(1) Kett,Tim (2247) - Eggleston,David (2376) [B96]
British Champs - Liverpool (11.13), 08.08.2008
After a poor start (0/2) I had gradually recovered to just over 50% by the start of this, the final round. Fair or not, I was well aware that the evaluation of my whole tournament (i.e. 'good' or 'mediocre') would basically come down to the result in this crucial game - and so I was really up for one more sharp battle. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7 Along with ....Qb6 and ....b5 this seems to be a more provocative variation than the steadier ....Nbd7 and ....Be7 which are encountered much more frequently. Since White is often quite happy to play Bxf6 later when a piece would recapture, it makes sense to me to do it now. 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Be2 Nc6 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.0–0 Bg7 12.f5 Diagram
Position after 12.f5!?
So far, so prep. I had had this position on my board a couple of hours earlier and reckoned it would offer dangerous chances - particularly if he snatched the b-pawn early on with ....Qb6+. In some ways this position resembles that reached in lines of the Poisoned Pawn variation. 12...d5 one purpose of this is to prevent my Kt gaining access to the e4-square after an e5 push at some future time [12...exf5 13.exf5 0–0 followed by ....d5 was another way of playing the position though. Although the f-pawns my not look great White's minor pieces will find it hard to join any attack while Black has several natural plans.] 13.Bd3 0–0 I can't say I was unhappy to see his King committed like this (it may also have been safer in the centre) but it doesn't prove easy to get at. 14.Qh5 h6 15.Kh1 Rb8 16.Rae1 Burning the first bridge. It was possible - but inconsistent - to defend the b-pawn having left it en prise for so long already. Nonetheless, while determined to attack, I was starting to consume a lot of time without being sure how the attack was going to proceed. 16...Rxb2 17.e5 More speculation. I wasn't at all sure about this but time was ticking on, and I had to choose one of the plausible attacking options. The rook-shifts up to the third rank don't seem to do much [17.Nd1 Rb4 18.Nf2 was the alternative but I couldn't see that concretely 'working' either.] 17...exf5 18.exf6 Bxf6 19.Rxf5!? Diagram
Postition after 19.Rxf5!?
And now I just go "all in" [19.Nd1 Rb4 20.Ne3 had been my original intention here but too late I realised that this meets the crushing response 20...Rh4!; 19.Qxh6 Bxc3 20.Rxf5 Bg7 21.Rg5 would just transpose to the game] 19...Bxc3 20.Rg5+ Bg7 21.Qxh6 f5 We now reach a strange position where both humans and computers would think that Black is just a piece up for insufficient attacking counterplay - and therefore totally winning. If you're playing over the game with "Fritz" then up to here it gives Black a huge plus.... and then it "sees" my next move and rapidly reverses that evaluation! 22.g4! Diagram
Position after 22.g4!
I knew from move 19 onwards that I would be relying on just this last attacking resource to open more lines. I hadn't managed to convince myself though that it would be any more than 'dangerous' .... but as it luckily turns out, it seems to be a forced win ! 22...Rb7 the best try [22...Qf7 23.gxf5 Qf6 24.Rxg7+ Qxg7 25.Rg1 Qxg1+ 26.Kxg1 Rb7 27.f6 Rbf7 28.Bg6] 23.gxf5 Bxf5 24.Bxf5 Rxf5 25.Re8+ Rf8 26.Qe6+ Qf7 27.Rxf8+ Kxf8 28.Rf5 Qxf5 29.Qxf5+ Ke7 At the end of a long forced sequence White has emerged material ahead. It might still have been a hard fight ahead but Black's continued lack of king security means he's unable to stop more pawns dropping off. 30.Qc8 Rb1+ 31.Kg2 Rb2 32.Qc7+ Kf8 33.Qxc6 Kg8? Diagram
Position after 33...Kg8?
The final error in desperate time-trouble. [33...Rxa2 was better but 34.Qd6+ Ke8 35.Kf3 and various forking threats mean the d-pawn will still be lost e.g. 35...Ra5 36.Qe6+ Kf8 37.Qc8+ Kf7 38.Qc7+] 34.Qxd5+ Kh7 35.Qe4+ Kh8 36.a4 Rb6 37.c4 Rb4 38.Qa8+ Kh7 39.Qxa6 Rb3 40.Qe6 Rb4 41.Qe4+ Kg8 42.a5 Diagram
and for this game I was awarded the Best Swindle award of the Championships. What a cheek ! As far as I can see, its all sound ! 1–0
Replay game here