[Event "4NCL"] [Site "Kent's Hill"] [Date "2021.11.21"] [Round "2"] [White "Martin O'Neill"] [Black "Christian Westrap"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D11"] [Annotator "peter"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2021.11.21"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. b3 $6 {A little bit inaccurate - white ought to develop the kingside first} (4. g3 Bf5 5. Bg2 e6 6. Nc3 {is a line I play sometimes - white can play b3 here or Qb3.}) 4... Bf5 5. g3 e6 6. a3 {My opponent was a bit worried about the check on b4 and so spends a tempo on this move - this wouldn't be the case if he had delayed b3 since white could just castle here.} Be7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O h6 {Preserving the bishop - I was pleased with how the opening had gone as black is comfortably equal here.} 9. Bb2 Nbd7 10. Nbd2 a5 $10 {This position has been played a number of times according to my database - just not via this move order!} 11. Rc1 Ne4 12. Ne5 $6 {This misses the following short but forced sequence which leads to an advantage for black.} (12. Ne1 Nxd2 13. Qxd2 {was better when white can prepare e4 - after} Nf6 14. f3 Qb6 {I prefer black's position but white is ok.}) 12... Nxd2 13. Qxd2 Nxe5 14. dxe5 dxc4 $1 {The queen is hanging on d2 and this causes white problems on the d-file.} 15. Qc3 $5 {A good practical decision - white sacrifices a pawn but will get some play - I believe the compensation is insufficient though if black plays correctly.} (15. Qxd8 Rfxd8 16. e4 (16. bxc4 Rd2 17. Bc3 Rxe2 18. Bf3 Ra2 {was a line I also looked at which - it turns out - is very good for black.}) 16... Bh7 {and either recapture leads to a worse position for white as black has a q-side majority and play on the d-file.}) 15... cxb3 16. Qxb3 Qc7 17. h3 Rfd8 18. e4 Bh7 {I thought my opponent played this phase well - he has shut the bishop out of play.} 19. Qe3 Rd7 20. Bd4 $2 { I was a bit surprised by this move and thought during the game that it was strong - I had seen} (20. f4 Rad8 $17 {and as f4-f5 is unplayable - black is doing well and is a good pawn up.}) 20... c5 $2 (20... Bxa3 $1 $19 {was missed by both of us! Black has a winning position in this line although it will still be complicated.}) 21. Bxc5 Qxe5 22. Bxe7 Rxe7 {White has managed to discoordinate black's pieces and now has some definite compensation for the pawn.} 23. f4 Qb8 {This felt like the right square to try and recoordinate my pieces from.} 24. Qb6 Qd8 (24... Ra6 {was also playable but doesn't help with the goal of recoordinating my pieces.}) 25. Qb2 Rd7 26. f5 {I thought for a long time here as white is developing some threats on the k-side.} exf5 27. exf5 Ra6 $1 {I was pleased to find this move as it makes f5-f6 much less of a problem.} 28. Qe5 Rad6 (28... f6 29. Qe4 Kh8 30. Rfe1 Bg8 $17 {was also good.}) 29. f6 $6 {this doesn't really work - I was ok with the split pawns as my king has a flight square and they are easy to protect.} (29. Bxb7 $2 {was a move my opponent said he nearly played - but it doesn't quite work} Rxb7 30. Qxd6 Qxd6 31. Rc8+ Qf8 $19 {and there is no mate.}) (29. a4 {might be best - black is better but could face a lot of technical problems in the ending.}) 29... Rxf6 30. Rxf6 gxf6 $1 (30... Qxf6 $4 31. Rc8+ Rd8 32. Qxf6 $18 {would be very careless indeed!}) 31. Qb2 b6 32. Rc4 $2 {black can now force a win with a counter-attack.} (32. a4 {again might have been best although black is much better here.}) 32... Rd1+ 33. Kh2 Rd2 34. Qb3 Qa8 $1 $19 {A nice move to make - the queen is moved to the corner and the pin on the bishop will win the game. } (34... Qd5 $4 35. Rc8+ $18 {would - again - be very careless indeed!}) 35. Rg4+ Kh8 {its mate in 3 moves at most.} (35... Bg6 36. Rxg6+ Kf8 {would have been very cheeky but - even if I had more than a minute on my clock - I doubt I would play this way!}) 0-1