[Event "DCCA Champion of Champions 2015 - Final"] [Site "Exeter, Devon"] [Date "2015.11.15"] [Round "?"] [White "Cowley, Dennis"] [Black "Paulden, Tim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B06"] [Annotator "Tim Paulden / Houdini 4 Pro"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] {B06: Modern Defence} 1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. c3 {White opts for an ultra-solid setup against the Modern.} Nd7 5. Be3 e6 6. Nbd2 Ne7 7. Bd3 a6 8. Qc2 b6 {Black waits to see which way White will castle before committing his own king.} 9. O-O O-O 10. Ng5 h6 11. Ngf3 f5 {A dynamic central thrust, with the additional threat of ...f4, trapping White's e3 bishop.} 12. Nb3 f4 13. Bd2 g5 {Black advances on the kingside, gaining space and sharpening the position.} 14. e5 {White presses forward in the centre, before Black has chance to play .. .e5 himself.} Bb7 {Black opts to safely complete his development, after judging that chopping on e5 would open too many lines.} 15. exd6 cxd6 16. Be4 d5 {Here, the computer (Houdini 4 Pro) has a slight preference for ...Qc7, maintaining Black's flexibility in the centre.} 17. Bh7+ Kh8 18. Rfe1 Rf6 { The natural defensive move, but even stronger here was 18...Nf6! (hitting the h7 bishop) 19. Bd3 Ne4, with a comfortable position for Black.} 19. h4 { White immediately looks to undermine Black's kingside pawn chain.} g4 {Black pushes on to g4 - though 19...Qe8 with the idea of ...Qh5 was also worth considering. The position is already very complex.} 20. Ne5 Nxe5 {Black decides White's powerful knight must be eliminated.} 21. dxe5 Rf8 22. Nd4 { White's other knight takes up a dream outpost on d4. Black must now decide how to defend e6.} Bc8 {Black slides the bishop back to base. Houdini prefers 22... Qd7, but Black felt that the queen was best posted at c7 (staring at e5) and the bishop at d7, with the long-term idea of reactivating it via the queenside. } 23. g3 {Again, White challenges Black's advanced kingside pawns.} f3 $2 { The first major error of the game - Houdini indicates that 23...fxg3 was almost obligatory. Now Black's g4 pawn is weak and difficult to defend, so White immediately begins shuffling his bishop back to hunt it down.} 24. Bg6 Qc7 {Black counterattacks the e5 pawn. Of course, 24...Nxg6 25. Qxg6 is terrible for Black, as the weak kingside pawns are all falling off.} 25. Bf4 Bd7 26. Bh5 {White prepares to munch the loose g4 pawn.} Nc6 $6 27. Qd2 $6 Rxf4 $1 {A energetic exchange sac which gets Black right back into the game. The silicon monster suggests that both sides had improvements on the previous move - Black should have dived straight in with 26...Rxf4! 27. gxf4 Rf8, and White could have secured a sizable advantage with the solid 27. Nxc6 Bxc6 28. Qd2, when Black's f4 tricks no longer work. But to err is human, as the saying goes - and there are some particularly "human" moves coming right up...} 28. gxf4 { Slightly better was 28. Qxf4, though Black had planned the follow-up 28... Nxe5, with the threat of ...Rf8 in the air and a pleasantly active position.} Qd8 {Black's queen drops back, ready to infiltrate the kingside. The h4 pawn cannot be defended.} 29. Bxg4 {White is forced to gobble up Black's advanced pawns, opening lines on the kingside in the process.} Qxh4 30. Bxf3 Bxe5 { What??!! (Choose your own string of "?" and "!" symbols to accompany this move. ..) With both sides down to the last few minutes to reach move 40, Black forcibly sacs the bishop, threatening to bring the rook to g8 with check. What on earth is going on? Is White surviving? What would you play here?} 31. fxe5 $6 {White opts for the natural pawn recapture, but Houdini announces that White would have been winning after the cold-blooded 31. Rxe5! Nxe5 32. fxe5 Rg8+ 33. Bg2, when he remains a piece up, and the d4 knight prevents Black's bishop from entering the game.} Rg8+ {Black's rook swings into the attack. How should White get out of check?} 32. Kf1 $4 {Astonishingly, despite White being a whole rook up, this natural sidestep loses by force. White had to play the self-pin 32. Bg2, after which Black had planned to force a draw with the following beautiful line: 32. Bg2 Nxd4 33. cxd4 (if 33. Qxd4, then 33...Qh3 wins quickly for Black) 33... Rxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Qg4+ 35. Kh2 Qh4+ 36. Kg2 Qg4+ 37. Kf1 (otherwise the checks on h4 and g4 continue ad infinitum) 37...Bb5+ 38. Re2 Qh3+ 39. Kg1 (forced - after 39. Ke1, Black has a pretty back-rank mate with 39...Qh1#) 39...Qg4+, with perpetual check.} Nxd4 {If White was planning to run his king to queenside safety via e2, he must have underestimated the potency of this move. Whichever way the knight is recaptured, Black's bishop is sliding into b5 to join the party - with lethal effect.} 33. Qxd4 Bb5+ 34. Re2 {White has no other option - if 34. Be2 then Black has mate in one (with 34...Qh3# or 34...Qh1#).} Qh3+ 35. Ke1 Qxf3 $1 {A clinical finish, eschewing the free rook on a1. White is still an exchange up, but cannot parry the dual threats of ...Qxe2# and ...Rg1+.} 36. Re3 {White's best hope of staving off mate was 36. Qe3 (with the cheeky threat of Qxh6#), but Black can simply liquidate with 36...Qxe3 37. Rxe3 Rg1+, picking up the loose rook on a1. Now, though, it's mate in three.} Rg1+ 37. Kd2 Qxf2+ {White resigns.} 0-1