The Gazette - August 2021

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Albin Planinc v Dragoljub Baretic

Editor’s note: This game was sent to me by Owen Phillips, who described it as “a beauty”! Owen selected the game without knowing that Dragoljub Baretic was a blind player, making it an especially suitable choice for our gazette. The annotations are by “Our man in Hawaii”, Rod Macdonald. Grateful thanks to both Owen and Rod!

23rd Yugoslav Championship, 1968, Cateske Toplice, Round 4

Opening: C18: French Defense, Winawer Variation, Poisoned Pawn Variation, Euwe-Gligoric Variation

1. e4 e6 [The French Defence.]

2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 [The Winawer Variation.]

4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 [This used to be the main line in the Winawer but is not even mentioned in the latest (15th) edition of "Modern Chess Openings"!]

7. Qg4 Qc7 [The French, Winawer, "Poisoned Pawn" variation used to be one of the wildest arenas of opening theory. It has calmed down a bit, lacking a champion at the highest levels, but it's still a complicated and thrilling ride.]

8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 10. Kd1 [This is known as the Euwe-Gligoric, or "Life or Death", Variation. It has been played over 500 times since 2000. The Konstantinopolsky Variation, 10. Ne2, is more common. The main line is: 10. ... Nbc6 11. f4 Bd7 12. Qd3 dxc3 13. Nxc3.]

10. ... Nbc6 11. Nf3 dxc3 12. Ng5 Rf8 13. f4 Bd7 14. Rb1

[14. Be2 Nd4 15. Bh5 Ba4 16. Bxf7+ Rxf7 17. Qxf7+ Kd7 18. Be3 Qc4 19. Kc1 Qe2 20. Bxd4 Qxc2# 0-1, was played by S. Nilsson (2321) - G. Szabo (2543), Cappelle-la-Grande 2015.]

14. ... Na5 15. Bd3

[15. Be2 Nf5 16. g4 Ne7 17. Qg7 O-O-O 18. Nxf7 Rxf7 19. Qxf7 Qc5 20. Ke1 d4 21. Bd3 Nd5 22. f5 Ne3 23. fxe6 Be8 24. Qg7 Qd5 25. Rg1 Nxc2+ 26. Kf2 Bc6 27. Qf6 Ne3 28. e7 Re8 29. Kg3 Nac4 J. Christiansen (2432) - C. Praveen Kumar (2279), Lienz 2017, was won by Black in 34 moves.]

15. ... Qc5 16. Qh3

[A novelty. 16. Ke2 Nc4 offers equal chances. 16. Qh5 Nc4 17. Nh7 O-O-O 18. Nxf8 Rxf8 19. Qe2 b5 20. a4 a6 21. Ke1 Bc6 22. axb5 axb5 23. Ra1 Rg8 24. g3 d4 25. Rg1 Nf5 26. Qh5 Rf8 27. Bxf5 d3 28. Bxd3 Qxg1+ 29. Bf1 Rd8 30. Qe2 Nd2 M. Kreuzer - T. Muehl, Regensburg 1981, was won by Black in 40 moves.]

16. ... Bc6 [16. ... O-O-O!? gives Black a moderate advantage.]

17. Nh7 [White threatens to win material: Nh7xf8.]

17. ... O-O-O 18. Nxf8 Rxf8 [White wins the exchange.]

19. Qe3 [19. f5!? is worth looking at: 19. ... Nxf5 20. Rf1 offers equal chances.]

19. ... d4 [Black stands slightly better at this point.]

20. Qe2? [20. Qf2 Nc4 21. Ke2 is a bit better, but Black is still comfortably ahead.]

20. ... Nf5?? [Not a good decision, because now White is right back in the game. Better is 20. ... Rg8, where Black could have maintained the advantage. 21. Rg1 Nd5 is very strong for Black.]

21. Rf1 [The position is now even.]

21. ... Rd8 22. Rb4 [22. Ke1!? offers equal chances.]

22. ... a6 [This consolidates b5, giving Black a slight edge.]

23. Ke1 Ne3 [23. ... b5 24. g4 Ne3 25. Bxe3 dxe3 26. f5 is also good for Black.]

24. Rg1?? [Throwing away the advantage. Better is 24. Bxe3, and White can hope to live: 24. ... dxe3 25. f5 is slightly better for White.]

24. ... Nd5 [After this move Black is comfortably ahead.]

25. Rb1 [Better is 25. g4!? Bb5 26. Rxb5 axb5 27. Kf2, though Black still stands slightly better.]

25. ... Nc4 [A very strong position for Black.]

26. h4 Nxa3 27. Ra1?? [White crumbles in the face of a dire situation: Better would be 27. Rb3 Nc4 28. Bxc4, though Black remains in command.]

27. ... Nc4 28. h5 [28. Rb1 is not the saving move, in view of 28. ... Nb2.]

28. ... Nb2 [Better is 28. ... Nce3, and Black has it in the bag: 29. g3 Nb4 30. Bxe3 dxe3 is very strong for Black.]

29. h6 [29. Kf2 Nxd3+ 30. cxd3 b5 31. Rxa6 b4 should prevail for Black.]

29. ... Bb5 [29. ... Nb4 might be the shorter path: 30. Kf2 N2xd3+ 31. cxd3 with a very strong position for Black.]

30. Rh1 [30. Kf2 Bxd3 31. cxd3 keeps Black in control.]

30. ... Bxd3?? [Instead of simply winning the game. Better is 30. ... Nxd3+ and Black has prevailed: 31. cxd3 Nb4 and Black should prevail.]

31. cxd3 [White has reached equality.]

31. ... Nb4 [Black threatens to win material: Nb4xd3.]

32. h7?? [There were better ways to keep up the pressure. Better is 32. Bxb2, the rescuing straw: 32. ... cxb2 33. Rb1 Qc3+ 34. Qd2 with equality.]

32. ... N2xd3+ [Weaker is 32. ... N4xd3+ 33. Kf1 Nxc1 34. Rxc1, though Black is still dominant.]

33. Kf1 Nxc1 34. Qg4?? [Terrible, but the game is lost in any case: Somewhat better is 34. Rxc1 d3 35. Qd2, with a very strong position for Black.]

34. ... Nc2 35. Qg8 Nxa1 36. h8=Q Rxg8 37. Qxg8+ Kc7 38. Qxf7+ Kb6 39. Qxe6+ Ka5 40. g4 d3

41. Qd7 Qe3 42. Qc7+ Ka4 43. Qc4+ Ka3 44. Kg2 d2 45. e6

[45. Rh3 cannot change what is in store for White: 45. ... Qe2+ 46. Qxe2 Nxe2 47. e6 Nxf4+ 48. Kg3 Nxe6 49. Kf2 d1=Q 50. Rxc3+ Kb2 51. Re3 Qd4 52. Ke2 Nc2 53. Rxe6 Qxg4+ 54. Kf2 Qxe6 55. Kg3 Qf5 56. Kg2 Ne3+ 57. Kg3 Ka3 58. Kh2 Qf3 59. Kg1 Qg2#]

45. ... Nc2

[45. ... Nc2 46. Kh2 Ne1 47. Qd5 Ne2 48. Qa5+ Kb3 49. Qd5+ Kb2 50. Qxb7+ Kc1 51. Rxe1+ dxe1=Q 52. Qb1+ Kxb1 53. f5 Q1g1#]

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