This game features a complex middle-game with lots of lovely tactics. Neither player saw all the best moves, but the pressure of black’s attack meant that eventually, in a difficult position, white blunders one last time. (I wanted to also put up Ken Moore’s game against David Mitchell, but found the game score to be illegible, sorry!)
Replay the entire game here in another window: Cassidy vs. Scannell, 2008
Paul Cassidy 1853 (Dun Laoighaire) vs. Tony Scannell 1810 (Rathmines), Board 5, Armstrong Round 2.
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O O-O 5. c4 c5 I see no reason to deviate from the symmetrical moves until white reveals his plan. 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. d4 cxd4 (7… d6 8. d5 (8. dxc5) 8… Na5 9. Nd2 a6 10. Qc2 Rb8 11. b3 b5 Black expands on the queenside)
More normal is an immediate 8… Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qd3 a6
9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Qc2 d5 11. e4
White wants to challenge black’s centre, but arguably makes a major strategic concession of letting black get a central passed pawn.
11 …d4 12. Rd1 e5 13. Ne2 c5 14. f4 Nd7! Supports e5 and releases the bishop. 15. h3 Qb6 16. fxe5 Nxe5 17. Nf4 Be6
To try and target c4, to force b3, preventing b4. Blacks whole strategy is based on supporting the pawn on d4.
18. Bf1 a5 Against b4 again. 19. Rb1 Qa6 20. b3 Rab8 21.Kg2 f5
Black has a big advantage here. The passed pawn on d4 is a major long-term issue for white to deal with. His king’s pawns are loose and his pieces are passively placed on the back rank.
22. Nxe6 Qxe6 23. exf5 Qc6+! First, obtaining f3 for the knight. 24. Kg1 Nf3+ 25. Kf2?
He could have tried 25. Kh1!? This looks suicidal, but Fritz says it is the best move. The discovered checks are mainly harmless, but certainly don’t look like it! In fact, most human players would not even contemplate such a move. One sample variation goes: 25… Ne1+ 26. Bg2 Nxc2 27. Bxc6 and white is fine.
25…Rxf5 26. Bg2 I now made an inaccurate move, which looked convincing at the time. 26…d3? (26… Ne1+! 27. Kg1 d3! 28. Bxc6 (28. Qd2 Bd4+ 29. Kh2 Nxg2 30. Qxg2 Qxg2+ 31. Kxg2 Rf2+ 32. Kh1 Re8 33. Bd2 Ree2 is crushing) 28… dxc2 picks up a rook.)
27. Rxd3 Bd4+ 28. Be3 White has to try to take the bishop instead: 28. Rxd4 Nxd4+ 29. Qxf5 Qxg2+ 30. Kxg2 Nxf5 and white is winning!
28…Rbf8 Better is Qf6. Takes the queen off the diagonal while ganging up on the f file. Also, 28… Bxe3+ 29. Rxe3 Nd4+?? 30. Qxf5!! This tactic works because the bishop is attacking the queen on c6. 30…gxf5 (30…Qxg2+ 31. Kxg2 gxf5) 31. Bxc6 white wins)
29. Bxd4 Nxd4+ 30. Kg1 Qf6 31. Qd2
The final mistake. He had to try Qd1, to not lose a tempo after Rf2
31…Rf2 32. Qe3 Re2 33. Qf4 Rxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Qc6+ 0-1