03 August 2013

Annotated Game #100: The Fun Milner-Barry Gambit

Inspired by a recent Brooklyn64 post on a swashbuckling Milner-Barry Gambit in the French Defense, here is my one and only tournament game featuring it.  This was played early in my scholastic career when I was still an e4 player and had a low Class C rating.

I had relatively little idea at the time how to most effectively conduct attacking play, but the gambit nevertheless showed promise against my significantly higher-rated opponent, a veteran of the local tournament scene.  For White players who hate facing the French, it's an fun way to take it on while avoiding typical position types.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class B"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C02"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "84"] [EventDate "1985.??.??"] {C02: French: Advance Variation} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 {the Milner-Barry Gambit. White is willing to give up the d-pawn (and sometimes the e-pawn too) for development and attacking prospects.} Bd7 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4 Nxd4 9. Nc3 (9. Nbd2 {is favored by the best White players of the line, allowing the knight to replace its brother on f3 after it is exchanged off. On c3, the knight can't assist with a kingside attack, although it does influence the key b5 square.}) 9... Ne7 {this position can also be reached from the c3 Sicilian, believe it or not.} 10. Be3 (10. Nxd4 Qxd4 11. Nb5 Qxe5 12. Re1 Qb8 13. Qf3 {would be the way to best exploit the Nc3 setup. White is now two pawns down, but has excellent attacking prospects and scores over 68 percent from this position.}) 10... Nxf3+ 11. Qxf3 Qc7 {a passive move. Houdini considers this position equal, with White having full compensation for the pawn.} (11... d4 12. Bxd4 Qxd4 13. Qxb7 $15) 12. Nb5 {a typical amateur move, starting operations before developing the rooks, although it is not a particularly bad error in this position. White hopes Black will take the e5 pawn, which would lead to disaster.} (12. Rac1 Qa5 $11 (12... Qxe5 $2 {is worthless, says Fritz, because of} 13. Nb5 Nc6 14. Bf4 $18)) 12... Bxb5 (12... Qxe5 $2 13. Bf4 Qf6 14. Nd6+ Kd8 15. Nxb7+ $18) 13. Bxb5+ Nc6 14. Rac1 a6 15. Bxc6+ {otherwise the bishop is going to be largely shut out of the game by all of Black's pawns on light squares.} bxc6 16. Rc2 (16. Qg3 {is Houdini's subtle choice. Black will have trouble getting his kingside in order now.}) 16... Rc8 (16... Qxe5 $5 17. Rxc6 Qxb2 $17 {was Fritz's brilliant deduction (/sarcasm) at the time, which in fact fails to Rc7 with a big plus for White. It was an early version of Fritz and was set to 20 seconds/move for the full game analysis, but it's still a good example of why not to blindly trust engine output.} (17... Be7 {and Black is fine, however.})) 17. Qe2 $11 {this targets the a6 pawn, but Qg3 is still a good idea here.} Qb7 18. f4 {White probably should followed up on the original plan of increasing pressure on the c-file. Instead, I push the f-pawn, because that was my idea of how to attack in this position. In practical terms it's not a bad idea, however, since it puts additional psychological pressure on my opponent.} (18. Rfc1 a5 $11) 18... Be7 $15 {Black is now getting his kingside developed, reducing White's compensation for the pawn.} 19. f5 c5 $2 {Black has sufficient defensive resources to parry White's attack, but instead chooses to completely ignore it. Not a good decision, because the opponent is right back in the game, says Fritz.} (19... exf5 $5 {is more easily played by an engine, who doesn't have a visual bias with its calculations.} 20. Rxf5 O-O $15 {and black will be able to help defend with his queen, for example ...Qb4 or ...Qd7.}) 20. fxe6 $14 { another typical amateur move. Rather than build up the tension and bring additional forces into the attack, the tension is prematurely lifted.} (20. Qg4 Rf8 21. Qxg7 exf5 22. Bh6 $18) 20... fxe6 {Black however plays an inaccurate defense, giving White the opportunity to regain his full advantage.} (20... O-O 21. exf7+ Rxf7 22. Rxf7 Kxf7 23. Qg4 $14) 21. Qg4 $16 Kd7 22. Bxc5 $4 {the losing move. I tried to get fancy with the tactics and failed to recognize that Black's 23rd move would come with check. Otherwise, White on move 24 could take on g7 with check and pick up the h8 rook.} (22. Rf7 Rhe8 23. Bg5 $16 ) 22... Rxc5 $19 23. Rxc5 Bxc5+ {d'oh!} 24. Kh1 g6 25. Rf7+ Be7 26. Qh4 Re8 { by this point White is a piece down and has no threats left that Black cannot easily parry.} 27. b4 Qc7 28. h3 Qxe5 29. Qf2 (29. Qxh7 {is no salvation, notes Fritz.} Kd8 30. Qxg6 Qa1+ 31. Kh2 Bd6+ 32. g3 Qxa2+ 33. Kh1 Qa1+ 34. Kg2 Qb2+ 35. Rf2 Qxb4 $19) 29... Rc8 30. Qa7+ Rc7 31. Qxa6 Rc1+ 32. Rf1 Rxf1+ 33. Qxf1 {White's lone queen can fight a guerrilla action, but in the end it's hopeless.} Bd6 34. Qf7+ Kc6 35. b5+ Kb6 36. Qf2+ Kxb5 37. a4+ Kxa4 38. Qc2+ Kb5 39. Qb3+ Kc6 40. Qa4+ Kc7 41. Qa7+ Kd8 42. Qa8+ Ke7 0-1

1 comment:

  1. Just ran across another recent Milner-Barry game over at GM David Smerdon's blog, he actually played it against legendary Dutch GM Jan Timman!