NO. 1 MEETS NO. 2 RESULTING IN A PERFECT FIVE FROM FIVE! In round 5 of the 2006 LASCO Jamaican Championships held at the Norman Manley Law School, University of the West Indies, Kingston Jamaica, the leader NM Duane Rowe met the defending champion FM Warren Elliott and a slugfest was expected. Rowe had notched up 4 straight wins and was sitting comfortably atop the leaderboard while Elliott was coming off a demoralising loss to the wily veteran NM Shane Matthews in the previous round. The encounter took on added significance because Warren was Jamaica's highest rated player while Duane was in number two and with stated ambitions to claiming the number one spot. The time control was game in 90 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds from the first move. Let the pyrotechnics begin!
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 Elliott opts for Korchnoi's favourite Open variation in response to the Ruy Lopez.
6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. Nbd2
9... Bc5 9... Nc5!? was worth a try. Indeed, the Hungarian queen of chess faced the suggested alternative from the young talented Azerbaijani and won an immortal game after 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5 Bd5 12.Nxf7 Kxf7 13.Qf3+ Ke6 14.Qg4+ Kf7 15.Qf5+ 1-0 (23) Polgar, J - Mamedyarov, S, 35th Ol (4), Bled, 2002.
10. Qe2 Bf5 11. a4 b4 12. Nxe4 Bxe4 13. Be3 Bxe3 14. Qxe3 O-O 15. Ng5 Nxe5!? White is firmly on top In the following variation - 15... Bg6 16. e6! Kh8 17. exf7 Bxf7 (17... d4! 18. Qg3 d3 19. Bc4 Nd4 20. Bxd3 Bxd3 21. Qxd3 Qxg5 22. Qxd4 c5 23. Qd3 Rxf7 24. Rad1 Rff8)
18. Rad1 d4 19. Nxf7+ Rxf7 20. Bxf7 dxe3 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. fxe3 Ne5 23. Bb3 g6 24. Rf4 a5 25. Rd4 Rf8 26. Rd5 Ng4 27. Rxa5 Nxe3 28. h4 Rf1+ 29. Kh2 Rf4 30. Re5 Nf5 31. h5 Nd6 32. a5
16. Nxe4 An interesting line was 16. f3 Bf5 17. Qxe5 (17. g4!?)
17... Qxg5 18. g4! g6 19. h4!? Qxh4 20. gxf5 but there was no need for White to give Black so much counterplay particularly after 20... Qg5+ 21. Kf2 Rae8! with compensation for the piece.
16... dxe4 17. Qxe4 Qf6
17... Qe7! would have saved the pawn on b4 from immediate capture.
18. Qxb4 White still maintains the edge after 18. Rae1 Rfe8 19. Qxb4 Rad8 20. Qc3 Qf4 21. Re3 Ng4! 22. g3 (22. Rg3! Ne5 23. Qc5 Rb8)
22... Rxe3 23. fxe3 Qh6 24. Bxf7+! Kh8 25. h4 although Black still has chances after 25... Qd6! 26. Qe1 Qe7! when White stands better but any result is still possible.
18... Ng6 19. f4!? An interesting way to try and press forward but anyone who knows Rowe would not have been surprised by this choice. Coming in for consideration was the developing
19. Rae1 and after 19... a5 20. Qc5 Qxb2 21. Qxc7 Qf6 22. Re3 Rfc8 23. Qb7 White has a big advantage.
19... Rab8 20. Qc5 Qxb2 A lot of nerves would have been required to essay 20... Nxf4 after which White can coolly ignore the pawn on c7 and play 21. Rae1 (21. Qxc7 Qd4+ 22. Kh1 Ne6 23. Bxe6 fxe6 24. Qc6 also looks good for White.)
( Seeking to exploit the pin immediately with 21. g3? is bad in light of 21... Qd4+! 22. Qxd4 Ne2+ 23. Kg2 Nxd4 when, with material equal and Black having a "storming steed" it is he who stands better.)
21. Rae1 Nh4 This move would return to haunt Elliott. He could perhaps have given serious attention to
21... Rfe8 when White can press inexorably forward with 22. f5! Nf8 choosing from among a bevy of good moves such as 23.Rd1, 23.Qxc7 or even 23. f6!?
22. Qg5! Qd4+ 23. Kh1 Qd8 24. Rd1!
Very strong as the exchange of the powerful ladies on g5 favours White.
Rowe avoids 24. Qxd8!? which seems to give Elliott more fighting chances. In one sample variation play could continue: 24... Rbxd8 25. f5 g6 26. fxg6 Nxg6 27. Rf6 Rd6 28. Ref1 Ne5 29. R6f5 Ng4 30. Rxf7 Rxf7 31. Rxf7 Kh8! but White, a pawn to the good and with bishop against knight, has the better chances to win after 32. g3! Ne3 33. Kg1 Rc6 34. Rf2 Kg7
24... Qf6? With Rowe "hugging up" the initiative from the start and putting Elliott under constant pressure the defending champion cracks. Elliott's position was exacerbated by the fact that he was down to less than five minutes on his clock. As the text-move loses quickly, Warren had to play -
24... Qxg5 25. fxg5 Ng6 although his defence is cheerless after 26. Rd7! When White puts the precious f7-square under siege and has a clear advantage.
25. Qxf6! gxf6 26. f5! The point. The "stray horse" is now trapped.
26... Rb4 27. g3 Come to me baby!
27... c5 28. Bd5 Rowe even has time for an intermezzo.
28... Rxa4 29. gxh4 Objectively, Black can now resign.
29... Rxh4 Warren plays on probably remembering that no one ever got anything by giving up!
30. c4 Rb8 31. Rb1 Re8 32. Rg1+ Kf8 33. Rb7 Re7 34. Rb8+ Re8 35. Rg8+ Kxg8 36. Rxe8+ After a pair of rooks leave the battlefield, Black's cause is even more hopeless. The first player now proceeds to wrap up the game comfortably.
36... Kg7 37. Re7 Rf4 38. Rxf7+ Kh6 39. Rxf6+ Kg5 40. Rf8 40. Rxa6 Kxf5 41. Ra5 Ke5 42. Rxc5 Kd4 43. Rc8
40... Rxf5 41. Rc8!
Avoiding the last "trick".
Exchanging rooks with 41. Rxf5+? would allow Black to "give more trouble" and spring to life especially because of his passer on a6 and his more active monarch. For example, 41... Kxf5 42. Kg2 Ke5 43. Kf3 Kd4! 44. Ke2 Kc3! 45. Kd1 Kb2! when it is much harder for White to convert.
41... Rf1+ 42. Kg2 Ra1 43. Rxc5 Kf4 44. Rc7 h5 45. Re7 a5 46. c5 Rc1 47. c6 a4 48. Re4+ Kf5 49. Rc4 The Kingston College "old boy" romps to five from five!