This is my game from Urmston.
It was a tough game for me. At many times during the game I felt I was playing someone
better than I was. But you have good days and bad days, and this was one of the days where
my mistakes were not huge blunders (at my level) and didn’t get punished.
It helped that Pablo had been through a French defence game just the day before and that
I’d posted it on the internet. I could at least confidently knock out the first half dozen
moves without losing any time on my clock.
Then after 6. … Qc7 I thought Pablo had played Qb6 and I was on my own. Actually it did
not occur to me at all that Pablo had won as black and I was playing white – the LOSING
side. How silly of me! I was just happy that I knew the opening. Doh!
I played a4. A move I had seen somewhere before. The intention I thought was that if the
pawns exchange, then Ba3 would prevent kingside castling. Then I played Bd3 thinking he’d be
castling kingside and it’d help in an attack. I didn’t mind if the bishop would be kicked back to
e2 by c4 as cxd was a worry that would go away.
Black developed with Nc6 attacking d4. I had just blocked my queen from defending d4 so I
had a choice of Ne2 or Nf6, both stopping my queen coming out, or Be3. I didnt like Be3
either, as I was thinking somewhere down the line he might have Qc3+ forcing the king to
move or winning my rook or making the bishop come back and being on d4 or e5 with his
Then came a little revelation and the idea for a move I don’t remember ever playing before
– X-ray defence! I played Bb2: X-ray defence of d4 and further along e5. It also covered
c3. I was quite proud of that until an hour after the game when Tim said “rubbish, the
point of a4 is Ba3!”
This post will take forever if I comment on every move, so fast forward to 11. O-O O-O-O.
He had castled queenside. I am happy I didn’t play Qg4 earlier as I wanted him to commit
to one side before I commit my pieces to one side of the pawn diagonal or the other. It
now seems I need to attack queenside, eg up the a and b files. I decided to get my bishop
across the pawn diagonal before he could play c4 and close it off.
12. Bb5 Nf5
I looked at this knight and thought where can it go apart from back again? I considered
g4. With no black pieces across the pawn line I thought it wasn’t as dangerous as it
I wanted to attack e7, the retreat square of the knight on f5.
13. … cxd4
I played this too quickly without due consideration. Having taken my bishop away from d4
earlier I wanted to remove an attacker on d4.
14. … Nxe5
I was shocked. I had not considered this. Then when I started to calculate variations I
started smiling inwardly. I thought I was winning a piece by swapping off the knights and
then taking his. If I am winning material, take the bishops off too. The bishop swap is
with check so it gives him less choice of move order. But the knight on e5 protects the
bishop on d7 so I had to take the knight first.
15. Nxe5 Qxe5
16. Bxd7+ Rxd7
17. gxf5 dxc3
And at this point I realise I have a piece for three pawns and the fourth pawn is looking
precarious too. The defensive wall of pawns has been breached by his queen, and if I am
not careful Qg4+ Kh1 Qf3+ Kg2 Qg4+ type … perpetual checks will give him the minimum of
A bad move with the intention of either taking a7 or going to d4 to win back c3.
18. … d4
This is no good, because of Qa5, but I got away with it!
19. … Qd6
I didn’t see the reason for doubling up behind the d pawn, since if it advances and I swap
it off, the c file will be the critical file I think.
For the safety of my bishop. Now it can go to b6 if necessary. Notice that I have been
ignoring the pawn on f5. If I swap it off, I an just helping him open files for his rook.
If he takes it, he is closing them off more. I don’t want the rook on h8 in the game.
20. … e5
Thank you for making my pawn a little safer. Though it allows his queen to swing across
towards my open king, f5 covers g6, which is pure fortunate luck.
I still don’t really see what is wrong with this, but I remember computer analysis last
night said “no no no, not this move!”
21. … Qd5
Obvbiously planning e4.
I was happy with this, having visions of 23. … e4, 24. Rc4+ Kd8 25. Bb6+ Ke7, 26. Re1
pinning his pawn against his king and then later taking it.
22. … Rg8
Pointless I thought, so I was happy again.
Played a bit quickly and then I was kicking myself.
23. … Rc7 of course.
Now all the tempi required to lift the rook and swing it across are lost as I feel forced
to swap off.
24. Rxc7+ Kxc7
starting again with the other rook.
25. … f6
Another wasted move I thought. It seems we are both wasting tempi after some hard thinking
Now things are getting hot. I think this was a serious threat that needed some sort of
defence against it instead of f6. I was thinking of putting a smiley into the commentary.
I guess an exclamation mark after your own move is the chess equivalent of smiley!
26. … e4
An attempt to parry the threat. He’s thinking take my queen and I will take yours. But in
his haste to get out of a bad situation, he has possibly made it worse. He has missed …
27. … Qd6
Reduces his losses.
This is a deflection to pick up his queen.
28. … Kxb7
29. … Kxa7
I am not phased by the loss of the bishop, because
30. Qxd4+ makes his three advanced pawns become two isolated pawns and delivers check.
There could be plenty more checks coming from the queen and on a light square his rook
would fall to a fork, eg Ka8 Qd5+ followed by Qxg8. I would soon pick up his most
threatening remaining pawn, e4.
At this point black resigned.
I was lucky that my mistakes went unpunished.
For an impartial analysis, see here.