Cafolla vs. Freeman, Lost Knights 2009

Leinster Chess Union have started an interesting new individual league tournament, happening over the entire season, called the “Lost Knights”. It features many leading players from the Armstrong Cup. Today’s game has been sent in by Peter Cafolla – an exciting win with white against Gordon Freeman.

Annotated by Peter Cafolla.

Replay Game Here in a separate window.

Lost Knights, Round 2.
Cafolla, P. vs. Freeman, G.
Slav Defence

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4
I know as much about the Slav as I do about bee keeping or the sex life of a gnat so I’m already in new territory here.
5. Nbd2 e6 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5 Qc7 8. Ne5 Nbd7 9. Nxg4 Nxg4

The position is level so I try to spice things up a bit.
10. f4 b6 11. Be2 h5
I thought this was a bit weakening but Fritz thinks otherwise so who am I to argue?
12. cxb6 axb6 13. Nf3 Be7 14. Bd2 g6?!

I like that Russian proverb (one of many) saying that if you say “A” then you must say “B” therefore 14 h4!? is probably called for here
15. Qc2
I like this move, it pressurizes c6 and puts the Queen on a path to richer pastures.
15… Kf8?! A bit OTT 15..c5! is best.
16. Ne5 Ndxe5?!
As often happens one mistake follows another, C5! is still needed.
17. fxe5 Kg7 18. e4

I felt it was important to strive for the initiative regardless of any weakening of my D pawn.
18… dxe4 19. Qxe4 c5?!
It’s too late for this now and the opening of the diagonal H1-A8 is perilous.
20. h3 Nh6 21. Bxh6+ Kxh6 22. O-O Kg7?
cxd4 is called for.

23. Bd3??
NO NO NO, Not a weak move in itself but I missed the lovely win: 23. Rxf7+ Kxf7 24. Rf1+ Kg7 25. Bd3 Rh6 26. Qxa8 Qd7 27. Qf3)
23… Rhf8 24. Rxf7+
Flashy as this is, the position is only level again.
24…Rxf7 25. Qxa8 Qd7 26. Qe4 Qxd4+ 27. Qxd4 cxd4 28. Rc1!

Obvious but strong. Gordon spent a long time finding the best continuation.
28…Bg5! 29. Rc6 Be3+ 30. Kh1 Rf2!
Attack is the best defence.
31. Rxe6 g5
Taking on B2 is safer.
32. g4
My turn to get cold feet, I should have devoured the B pawn but I was concerned about getting trapped in a mating net.
32…hxg4 33. hxg4 Rxb2 34. Re7+ Kf8 35. Rd7! += 35…Rxa2?? Probably caused by time trouble. 41..Rd2 should have held.
36. e6 Ra5??
Black is in desperate time trouble but his position is hopeless anyway.
37.e7+ Ke8 38. Rb7 Ra1+ 39. Kg2 Ra2+ 40. Kh3 Kf7 41. Bc4+ 1-0

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