2011 PAIGNTON BEST GAME
A11: English Opening: 1...c6
1.c4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3 dxc4 4.Bg2 Nd7 5.0-0 g6 [Playing against Willmoth in the 2011 e2-e4 Gatwick Open, won by Keith Arkell, Colin Crouch tried quite successfully 5...Ngf6 and went on to win quite comfortably after 6.a4 Nc5 7.b4 Nb3 This knight remained here for most of the remainder of the game, proving to be a large thorn in the flesh of White. 8.Ra2 e5 9.Ba3 e4 10.Ng5 Bf5 11.Nc3 Nd5 12.Ngxe4 Nxb4 13.Rb2 Be6 14.f4 Qb6+ 15.Kh1 0-0-0 16.f5 Bd5 etc. One can only guess why he didn't pursue this line against Berry.]
6.a4 Nc5N [Black varies from the last game in this variation in my database which shows 6...Bg7 7.Na3 Ngf6 8.Nxc4 Nb6 9.Nce5 0-0 10.b4 Ng4 11.Bb2 Qc7 12.d4 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.dxe5 Nc4 15.Bc3 Nxe5 16.Rc1 Rd8 17.Bxe5 1-0 (17) Wilczek,R (1866)-Mroczek,M (1735) Niederrhein 1995 Maybe Crouch played this move having in mind the key role that this knight had at b3 in his game against Willmoth. However, in the current game the knight never reaches b3. The text move can be criticised as being against the general openiing principles that declares against moving the same piece twice in the opening. ]
7.b4 White has no objection to forcing the knight to make another move and at the same time enhance his chances of developing his queenside pieces.
7...Bg7 [Now 7...Nb3 will lead to some hairy variations e.g. 8.Bb2 Nf6 9.Ra3 Be6 10.d3 c5 11.dxc4 Nd4 12.Bxd4 cxd4 13.Nxd4 and Black loses a pawn and is still behind in development.]
8.Ra2 Na6 "A knight on the rim is truly dim."
9.Ba3 Nf6 10.Rc2 The rook lift to a2 bears fruit by its further development.
10...Be6 11.Ng5 Bd7 [Black relinquishes his defence of the c4-pawn but 11...Bd5 does not help in view of 12.e4 ]
12.Rxc4 0-0 13.Rc1 h6 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Bxe4 Bh3 16.Bg2 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 There are some wide-open spaces in the centre and king's wing that can be put to good use.
17...Nc7 18.Nc3 a5 19.Qb3 White gives up a pawn to entice the black queen into some difficult situations.
19...Qxd2 [A good alternative thst would have given Black equal chances was 19...axb4 20.Qxb4 Nd5 21.Qxb7 Bxc3 22.dxc3 Rxa4 23.Bb2 ]
20.bxa5 [20.Rfd1 looks to be the stronger continuation and could be followed with 20...Qg5 21.bxa5 Bxc3 22.Qxc3 when there are good chances for either side.]
20...Ne6?? [An error which puts White in control. After 20...Bxc3 Black stands a good chance of taking the initiative with 21.Qxc3 Qd5+ 22.Kg1 Qxa5 23.Qxa5 Rxa5 and the force is with Black as his queenside pawn majority can be simply optimised.]
21...Nd4? [Black goes astray, but his choice was rather limited e.g. 21...Bxc3 22.Bxf8 (22.Qxc3?! may have been better 22...Qd5+ or 23.Qf3 Qxf3+ 24.exf3 Rfc8+/= ; 22.Rxc3?! Rfe8 23.Rd3 Qxe2 ) 22...Bf6 23.Rcd1 Qxe2 24.Rfe1 leaves White in the ascendancy.]
22.Qc4 [The text is not an effective punishment of Black's mistake. That would be achieved with 22.Qb6 the purpose of this move rather than 22.Qxb7 or 22.Bxf8 will be revealed later 22...Rfe8 23.Rfd1 and the black queen has no place to go as the queen at b6 prevents the black queen excaping via b2, so 23...Qxc1 24.Rxc1 Rxe7 and Black is well and truly on the back foot.]
22...Rfe8 23.Rfd1 Now the black queen does have an escape square.
23...Qb2 24.Rb1 Qc2 25.Rxb7 [25.Rxd4 would let Black into the game after 25...Bxd4 26.Qxd4 Rxe7 ]
25...Ne6 26.Rd3 Rxa5 27.Qxc6 Rea8? [Withdrawing the rook with 27...Raa8 looks to be safer after 28.Bb4 Rad8 ]
28.Bb4 Rg5 29.Rxf7! With this stroke White brings the black king out into the open.
29...Kxf7 30.Rd7+ [30.Qxa8?! was not so good and would have let his initiative slip after 30...Nf4+ 31.Kf1 Nxd3 32.Qf3+ Kg8 33.Qxd3 Qb3 34.Qd8+ Kh7 ]
30...Kg8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 Yet again the black king has to suffer some hammer blows.
32.Rxg7! Kxg7 Black cannot ignore this offer as otherwise he will be mated, but it brings his demise even closer.
33.Qe7+ [This is good enough to win but more merciful was 33.Ne4 Ra7 34.Bc3+ Kf8 35.Qc8+ Kf7 36.Qc4+ Ke8 37.Nf6+ Kd8 38.Ba5+ Rgxa5 39.Qxc2 ]
33...Kg8 The end is very close now.
34.Qe6+ Kg7 35.Ne4 Rf8 36.Bc3+ Kh7 37.Qd7+ Kg8 38.Qg7# 1-0