Thursday 2 July 2020

Lockdown Reunion: The Big Match

Yesterday we reported on our Lockdown Reunion, with a promise of the moves of the game to follow.

Here they are!

White: The Parents
Black: The Juniors

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d3 Nd6 6. d4

White sacrificed a pawn to open up central lines but now they got excited and forgot their bishop was under attack.

6 ...Nxc4 7. Qd3 d5 8.Re1 Bb4 9. c3 Ba5 10. Bg5 Ne7 11. dxe5 O-O 12. b3

The Parents have done well to stay calm after losing their bishop. This position is complicated. The black knight is under attack and if it moves back to b6 then White will play 13 b4! trapping the bishop on a5.

Black could try 12 ...Nxe5, attacking the white queen. Then after 13 Nxe5 f6! would fork the knight on e5 and the bishop on g5, with great complications.

However, The Juniors were tempted by a different attack on the queen.

12 ...Nb2?!

This move does indeed attack the queen but the knight will not get out of there alive.

13. Qd2!

Saving the queen and attacking the knight - which has no safe way out from b2!

13 ...d4 

They are hoping White will fall for 14 cxd4 Bxd2, but The Parents are not to be bluffed so easily.

14. Qxb2 Bxc3 15. Nxc3 dxc3 16. Qxc3

The Parents now have the advantage. They have more space, thanks to the e5-pawn, their pieces are more active than Black's and if they can have an untroubled move they will 17 Rad1, completing their development and attacking the black queen.

The Juniors sensed action was required and they came up with the bold...

16 ...Nd5!?

Now both queens are under attack. Up until this point, I had been relaying the moves of both sides as a sensible anti-virus precaution. But at this moment, one of The Parents struck like a cobra, picking up the bishop and capturing the black queen in the blink of an eye.

17. Bxd8 Nxc3 18. Bxc7 

The Parents have recovered well from their early mistake and they are now one pawn ahead. That may not seem much, but every pawn is a potential new queen...

18 ...Nb5 19. Ba5 b6 20. Bb4 Rd8 21. Ng5 Bg4 22. Re4 Bf5 23. Rf4 Bd3 24. Nxf7
Now The Parents are two pawns ahead! Their middlegame skill has turned the game around. How can The Juniors fight back from here?

Rd4 25. Rxd4 Nxd4 26. Rd1!

More trouble for Black! The white rook is pinning the bishop against the knight and it looks like one of them will be lost, although it is still very complicated, as the white knight on f7 may also fall. The Juniors try a check, to muddy the waters a little more.

26 ...Ne2+ 27. Kf1?

27 Kh1! was best, to avoid the discovered check by the knight.

27 ...Nf4+! 28. Kg1 Kxf7 

With extraordinary dexterity, The Juniors have not only managed to arrange for their knight to defend the bishop, but they have also emerged a piece ahead! True, The Parents do have two pawns for the piece, so the game is still far from clear.

29. Bd2 Bc2 30. Rc1? 

Oh dear! This is not the best square for the rook, despite the temptation to attack the bishop, as it runs into a devastating knight fork.

30 ...Ne2+ 

31. Kf1 Nxc1 32. Bxc1 Rc8 Good play by Black. Their extra rook should decide the game and The Juniors are quick to bring into action.

33. Ke2 Bb1 34. Bb2 Rc2+ 

Another fork. The white bishop will be lost!

35. Ke3 Rxb2 36. a4 Rxb3+ 37. Kd4 Rb4+ 38. Kd5 Rxa4 39. e6+ Ke8 

The Parents have done well to create any sort of counterplay but the black rook zooms around the board to end all resistance. The endgame plan is clear: promote a pawn to a queen and force checkmate as quickly as possible.

40. Kd6 Rd4+ 41. Ke5 Re4+ 42. Kd5 Ke7 43. f3 Rxe6 44. g4 Rd6+ 45. Ke5 a5 46. f4 a4 47. g5 Re6+ 48. Kd5 b5 49. f5 Bxf5 50. h4 a3 51. h5 a2 52. h6 gxh6 53. gxh6 Rxh6 54. Ke5 Rh5 55. Kf4 a1=Q 56. Ke3 Rh4 57. Kf3 Qa3+ 58. Kf2 Rh2+ 59. Kg1 Rb2 60. Kf1 Qa1 Checkmate!

And there it is! A classic checkmate with a queen and rook.

The Juniors are triumphant!

Is it time for a rematch yet...!?

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