Here is a funky loss I sustained in a G/60 training game conducted on the ICC in early July 2007 with IM-title-seeking Dr. Eric Moskow. Certain moments of the game were very interesting.
Dr. Eric Moskow – IM Mark Ginsburg ICC Training Game July 2007 G/60
Crazy Slav Gambit Line
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c6 3. d4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d5 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 O-O 8. Qxc4 Bf5 A very reliable way for black to play.
9. Nc3 Nbd7 10. Bf4 Qb6
It doesn’t look like anything is going on. But then…
A really surprising gambit played after a long think. How could it be good? I had no idea. I expected the sedate 11. b4 Ne4 12. Na4 Qb5 13. Qxb5 cxb5 14. c5 Ndxc5 15. bxc5 b4 or 11. b3 Ne4 12. Nxe4 (12. Rac1 Nd6 13. Qa4 Nf6) 12…Bxe4 in both cases with level chances.
11… Qxb2 Black had a good alternative here: 11… Nxe5! 12. Bxe5 (12. dxe5? Nd7 13. Na4 Qa5 is just bad for white) 12… Qxb2 13. e4 (the gambit idea similar to game 13. Rab1? Bxb1 14. Rxb1 Qc2 15. Rxb7 Qc1+ 16. Bf1 Ne4! is refuted due to the pin; black wins) 13… Be6 14. Qd3 Qa3 15. Rab1 b6 16. Rfc1 Rfd8 and white doesn’t have enough for the pawn.
12. Rab1! Bxb1 13. Rxb1
13…Qa3? A bad slip. Much better was the obvious 13… Qc2 14. Nxd7 Nxd7 15. Rxb7 Nb6 16. Qc5 (or 16. Qb4 Nd5 17. Nxd5 Qd1+ 18. Bf1 cxd5 19. e3 e6 and black has an edge) 16… Nd5! 17. Nxd5 Qd1+!, an important zwischenzug, and after 18. Bf1 cxd5 19. e3 e6 black has a solid edge.
14. Rb3! Qa5 15. Rxb7 Now white has full compensation.
15…Nb6 The capture 15… Nxe5 is dangerous. 16. Bxe5 Nd5 17. Bxd5 cxd5 18. Nxd5 e6 19. Ne7+ Kh8 20. Bxg7+ Kxg7 21. d5! Qd2 (21…exd5? allows a nice forced mate: 22. Qd4+ Kh6 23. Nf5+ gxf5 24. Qf6+ Kh5 25. Qxf5+ Kh6 26. Qf6+ Kh5 27. h3 Qe1+ 28. Kg2 Rg8 29. Qxf7+ Rg6 30. Qf5+ Kh6 31. Qf4+ Kg5 32. Qf6+ Kh5 33. Rxh7 mate) 22. dxe6 with a significant white edge.
16. Qb3 Nfd5 17. Nxc6 Qxc3 18. Nxe7+ Kh8 White is better here but it’s still a game.
19. Nxd5 Qa1+ 19… Qe1+ 20. Bf1 Bxd4 21. e3 Bg7 22. Nxb6 axb6 23. Bd6 Rfd8 24. Qxf7 Qa1 and white is much better.
20. Bf1 Nxd5 If 20…Qxd4 21. Nc7 Rad8 22. Nb5 and white is better.
21. Qxd5 Qxd4 22. Qxd4 Bxd4 23. e3 Bg7 24. Bg2 This position is distinctly unpleasant for black, but he should not panic yet.
24…h6? Very bad. This was the time for black to step up and find the best defensive try, which was either 24… a6!? or 24…Rfd8!?. In both cases black gains activity. Sample line: 24…a6!? 25. Rxf7 Rxf7 26. Bxa8 Rd7 27. e4 Rd1+ 28. Kg2 Bd4! achieving the desired formation. The win will take a lot of work. For example, 29. Bd5 Rb1 30. g4 Kg7 31. Bg3 g5 32. f4 gxf4 33. Bxf4 Rg1+ 34. Kf3 Rf1+ 35. Kg3 Rg1+ 36. Kh4 Kg6 37. Bc4 a5 38. g5 Bf2+ 39. Kh3 Bb6 and white is uncoordinated. The alternative 24…Rfd8!? might lead to 25. Rxf7 Rd1+! 26. Bf1 Ra1! 27. Kg2 Rxa2 28. Bc4 Rc2 and black should be able to hold the game if he is alert. Or 24…Rfd8 25. Bf3 Kg8 guarding f7 with a fully defensible game.
25. h4 Rac8? Again, black needed to try something more active. Firstly, he had 25… a5 26. Rxf7 Rxf7 27. Bxa8 Rd7 28. e4 Rd1+ 29. Kg2 Kh7 30. Bd5 Bd4 to gain activity. For example, 31. g4 Rb1 32. Bc7 Rb2 33. Bxa5 Rxf2+ 34. Kg3 Rc2 and the game proceeds. Or he had 25…Rad8!? 26. Rxa7? (26. Bc6! keeps a small edge, for example 26…Rd2 27. Rxa7 Rc8 28. Ra6) 26…Rd1+ 27. Kh2 Rd2 with counterplay. The text fails to guard d5, an important failure, and white seizes the opportunity.
26. Bd5 f5 A horrible weakening, but now it was too late for 26… a5 27. Bxf7 and white wins. The text is hopeless and the rest is easy sailing for white.
27. Rxa7 Rfd8 28. Bf7 Rc6 29. Kg2 Kh7 30. Bb3 Kh8 31. a4 Rcc8 32. Ra6 Rd2 33. Rxg6 Rb2 34. Rxg7 Kxg7 35. Be5+ Kh7 36. Be6 Rcc2 37. Bxf5+ g8 38. Bxb2 Rxb2 39. Bd3 Kg7 40. a5 Kf6 41. g4 Ra2 42. a6 Ra3 43. Bf1 Ke5 44. Kg3 Ra1 45. f4+ Ke4 46. Kf2 Ra2+ 47. Be2 h5 48. gxh5 Kf5 49. e4+ 1-0
White’s enterprising gambit on move 12, which seemed to me to be hopelessly unsound at the time (in truth it was only semi-unsound, since my best 13th move or my superior 11th move both only lead to a small edge for me), proved to be successful in the end!