[Event "Early Summer Swiss 2021"] [Site "lichess.org"] [Date "2021.03.30"] [Round "?"] [White "Journey2FM"] [Black "pm5"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E68"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] {My first serious game in over a year...} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 {I always smile when I see the Nbd7 variation of the KID. Not to be disrespectful to anyone who plays it, but I've always lumped it together with all those "club player" openings you see all the time in the amateur leagues. Of all my opening reference works for White, I've only ever needed to look at this chapter in the book!} 7. O-O e5 8. e4 Re8 {This is the first point in the game I would like to comment on. Despite being played by several high rated players in the past, this feels like an opening inaccuracy to me. ...exd4 should be played first. In the game continuation, Black's strong KID Bishop and Rook both get hemmed in by his own pawn by allowing White to push on with d5.} 9. d5 Nc5 10. Ne1 {This is the main line continuation and a stronger move than Nd2, giving White the choice of plans with either Nd3 hitting the c5 Knight or, as in the game, re-routing via c2 and to the Queenside or e3 to fight for f5.} a5 {The right continuation, trying to prevent b4 and cement the Knight on it's outpost.} 11. Be3 {Despite being the move that feels most natural to me, I discovered it's actually the 3rd choice in the databases, occuring only 10 times. It does score 80% though! My plan was simply to take the Knight and claim that my potential passer on d5 is already a strategic plus.} b6 {Black sensibly avoids having to recapture with his d-pawn.} 12. f3 {So now White must stop the Knight arriving on g4 and delay the decision on when, or indeed if, to get rid of the Knight on c5} (12. Bg5 h6 13. Bd2 Nh7 14. Qe2 {Is prefered by the engines, although I don't see why.}) 12... Bd7 {I had expected my opponent to play ...Nfd7 here, opening the f-file for ...f5 but my opponents choice is indeed stronger.} 13. Qd2 { Remaining flexible - I still don't know if I want the Knight to enter d3 and swap with it's counterpart or indeed swing to the Queenside.} Qc8 {I wasn't a fan of this plan and felt I must stand better if Black exchanges my "Bad" Bishop for his "Good" one} (13... Nh5 {is to be prefered, allowing the f5 break }) 14. Nc2 {Decision made, those Queenside outposts look too good!} Bh3 15. Na3 {I didn't see much wrong with my plan. Following the question of what did my opponent leave behind?, one of GM Maurice Ashley's approaches to selecting moves, my Knight heads for the light squares now Black's Bishop has moved its gaze elsewhere.} Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qd7 {Again, I think ...Nh5 has to be the plan here.} 17. Rad1 {Unnecessary. My prophylaxis was against Black's pawn break of c6 (not that he was ever really likely to play this). But I had in my mind that Axel Smith quote from his "Pump up your Rating" book - "No pawn lever, no plan". I could have just got on with Nab5.} Nh5 18. Nab5 f5 {And so we arrive at what must be one of those "critical" positions in a game, where you have a number of options that look good, but only one is best!} 19. exf5 {and this isn't it.} gxf5 20. b3 {A waiting move, to see what my opponent does with his central pawns and Kingside Knight. With the added subtlety of not allowing my Queenside pawns to be stifled or exchanged. I can now push past to b4 upon any further agression and restrict Black's counterplay down the a-file} Rf8 21. Kh1 {Seemed to me like another "High Class" waiting move. The Queen might come to g2, the Rook might come to g1. Also discourages my opponent from playing f4, allowing me to open the file!} Nf6 22. Qg2 Kf7 $2 {The first concrete mistake by my opponent, stepping onto a landmine and allowing me to get in g4 under favourable circumstances.} 23. g4 f4 (23... fxg4 24. fxg4 Kg8 25. h3 h6 26. Rf5 Nh7 27. Rdf1 Rxf5 28. Rxf5 a4 29. Bxc5 bxc5 30. bxa4 {leaves White up a pawn in addition to his positional trumps!}) (23... Kg8 24. g5 Nh5 25. Qh3 f4 26. Qxd7 Nxd7 27. Bf2 {Leaves both Black Knights on poor squares with a weak c7 pawn to keep an eye on. White has great light squares for his Knights!}) 24. Bxc5 bxc5 25. g5 {Embarrasing the Knight and winning the fight for e4.} Ne8 ( 25... Nh5 {I was hoping my opponent would try this move as the refutation is not easy to spot.} 26. Qg4 $1 {wins a piece} Qxg4 27. fxg4) 26. Ne4 Rg8 27. Rg1 Bf6 28. Qf2 (28. Nxc7 {I hadn't seen during the game but wins on the spot!} Nxc7 (28... Qxc7 29. Qh3 $1 Bh8 30. g6+ hxg6 31. Ng5+ Ke7 32. Qh7+ Rg7 (32... Ng7 33. Ne4 {threatening Rxg6 is already curtains!}) 33. Qxh8) 29. Nxf6) 28... Bd8 29. Qh4 Qf5 30. Rg2 {My turn to be inaccurate. Doubling on the g-file seems sensible, and is still winning, but it's not best!} (30. Qh5+ Qg6 31. Qh3 $1) 30... Qg6 31. Qg4 (31. Qh3 {Was more precise}) 31... a4 32. h4 h5 33. Qd7+ Kf8 34. Rdg1 Rg7 35. Qc6 Rb8 36. Nf6 $4 {My opponent had been down to his last minute or so for a while and this move was played without much thought - just trying to keep him under pressure. It of course looks nice opening up the file but essentially this throws away all chances of the win.} (36. bxa4 {Simple and strong, winning!} Qf5 37. Qxe8+ Kxe8 38. Nbxd6+ cxd6 39. Nxd6+ Kf8 40. Nxf5 Rf7 41. Nd6 Ra7 42. Re2 Ke7 43. Nf5+ Kd7 44. g6 {Would have been a nice finish! }) 36... Bxf6 37. gxf6 Qxf6 38. Rxg7 Qxh4+ 39. Kg2 Nxg7 40. Qxc7 Qg3+ 41. Kf1 Qxf3+ 42. Ke1 Qe3+ 43. Kf1 Qf3+ 44. Ke1 Qe3+ 45. Kf1 Qf3+ 46. Ke1 {An absolutely gutting result having felt I'd held the upper hand right from the opening inaccuracy by Black with ...Re8. I was kicking myself for some hours after the game! Credit has to be given to my opponent for holding on with seconds on their clock, but with around 18 minutes left I only have myself to blame! Regardless of the result, I was happy that I blew some rust off and showed I could actually still play some half decent moves after a year out!} 1/2-1/2