[Event "WDCL Div 1"] [White "Mazek, Marek"] [Black "Maudsley, Keith"] [Site ""] [Round ""] [Annotator "Damian"] [Result "1-0"] [Date "2019.09.11"] [PlyCount "75"] {This was the board one game played between Marek and Keith. Both players played down a fair bit of theory in the opening so I have used some notes from Lars Schandorff's book "Playing 1.d4 The Queens Gambit." to give some added grandmaster insight into the early middlegame position. Towards the end the game became very sharp after Keith's Rxc3 so at that point I turned the engine on to ensure the accuracy of given variations.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Qc2 { The idea of this move is to prevent Black's problem bishop developing to f5. However in this exact position you could argue that e3 is more accurate as Bf5 would actually be a blunder.} (6. e3 Bf5 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 8. Qb3 {attacking both d5 and b7. This is one of the reasons why Black would normally play c6 on move five, after which white often spends a tempo on Qc2 to stop Bf5 (as the d5 pawn is now defended.)} )0-0 7. e3 c6 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. Nge2 {This set up for White was originally used by Botvinnik and later regularly adopted by his student Garry Kasparov on his rise to becoming the worlds best player. At club level whilst Black is objectively sound, I have always felt these positions are very tough to play for Black as you are sevearly lacking in counterplay against Whites straightforward plan of f3 and e4.} Re8 10. 0-0 {Casling queenside is also perfectly reasonable} Nf8 11. f3 {White intends to take the centre with e3-e4. If he succeeds, this is an extremely powerful strategy as Botvinnik demonstrated many times. Positionally speaking there are some pro's and cons to this move. On the plus side, the f3 pawn covers the important squate e4 and thereby prevents Black's liberating move ...Ne4 for good. On the downside the pawn on e3 is weakened, which often gives Black the chance to strike in the centre with c6-c5, because if White takes with dxc5 then Bxc5 attacks e3.} Ng6 {Black improves the position of the knight. It covers the f4 and h4 squares so that the bishop on g5 won't get back again.} (11... Nh5 )(11... Be6 {are the other normal moves here as well as that played in the game.} )12. Rad1 (12. e4 {would be premature here as black would answer} dxe4 13. fxe4 Be6 14. Rad1 Ng4 {with counterplay} )Be6 13. h3 {Taking control of g4 and preparing the e3-e4 break. Kh1 and Ng3 were also sensible alternatives.} Rc8 {Black continues to develop his pieces. The c-file in connection with the break c6-c5 could give counterplay. Less ambitious would be the standard plan to exchange bishops with Nh5.} (13... Nh5 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. g4 Nf6 16. Qd2 c5 17. Ng3 Qd6 18. f4 cxd4 19. exd4 Bd7 20. g5 Ne4 21. Bxe4 dxe4 22. Ngxe4 {was seen in the game, Marzolo - Neuillet, Montlucon 1997. Where white has won a pawn.} )14. e4 {An improvement on the previously played a3 which was to much prophylaxis in the Grandmaster game Sasikiran - Hansen 2005.} c5 15. Bb5 Rf8 16. e5 Nd7 {Natural but it seems that white has achived a comfortable edge after this} (16... cxd4 {would have been a good inbetween move, but you have to spot recapturing on g6 with the g pawn, which is easy to miss.} 17. exf6 gxf6 18. Bh6 dxc3 19. bxc3 {When despite the doubled f pawns Black is very solid and white's centre has been dissolved.} )17. Bxe7 Nxe7 18. f4 g6 19. Qd2 a6 20. Bxd7 Qxd7 21. dxc5 { d4 will now be a nice square for the knight} Rxc5 22. Qe3 Qc8 23. Nd4 Rc4 24. g4 {White begins his attack with Black seemingly lacking any meaningful counterplay.} Kh8 25. f5 {Natural to push on but there could also be a big argumant for improving the postion further before playing with this move with moves like Kh1 and Nc-e2 as Black can only sit tight and wait at this point.} gxf5 26. gxf5 Bxf5 27. Kh2 {Removing the king from the g-file as white anticipates Rg8} Rg8 28. Qf2 {Now perhaps tempted by the situation on the clock which is usually tense at this stage of the evening Black was tempted to try a tricky exchange sacrifice} Rxc3 {Of course Black did not have to play this move but perhaps it was a good practical try as the following play becomes extreamly sharp with some of the lines the engine now points out as winning and losing would be very hard to find for a human in a practical game.} 29. bxc3 Qxc3 30. Qh4 ({instead} 30. Nxf5 Nxf5 {and of course white cannot take on f5 due to checkmate but} 31. Qf4 {Seems to leave white covering all of his weaknesses whilst retaining the material lead. Black cannot play the Ne3 fork because of the Qf6 threat.} Ne3 32. Qf6+ Rg7 33. Rf2 Nxd1 34. Rg2 )Be4 31. Rf2 Qe3 {Unfortunately this appears to be the fatal slip} ({instead} 31... Ng6 32. Qf6+ Rg7 33. Nf5 Bxf5 34. Qxf5 Nxe5 {would still leave white with alot of work to do!} )32. e6 ({Would have been decisive, the difference to the game seems to be that now when white finally plays e6 black is unable to meet this with the response f5 as he did in the game.} 32. Qf6+ Rg7 33. Rg1 Bg6 34. e6 Nf5 35. Rxf5 )f5 {Suddenly it appears Black has equalized!} 33. Rdd2 f4 (33... Rg6 {Keith suggested this as a possible improvement after the game, indeed it appears that Black now has a very good position! So long as Qf6+ is prevented, the game could continue} 34. a4 {Its hard to actually find any improvement moves for white here} b5 35. axb5 axb5 {Now white must not capture the pawn as} 36. Nxb5 {would lose to} Qe1 )34. Qf6+ Rg7 35. Rg2 Bxg2 36. Rxg2 Ng6 37. Nf5 Qe5 38. Qxe5 1-0