Friday 6 June 2008

The Hawk v Rest of the World: Annotated

Our recent correspondence game between Jonathan ('The Hawk') Hawkins (possibly the best player in the North East of England) and the Rest of the World recently concluded with a terrific and convincing victory for the former.

The Hawk has now annotated the game and here, for all to enjoy, are his thoughts on the encounter. He was White.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5

A welcome move! I have played 4.Qc2 almost all my life, but amazingly 4...c5 has been the reply in every single game!

5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 c5 8.dxc5 g5 9.Bg3 Ne4 10.e3 Qa5 11.Nge2 Bf5

12.Bxb8!? After this move, white achieves 0-0 by force. After the main line 12.Be5 the white king will normally end up on d1 or e2. Of course Bxb8 has drawbacks too.
12...Rxb8 12...Nxc3 at first seems more logical, trying to punish white’s slow play, but white’s king eventually finds a safe square, and white emerges much better. One sample line being 13.Qxf5 Na4+ 14.Kd1 Nxb2+ 15.Kc2 Qxc5+ 16.Kxb2 Ba3+ 17.Kb3 Qb4+ 18.Kc2 Qb2+ 19.Kd3 Qb5+ 20.Kd2 Qb2+ 21.Qc2 Bb4+ 22.Kd3 Qxa1 23.Qa4+ Kd8 24.Qxb4 Qxd1 25.Qd2 Qb1+ 26.Qc2 Qxc2+ 27.Kxc2 Rxb8 and white should be winning.
13.Nd4 Bd7

An improvement over the natural 13...Bg6, after which white can the advantage via a similar method as used in the game: 14.Bb5+ Kf8 15.Bd3 Nxc3 16.0-0!
14.Bd3 Nxc3?!
The safest move here is 14...Ba4!, which reaches an endgame after 15.Nb3 Bxb3 16.Qxb3 Bxc3+ 17.bxc3 Qxc3+ 18.Qxc3 Nxc3, or by the short tactical sequence 15.Qxa4+ Qxa4 16.Bb5+ Qxb5 17.Ndxb5. Black should be fine in both cases.
15.0-0! Qxc5
15...Qa4 seems to solve all of blacks problems, but here my idea was to 16.Nb3! Nb5 17.f4! Sacrificing a piece. Black has some problems with his king, not to mention the three comedians on the queenside.
16.a3 Ba5 17.b4 Bxb4 18.axb4 Qxb4 19.Bf5 !

Keeping the black king trapped in the centre.
19...Bxf5 20.Nxf5 Rc8?
Natural enough but tactically flawed. What should black do instead? 20...Kd7 is possible, after which white can either take back one pawn with 21.Rxa7, with advantage. The move I spent the most time on was 21.e4!? leading to complications, but I could not find a way to avoid a draw after 21...dxe4 22.Rfd1+ Ke6 23.Rd4 Qc5 24.Qb3+ Kf5 25.Qxf7+ Vacating the king anyway with 20...0-0 is also a serious option, even though white has played to prevent this, but in the worst case white can take back both pawns and keep the advantage. Probably the a7 pawn is irrelevant and white will do best to play Nxh6+ followed by f4 with a strong attack.

Using the pin to force entry to the 7th rank.
Forced as 21...Nxb1 allows mate in 1, and black must maintain control of d6.
Black continues to regret 20...Rc8 as 22...0-0 is prevented due to another fork, this time on e7.
22...a5 23.Ng7+!
Vacating the f5 square for the queen.
23...Kd8 is no better, 24.Qf5 Rc7 25.Rb8+ Rc8 26.Qxf7! Ne2+ 27.Kh1 when the pin on the 8th rank prevents Qc1+ and 28.Ne6+ will end the game.

25.Ne6+ 1-0


Anonymous said...

Thaks for the great reviews!!!

Sean Marsh said...

You are very welcome, glossu! There will be lots more so stay tuned!