(1) Lim,Ben (2080) - Stuart,Peter (2088) [B40]
Jenkins NSCC (1.5), 26.08.2015



1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 a6 7.N5c3 Be7 8.Be2 Nf6
Szen Hedgehog Variation, with the difference of the White N retreating to c3 instead of a3.

9.0-0 0-0 10.Be3 b6 11.Na3
Transposing to the Szen Hedgehog position.

11...Bb7 12.Qb3
Too commital. But the start of operations on the Queenside by White. Sicilian players on the Black side are often brought into unfamilar territory here. What is White doing on the Queenside? Isn't he supposed to attack on the Kingside? If White can put pressure on the vulnerable squares b6 and b5 and restrain the d5 break then Black gets bottled in. Also, the eventual opening of the c file favours White as he is better developed.

12...Nd7 13.Rad1 Qc7 14.Rd2 Rfd8 15.Rc1 Rac8 16.Qd1 Qb8 17.f3 Ba8 18.Rb1
! "I thought I manoeuvred my heavy artilleries behind my trench lines, a bit like cat and mouse chess, war of the nerves."

18...Qb7 19.b4
! Tipping Sicilian strategy on its head and launching a direct attack up the Queenside! The alternative is 19.Qe1 and 20.Qg3 playing a "normal" Kingside attack.

19...Ncb8 20.Na4 Qc7 21.Rc1
? Self pinning the c4 pawn, allowing 21...d5 and Black breaks free.

21...Qb7
? Of course. Black has been for so long bottled in that he does not even see the freeing move. "If 21...d5, I intended 22.exd5 exd5 23.c5!? keeping the centre closed and hoping to continue the forward movement of pieces and pawns on Black's Queenside. Unclear maybe, but should be fun."

22.Rb2
Taking the foot off the throat and releasing the pressure on d5.

22...d5
! Finally, Black can breathe.

23.exd5 exd5 24.c5 b5 25.Nc3 Ne5
? 25...d4! sacrificing the pawn opens up the Q file directly to the White Queen, and the long dark diagonal for the Bishop. "If 25...d4!, then 26.Bxd4 may be playable with the idea of diffusing any tactics along the d file with Rd2 in many variations. There is nothing to be gained by Black along the opened a8/e4 diagonal because of the f3/g2 solid bastion. If 26...Bg5 then 27.Rc2 I think holds, with Ne4 in reserve, activating the Knight with tempo, attacking the Bishop of g5." Fritz says Black is better after 25...d4! 26.Bxd4 Nxc5! 27.Rd2 Ne6 28.Be3 Bxb4 and Black wins a pawn with a huge initiative.

26.Rd2
Too late, White sees the vulnerability of the Queen and covers her.

26...Nc4 27.Nxc4 dxc4 28.Rcc2 Nc6 29.Nd5
! Putting pressure on the Bishop to retreat and setting the trap.

29...Rxd5
? Click. The mouse bit the cheese. "Instead of the blunder 29...Rxd5?, there may still be lot of play left for Black with 29...Bf8, although 30.Nb6 would be annoying, controlling important squares inside Black's territory. White is still winning. So after all these, we are really back to the 25...d4! sac possibility as Black's best chance to complicate for counterplay."

30.Rxd5 Nxb4 31.Rd7
! Oh dear, of course. The magic zwischenzug or intermediate move. Black may get the exchange back but loses a piece in the process.

31...Qc6 32.Rxe7 Nxc2 33.Qxc2 Rd8 34.Qf5
! Forcing the Queens off after 34...Qd5 and its all over. 1-0