OTB Game Analysis 14

Round 3 against an 1830

This game is from the third round of a recent OTB tournament. I won the first two rounds, and was especially with my win in round 2 since this was the highest rated opponent I have ever beaten. For the third round I had another white so I went into the game with a lot of confidence.

1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 h6

I have only faced this move in blitz games before so I knew very little about the theory.

3.Bh4 g5 4.e4

4.e3 (This is the most common move in the database) 4...Nf6 5.Bg3 d6 6.h4

4...Nf6 5.e5 e6 6.exf6 Qxf6 7.Qh5+

I thought that white's position is quite pleasant after the queen exchange, so I played this move rather quickly. I didn't really consider 7...Kd8

7.Bg3 f4 8.Be2 fxg3 9.Bh5+ Kd8 10.fxg3


7...Kd8 8.Bg3 f4 9.c3 The position is roughly equal

8.Qxf7+ Kxf7 9.Bg3 f4 10.Bxf4 gxf4

White to play

A lot has happened in the first 10 moves: the queens have been exchanged, black got the bishop pair but has a somewhat shaky structure.During the game I thought that black's king would become more of a liability than it turned out to be. In reality, the game is approaching an endgame and black's centralised king can be a big asset.


I started my second wave of development with the bishop since I thought that it belonged on d3. However, I didn't have a very clear plan in mind and just thought in general that I will probably play c3, Nd2, O-O-O and somehow exploit the pawn on f4.

11.Nc3 d5 12.O-O-O c5 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.Nh3 f3 15.gxf3 White has won a pawn, but the isolated doubled f-pawns don't look too impressive and the knight on h3 is out of the game. Still, white should have a slight edge.

11...Nc6 12.c3 d5

Fixing the white pawn on d4 and black prepares e5.
During the game and also while analysing on my own, I thought that white should have a slight advantage, but the engine says that black is slightly better.

13.Nf3 Bd6 14.Nbd2 e5 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Nxe5+ Bxe5 17.O-O-O

Black to play

In this position, black has the advantage of the bishop pair, a more active king and both sides have weak pawns (on g2 and f4) , so black has a slight advantage.


It's unclear what the bishop is doing on d7.

17...c6 (Protecting the d5-pawn and clearing the c7-square for the bishop) 18.Nf3 Bc7! 19.Nd4 Kf6 =+ Black has control in this position and will follow up with Bd7, Rae8 and Rhg8


18.Be2! (This is a better way to activate the white pieces) 18...c6 19.Bh5+ Kg7 (19...Kf6 20.Ne4+! dxe4 21.Rxd7) 20.Rhe1 Suddenly the white pieces are working together, only the knight needs to be improved which will happen thanks to Ne4 tactics


White to play


I didn't know what to do in this position so I decided to play this move which forces things a bit too much I think.

19.c4 c6 20.cxd5 cxd5 I looked at this but didn't want to open the position for the two bishops. According to the engine, this position is about equal.
19.Rhe1 Rae8 (I disliked the possibility of exchanging rooks, but that was due to my faulty evaluation of the position. Given that black is slightly better, white shouldn't avoid simplifications) 20.c4 c6 21.cxd5 cxd5 22.Bc2 Rxe1 23.Nxe1 Re8 24.Nd3 Bg5 25.f3 Re2

White to play

Black has a slight edge due to the bishop pair, the somewhat weak white king and the weak pawn on g2, but the d5- and f4-pawns are also weak and tie the black pieces to their defence.

19...Bg4 20.Be2 Rae8 21.Ne5+ Bxe5?!

21...Rxe5! (I expected this capture during the game) 22.Bxg4 c6 23.Rde1 h5 24.Bd1 h4!

White to play

Breaking up white's kingside structure and trading off the weak black pawns. 25.Rxe5 Bxe5 26.gxh4 Rxh4 27.h3 a5 28.Bg4 =


Black to play


This loses a pawn

22...Rd8 23.Rhe1 Kf6 This was better than the game continuation, but white has gained some control and should have a (very) slight advantage

23.Bd7! Re7

Black offered a draw here

23...Rd8 24.Rxd5 Bd6 25.Ba4 fxg3 26.fxg3 Bf4+?

White to play

During the game I saw this line and thought that black wins the exchange, but white has a nice resource at the end: 27.gxf4 Rxd5 28.Bb3! white wins back the exchange and is clearly better
A better alternative for black was 26...h4! 27.Bb3 Ke7 and white has only a small advantage

24.Rxd5 Bd6 25.Bb5

Now white has won a pawn and is clearly better

25...Re5 26.Bc4

26.Rxe5 Bxe5 27.Kd2 This was another possibility

26...Kf6 27.Rd4 fxg3?!

White to play

The exchange helps white since they can now create a passed pawn. Black should have kept the tension since white never really wants to take on f4 since it destroys his pawn structure.


During the game, I thought that my pawns might become loose so I decided to play it safe with 28.fxg3. However, after the game move white doesn't gain a passed pawn and therefore the extra pawn is much less valuable.
28...Rf5? (This was the idea I was afraid of, however, the rook is very short on squares after white plays f4 so black can't exploit the weakened pawns.) 29.f4 h4 30.Bd3! (I stopped before I saw this move) 30...Ra5 31.gxh4 +/-
28...Bc5 29.Rdh4 Rf5 30.f4 Bf2 31.R4h3 +/- White has secured the pawns and put pressure on the black h-pawn


28...Rf8! 29.Rf1+ Kg7 30.Rxf8 Kxf8 31.Rh4 Be7 32.Rf4+ Kg7 +=

29.Re1 Rf2 30.Rd2?

This move loses most of white's advantage. During the game I thought that the exchange helps white, but I missed black's 31st move.

30.Re6+! Kg7 31.Rh4 (Defending the h2-pawn and putting pressure on the h5-pawn) 31...Rf6 32.Re3 Rf5 33.Be2 +/-

30...Rxd2 31.Kxd2 h4!

This solves black's problems with the h-pawn.


Black to play

I thought about offering a draw since I didn't see a way to avoid trading off all kingside pawn, but I decided to play on a bit.


Suddenly, black's king is a bit short on squares.

32...Kg5 33.Rg1 hxg3 34.hxg3 Rh3 35.g4 Rg3! And black will hold pretty effortlessly


Threatening mate out of nowhere. Now both players were under 10 minutes on the clock.


33...Be7 34.Rf5+ Kd6 35.Rd5+ Kc6 36.Rf5 h3 +/- Now white ensured that the kingside pawns stay on the board and is clearly better.


Keeping the threats alive


34...Be7 35.Rf5+ Kd6 36.Ke3

35.g5 Rd8

White to play

This came as a surprise and we were both under 5 minutes. I calculated only the following lines and thought that I am easily winning

  1. 35...Bf4+? 36.Rxf4+ Kxf4 37.g6 +-
  2. 35...Bxh2?? 36.Bg6+ +-


I couldn't decide between 36.Kc2 and 36.Ke2. I chose the latter since I was afraid of the black h-pawn

36.Kc2 Bxh2

  1. 37.g6 Be5 38.Re1+? (I saw this line during the game, but then forgot that the king needed to be on c2 in order to play it. However, it throws away white's advantage) 38...Kf5 39.Rxe5+?? (My opponent and I both thought that this was winning for white (we had only 2 minutes on the clock)) 39...Kxe5 40.g7 h3 -+ I only realised that the black pawn will promote after the game.
    Instead of this, white had a better option on move 38: 38.Rg1! Bg7 39.Rg4+ Kf5 40.Rxh4 +/- The game continues for a long time but white should have good winning chances.
  2. 37.Rh1 Bf4 38.Rxh4 Rd2+ 39.Kb3 Rg2 40.g6 Kf5 +/- This was another option to play for the win, as in the line after 37.g6 Be5 38.Rg1!, white should have very good winning chances, but it's hard to see how he will break through.


Now I realised that I banked on 36.Kc2 Bxh2 37.g6 Be5 38.Re1+

White to play


37.g6 Be5 38.Be6!? (An interesting idea in order to stop the black h-pawn) 38...Rh8 39.Bh3

37...Bf4 38.Rxh4 Rd2+ 39.Ke1 Rxb2 40.g6 Rb1+ 41.Kf2 Rb2+ 42.Kf1 Rb1+

42...Kf3?? (Black cannot play for mate) 43.Bd5+ Kg3 44.g7 +-


43.Kg2 Rb2+ 44.Kh3 Rh2+ 45.Kg4 Rg2+ 46.Kh5 (This is a line I looked at but I thought it was too dangerous to go for it with 1 minute on the clock) 46...Kf5 47.Rxf4+!? Kxf4 48.Kh6 Kf5 49.g7 Rh2+ 50.Bh5 Rg2 51.Kh7 Rh2 52.Kh6 = (52.g8=Q?? Rxh5+ 53.Kg7 Rg5+ -+)

43...Rb2+ 44.Kf1

Here I offered a draw and my opponent agreed.