Mystery game #115: Subtle endgame win, from Black side of Spanish

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  • Mystery game #115: Subtle endgame win, from Black side of Spanish

    Here is the text of an interesting game. You can discuss the game, variations, player strengths, era, setting, time controls, etc. I will supply all data in a few days. Enjoy!!

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Bc5 10.c3 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Kg2 Qg5+ 20.Kh1 c6 21.Ng3 Bh3 22.Qd3 g6 23.Rg1 Qf4 24.Bd1 Re6 25.Nh5 Qh4 26.Ng3 Qf4 27.Qd4 Qxd4 28.Bxd4 Rf8 29.Be2 Rfe8 30.Bf1 Bxf1 31.Rxf1 Re1 32.Kg2 h5 33.h4 Kf7 34.Kf2 Rxf1+ 35.Nxf1 Ke6 36.f4 Kf5 37.Kg3 Re1 38.Ne3+ Ke4 39.Ng2 Ra1 40.a3 Rb1 41.b4 Rb3 42.Ne3 Rxa3 43.Nf1 a5 44.bxa5 Rxa5 45.Nd2+ Kd3 46.Nf3 Ra3 47.Ne5+ Kc2 48.Nxg6 b4 49.f5 b3 50.f6 b2 51.f7 Ra8 52.f8Q Rxf8 53.Nxf8 b1Q 54.Nd7 Qe1+ 55.Kf3 Qe4+ 56.Kg3 Qg4+, 0-1.

  • #2
    Ismail Ibrahim (1952) -- Frank Dixon (2069), Kingston 1999. Queen's University Chess Club. Played 1999-11-13. Time controls: G/90'. Spanish, Open, C82. Tournament conditions, clocked game, but not part of an actual rated event.

    The game follows the Dilworth variation in the Open Spanish, which was first popularized in the 1940s by the English Master Frederick Dilworth. The line is characterized by 11...Nxf2, giving up two minors for a rook and pawn. Very often this type of exchange favours the side with the two pieces, which is White here. But in this instance, the side with the rook -- Black -- seems to be OK, as the line has been played continuously into the current day by GMs. White lags in development, there are many open lines, and Black can work up attacking chances on the kingside if not carefully watched. The line has interested me since I first saw the game Piasetski 0-1 Labelle, Canadian Zonal, Toronto 1972; Black, the lower-rated player, won a sharp game against an IM who was one of the tournament favourites. Israeli GM Victor Mikhalevski is one of the line's most loyal followers; he has played several times in major Canadian events in the 2000s, and used it in the 2004 Canadian Open. Canadian IM Tomas Krnan is the strongest home country player who plays it regularly; NM David Wang is another exponent of it.
    Black has an edge on the clock at move 18 with (33,7) minutes elapsed; the game has reached a book position at that juncture. Nunn's Chess Openings, published in 1999, the same year this game was played, provides 20...d4!? as its suggested line, with some highly tactical play soon often arising. I simply decided to guard the d-pawn, with 20...c6, finding this idea at the board, instead of sacrificing it, since it may be difficult for White to find active play, and Black has a preponderance of forces on the kingside, while leading in development, and with no real weaknesses. This idea also frees the B/e6 for active duty. Piece play will be the dominant theme in the middlegame, with the pawns more or less staying where they already are.
    With the game looking like it could repeat at move 26, White thinks for a while and decides to offer the exchange of queens with 27.Qd4; Black accepts, even though he will have just three pieces left to White's four. The light-squared bishops also come off at move 30; and Black offers an exchange of rooks with 31...Re1; once again, one would think this favours White. But in many Dilworth endgames, exchanges help Black, since his rook can get active and attack White's queenside pawns. This point is explained well by GM Michal Krasenkow in his book on the Open Spanish. At move 35, the clock times were (67,28) minutes used.
    With clock times at (83,39) after move 45, Black gets a passed b-pawn with 46...Ra3! and 48...b4! While White's passed f-pawn also advances, Black has 51...Ra8! to be able to capture the new queen, and his own passer queens without challenge, leaving a simple queen vs. two minors ending, easily converted. Overall, a very instructive game, well played by both sides!