edited by Robert N. Bernard
Editor's note: We are honored to have Victor annotate this beautiful victory over Alec Getz of the New York Knights.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nf3 h6 8. O-O Be7 9. Re1 O-O 10. h3 Be6 11. Bf1 Rc8 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5 Nb4 14. c4 a5
15. a3 Na6 16. Bd2
I thought this was better than Rb1, as the rook may potentially be wanted on c1. Also, I had strange dreams of attacking the a5 pawn.
16...Nd7 17. b4 f5
I spent way too much time playing this natural move, perhaps because I was frustrated that black had counterplay. The computer suggests the move 18. Qc2 as the road to advantage, which to me looked odd but actually is quite interesting as it stops a piece from coming to f6.
18...Bf6 19. Bc3 Qb6 20. Nd2
Apparently the retreat 20. Qd1! is the only way to make progress, as black's queen is slightly misplaced on b6. If e4, Nd4. This would have a been a cool solution to the problems of the pin on my queen and e4
My idea was 20... e4 21. Bxf6 Nxf6 22. c5
21. axb4 e4 22. Bxf6 Rxf6 23. Rab1 Ne5
I was happy with this move. This is a position with not much going on, and so strategical maneuvering begins. My idea is c5, and I simply wait to see what black will do.
24...Qc7 25. Qe3
Now I gain the diagonal, but more importantly the d4 square for my queen.
25...Qf7 26. Kh1
I'm not sure how to assess this move, but I wanted to see what he would do. If he commited with Qh5, I would be free to break on the queenside, and I believed that with only 3 pieces he could not stir up much of an attack
26...Qh5 27. Rb3
Multipurpose: I protect h3 and the kingside, while at the same time may double on the c-file in the future.
27...Qh4 28. Kg1
...Ng4 ideas were scaring me.
28...Rg6 29. Rc1 Nc7 30. Qd4
Around here we were both down to about 5 minutes, but I thought that my position was easier to play. His c7 knight is clumsy, and my plan of c5 is simple. The computer says equal, but under the circumstances white should be preferred.
It seems natural to try and get the knight into play, but now white's q-side initiative gives him a large advantage.
31. c5 Nf6 32. Rbc3
The losing mistake in time pressure. 32... Nh5 was necessary to quickly create threats with Nf4.
33. c6 Kh7
away. For example, 34. cxb7 Rb8 35. Qa7 Nfd7 36. Ra3!! followed by Rc8. The a-rook is
needed to guard against e3} (36. Rc8? e3!! 37. Qxe3 Rxb7) Note that 34. b5 is also
better than c7.
34... Rc8 35. b5
With the idea of b6 Ba6.
A good practical try in time pressure. Taking the b-pawn wins, but decided on a "safer" option.
36. Ra1?! Nfd7
Oops. he wants to bring a knight to c5.
37. Ra7 Nc5?
Instead, 37... Qe7 should hold.
Forced, but good.
38...bxc5 39. Qe3 Nd7 40. Nc4 Qe7 41. Qb3 f4 42. b6 e3
With both our clocks running low, this move, though objectively bad, is scary.
Instead, 43. fxe3! fxe3 44. Qxe3 Qxe3+ 45. Nxe3 Nxb6 46. Bd3
43... e2 44. Bxg6+ Kh8
Of course I saw 45. b7!, and of course I considered it. But with a minute on the clock I was seized with the fear of...I don't know... two queens for my opponent? Forgive me, but I didn't want to allow him two queens, lose, and have my teammates kick me. (45...e1=Q+ 46. Kh2 Rf8 47. Qf3!!)
45... e1=Q+ 46. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 47. Kh2 Nxb6
Winning immediately was 48. Nxb6! Rxc7 49. Qa4!
48... Qxf2 49. Nxc8 Nxc8 50. Bf5 c4 51. Qc3
Um... 51. Qa3! Eeek!
52. Qxf3 Qc5 53. Qf4 Nb6
Or, 53... Nd6 54. Bg6 Kg8 55. c8=Q+
54. d6 Nd5 55. Qe5