24 December 2011

Annotated Game #24: Kingside attack in the Slow Slav

This game took place in the first round of a five-round weekend tournament, following the previous tournament completed in Annotated Game #23.  My opponent chose the "Slow Slav" variation (4. e3), which leads to a game of maneuver and is normally quite level.  Rather than pursue a completely equal game with no winning prospects, I elect to create a positional imbalance and initiate a kingside attack, somewhat reminiscent of a Dutch Defense formation.  The attack in fact goes well, until I miss an elementary pinning tactic due to "tunnel vision" (focusing on one of my opponent's possibilities without considering other ones).  A useful game nonetheless to look at, with some improvements found for both sides in the maneuvering phase.  I now much better understand the importance of piece placement and activity, for example, which was neglected for both sides in this game.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Class B"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D12"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "1995.??.??"] {D12: Slav Defence: 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 Bf5} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 { the so-called "Slow Slav" variation} Bf5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Nc3 Be7 9. cxd5 {this is almost never played in the database; only a handful of games exist, with one win for Black and the rest draws. This kind of premature resolution of the central tension is a common feature of amateur games, however.} (9. e4 {is most commonly played, for example} dxe4 10. Nxe4 O-O 11. Bf4 c5 12. Rad1 Qb6 13. b3 Rfd8 14. Nc3 cxd4 15. Nxd4 Nc5 16. Qe2 Rd7 17. Ndb5 a6 18. Rxd7 Ncxd7 19. Na4 Qc6 20. Nd4 Qe4 21. Qxe4 Nxe4 22. Rd1 Ndc5 23. Nb6 Nc3 {Tal,M-Sveshnikov,E/Leningrad op 1991/TD 91\03/0-1 (74)}) 9... cxd5 {of the games in the database, the majority feature exd5, which leaves the c-pawn on c6, with perhaps a slightly more solid structure for Black.} 10. Bd2 O-O 11. Rfc1 Nb6 (11... Rc8 {activating the rook would be a better developing move. It's common however for amateurs (like me) to neglect rook development in the opening phase.}) 12. b3 {now the Nb6 has no scope. On d7, it would at least cover e5.} a6 {Secures b5} 13. a4 Bd6 14. Na2 (14. a5 Nbd7 $11) 14... Qe7 $11 {despite not having a real plan beyond stopping White's play on the queenside, Black is perfectly fine here. Note the continued underdevelopment of the Ra8, however.} 15. Ba5 Nbd7 16. Qd2 Ne4 17. Qe1 b6 18. Bb4 a5 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 {the pawn structure is now symmetrical and hampers White as much as Black, while Black's pieces (with the exception of the rooks) are a little more active. Black should clear the d6 square for a knight while moving Nd7-f6, thereby improving his minor piece placement.} 20. Nc3 Rac8 {ironically mistimed! Now White gets an advantage in pawn structure. Exchanging on c3 first would have led to further exchanged on the c-file and an even position. Now Black creates a major kingside imbalance in the hopes of an attack - not necessarily a bad thing, however.} 21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. Nd2 f5 23. Qe2 Nf6 24. h3 {Consolidates g4} Nd5 {Black plans f4, as Fritz figures out. Black would like to be able to play g5 in order to support the attack better, but the White queen could then penetrate on h5. The other standard attacking move, the rook lift Rf6, is also not available due to the Rc8 being left hanging.} 25. Nc4 Qe7 26. Qd2 (26. Ne5 {is better for White here, bringing his knight into the action.} Qb4 $11) 26... f4 27. exf4 {this gives Black the attack he wants down the f-file. A more calm defensive move is in order.} (27. Qc2 fxe3 28. fxe3 Qh4 $11 {and White can better use his heavy pieces in the defense.}) 27... Nxf4 $15 28. Ne3 {compare this with the much more active placement on e5.} ({Fritz prefers} 28. Kh2 Nd3 29. Rf1 Rcd8 $11) 28... Rxc1+ 29. Rxc1 Qg5 {the exchange of rooks on the c-file now allows the Rf8 to stay in place and the queen swings over to the attack.} 30. Kh1 Nxg2 $4 {an elementary tactical blunder. I was focusing on Ne3xg2 (impossible due to the Qd2 hanging) and missed the rook move.} (30... Nd3 {allows Black to have a dominant knight and the queen starts probing White's weaknesses.} 31. Rf1 Qd8 $17) 31. Rg1 $18 Rf3 {The mate threat is Rxh3} 32. Rxg2 Rxh3+ 33. Rh2 Qh6 (33... Rxh2+ {is suggested by Fritz, with the idea of creating some counterplay with the advancing h-pawn. However, White still has a strong plus.} 34. Kxh2 h5 $18) 34. Rxh3 Qxh3+ 35. Kg1 h5 36. Qe1 (36. d5 {and White can already relax, says Fritz.} exd5 37. Qxd5+ Kh7 38. Qxe4+ Kg8 $18) 36... g5 37. Qf1 Qf3 ({Fritz suggests trading off queens, but the knight ending is still lost.} 37... Qxf1+ 38. Kxf1 Kf7 39. Nc4 $18) 38. Qg2 Qf4 39. Qg3 Kf7 40. Qxf4+ gxf4 41. Ng2 e5 42. dxe5 Ke6 43. Nxf4+ Kxe5 44. Nxh5 Kd4 45. Ng3 Ke5 46. Kf1 Kd5 47. Ke2 Kd4 48. Kd2 (48. Kd2 e3+ 49. fxe3+ Kd5 50. Nf5 $18) 1-0

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