Fareham Chess Club v Tammer-Shakki Club

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Fareham Chess Club
Tammer-Shakki Club
Correspondence, 2007

A consultation game arranged by Dave Deacon between Fareham Chess Club and Tammer-Shakki Chess Club. Tammer-Shakki are a Finnish club with many strong players. It was agreed to play one move each week with moves sent by e-mail after our respective club nights. Tammer-Shakki meet on a Monday night, and Fareham on a Tuesday night. The game was played throughout the 2007-08 chess season, which also proved to be a very succesful year for Fareham club on the domestic league front.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bd2 This move was first suggested by Jim Craig. At first sight it might seem passive but we thought it looked to be interesting and slightly off-beat. We later discovered some analysis on this variation which showed that it can become very complex immediately if our opponents had chosen 4....dxe4 instead 4... Nf6 5. e5 Bxc3 6. bxc3 Ne4 7. Qg4 Kf8 8. Bd3 Nxd2 9. Kxd2 and we have arrived at a position akin to the MacCutcheon variation with the black pawn on h7 instead of h6 9... c5 10. Nh3 Nc6 11. Rhe1!? This move was suggested by Dave Elliott and certainly surprised our Finnish friends 11... Qa5 12. Re3 Consistently following up our prevous move! 12... cxd4 At this point we were told by our opponents that a number of their Masters were away playing in the European Team Championships! 13. Rg3 g6 14. Qf4 dxc3+ Our opponents also concluded as we did that the Rook on a1 is taboo 14... Qxc3+ 15. Ke2 Qxa1 16. Rf3 Ke8 (16... f5 17. exf6 e5 18. Qh6+ Ke8 19. f7+ crashes through )17. Qxf7+ Kd8 18. Qf6+ Kc7 19. Qxh8 with a healthy plus15. Kd1 The King should perhaps have gone straight to the e file 15... Qb4 We expected Qc7, and had planned to play Qh6+ followed by f4 16. Qf6 Rg8 17. Ng5 Rg7 18. Ke1 Qe7 19. Rh3 h5 20. g4 Qxf6 21. exf6 A new phase now begins with the pawn on f6 making things very difficult for our opponents to develop their pieces 21... Rg8 22. gxh5 gxh5 An interesting alternative was 22... e5 We spent a long time analysing this position and trying to make the following line work - 23. hxg6 Bxh3 24. g7+ Ke8 25. Nxh3 but concluded that Black's King would be able to escape via d7 and that our f-pawn would then be vulnerable; so we intended to play 23. Rg3 which is still OK for White 23. Rxh5 e5 24. f4 We had a number of candidate moves to choose from here, but we thought this move to be most in the spirit of the game. If Black takes 24.... exf4 the open e-file puts black in big trouble. Of course the downside is that we have allowed our opponents big central pawns and counterplay 24... e4 25. Bb5 This position was analysed in great depth in the club and it was comical how many times certain players, and one player in particular, moved the knight from c6, allowing us to play Nh7 mate!! 25... Bf5 26. Rb1 Once again, lots of debate. There was the possibility of playing down the following line, quite of lot of which is forced 26. Bxc6 bxc6 27. Rb1 Bg6 28. Rh3 d4 29. Rb7 d3 30. cxd3 exd3 31. Rxd3 Bxd3 32. Rxf7+ Ke8 33. Re7+ Kd8 34. Ne6+ Kc8 35. f7 Rh8 36. f8=Q+ Rxf8 37. Nxf8 c2 38. Kd2 Kd8 39. Rd7+ Ke8 40. Rxd3 Kxf8 41. Kxc2 leaving us a safe pawn up in a rook ending. Unfortunately we ran out of time analysing how much of the line actually was forced and had to make a decision, so decided that 26. Rb1 kept lots of options open for both sides 26... Nd4 27. Ba4 b5 28. Rb4 Ne6 29. Rxb5 Nxg5 Giving up the exchange with 29... Nxf4 30. Rb7 Rxg5 31. Rxg5 Be6 was also very interesting, but we thought we were doing OK in this line 30. fxg5 Bg4 31. Rh7 Bf5 At this point our opponents offered us a draw, indicating that they no longer thought they were winning!? We declined the offer as we had one last log to throw in the fire ........ 32. g6!? Another pawn sacrifice - suggested by Tony Corkett. We had a whole week to wait and see which way would they take it 32... Bxg6 If our opponents had instead played what we considered to be the safer choice 32... Rxg6 33. Rh8+ Rg8 34. Rxg8+ Kxg8 35. Rxd5 We thought that this was still marginally better for White, but we thought this would probably lead to a drawn ending with best play. However, after 32.....Bxg6 we came to an interesting conclusion about the position, and the more we looked at it, the more we liked it 33. Rh4 Rd8 34. Bb3 d4 35. Rc5 This move is important because it stops Black playing his Rook behind his c-pawn 35... d3 A look at the position shows that Black doesn't have many moves and will have to push his pawns sooner or later 36. cxd3 exd3 37. Kf2! Moving the King away from the passed pawns looks very strange, but it is more important to stop Black's Rook on g8 getting in to the game down the g-file 37... d2 38. Rd4! And somewhat amazingly, everything fits in to place like a well oiled machine. The pawn on f6 has done its job well. The Black rooks can't get off the back rank because of the mating threats and black is effectively zugzwanged. We had expected 37.....c2 but our reply would have been the same 38... Re8 If Black plays 38.... Rb8 we win with 39. Rcd5 39. Ba4 and as our opponents now arrived at the same conclusions that we did - they resigned. The best Black can do is enter a lost endgame with 39....c2 40. Rxd2 Rh8 41. Bxe8 Rxh2+ 42. Ke3 Rxd2 43. Kxd2 Kxe8 44. Rd5 and a winning endgame. We spent many happy hours of analysis on this game during the season and thank our opponents for their contribution to what was an extremely interesting and entertaining game 1-0