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15 Jan 2018

A00 Irregular Openings (1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nxe4 e5 4.Bc4 Nf6)

A00 Irregular Openings (1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nxe4 e5 4.Bc4 Nf6)

This game was played in a team match at Chess.com between La Belle France and Вежливые люди on 11 boards. I played on board 4 for La Belle France and in addition to this draw I lost my other game. Luckily other members of the team were more alert and we won the match with a score of 16.5 - 5.5!

This line is playable up to 4.Bc4, but my 4th move is so bad that very large amount of chess players could take advantage of it. It was easy enough for my opponent to see that the reply 5.Ng5 will put me in serious trouble. I should not really play this badly anymore and if I had thought a bit longer about my move, I would have not played 4...Nf6. Alas, I these days I play the first few moves quite quickly even in daily chess, so sometimes these kind of blunders may appear on the board.

My 4th move seems to lose a pawn no matter how the game is continued, for instance, had I played 5...Nd5, the game might have continued with the moves 6.d4 Be7 and then the move 7.Nxf7 is possible. If king takes the knight, then Qf3+ wins the piece back and White is up a pawn while also preventing Black's right to castle. Other moves do not seem to prevent a loss of a pawn either, you can try them out on your own if you like, but I am not going to get further in the different possibilities. I chose to lose the pawn by continuing my development with 5...Be6. It may have been my best practical chance to get back into the game, because my opponent has only one strong move in the position, 6.Nxe6, the move that Dreadnought53 chose to play in the game, while other moves gave me a chance to fight on. Had my opponent taken on e6 with the bishop, then the game might have continued 6...fxe6 7.Nxe6 Qd6 8.Nxf8 Rxf8 and I would have had some compensation for the pawn due to the lead in development. Up to the move 8...Nc6 I was in serious trouble, but then my opponent played 9.a4, which was a rather premature pawn push, since my opponent only had a bishop developed and it did not even support the attack on the queenside because it was aimed at the kingside.

The next time that my position went down the drain was when I played 12...Qc5. It was an attractive move for me because of the threat to the a-pawn. However, the dream of getting material equality was shattered when my opponent replied with the move 13.d3. I could not take the pawn because of the continuation 13...Nxa5 14.Be3 Qb5 15.Bc4 Qb4 16.c3, for example and it becomes clear that the queen can't protect the knight on a5. Because the plan was obviously flawed, the queen is badly placed at c5 and only gave Dreadnought53 time to finish development. I continued the game by moving my knight to d5, which made things even worse for me and I was in a losing position again.

I had played very badly up to this point, but my 15th move Bh4 was by far the biggest blunder of the game up to that point. Because my king was still at c8, Dreadnought53 could have simply played 16.Qg4+ and won the bishop on h4 for free. It would have likely ended the game, because I would have resigned rather disgusted of my play. Dreadnought53 played 16.Ne4 instead, which was also good enough for a winning advantage, but enabled me to resist the inevitable a lot longer.

Up to the move 45...Kc6 I was in a losing position, but I still tried my best to hang on. My opponent then went for the move 46.R7a6+, which allowed me to fight for the draw. My stubborn resistance had finally paid off and luckily I found the most accurate move 46...Rb6. The idea was that if I can exchange one pair of rooks on my terms, the position would be much easier to hold.

Dreadnought53 did end up trading rooks and the position started to look like a draw. That being said, a few moves later my opponent was able to get a position where maintaining equality was not that simple to me and I made a mistake that created problems for me. The move 53...Kc6 I played in the game was bad because it walked into a pin and restricted my options. 53...Bc5 would have lost the game in view of Re6+, king goes either to b7 or c7 and bishop takes its undefended counterpart on c5 and the game would be practically over.

After the game continuation 54.Re6 Kc7 55.Bxf6 gxf6 56.Rxf6 fxg3 57.hxg3, it seemed obvious that I will lose a second pawn and also the game, but instead of the move 58.Rf5 that would have won the h-pawn with ease, Dreadnought53 played 58.Rh6, which allowed me to hold on to the pawn with 58.Ra5. Even though I was a pawn down, the fact that there were opposite colored bishops on board, made my job of drawing the game relatively easy.

[Event "La Belle France vs ???????? ???? - Board"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2016.03.20"] [Round "?"] [White "Dreadnought53"] [Black "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "1918"] [BlackElo "1829"] [Annotator "Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT (30s), TV"] [PlyCount "141"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. Nc3 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nxe4 e5 {Van Geet Opening: Gruenfeld Defense} 4. Bc4 ( 4. f4 {Van Geet Opening: Gruenfeld Defense, Steiner Gambit}) 4... Nf6 {A00 Irregular Openings} 5. Ng5 Be6 6. Nxe6 fxe6 7. Bxe6 Qd6 8. Bb3 Nc6 9. a4 $146 { White has a cramped position. White's piece can't move: c1} (9. Ne2 O-O-O 10. Nc3 Qd7 11. d3 Bc5 12. Bg5 Rhf8 13. O-O Qf5 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. a3 Nd4 16. Ba2 Rd7 17. Ne4 Bb6 18. Ng3 Qg6 19. c3 Nc6 20. Be6 f5 21. Bxd7+ Kxd7 22. Qh5 Qxh5 23. Nxh5 f4 {Krause,F-Brzezinski,T Stetten 1988 1-0 (37)}) (9. Nf3 $142 $16) 9... O-O-O {Black castles and improves king safety} 10. Ne2 Be7 (10... e4 11. O-O $11) 11. a5 (11. O-O Kb8 $16) 11... a6 {White's piece can't move: c1} ( 11... e4 $5 {looks like a viable alternative} 12. Ng3 Nd4 $11) 12. O-O $14 { White castles and improves king safety. White should quickly conclude development.} Qc5 (12... Kb8 13. d3 $14) 13. d3 $16 Nd5 (13... Kb8 14. c3 $16) 14. Bd2 (14. Ng3 Qd6 $18) 14... Rhf8 15. Ng3 Bh4 $4 {terrible, but the game is lost in any case} (15... Nd4 $142 $5 16. Bc4 Qc6 $16) 16. Ne4 (16. Qg4+ $142 { nails it down} Kb8 17. Qxh4 $18) 16... Qe7 17. Qg4+ Kb8 18. g3 Bf6 19. c3 Qd7 20. Qxd7 Rxd7 21. Bc2 (21. Nc5 $5 Rd6 $18) 21... Be7 22. b4 Na7 23. Ba4 Rdd8 24. Rfd1 Nf6 25. Be1 h6 26. Kg2 (26. c4 Nxe4 27. dxe4 Rxd1 28. Rxd1 Rf3 $18) 26... Nc8 (26... Nb5 27. h4 $16) 27. Bb3 Nd6 (27... g5 28. Rab1 $16) 28. Nxd6 ( 28. Nc5 Rde8 $18) 28... cxd6 (28... Rxd6 29. Rab1 $18) 29. Ra2 d5 30. f3 (30. Re2 e4 $18) 30... Bd6 31. c4 Bc7 32. b5 axb5 33. cxb5 Rfe8 (33... Bd6 34. b6 $18) 34. b6 Bd6 35. Bf2 (35. Ba4 {and White can already relax} Rf8 36. a6 Rc8 $18) 35... Rc8 36. a6 bxa6 37. Rxa6 Rc3 $2 (37... Bc5 38. Ba4 Bxf2 39. Bxe8 Rc2 $18) 38. Ba4 Re7 (38... Re6 {hoping against hope} 39. Re1 Ra3 $18) 39. Ra1 d4 40. Bb5 (40. f4 $142 {and White has triumphed} Re6 41. fxe5 Bxe5 42. Bd1 $18) 40... Kb7 41. Bc4 Rc2 42. Kg1 (42. Rb1 $142 $5 {seems even better} e4 43. fxe4 Ng4 44. Ra7+ Kb8 $18) 42... Rb2 43. Ra7+ (43. f4 Kc6 44. fxe5 Bxe5 45. b7+ Kd7 $18) 43... Kxb6 (43... Kc6 $5 44. R1a5 Rd7 $16) 44. R1a6+ $18 Kc5 45. Ra5+ Kc6 46. R7a6+ (46. Rxe7 $142 {the advantage is on the side of White} Bxe7 47. Rxe5 $18) 46... Rb6 $14 47. Rxb6+ Kxb6 48. Ra2 Ra7 49. Rc2 {White has a cramped position} Ra3 50. Kg2 Bc5 51. Re2 Bd6 52. f4 {Deflection: d4} exf4 53. Bxd4+ Kc6 (53... Kc7 $5 $14) 54. Re6 $16 Kc7 55. Bxf6 gxf6 56. Rxf6 fxg3 57. hxg3 h5 58. Rh6 (58. Rf5 $142 $5 $16) 58... Ra5 $11 59. Bf7 {White threatens to win material: Bf7xh5} Rg5 {Exerts pressure on the isolated pawn. Black threatens to win material: Rg5xg3} 60. Rg6 {White threatens to win material: Rg6xg5} Rf5 {Black threatens to win material: Rf5xf7} 61. Rg7 Kc6 62. Bg6 Ra5 63. Kh3 Bc7 64. Rh7 {White threatens to win material: Rh7xh5} Rg5 {Black threatens to win material: Rg5xg6. Black forks: g3+g6} 65. Rh6 Rxg3+ 66. Kh4 {White threatens to win material: Kh4xh5} Rg1 67. Be4+ {Black is in double check} (67. Kxh5 Rh1+ 68. Kg4 Rxh6 69. Kg5 Bf4+ 70. Kf5 Kc5 71. Bf7 Kd4 72. Bc4 Bc7 73. Kg5 Rc6 74. Kf5 Rb6 75. Ba2 Kxd3 76. Be6 Kd4 77. Ba2 Bd8 78. Be6 Be7 79. Ba2 Rf6+ 80. Kg4 Ke5 81. Kg3 Rf4 82. Bb3 Bh4+ 83. Kh3 Rf3+ 84. Kxh4 Rxb3 85. Kg4 Re3 86. Kg5 Rg3+ 87. Kh4 Kf4 88. Kh5 Rg4 89. Kh6 Kf5 90. Kh7 Kf6 91. Kh8 Kf7 92. Kh7 Rh4#) 67... Kb5 68. Rxh5+ Kb4 69. Rh6 Bf4 {Black threatens to win material: Bf4xh6} 70. Rc6 Be3 71. Kh3 1/2-1/2

When I started the search in my reference database for the position after 4...Nf6, I honestly thought that I would need to go games of rather low rated people, but to my surprise, reasonably strong players have also played the awful move 4...Nf6.

[Event "Budapest FS06 IM"] [Site "Budapest"] [Date "1993.??.??"] [Round "8"] [White "Bodrogi, Mihaly"] [Black "Plesec, Damjan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2245"] [BlackElo "2375"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "1993.06.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "HUN"] [EventCategory "3"] [SourceTitle "EXT 1997"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1996.11.15"] 1. e4 d5 2. Nc3 dxe4 3. Nxe4 e5 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Ng5 Nd5 6. Qf3 Qxg5 7. Bxd5 f5 8. d3 Qg4 9. Qxg4 1-0 [Event "WLS-ch 50th"] [Site "Cardiff"] [Date "2004.04.10"] [Round "2"] [White "Spice, Alan"] [Black "Robinson, David"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2161"] [BlackElo "2045"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2004.04.09"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "WLS"] [SourceTitle "EXT 2006"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2005.11.24"] 1. Nc3 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nxe4 e5 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Ng5 Be6 6. Bxe6 fxe6 7. Nxe6 Qd7 8. Nxf8 Rxf8 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. O-O O-O-O 11. a4 e4 12. Ra3 Ne5 13. Ng3 Nc4 14. Rc3 Nxd2 15. Bxd2 Qxd2 16. Qxd2 Rxd2 17. Re1 Rfd8 18. b3 Nd5 19. Rc4 Nf6 20. Kf1 Rf8 21. h3 e3 22. f3 Re8 23. Kg1 g6 24. Nf1 Red8 25. Nxd2 exd2 26. Rd1 Nd5 27. Rxd2 1-0