(1) Mackle,D. (202) - Stephens,J. K. (192) [D44]
Bremridge Cup vs Newton Abbot, 12.01.2013
[J. K. F. Stephens]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4
The Botvinnik Variation.

6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.exf6 Bb7 12.g3 c5 13.d5 Qb6 14.Bg2 0-0-0 15.0-0 b4 16.Rb1 Qa6 17.dxe6 Bxg2 18.e7 Bxf1
This fantastic position is well-known to theory.

The latest idea in this line. White is a rook and bishop down, but rather than capture one of Black's 3 en prise pieces he introduces new threats.

Black must connect his rooks, while hoping to exchange off material.

20.Bxh6 Bd3 21.Ne4
[The latest idea is for White to play for the following endgame viz. 21.Qa8+ Nb8 22.exd8Q+ Rxd8 23.Re1 bxc3 24.Bf4 Qb6 25.bxc3 Bf5 26.f3 Be6 27.g4 Bd5 28.Qxb8+ Qxb8 29.Bxb8 Kxb8 This endgame is the reason for the decline in this line of the Botvinnik. White is better, but a win would be difficult to find over the board.]

21...Bxe4 22.Qxe4 Rde8 23.Bf4?
3 GMs have continued with this move. [Better is 23.Bg7! ]

Black must grab control of this diagonal.

White can't afford to exchange off queens, as Black's extra rook will become decisive.

24...Rxh2 25.f3
[If 25.Kxh2 Rh8+ 26.Kg1 (26.Bh6 Rxh6+ 27.Qh4 Rxh4+ 28.gxh4 Nxf6 covering the queening square.) 26...Rh1# ]

[Better is 25...Reh8! 26.e8Q+ Rxe8 27.Kxh2 Qxf3 28.Qa6+ Kd8 and White runs out of checks and Black's dual threats of of Ra8+ and Re2+ are decisive.]

[In post-game analysis 26.Kg2 seemed stronger.]

26...Rh1+ 27.Kxh1 Qxf3+ 28.Kg1 Qxd1+ 29.Kg2 Qa4 30.Qd5
The last few moves are all forced.

30...Qb5 31.Qa8+ Nb8 32.Bxb8 Qb7+ 33.Qxb7+ Kxb7 34.Be5
[34.Bxa7! was the move to find. If 34...Kxa7?? 35.g4 c4 36.g5 Rg8 37.Kf3 Rc8 38.g6 c3 39.gxf7 c2 40.e8Q c1Q 41.Qa4+ Kb6 42.Qxb4+ Ka7 43.f8Q winning for White.]

34...Kc6 35.Kf3 Kd5
[More accurate was 35...Kd7 when the king assists in covering e8 and freeing up the rook to support his queenside pawns]

36.Kf4 Ke6 37.g4 c4 38.g5 a5 39.Bc7 a4
White now has only seconds to reach move 40 and manages to find one of the only moves that loses straight away.

[40.Ke4 is the critical move as the rook must support the queenside pawns whilst keeping an eye on the g5-g6 break. 40...Kd7 41.Be5 Rc8 42.Kd4 c3 43.bxc3 bxc3 44.Bf4 c2 45.Bc1 Rc6 46.Kd3 Ke8 47.Kd2 Rc5 48.Kd3 and it is difficult to see how Black can make progress.]

40...c3 41.bxc3 b3 42.axb3 axb3
The pawn cannot be stopped. 0-1