical and less chaotic.} )Qxb3 13. axb3 Bc7 14. Be2 Nf6 {He discovered taking on h2 simply loses a piece.} (14... Rxh2 15. 0-0 $1 )(14... Nxh2 15. Kf2 {With Kg1(g3) coming.} )15. b4 { White has gotten everything he could dream of in this line. The queenside colony (b-pawn infiltrating push, a-file, c6 is weak, a7 is weak, useless a8 rook), space, bishop pair, black has no counterplay, black's bad bishop etc. I stopped my 'home' prep at this point. I thought if I actually got this position vs Haruna it would be great. Of course, I had no clue the gods would let it happen exactly like this!} Nbd7 16. b5 Ke7 {Coordinating rooks and cooking up an idea for counterplay...as we shall see soon.} 17. 0-0 g5 $5 {Classic Haruna. I admit I got a small chill that ran down my spine when I saw this move. I thought I had become momentarily careless. But on reflection I calmed down. White's position remains bullet proof.} 18. g3 gxf4 19. exf4 $1 ({Of course not} 19. gxf4 $6 g5 $1 {when black is suddenly back in the game! Just what Haruna was hoping for!} )Ne4 {Again playing actively. } 20. Nxe4 dxe4 {But I think it helps white. My bishops are patiently waiting for the position to open up. And such exchanges help toward that aim.} 21. bxc6 bxc6 { White's position has improved. One more static weakness on c6 (to add to the a7 one). The position is now a bit more open for white's bishops. And f5 is lurking. Black is still spectating.} 22. Ra6 Nb8 {Now I begin a series of back and forth moves in order to improve my position further, with tempo. The black knight had better prospects via f6 into d5, so I prevent that.} 23. Ra4 {The first back and forth gain me a tempo for a-file rook doubling.} Nd7 24. Rfa1 Rhb8 25. b4 Rb7 26. Ba6 $1 Rbb8 27. Bc4 {The next back and forth repositions the bishop to a better square...with tempo!} Rb7 28. Ra6 Nb8 29. R6a3 {Another back and forth.. .improving the front rook position slightly...with tempo!} Bd8 30. f5 $1 { Time to strike! Black has this strong wall (e6,f7,g7). Time to dismantle it. If he takes on f5 now then d5 push comes with force.} Rd7 {It looks like white has played with a little too much risk...} 31. fxe6 $1 fxe6 {Forced. If} (31... Rxd4 32. Rxa7+ Rxa7 33. Rxa7+ Kf8 34. Rxf7+ Ke8 35. Bf4 Rxc4 36. Bd6 $1 Nd7 37. Rxd7 )32. Bg5+ Ke8 33. Be3 $1 {Another back and forth! Now black has no option but to play Bf6 as otherwise b5 is coming.} Bf6 (33... Rb7 34. b5 cxb5 35. Bxe6 {Now nothing can stop Bd5} Nc6 36. Bd5 Rc8 37. Ra6 Rbc7 38. Bxe4 )34. b5 $1 Rxd4 (34... Bxd4 35. Bxd4 Rxd4 36. b6 a5 37. Bxe6 {We have basically what will happen in the game...except the more 'noisy' black bishop is not there!} a4 38. Bb3 $1 )35. b6 $1 a5 {The passed b6 pawn is a thorn.} 36. Bxe6 {With one idea being Bc8 - Bb7} Rd3 37. Rxd3 exd3 38. Ra4 {I had originally planned on Ra3. Immediately eating d3 and then blockading the a-passer with Ba2. But I decided to block the a-passer immediately and I was attracted by Rh4 idea since I reckoned Haruna would go Bc3. There is nothing wrong with my idea. But I did not properly appreciate that black has some serious defensive resources at hand if I play just a little slackly.} Nd7 39. Kf1 {Bringing it closer to the passer so that the e3 bishop can be freed.} Bc3 40. Rh4 Ke7 41. Bb3 $2 { Throwing away a large chunk of the advantage. And together with the next move simply spoiling the position. I saw} (41. Bf5 {But I then saw} Rf8 {and quickly (and wrongly) dismissed it due to this pin (g6 coming...I only saw g4 as the follow up!). But that is a ghost.} 42. Rf4 $1 Be5 43. Rf2 Rd8 44. Ke1 Nf6 45. Ra2 {and white is consolidating.} )Rf8+ 42. Rf4 $2 {Now it is either equal or unclear. Only 42. Kg2! keeps the advantage. I did not want to play that because I wrongly reasoned on general grounds "The king is further away from the passed d pawn". And I did not spot the resource black had on move 43.} Rxf4+ 43. gxf4 Bb4 $2 {This looked natural. I had expected it and had prepared my winning riposte. But here Haruna could have saved the game with the subtle} (43... Kd8 $3 {Black does not let white come onto the a1-h8 diagnol, and his king moves that one crucial step closer to keeping the b6 pawn under lock and key.} 44. Ba4 Nb8 45. Kf2 Kd7 46. h4 Na6 47. f5 Nb4 { Position is level. Black has as many chances in the complexities as white!} )44. b7 $1 {The winning move.} Nb8 {Other moves don't work either:} (44... Kd8 { Too late!} 45. Be6 Kc7 46. Bxd7 )(44... Bc3 {In the post mortem Haruna thought this saved him. But he missed a nifty way for white to move his bishop to the h2-b8 diagnol (not f5 because then Be5):} 45. Bf2 $1 {The f4 pawn keeps control of e5 for just long enough!} Nb8 46. Bg3 $1 {And only now f5 comes.} )45. Bd4 Kd7 46. Be5 *