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   A.J. Goldsby I  (2230) -  Nirio R. Basallos  (2060)  


7th Annual Southern Class Championship(s)

[Open Section]

Gainesville, FL (Round # 2),  21.11.1998

A.J.G. {Originally Annotated 06/20/99}] 

I wanted to get this game on my web site for many reasons:  A.) Many people saw it when it was published in the Florida State Chess Magazine;  B.) Several people said that they had enjoyed this game a lot and asked me to post this game on the web;  C.) A few people who live in the state of FL felt it was the best job and/or the finest job of game annotation I had ever done. I also felt a little disappointed in that, while many other games that I had analyzed were submitted to C.J.A; this game never was. A real pity, as it is definitely one of my better efforts!

(This seems to be a repetitive story in many of my writings. Many people have told me that my game published in the 2000 Autumn issue of the FL-chess magazine was one of my very best efforts.) 

Return to my HOME Page!  (g-b_green_home-button.jpg, 1442 bytes)  Return to My "Annotated Games" Page. (g_button1.jpg,  2309 bytes)  Go back to the annotated game, Lichtenhein-Morphy. [You lucky dog!]  (g-b_green_back-button.jpg, 1493 bytes)   Go to the next [first] annotated game.  ( g-b_green_forward-button.jpg, 1461 bytes)

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Click  HERE  to go to what I consider to be the prettiest game ever played.

{Copyright (c), A.J. Goldsby I, Nov, 2000.}

My opponent is a former Master who has been  rated over 2300 in the past. I am at a loss to explain his recent rating drop, but I will only state [for the record] that I think that Nirio is much stronger than the average Expert! This game was originally published in,  "floridaChess." 
(The official FL State Chess Magazine in the Winter Edition, 2000.) 

[I rechecked all the lines on the computer, prior to posting them on this web-site.]

1. e4 c5;  2. Nf3 d6;  3. d4 cxd4;  4. Nxd4 Nf6;  5. Nc3 e6;  6. g4 h6;

(The main Line is 7. h4!?, but this is not necessarily forced or best.)


7. h3!? a6;  8.Bg2!?,


White plays Bg2. What square is now slightly weakened? (gold-basa1_b8.jpg, approx. 17KB; avg.)


The problem with this move [Bg2] is that it leaves c4 unguarded. 
In retrospect; 9. Be2, may have been better.  (9. Be3!?) 

8...Qc7;   9.Be3 Nc6;


White wants to stop the Black Knight on c6 from reaching the c4-square. How can he do this? (gold-basa1_w10.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(The position after 9...Nc6.)


Now the Black Knight on c6 is destined for the hole on c4. If I try to stop 
the c6-a5-c4 route, (say with Nb3 to exchange the Knight when it lands on a5); 
then Black invades via c6-e5-c4. 
So, in order to prevent this, I must take drastic measures. 

10. Nxc6, (!?) 


White breaks ALL his own rules!  (gold-basa1_b10.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(Didn't I just strengthen my opponent's center?)


Its funny that I played this move. I've often scolded a student for this capture, telling them that,  "In the Open Sicilian, you  NEVER  play N/d4xN/c6!"  Normally this is a terrible capture. It strengthens Black's center, opens the b-file for him, and takes away any possibility of a knight-hop to d5. [For White.] It also exchanges a powerful centralized Knight that has moved twice, for a Knight that has only moved once. And a further consideration is that generally White is not supposed to swap a lot of pieces in the Opening Phase, as it will dissipate any try for an advantage.


There is a very famous game,
McDonnell - LaBourdannais;
 that illustrates the drawbacks of N/d4xN/c6. 
(Alexander McDonnell - Louis C. de Labourdonnais;  Fourth Match,
16th Game;  London, 1834.)  

(If you are interested in the above game, please go to Game Colony's, and download it for free. Click HERE to go directly 
to their position search!)


(See {The Mammoth book of} "The World's Greatest Chess Games,"
Game # 1.  by GM John Nunn, GM J. Emms, and FM Graham Burgess.)


But here (NxN), this move has the advantage of saving a key tempo, while avoiding the aforementioned Knight maneuver. Also, White will work hard to try to prevent the pawn center from becoming an asset for Black.

10...bxc6;  11. f4


White grabs the center. What is the one real weakness in his position? (gold-basa1_b11.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(The position after 11. f4.)


Another reason I had to take on c6 last move. I needed to get this move 
in BEFORE Black plays ...e5. This is because when (and if!) Black 
plays ...e5; I need to be able to respond with f5, with advantage to White; 
especially as concerns space and pawn structure on the King-side.  

Now White is presented with several choices. One is to play passively to defend his pawn, or to sac it for play. The basic principles of the Opening dictate that protecting the King and castling early are much more important than protecting a wing pawn.


12. 0-0!
A good decision. The move, 12. Rb1 (?) did not appeal to me. 12. b3, was very weakening and could have disastrous consequences. I.e., 12.b3?! Qa5; 13.Qd2?, 
(13.Bd2, is necessary, but such a retreating move was not to my liking, either.)   
13...d5!; 14.e5 Bb4; 15.Bd4 c5; "-/+".  I decided to gambit a pawn based 
on several factors factors:  A.) Instinct;  B.) General principles;
and C.) Simply because the alternatives were clearly worse!  


12...Rxb2; (?!) 
Taking this pawn was very risky. 
My opponent did not think very long before taking it.  


13. Bd4
Now I threaten Nd5, winning the exchange. 

The Black Rook must move again. 


The only good square. 


(H. Garcia wrote me and suggested that 13...e5!; might be a possible improvement for Black. But without giving away any secrets, White retains good compensation for the pawn, because he has nearly completed his development; whereas Black has moved only a couple of pieces.)  


14. e5 Nd7

What should White do now? (gold-basa1_w15.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(Black just played 14...Nd7.)


14...dxe5; 15. Bxe5, appealed to my opponent even less. 
[ 14...dxe5?!; 15.Bxe5, and White has a lot of play.]   

15. exd6,   
[Breaking up Black's center Pawns.] 
Now if Black captures with his Bishop, he loses his King's Knight-Pawn.

15...Qxd6; 16. Ne4 Qc7; 17. Qe2,  
Played to discourage ...f5. (Not 17...f5?; 18. gxf5, exf5??; 19. Nd6, Dbl-Check, 
and mate next move.) White has gained several useful tempo for his pawn, 
and Black has trouble developing.  


17...Qa5;  18. Kh1!,


White just put his King in the corner, a fairly common idea. Now its Black to move. What should he do?  (gold-basa1_b18.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(What did I just do, and WHY did I do it?)


I did not like losing this tempo here. But the main idea is now 18...Nc5; (?) 
will drop the g7 pawn, which would not have happened before because of 
the pin on the g1-a7 diagonal after 19. Nxc5, Bxc5.  Also, now my King 
is on a much safer square. It also helps enable the combination I begin 
on my 22nd move. 

18...c5; 19. Bc3 Qb5!?; 20. Qd2,  
A general rule of thumb is that when you are attacking, you do not 
want to exchange ... especially the  Queens!   

Is this move a mistake? 


21. Rab1,  (Maybe - "!")   
White plays energetically 
and continues to kick the Black Queen around. 
(Could I have played 21.Bxg7! here?) 




White to move. Can you find the move I played? (gold-basa1_w22.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(I am to make my 22nd move. Now what?)


White to move. What would you play?   


A nice sac not to win material, but to get and keep 
the powerful light-square Bishop!

22...Rxb7;  23. Nd6+ Bxd6;  24.Bxb7 Qb5;


Black just threatened two of my pieces. [Fork.] What move should I play?  (gold-basa1_w25.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(I am forked!! Is it fatal?)


A tricky move threatening both Bishop and Rook on f1.

25.Bg2 Be7;  (Maybe - '!')  
Black said after the game that he had calculated 25...Bf8; to a win for White. 
I must admit that 25...Bf8; 26. Rd1,  looks very attractive for White. 
But I see no forced win ... yet. Black decides to give back 2 pawns, 
but this simply gives him a lost endgame.  

26.Bxg7 Rg8; 27.Bxh6 Nf6; 28.Re1, ('!')


White points his Rook at Black's King. "A Rook is nothing more than a gun. The trick is knowing when to cock it, and where to point it."  - The Lexington Rifle.  (gold-basa1_b28.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(Did my last move [Re1] really threaten anything?)


Not forgetting the Black King is still in the center! 

28...c4; 29. Re5 Qb6;

30. Qe2

Creating a useful battery, trying to set up 
f5 as a winning move. 

30...Rg6; 31.g5 Nd7; 32.Re4,  
Black had counted on this position, figuring that the bishop 
on h6 is completely out of the game.


White just played Re4. What is his plan?  (gold-basa1_b32.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
("Now how to escape those pesky checks?" Hmmm.)


32...Qb1+;  33. Kh2 Qb8;  
Ugh! I cannot play f5 now! 
(The KBP is pinned against my King.) 

34. Kh1 Qb1+; 35.Qf1!
Tiring of the chase, I decide to swap Queens. The only problem with 
this move is that I only had about 5 minutes to play the rest of the game.  
(2-day schedule Time Control of S.D./90 Minutes.)   

On 35...Q captures either pawn, then 36. Rxc4,  is very strong.

[ 35...Qxa2;  35.Rxc4, Bc5;  36.Rc8+, Bd8; 
37.Bc6, Qa3;  38.Bxd7+, Kxd7;  39.f5! "+/"
(Variation corrected, March 15th, 2002.) 

or 35...Qxc2; 36. Rxc4 Qxa2; 37. Rc8+ Bd8; 38. Qd3 Qa1+; 
39. Kh2 e5; 40. f5 Rg8; 41. g6!, ("+/-") 
(Black is helpless against the threats of Bg5 or Bc6.)


36. Bxf1 Nb6; 37. Bxc4 Nxc4; 38. Rxc4 e5; 39.f5!,


 Why did White push his pawn to f5?  What's he up to?  (gold-basa1_b39.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)


I find a way to greatly improve my pawn structure. Taking on e5 would lead to pawn exchanges that would dramatically increase Black's chances to draw. 

39...Rd6; 40. f6 Bd8; 41. Kg2!
Activating the King at the crucial moment. 

41...Kd7; 42. Kf3 Ke6; 43. Ke4 Ba5; 44.c3,


Two Pawns down, but Black has a lot of play. The White Bishop on h6 is totally out of it.  (gold-basa1_b44.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(I have a two pawn advantage, but how do I win?)


An alert move, keeping Black's Rook off d4. 


[ 44...Rd2; 45. Rc6+,  or  45...Kd7; 46. Rc5 Bc7; 
47.g6!; White is winning in both lines.


45. Rc6+ Kd7;  46. Rc5!,


 How will White shield his King from the all the checks that Black's Rook will give?  (gold-basa1_b46.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(Black's going to check me on d1 soon? What should I do? It's Black to move.)


Moves like 46. Rxa6, only increase the likelihood of a draw. 
(46...Bxc3; and White is trading too many pawns. The 
more pawns that are removed from the board, the greater 
the likelihood of a draw.)  

46...Re1+;  47. Kd5 Bc7;

(If 47...Rd1+; then 48. Kc4.)


White to play. What move would you make?


White to move. Can you figure out what move I played? (One of my most brilliant endgame plays.)  (gold-basa1_w48.jpg, 18388 bytes)
(I have the move. Can I do anything with it?)



One of the prettiest little moves that I have ever made in the Endgame. 
Believe it or not, I had been tossing this idea around in my head for 
a long time. Its logical, IF you know the motif.


The look on Nirio's face was priceless! He's thinking, "Why did he do that?"  (gold-basa1_b48.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(Black thinks, "Huh?')


And my Novag machine, which is 2300+, does not find this move after several minutes of thought. Fritz [5.32] does not see it at first either.
(Fritz 6 had not come out yet.)  But it appears quickly [10-15 seconds] on the move list, then rapidly moves to the top line, as the move of choice in the analysis window.  

48...Kxc7;  49.g6, (Maybe '!')


Now White's idea is clear. He threatens 50. gxf7, and the 
f-pawn will [eventually] promote.  And if Black plays 
49...fxg6; White plays 50. f7,   and again he promotes.


49...Rd1+; 50. Kxe5 Rd7;  Black finds a way to defend. 

51. gxf7
Much better than 51. g7?, Rd8. (Funnily, upon closer inspection, 51. g7, still wins.
It seems White can play moves like Be3-d4 and h3-h4-h5-h6, etc. Black seems 
helpless to prevent the advance of the pawn. But it is a much slower win.)   

51...Rxf7; 52. Ke6 Rh7; 53. Bg7!,  
With the idea of K-f7, and then g8; then pushing the g-pawn home. Black is lost.


 So after Black grabs the h-pawn, how can he stop White's f-Pawn from promoting?  (gold-basa1_b53.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(White is probably winning, but I only have about a minute left!)


53...Rxh3; 54. f7 Re3+; 55. Kd5 Rf3; 
56. f8Q Rxf8; 57. Bxf8,

  Black is so excited by White's lack of time, he does not bother to resign. I don't blame him!!  (gold-basa1_b57.jpg,  approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(A furious time scramble. We both zap out nearly 20 moves in around 5-10 seconds!!)


Black would have probably resigned here, except my clock kept 
counting down to nearly zero.


57...Kb6; 58. c4 Kc7; 59. Bc5 Kb7; 60. Be3 Kc7;
61. Kc5 Kb7; 62. Bf4 Ka7; 63. Kc6 Ka8; 64. Kb6 a5; 
65. Kxa5 Ka7; 66. Kb5 Kb7; 67. a4 Ka7; 68. Be3+ Ka8; 
69. Kc6 Kb8; 70. a5 Ka8; 71. a6 Kb8; 72. Kd7 Ka8; 
73. Bb6! Kb8; 74. c5 Ka8; 75. c6


 Black gives up! It's mate in two moves! (gold-basa1_b75.jpg, approx. 15-20 KB avg.)
(Time to quit!)


Black Resigns. (1-0)


Here I grabbed a Rook, to demonstrate my intention to under-promote. The last 25 moves (or so) were played at a furious pace, as I literally had only a few seconds left on my clock. This was probably the main reason my opponent continued to play. In fact, had it not been for the time delay programmed into the clock, I may have lost this game on time. Perhaps one of my finest endgames ever, especially given the time control. 

I take my hat off to Nirio, [my opponent]; who despite being deeply disappointed on losing such a close game, took it well and remained a gentleman at all times. 
He is also a tremendous competitor!


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 (Game last updated:  Wednesday;  April 21st, 2004.) 

   Click  HERE  to see another game ... against the same opponent.   

   Copyright  (c)  A.J. Goldsby I   

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1995 - 2008. 
  Copyright   A.J. Goldsby, 2009.  All rights reserved.