The Amateur Eye — A Queen Gem

The five-round event at Sigeman 2017 found the Englishman Nigel Short just out of hospital in extra good form in round 1.  Erik Blomqvist  (black) finds that square count does point to sparkling and unexpected moves sometimes.

White:  Nigel Short   vs.  Black:  Erik Blomqvist  Opening: Ruy Lopez / Zaitsev Variation

l. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6 4. Ba4  Nf6 5. O-O  Be7  6. Re1  b5  7. Bb3  d6  8. c3  O-O 9. h3  Bb7  10. d4  Re8  In my youth I had experimented with 10. …Qd7 as well as the text which was highly regarded by Karpov in postal chess play and club play.

ll. Nbd2  Bf8  12. d5  Short has scored well with this closure of the center.

12.  ….  Nb8  13. Nf1  Nbd7  14. Bg5  All within the realm of square count opening play as I would practice it.  Good alternatives are both Knight sorties like 14. Ng3 or 14. Nh2.

14. …  Nc5?  Played quickly, this natural reply is suspect here.  Best would be 14. …h6 or even 14…Be7 to challenge the pin.

15.  Bc2!!  Excellent play, freeing up the a/b pawns for Q-side action while protecting the e4 pawn and square. Black now takes a poke at the center pawns with…

15. … c6!  16. Ne3  a5  Expanding on the Q-side looking for some counter play in that theatre.

17.  b4  Ncd7  18. a4!  Qc7  19. d:c6 Q:c6  20. a:b5  Q:c3  21. b:a5  R:a5  22. Rc1!  A bit of tickle on the Queen cannot be bad.

22. … Qb4  23. Ng4!  More energy against the king-side.

23. … Q:b5  Short was weighing 23…N:g4 24. Bd2 Qa3  25. h:g4! is more apropos here.

24. Rb1  Good but even stronger was 24. B:f6 N:f6  25. N:f6+ g:f6  26. Nh4.

24. … Qa6  25. B:f6  N:f6  26. N:f6:+  g:f6  27. Nh4 Bc8  28. Bb3  Be6  29. Qh5  Rc8  30. Nf5 Ra3  31. Re3  R:b3 32. Re:b3  B:b3  33. R:b3  Rc1+34. Kh2  Qf1 35. Qg4+ Kh8 The stage is now set for another shocking Queen sac.  Do you see it?

36. Qg7+!!  This illustrates the collapse of any king movement out of check after …Bg7 37. Rb8+ Bf8  38. R:f8 mate!

This game finish illustrates once again the concept of square count and understanding the whole board concept of the importance of structures especially around the Kings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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