Knight

D. Tunks v S. Crockart

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D. Tunks
S. Crockart
Emsworth A v Fareham A, 2006

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qe2 White chooses the innocuous q-e2 line suggesting he is looking for a solid position but not willing to enter the theoretical debate started by 5-d4 5... Qe7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Bg5 Qxe2+ 8. Bxe2 Be7 so far all moves played have been standard for this variation of the Petroff, White has an extra couple of tempo but the positions are symmetrical and there are no weaknesses to attack so the position is level 9. Nd4 an unusual move (usually Nc3 would be better) White is trying to make it hard for Black to develop his pieces to their best squares, but at the same time he is not promoting his own development9... h6 10. Bd2 probably the best retreat for the bishop as Bh4 places it a bit out of the way and black coontinues with Bd7 and Nc610... a6 the idea of this move is to stop the white night going to b5; I was entertaining ideas of queenside expansion with c5 trying to reduce the number of outposts for his pieces. There is nothing wrong with the move but a better plan would have been to simply castle and play Nd7 to e5 in the event of white playing Bf3 11. Bf3 c5 Black carries out his plan and already the position is beginning to look good for him. White would have been better advised to promote development rather than move his bishop again, even though he has obtained a lovely post for it12. Nb3 Nc6 13. a4 White wastes another move! I think his idea was to probe the b6 weakness and perhaps establish a minor piece there unfortunately this plan allows Black to control the d5 square with his bishop and gain even more space 13... Be6 Fritz assesses this as 0.75 in Black's favour and I have to admit at feeling very happy at the time14. Na5 trying to swap off his inactive knight for Black's well placed knight. Unfortunately Black has a tactical resource that makes White's pieces appear rather badly placed 14... Nd4 15. Bd1 15. Bxb7 Nxc2+ 16. Kd1 Nxa1 17. Bxa8 Nb3 18. Bc6+ Kd8 19. Bc3 Kc7 position is clearly in blacks favour 15... b6 this is where I go wrong a bit mostly due to time trouble, it would have been much simpler to play 0-0-0 and indeed Black would have a large advantage. Now Black's advantage is reduced slightly 16. Nc4 d5 a blunder, in the position a few moves ago White's knight had impeded the a pawn from advancing and I had a moment of chess blindness assuming that the pawn could still not move assuming that after Nxb6 Rb8 White would have to play Ba5 and Black would be winning but alas white can protect the knight with his pawn 17. Nxb6 Rb8 18. a5 now the position is equal again, but in practice blunders come in twos or threes and I was already suffering from severe time trouble due to my bad clock management 18... Bd6 19. Bc3 in fact if Black had kept calm here and played n-d7 he would have retained a slight advantage19... O-O 20. Nd2 Bg4 here is the other blunder I previously mentioned. I was in time trouble and thought things were going wrong and, instead of staying calm, because the position at this point was level I lashed out with a tactical shot that would lead to complications favouring White 21. Bxd4 cxd4 22. Bxg4 Nxg4 now the dust has settled White has a large advantage, but there is still a lot to play for 23. Nf3 Rfe8+ 24. Kf1 Nf6 here White should have played Nxd4 retaining his large advantage but he was concerned with activating his second rook and therefore came up with the plan of playing g3 and Kg2 25. g3 Bc5 26. Kg2 Re2 Black pounces on the opportunity to activate his pieces again suddenly he is getting play 27. b4 Bxb6 28. axb6 Ng4 29. Nxd4 Rxf2+ both sides have played natural moves under severe time pressure, White has managed to hold onto a small advantage 30. Kh3 Ne3 not a good move but I was going in for complications as I had a worse position; h5 would have been better 31. Rxa6 at this point I had to seal a move. I could see that Nc2 would leave me with a worse ending and no counterplay so I decided to try and get counterplay against White's misplaced King, sealing g5! 31... g5 32. g4 the only move as otherwise White's king suddenly becomes very shaky; anything else and black can play h5 32... Nxg4 Black has regained a pawn as Kxg4 is met with Rf4+ regaining the Knight. White still has a better position but there are plenty of ways he can go wrong 33. Rha1 the first bad move, the idea is to try and swap Black's rook off and kill the game but Kg3 would have been preferable33... Kg7 34. Kxg4 Rf4+ 35. Kh3 Rxd4 with a few insipid moves White's advantage has been markedly reduced 36. R1a4 Rf4 and now the games is equal again; White has an extra pawn but this is more than compensated for by Black's active rooks 37. b5 d4 now White should retreat his rook to a1 to protect the back rank and keep him in the game or play c4 38. Rc4 Re8 the game is still equal but all of a sudden black is gaining an initiative 39. Ra1 now Black could have gained a large advantage with Re2 completely paralysing White's King and forcing a tactical variation that would be incredibly hard to find at the board 39... Re3+ 39... Re2 40. Rxd4 Rxd4 41. b7 Rd8 42. Ra8 Ree8 43. Rxd8 Rxd8 44. c4 Rb8 with a probable win for Black, but I was still in the mindset of needing to draw so wasn't looking for winning possibilities. Instead I saw the forced draw and snatched it with both hands 40. Kg2 Re2+ 41. Kg1 Rff2 ½-½