Available from the archive
[Original available in the archive]
|The site wouldn’t be complete without a nod to our former capitano Pete Harrison. You can ride the rollercoaster of his games collection below, made possible through the pgn file collated by Pete Martin.|
First off, a big thanks to IM Richard Palliser for supplying us with his analysis of Pete’s game against David Pritchard. These annotations first appeared in Richard’s enjoyable work starting out: the Colle, published by Everyman Chess in 2007.
This is very much an amateur-battle, not a clash from an international event. White was rated 1600 and the experienced black player, veteran of a number of British Championships and probably best remembered as the author of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, about 1950. A 350-point rating gap is never easy to overcome, but due partly to the thematic and straightforward nature of the Colle, White was able to:
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 c5 4.c3 e6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Qc7 7.0-0 Bd6 8.Qe2 0-0 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.e4 Ne5
This move can be characterized along with 10…dxe4: both moves aim to reduce White’s potential attacking pressure (10…dxe4 by ruling out e4-e5, and 10…Ne5 by exchanging a pair of knights and bringing the black queen over to the kingside to defend). However, the early exchanges actually help White too by freeing his game and in both cases he still has good chances to mount a kingside attack.
White can still force through e4-e5
White’s main choice, but the alternatives 12.exd5 and 12.Kh1!? are also well worth considering.
The main point of 10…Ne5; Black hopes that his queen will neutralise any attacking chances of White’s. Instead 12…Qc7?! would be rather inconsistent and 13.e5 (F.Birkholz-A.Heinrich, Schwabstedt 1994) 13…Nd7 14.Bxh7+! Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg6 16.Bf4! is pretty much business as usual for White! The threat is the slow Qf3-g3 and Black lacks a good defence: White will at least get to capture on e6 (after …f5) with an ongoing and powerful attack.
Bxh7+ has been ruled out
Again, relatively best. Otherwise White gains a pleasant choice after 13…Ng4 14.h3 Nh6 between 15 Be3 (Bronznik), aiming for a good knight v bad bishop middlegame, and 15.Bxh7+!? ; a sacrifice which Black has twice rejected, leaving him a clear pawn in arrears! He should at least try 15…Kxh7 16.Ng5+ Kg6 when the position is a little messy, but White remains for choice after 17.g4 Qh4 18.Qd3+ Nf5 19.Kg2!.
Rare, but no means illogical. White has more usually preferred either 14.Bf4 or 14.Be3 b6 15.Bd4, preparing to advance on the kingside after Qe3 and Nd2. P.Steen-W.Hohlfeld, German League 1981, for example, continued 15…Bb7 16.b4! Be7 17.a4 a6 18.Qe3 Bd8 19.Nd2
White’s ideal set-up
19…Re8 20.f4 f5 21.Rf3 and White was in full control of the position. Going back to 14 Be3, 14…Be7 has also been seen, but again Black can easily land up without any counterplay. Thus in H.Rossetto-J.Bibiloni, La Plata 1997, he tried 15.Bd4 Nc5 16.Bc2 b6 17.Rfe1 Bd7 18.Rad1 f5!? . The game was eventually drawn after 19 Nd2, but with all his pieces nicely-centralized White should have realized that there was no need to allow the position to close: 19.exf6! Bxf6 (or 19…gxf6 20.c4 with strong central pressure) 20.Bxf6 Rxf6 21.Rd4 (Bronznik) and White’s central bind leaves him somewhat better.
Natural, but in view of White’s strong riposte, Black should probably have preferred 14…Be7 . Then 15 Be3 drops the e-pawn (this is why 14 Be3 is White’s most precise option) and 15.Bf4 Nc5 16.Bc2 b6 , whilst still a little passive, is playable for Black since the f4-bishop only serves to hinder the plan of Qe3, Nd2 and f4.
White plays for a positional advantage
In keeping with his simplistic rabbit-bashing strategy (a concept familiar to all fans of Simon Webb’s classic Chess for Tigers), Pritchard plays for further exchanges, but had presumably underestimated how hard White’s resulting grip would be to shake off. There were two obvious alternatives, although neither suffices for equality:
a) 15…Bxe3 16.Qxe3 fxe5 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Qxe5 Qxe5 19.Rxe5 leaves White with the better bishop and structure. He might gradually advance on the kingside, as in our main game, or he could consider an immediate assault on e6 with 19…Bd7 20.c4!?.
b) 15…Be7 keeps pieces on and may be relatively best, although White still has a pleasant-enough edge after 16.exf6 Nxf6 (or 16…gxf6 17.c4! ; White must apply immediate pressure to Black’s centre like this after …gxf6, before it rolls forwards with …e5) 17.Bd4.
16.Bxc5 Nxc5 17.Nxe5 Qxe2 18.Rxe2
e5 is an excellent outpost
The position White was aiming for with 15 Be3. The white knight dominates the black position, and Black already faces a long and painful defence.
NOTE: …f6 is a key break in these French-style positions, but Black rarely wants to lose control of e5 after it.
There was no need to hurry with or even play this. 18…b6 was a superior choice, giving White more to think out (which might lead to a slip), such as whether Bc2 and b4 drives Black backwards or just allows awkward counterplay against c3.
19.Nxd3 b6 20.Ne5 Ba6 21.Re3 Rae8 22.Rae1 Rf4 23.Nc6!
The knight was superbly-placed on e5, but Harrison realizes that it will do just as good a job on d4, tying down Black’s pieces to the defence of e6.
Black faces a long and passive defence
24…Rf6 25.Re5 Bd7 26.g3
Now f4 will follow, while Black can only really sit and wait.
26…b5 27.f4 g6 28.Kg2 a5 29.Nc2 Rc8 30.a3! Kf7 31.Kf3 Rc4?
I suspect this was a blunder, but in some ways the following exchange benefits Pritchard; it at least gives his bad bishop a little more scope. That said, one should always defend as tenaciously as possible, and here Black should have forced White to time a gradual kingside advance before trying anything desperate.
The best try; 32…Ra4 33.Ng4 Rf5 34.Nh6+ costs Black an exchange, after which White follows up with Rd1-d4.
33.Rxe4 dxe4+ 34.Kxe4 Ke7 35.Ng4 Bc6+ 36.Kd4
White’s pieces head forwards
37.Kc5!? Bd5 38.Ne5 was more adventurous, but White wants to keep control and might well have been a little low on time at this juncture.
37…Bd5 38.Rd1 Rc8 39.h4 Bb3 40.Rd2 Rc7 41.Ke3 Bd5 42.Kd4 Kd6 43.Ke3?!
There was no need to allow Black to improve his king; 43.h5! would have decisively opened a ‘second front’ on the kingside.
TIP: Often when we have a large positional advantage, there’s no immediate way, as here, to exploit it due to the opponent’s solid resistance. In such situations, opening a ‘second front’ will usually over-stretch the defender’s resources.
Here, after 43 h5 43…gxh5 44.Rh2
A second front opens up
Black is in some trouble since 44…Rg7 45.Rxh5 Rxg3? 46.Rxh7 neatly traps Black’s king in mid-board; Black must deal with the mate threat on d7, but after 46…Bc6 47.c4! he is helpless. Black might thus prefer 44…Ke7 45.Rxh5 Kf8 , but with his king back on the kingside, his rook must remain passively-covering the c-file. White wins by either bringing his knight to c5, cementing it with b4 and playing Ke5, or with a kingside advance: g4-g5 and Ng4-f6.
At this point the game was adjudicated in White’s favour. His last move has made the winning process more difficult, but White should still win after 44 Rd4, intending to begin with b4+ and Kd2.
Oxford 2&3 – Weekend 1
Available from the archive
Oxford 1 – Weekend 1
Available from the archive