Robert Hess (2483) – Gerhely Antal (2493)
SPICE Spring Lubbock (6), 19.03.2009 [B11]
1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3
This line was a favorite of Bobby Fischer’s. It is certainly a sound choice and it avoids the well analyzed main lines.
The most frequently played response, although 3…dxe4 is a reasonable option.
This leads to a more conservative game compared to the wild 4…Bh5 5.exd5 cxd5 6.Bb5+ Nc6 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 Rc8 9.d4 e6 10.Qe2 Bb4 11.h4 with a complicated position that gives mutual chances. However, on the negative side Black gives up his bishop-pair without any apparent compensation.
5.Qxf3 e6 6.g3 Nf6 7.d3 Bb4 8.a3
Fischer chose 8.Bd2 in several games. I have to admit that would be my preference too, since I would not want to allow the upcoming exchange on c3 that ruins White’s pawn structure on the queenside.
8…Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.Bd2 dxe4 11.dxe4
In my view, although IM Hess did not agree with me, Black has a very comfortable position here because of White’s inferior pawn structure.
11…Nbd7 12.Bg2 Qa6
The first error. 12…Ne5 or 12…Qb5 may be possible improvements.
A positional mistake that corrects White’s pawn structure. Better would have been 13…Qa4.
14.cxd3 Nc5 15.Ke2
White naturally could not push 15.d4 as the d3-pawn was busy guarding the e4-pawn.
This leads to immediate trouble. If 15…0–0–0, which would attack the d3-pawn a second time, White would be fine after the intermediate move 16.e5.
Here Black only anticipated the recapture on d2.
An unpleasant surprise for Black!
17…0–0–0 18.Rxa7 Nb3
Is the knight escaping? Not quite.
19.d4 c5 20.Rb1 c4
It seems that the knight is safe again, but not for long.
21.Ra4 Kd7 22.Rxc4
Now White has three pawns for the piece, but the knight on b3 is still not out of trouble as we shall see.
If 22…Rb8 23.Rb4! Rxb4 24.axb4, and the knight is still trapped.
Or 23…Nc6 24.e5.
24.Rbb5 Nc6 25.Rb7+ Kd6 26.Rb6 1–0