Tuesday, 29 September 2020

065. Lockdown

Black: A. Eccles - BCCA Premier, 1996

The game below features the Scotch, Mieses Variation, with the then topical 9...Qh4!?. Black's nice idea is 10 a3 Bc5 11 g3 Bxf2+, followed by 12 Kxf2 Qd4+, winning the rook on a1, or 12 Qxf2 Qe4+, winning the rook on h1. The geometry of the twin corner captures is very pleasing.

Unfortunately, it's all rather specious. After 12 Qxf2 Qe4+ 13 Kd1 Qxh1 14 Nd2! White gains huge compensation for the exchange, in terms of time, control and the initiative, while Black must hurry to extricate the queen. Hence 14...Nc3+ 15 Kc2 Ne4 16 Nxe4 Qxe4+ 17 Bd3.

Now the best Black has is 17...Qg4 18 Bf5 Qh5 19 h4 f6 20 exf6 gxf6 21 Bb2 0-0-0 22 Bxf6 0-0-0, which involves returning all the material for a much inferior position, with the bishop self-isolating on a6 and White's kingside pawn majority ready for a trip to the seaside.

The course of the game was even worse. In the final position, my opponent – still material up (rook and three pawns for two bishops) – resigned because his king and king's rook were in an enforced and permanent lockdown.

I tried to think of something to say about face masks and support bubbles as well, but I guess I've pushed the metaphor far enough.