Challenge Companion #2
March 2-4, 2001
Black, playing in his first tournament, plays a solid opening but runs into some trouble in the middle game.
1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5
A fairly quiet, solid game.
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. e3 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. Nf3
I looked at 28. Qc5 but couldn't see that I gained much if Black decided not to trade queens. Even with the queens off the board, I thought the position looked drawish--I might get a bit more play, but with the pin on Black's g-pawn released he can defend his f-pawn with ... g6, so I lose the pressure there. I decided to go for the quick draw.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Ngf3 Nf6 6. exd5 exd5 7. Bb5 Bd6 8.
White wants to get his rook over to defend, but this move prevents the queen from helping in the defense. Without this move, Black will have trouble maneuvering his queen and bishop without losing one or the other.
My reward for scoring 2.5 in the first three rounds of the tournament was to face a former Indiana State Champion. Here he shows why he has a reputation as a tactical player.
In Indiana, 1. e4 followed by 2. Qh5 is half-jokingly known as the "Parham Attack."
I've played the French enough to know that I can't allow a white knight at d6. But White gains tempi as he maneuvers the knight over to the kingside.
Preventing 15... O-O-O
The final assault begins.
29. Qe4! 1-0
Here I lose a piece in the early going of a Staunton gambit, which I only recently started playing, and don't have much to offer in the way of a defense afterwards.
When I played 6. Nxe4 I had seen up to 10. Qxe7+, but then only looked at 10... Kxe7 11. Nd5+ followed by 12. Nb4 or(12. Ne3) stopping the fork at c2. I had missed the possibility of 10... Bxe7, winning a piece.