Darren’s win in the Armstrong

Rathmines vs. Dun Laoghaire, Jan 24th 2008

McCabe,Darren (1955) – Cassidy,Paul (1903) [C45]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 The Scotch.

3…Nxd4?! Not the best move here. 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.Qxd4 Qf6

After 5…Qf6
Black starts actively looking to swap queens off. He obviously feels his endgame strength will show through. But his loss of the game can almost be traced back to this idea! Better is simple development with Ne7, followed by Nc6, gaining a tempo on white’s queen. [5…Ne7 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Qd2 Bb4 8.a3 Ba5 9.b4 Bb6 10.Nd5 ]

6.e5! Qb6 7.Qf4 [7.Be3 Qxd4 8.Bxd4 ]

7…Qb4+ 8.Nc3 Qxf4 9.Bxf4

After 9. Bxf4
Black got what he wished for: the queens are off the board. But white has managed a smooth development and has a cramping pawn on e5. White is much better as a consequence.

9…Bb4 10.Bc4 Ne7 11.0-0 Bxc3 12.bxc3 b6 13.Rad1 Bb7 14.Rd2 [I suggested the following after the game but it doesn’t quite work: 14.Bxf7+ Kxf7 15.Rxd7 Bc6 16.Rxc7 Rhc8 17.e6+! Kf6 (17…Kxe6? 18.Re1+ Kf5 19.Rcxe7 Kxf4+/= ) 18.Bg5+ Kxg5 19.Rxe7 Kf6 20.Rf7+ Kxe6 21.Rxg7 Worth trying, but probably favours black. ]

14…Bc6 15.Rfd1 g5?

After 15. …g5?
Now black miscalculates. He lashes out with g5, hoping for counterplay against g2, which is also attacked by his bishop. This sort of move is tempting when you’re facing a bind, as white has here.

16.Bxg5 Rg8 17.f4! Protecting g2 from the side. This may be what black did not see when he played g5.

17…Nf5 18.Re1 h6 19.Bf6 Ne7 20.Re3 Rg4 21.Bxe7 [21.g3 Rg8 22.Kf2 ]

21…Kxe7 22.g3 Rag8 23.Kf2 h5?

After 23…h5?
Losing another pawn. He is clearly hoping to push the pawn to h4 and undermine g3. But white has a simple reply.

24.Be2 R4g7 25.Bxh5 Rh7 26.g4 Rxh5 Desperation

27.gxh5 Rg2+ 28.Ke1 Rg1+ 29.Ke2 Rg2+ 30.Kd3 Bb5+ 31.c4 Bxc4+ 32.Kc3

After Kc3
Cool. Obviously, Kxc4 loses the rook. Now, black must swap off the rooks and faces an impossible endgame. The pawn on h5, for a start, is close to queening, while he dominates across the board. White finishes off the game with accuracy.

32…Rxd2 33.Kxd2 f5 34.h6 Kf8 35.Rg3 Bg8 36.Rg7 Bf7 37.Rg5 Bg8 38.Rxf5+ Ke7 39.Rg5 1-0

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