White W. A. Fairhurst Black K. Opocensky


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3

Fairhurst used to advocate 4.Bg5, about twenty years ago, and at the London Tourney in 1946 he won a good game with the line against Friedmann which ran: 4...h6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.Nc3 Bb7 7.a3 Be7 8.e4 O-O 9.Bd3 Qg6 10.Qe2 etc.

4...Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.b3

Against the more usual 7.Nc3 Ne4 is a good equalising line.  The text move was an attempt by Euwe to complicate the 23rd. game of his second Championship Match with Alekhine.


MCO prefers 7...c5 8.Bb2 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bxg2 10.Kxg2 d5 as played in Kmoch-van Scheltinga, Amsterdam, 1936.


To keep closed the diagonal of Black's bishop at b7.  It is because of this possibility that Black usually prefers ...d6 in the Queen's Indian.  Euwe played 8.Ne5 c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Nc3 Nbd7 12.Nd3 and the struggle to exploit the hanging pawns resulted inconclusively.

8...exd5 9.Bb2 Nbd7 10.Ne5

With a view to king's side attack.  If now 10...Nxe5 11.dxe5 and the advance of the f-pawn would offer very damgerous possibilities.


In order to undermine the knight.  White is somewhat hampered by the fact that he cannot very well play f4 hereabouts because of the reply ...Ke4, which would leave the e-pawn permanently backward whilst he could do nothing to weaken Black's hold on the point e4.

11.Nd2 Bd6 12.Ndc4

After this move White retains a slight initiative, but afterwards fails to evolve a satisfactory plan.  It is not very easy to find a good plan, but White's effort is poor, and after Black's 18th move the advantage is very clearly with the second player. (Fairhurst)

12...Bf8 13.Ne3

It would seem better to play 13.Nxd7 at once, and if then 13...Nxd7 14.Ne3 c6 15.Rc1 with pressure on Black's c-pawn, or if 13...Qxd7 14.Ne5 followed by Rac1.  every effort should have been directed against the only weakness in Black's position, the c-pawn.

13...c6 14.Nxd7

Now this only serves to develop Black, but White had to reckon with the possibility of ...Nxe5 dxe5 nd7 when Black's queen side majority could become very powerful.

14...Qxd7 15.Qd3

This is easily refuted.  Better was 15.Rc1

15...a5 16.Bf3

To provide a defence for the e-pawn, but it is soon shown to be inadequate.

16...Ba6 17.Qc2

17.Qd1 might just as well have been played at once.

17...Rac8 18.Qd1

It has become necessary to prevent ...c5 which would leave Black with open lines for all his pieces.


Not only keeping White out of f5, but also allowing for pressure on the long diagonal directed against White's d-pawn.


He must prepare to play e3.

19...Ne4 20.a3

One wasted move often leads to another.  Now 20...Bb4 must be prevented.

20...Bg7 21.Nf1

Making no attempt to stop ...c5.  The alternative 21.Rb1 is not, however, very inspiring.

21...c5 22.e3 b5 23.Bxe4

A desperate effort to free himself.  Black refutes the attempts by his well judged pawn-sacrifice on move 24.  (Fairhurst)

23...dxe4 24.Qd2

White: Fairhurst; Black: Opocensky
London, 1947


With the terrible threat of ...Bc8, ...Qh3, ...Bg4, and ...Bf6, in addition to the immediate attack on the d-pawn.

25.Qxa5 Bc8 26.Qd2

A defence must be provided for the weak point at g2.

26...Qh3 27.f4

Stark necessity!

27...exf3 28.Qf2 Bb7 29.Rad1

There is nothing better.  If 29.dxc5 Qg2 30.Qxg2 fxg2 31.Bxg7 gxf1=Q and wins.

29...Qg2 30.Qxg2 fxg2 31.Nd2 cxd4 32.exd4

Not 32.Bxd4 Rxd4! winning at once.


It is all over.  White must lose the exchange.

33.Bc1 Be3 34.Rxe3 Rxe3 35.Nc4

Hastening the inevitable.


The finish was neat.  (Fairhurst)


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