Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Favourite Game

Although I consider myself a chess player, I have for the last 15 years been more of a children’s coach. On occasion I give lectures for grown-up players too, but generally I prefer a younger audience as children are somewhat more likely to pay back by becoming new chess stars.
One of my favourite lectures is based on this brilliant game, which almost perfectly illustrates the concepts of rapid development and forcing moves. In addition it’s a nice advertisment for the Rossolimo variation by its originator. I was really surprised when I couldn’t find the game in MegaBase 2006:

Rossolimo-Romaneko 1948
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5
This is known as the Rossolimo variation. White normally develops his pieces quickly and tries to build a pawn centre with a delayed c3 and d4.


This is Black's most popular reply, but 3...e6, 3...Nf6 are respected alternatives. Even moves like 3...Na5 and 3...Qb6 are possible.

4. O-O Bg7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. Nc3
Two more popular lines are 6.c3 and 6.e5.
After 6...O-O Black would be perfectly OK.
7. e5!
Now Black will not be able to castle for a few more moves.
7...Ng8 8. d3 Nxb5 9. Nxb5 a6?!
Naively expecting Black to retreat his aggressively posted knight.

10. Nd6+! exd6?
10...Kf8 11. Ne4 was not very tempting but still Black’s last chance to play on.
11. Bg5!
This is considerably more accurate than the obvious 11. exd6 (which should give roughly sufficient compensation for the knight but no more).
Except for 11...Qb6, which comes more or less to the same, all alternatives lose material immediately.
12. exd6+ Kf8

13. Re8+!
A rook for a tempo! The point obviously is that the queen can do more damage in the e-file than the rook can.
13...Kxe8 14. Qe2+ Kf8 15. Be7+ Ke8
15...Nxe7 16. Qxe7+ Kg8 17.Ng5 loses even more quickly.
16. Bd8+!

Other checks are only good for a draw by repetition.
16...Kxd8 17. Ng5 1-0
The only way to stop Nxf7#, is 17...Nh6, which allows 18. Qe7#.

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