IM Robert Gwaze
IM Andrew Ledger

British Ch. (11.5)
Scarborough, ENG, 2004

Zimbabwean International Master Robert Gwaze won notoriety by winning a gold medal at the 2002 Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia. What makes this feat interesting is that he was able to win with a score of 9-0 and tally a 2690 performance rating on board #1. He is currently based in England and this game took place in the 2004 British Championship.

1. e4 e6 Players like Evgeny Bareev and Alexander Morozevich have turned the French Defense into a fighting weapon. 2. d4 d5 3. e5 The Advanced Variation has seen a resurgence. Of course, 3. Nc3 Nf6 (3... dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Bd3 (5. Nxf6+ gxf6!?) 5... Nxe4 6. Bxe4 is also quite popular.) 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bxe7 is common and(6. h4!? is a speculative gambit not seen much today.) Tarrasch's 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 has pretty much been analyzed to mate as has Winawer's 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 3... c5 3... Qd7!? 4. Nf3 b6 4. c3 4. b4!? is an interesting idea which produces positions similar to those in the game. However, 4... cxb4 5. a3 Qc7 white's "gambit" will not find any immediate initiative. 4... Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7

Solid line. One idea of playing this move could be to play a well-timed ...Bb5 to trade off the problem bishop. This was not the plan carried out in the game however. 6. Be2 Not 6. Bd3?! cxd4 7. cxd4 Qb6 8. Bc2 Nb4 winning the two bishops. 6... f6 7. O-O This is the move of an attacking player. The idea is to keep the center fluid for as long as possible until Black commits to a plan. Gwaze doesn't know which way Ledger is going to castle. 7. exf6 Nxf6 8. O-O cxd4 9. cxd4 Bd6 10. Nc3 O-O gives black a typically comfortable position. 7... Qc7 8. Re1 fxe5 9. Nxe5 9. dxe5 O-O-O 10. Bf4 h6 11. Bg3 (11. h4 g5!?) 11... Nge7 12. Bd3 g6 13. Na3 a6 and white has fallen behind. 9... Nxe5 10. dxe5 O-O-O Queenside! 10... Qxe5?? 11. Bh5+ 11. c4!? Punches at the center right away. This move is actually quite risky. 11... d4 11... Qxe5 12. Bf3 Qd6 13. cxd5 exd5 with equal chances. 12. Bf4 Ne7 13. Bd3 h6 14. h4 g6 15. Nd2 Eye on the d6-square. 15... Bg7?! Perhaps it's better to keep the dark-squared bishop guarding the queenside and the d6-square. 15... Nf5 16. Qg4 Be7 16. b4!

While holding the kingside at bay, Gwaze blows open the queenside with pawn thrusts. 16... cxb4 17. a3 Rdf8?! 17... Rhf8 is better since after white's next move, the h-file cannot be pried open. 18. Bg3 b3 Black cannot afford any more open lines, but white certainly has momentum. 19. Nxb3 Ba4 20. Rb1 g5 This is much too slow. 21. Qg4 Nf5 22. h5 Keeping black's pawns from advancing, but after 22. Bxf5! exf5 23. Qxd4 f4 24. Bh2 Bxb3 25. Rxb3 Kb8 26. Reb1 black is facing an avalanche. 22... Nxg3 23. fxg3 Kb8 24. Nxd4 Qd7 25. Kh2 25. Nxe6!? 25... Rf2 26. Be4 b6 Despite having a light-squared bishop, black is simply helpless to prevent a wholesale invasion and is forced to further weaken his position. 27. Bf3 Rd2 28. Nxe6 Rc8 29. Nxg7 Qxg7 30. c5 Bc6 31. cxb6 a6 32. Rbc1 Also 32. b7! Rc7 33. Rec1 32... Bd7 33. Qe4

1-0 [Shabazz D.]

Game(s) in PGN