Darren McCabe vs. Ciaran Quinn, Armstrong

Armstrong, Rathmines vs. Elm Mount A. 1st December 2009.

Darren McCabe vs. Ciaran Quinn
Game can be replayed here:
Annotated by Darren

Scotch Game
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4
The Scotch. I had decided to play this a couple of hours before hand after i had noticed that my opponent had played 1…e5 for the best part of 30 years! I assumed that he would have a very solid opening repetoire based around this move. So i had to find something “new” for him to face! The Scotch is by no means a new opening but i did have something a bit nasty in mind.

3…exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Be3 Threatening Nxc6 when the bishop is hanging on c5 5…Qf6 6. Nb5!?

This was the something new i had prepared. To say its new is a bit misleading, it was 1st played in 1904 by Blumenfeld.For years it was discredited until quite recently, when players like ex-fide world champion Ponamariov and Grandmasters Nataf and Zelcic have tried it. The move itself looks bizzarre, white moves his knight for the 3rd time in the opening and allows black to double his pawns. Looks can be deceiving though as this line has more than a few drops of poison! Practically this opening is a good choice because it makes black solves problems straight away.

6… Bxe3 7. fxe3
At this stage i was already 40 mins up on the clock.

7…Qd8
to me this move is a bit passive

7… Qxb2 8. N1c3 when white threatens either Nxc7 or Rb1.
7… Kd8 Is a little bit better but black does forfeit castling rights. Now after 8. N1c3 Nge7 9. Qd2 d6 10. O-O-O Ne5 11. Bd3 Bd7 12. Nd4 Re8 13. Rhf1 white has a lead in development and blacks king is stuck in the centre.
7…Qh4+ This is black’s best move. The position becomes a bit tactical now after 8. g3 Qxe4 9. Nxc7+ Kd8 10. Nxa8 Qxh1 11. Qd6 threatening Qc7 winning the bishop and Qf8 mate. 11… Nf6 12. Nd2 A critical point. White is about to castle queenside when the attack on the black king could be quite dangerous. Black would like to simplify the position ( a queen trade would be nice) when the Knight on a8 looks vulnerable.
12… Qd5 13. Qc7+ Ke7 14. O-O-O Qe5 15. Nc4 Qxc7 16. Nxc7 Nd8 17. Nd6 Ne6 18. Ncb5 Winning because after the knight takes on a7 the bishop is trapped on c8

8.Qg4 g6 (8… Kf8 might be a better try. 9. Qf4 d6 10. Bc4 Ne5 11. O-O The lack of g7-g6 means he can play Nf6 which looks better.

9. Qf4 Hitting c7 but more importantly f7.

9…d6 10. Bc4 Ne5 (10… Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. O-O Nge7 13. Nd4 Kd7 (13… Nxd4 14. exd4 {when white is just so much better}) 14. Nxe6 Kxe6 15. Qg4+ Ke5 16. Nd2 When black wont last much longer.
11. O-O

After 11. 0-0 Increasing the pressure on f7 with tempo!

11…Nh6 (11… Nxc4 $4 12. Qxf7#) (11…Qe7 12. N1c3 g5 (12… Nxc4 13. Nd5 is just crushing. 13. Qf2 c6 14.Bxf7+ Nxf7 15. Qxf7+ Qxf7 16. Nxd6+ Ke7 17. Nxf7 )

12. Qxh6 Inferior is 12. Bb3 g5 13. Qg3 c6 14. Nd4 Bd7 15. Nc3 Qe7 16. Rad1 O-O-O ) 12… Nxc4 13. Qg7 Rf8 Now here i was only focussed on bringing more pieces into the attack. I didnt mind losing the odd pawn or two. Continuing the attack is more important.}

14. N1c3 c6 played to kick the knight on b5 and to keep the other knight out of d5.

 15. b3 (15. Rf6 cxb5 16. Raf1 Ne5 17. Nxb5 Qe7 18. Nxd6+ Kd8 19. Nc4 Nd7 20. Rxf7 Rxf7 21. Rxf7 {is unclear.} Qxe4 22. Qh8+)

15… Nxe3 Fritz estimates this position as equal, strangely. Black is a pawn ahead but does that really compensate for a king in the centre,white’s superior development and strong iniative? Im not so sure. 16. Rf3 Attacking the knight and preparing to double the rooks.In hindsight maybe Rf6 is stronger. 16…Qg5 this move looks a bit desperate and superficial. Yes it threatens mate but that is easily parried. 17. Rg3 I also thought of 17. Nxd6+ Ke7 18. g3 Be6 19. Nxb7 Ng4 ) 17… Ng4

Trying to simplify with either Qe5 or Qf6 next move. I sank into thought for 30 mins before i played my next move. I knew i had to move my knight on b5 but where to Nc7 or Nxd6?} 18. Nxd6+ {Either one is fine but i chose Nxd6 because it was alot clearer than Nc7} (18.Nc7+ Ke7 19. Qd4 (19. Nxa8 Qc5+ 20. Qd4 Qxd4+ 21. Re3 Qxe3+ 22. Kh1 Nf2+ 23. Kg1 Nh3+ 24. Kh1 Qg1+ 25. Rxg1 Nf2#) 19… Rb8 20. N3d5+ cxd5 21. Nxd5+ Ke6 (21… Kd7 22. Rf1 ) 22. Rf1 and the attack continues

18… Ke7 19. Nf5+

My knight on d6 was strong but i felt that i needed to open the position for my rooks. In a way im trading one favourable imbalance in for another. 19…Ke8 A mistake in a difficult position. This allows a nice tactic which takes advantage of the black queen’s position. Better is 19… Bxf5 {but the endgame is winning for white after} 20. exf5 Qf6 21. Re1+ Kd7 22. Rd3+ Kc7 23. Qxf6 Nxf6 24. Re7+ Kb6 25. Na4+ Ka6 26. Nc5+ )

20. Rxg4 {destroying the e5-protector!} 20…Qxg4 21. Qe5+ Be6 {forced} (21… Kd7 22. Qe7#) (21… Kd8 22. Qe7#) 22. h3 {wins the queen. All of whites pieces work together to create the net.} 22. Qxf5 (22… Qh5 23. Ng7+) (22… Qg5 23. Ng7+) 23. exf5 gxf5 24. Ne2 Rd8 25. Nd4 Rd5 26. Qf6 1-0

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