Sunday, 4 August 2019

053. Grandmaster

White: M.L. Nicholson - Koshnitsky Memorial, 2002


I'm not a CC grandmaster. The best I can say – and indeed have already said – is that I once got a GM norm. This came from a joint second place (on 10½/14) in the CCLA's Gary Koshnitsky Memorial.

I also managed to win against a proper, OTB GM (Colin McNab) by copying the moves of another, stronger GM (Evgeny Gleizerov). Colin's improvement, when it came, wasn't much of one and I won relatively easily. But this was a Modern Defence and hence not blog relevant.

Instead, here's another King's Gambit. For some reason I discarded my usual 3...h5!? as Black and opted for 3...g5 “!” and a Kieseritzky, the only one I've ever played in a serious offline game. The subsequent 6 d4 and 9 Be2 was analysed by GM Joe Gallagher in Winning with the King's Gambit (Batsford 1992), with the open-ended conclusion that “practical tests are awaited”.

Practical tests duly came and went and the line was more or less abandoned. In particular, Gallagher's 9...Nc6 10 c3 Bf5 11 d5 Nb8 12 0-0 Qxh4 13 Nd2 g3 14 Nf3 Qh5 15 Qa4+ Nd7 16 Rae1 is well met by 16...Bg7! 17 Bc1 0-0 18 Nf4 Qg4, as in C.Santagata-S.Sabaev, ICCF EM/M/A071 1999, when White is struggling to show the slightest compensation.

My game saw 12 Na3 Bg7 13 Nc4 and then 13...Bxc3+. That was the threat behind ...Bg7, with the idea 14 bxc3? Nxc3 15 Qd2 Nxe2 16 Qxe2 Bxd3 and wins, so I went ahead and played it. My various engines (Stockfish, Houdini, Deep Fritz, Deep Rybka) now all go for 13...h5 “-+”. I guess I was dubious about the significance of Black's extra f7-pawn in the typical Kieseritzky structure.

It didn't matter. It doesn't matter. 6 Bc4 is regarded as the critical continuation nowadays, though Black has a plus score there too.

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