NM James West
FM Maurice Ashley (2415)

Chicago Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 Played to avoid position arising from 3... cxd4 4. Qxd4 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. O-O a6 10. f4 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 b5 12. a3

Duplicating Fischer-Spassky, Game 4 World Championship Match, 1972. Black had achieved a satisfactory position in that encounter, so I decided to continue the dance. 12... Bb7 13. Qd3 Spassky's 1972 novelty. 13... a5! 14. e5 dxe5 15. fxe5 Nd7 16. Nxb5 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Bxc5+ 18. Kh1 My opponent had spent two minutes to my ten so apparently we were both satisfied with the situation. But as I sat thinking about Spassky's 18. Kh1 Qg5 I remembered that Fischer could have responded with 19. Qg3! (instead of 19. Qe2 which landed him into difficulties) and after 19... Qxg3 20. hxg3 Ba6 21. a4 Bxb5 22. axb5 Bd4 23. c3 Bxe5 24. g4 the position looks drawish because of the opposite-colored Bishops. After a few minutes of thought I decided on a different approach. 18... a4 19. Bc4 Black wins after 19. Qxd8?? Rfxd8 20. Bc4 Rd2 19... Qh4 The idea behind 18. ..a4. White's Queen cannot rush off to defend the King because the bishop would hang. In the meantime, black threatens 20...Qg4 21.Qe2 Bxg2+ 22.Qxg2 Qxc4. 20. Qe2 Better was 20. b3! releasing the queen from the Bishop's defense. 20... Rad8 21. Bd3 Wrong is 21. Rad1? Rxd1 22. Rxd1 Bf2! (with the threat of 23...Bg3 24.h3 Qxh3+) 23. Rd3 (On 23. Qd3 Qg4 24. Qf1 Bxg2+ 25. Qxg2 Qxd1+) 23... Qxc4 24. Nd6 Qf4 25. Nxb7 Qc1+ 26. Rd1 Qxb2 27. Qxf2 Qxb7 leaves White's pawns sorely weak. 21... Rd5!

To prevent the manuever 22.Qe1 and 23.Qg3, which can now be answered by 22...Qg5 and the e-pawn is en prise. The move also sets a trap. 22. Qe4 Which White sidesteps! A fascinating position arises after 22. Be4 Rxe5 23. Bxh7+ Kxh7 24. Qxe5 Qg4 So instead White must play 25. Rg1 (The obvious 25. Qg3 loses to 25... Qxg3 26. hxg3 Rh8 27. Rf4 g5 28. Rxf7+ (28. Rd4 e5) 28... Kg6+ mate!) 25... Rd8! 26. h3 because alternatives are worse(26. Qxc5 Rd2 followed by 27... Bxg2+) (26. Qc7 Bxg2+ 27. Rxg2 Rd1+) (26. Nc3 Rd2 27. Qg3 Qxg3 28. hxg3 Rd8!! and White lacks an adequate threat to the mating threat of 29... Rh8 followed by 30... Kg6#) 26... Qxh3+ 27. Qh2 Qxh2+ 28. Kxh2 Bxg1+ 29. Rxg1 Rd2 30. Nc3 Bc6 with a better ending for Black. 22... Qh5 23. Rae1 Rd4 Hindsight suggests 23... g6 but I couldn't resist what seemed to be the clincher. 24. Qxh7+ Now White gets mated after 24. Qxb7 Rh4 25. h3 Rxh3+ White's next move is forced, but strong. 24... Qxh7 25. Bxh7+ Kxh7 26. Nxd4 Bxd4 27. Rf4

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this move. Now 27. Rf4 Bxb2 28. Rb1 Rd8 29. Rb4 costs Black a Bishop. A horror story about each of my pieces going for each of those connected passers was beginning to unfold in mind when... 27... Bc5 28. Rxa4? Giving up the only open file is the decisive mistake. The position is not so easy, but I'm sure White must be better after 28. Rd1 Bc6 29. Rc4 Rc8 Black's position seems rather shaky, and a lot of the Rook vs. Two Bishops endings favor White. After the text, though, White is never again in the game. 28... Rd8 29. Rc4 Bf2 30. Rb1 Rd2 31. Rg4 f5 32. exf6 gxf6 33. h3 f5 34. Rb4 Bd5 35. Rb5 Be4 36. Re5 Bd4 37. Rxe4 fxe4 38. Re1 Bf2 39. Rxe4 Bg3

A real triumph for the Bishops. White's passed pawns never moved. 0-1 [Maurice Ashley]