January Match Internet Chess Club (2), 07.01.2006
B92 - Sicilian : Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
Game two. This one was Saturday night. We are aiming for one more tomorrow morning, before I go back to work and Kirk goes back to school. 1.e4 c5 [I had thought about playing the Marshall attack against Kirk or maybe the Tchigorin and aim for a middlegame. Then I was finishing up my Karpov book today and I decided to try the Najdorf based on an interesting idea he had in there. 1...e5 ] 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a4 [The line in the Karpov book was 9.Be3 Be6 10.Qd2 Nc6 11.Rfd1 a5! in Ehlvest-Georgadze Spartakiade 1983.
I didn't imagine that Kirk would play Qd2 and Rfd1 but it was an interesting idea taking up more space on the queenside. Of course with Kirk's 9.a4 it is silly to try to expand on the queenside with 9. ...a5] 9...Be6 10.Be3 I knew this was the mainline but I figured I had to try to "punish" him for the text. I also realized that one of the goals of the Najdorf is to play ...d5. I knew I wasn't fully developed, but I took a couple minutes, saw it wasn't immediately losing and thought what the hell ;) 10...d5!? [Theory gives 10...Nc6 ] 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 I figured that if Kirk wanted to trade off queens I at least had equality. Kirk mentioned after the game that he didn't want another 20 move draw :) 13.Nd2?! An interesting idea, giving the bishop some protection when it tries to kick my queen. 13...Nc6 14.Bb6 [I didn't count on this move at all, although it makes sense keeping me from doubling up on the d-file. I was looking at both 14.c4 and;
14.Bf3] 14...Nd4 15.Bc4 Qd6 16.a5 Qc6?! [If I wanted to play here I should've done it a move earlier. Better is likely 16...Rac8 doing the same thing. The idea behind ...Qc6 was to get the queen off the d-file.] 17.Bd3 [Fritz said that 17.Bxd4 exd4 giving an isolated pawn was better, although now that I can back it up with a rook on d8 (or a pawn after the bishop exchange) it doesn't look so bad.] 17...Bc5 Trading off the bishop, freeing my game quite a bit 18.Qh5!? Interesting but I think he got impatient, trying to force the issue. 18...f5! I was hoping to do this a move earlier actually, hoping to push ...e4, and try and keep Kirk from getting his knight to f3. 19.c3? [Trying to complicate things 19.Bxc5 Qxc5 20.c3 was probably better.] 19...Bxb6 20.axb6 Nb5 [20...Nb3 Forcing off the exchange of the knights may have been better.] 21.Rfe1 [21.Nf3 threatening Nxe5 21...e4 22.Ng5 h6 23.Nxe6 Qxe6 24.Bxb5 axb5 may have been better] 21...g6 [The immediate 21...e4 was better but i was worried about something like 22.Nxe4 fxe4 23.Bxe4 (but of course I had the intermezzo of 22...g6! I wonder if I would've played it) ] 22.Qd1 e4 Now I have a big space advantage. 23.Bc2 Rad8 [I was going to try 23...Qxb6 but I figured why rush? I'll always be able to grab that.] 24.Ba4 Qxb6 25.Qc2 So now I decided to try and get my knight to d3 25...Nd6 26.Rad1 Nf7 27.Qc1? [Better to defend with the knight than the bishop 27.Nb3 Ne5 28.Nd4 (28.Nc1 is okay as well. Kirk was in time trouble (a little over 5 minutes left) and was probably tired from apartment hunting and driving back home today and it looked like the position was busted, so I can understand why he might have missed this) ] 27...Ne5 28.Bc2 Ng4! While trying to keep my knight from d3, he exposes his kingside a little more. 29.Re2 e3 [I was looking at 29...Nxf2 30.Rxf2 e3 as well but it was a little trickier. The text was still winning but a little more straightforward] 30.Rxe3 Nxe3 31.fxe3 Qxe3+ 32.Kh1 Rd7 Kirk resigned here as I am going to double up rooks and win more material. I was happy with my game, and even if the ...d5 wasn't perfect, it was an interesting idea that worked out. I'm definitely getting more comfortable in the Najdorf. Interesting that this was the first win as Black since we started playing weekly in October (!)0-1