Four KnightsC47

Simutowe A. (2421)
Ippolito D. (2395)

NJ Futurity International (6)
Parsippany, USA, 2007

1. e4 I rarely play e4. In this game, I was not sure whether Ippolito would respond with the Sicilian or follow this interesting variation. 1... e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 This move is probably not nice to the eyes of a Petroff player. Probability is in my favor that I was more comfortable than my opponent in this position, but Ippolito is a very seasoned IM. In his eyes, 3.Nc3 was probably variety or my fear of hackneyed variations in the Petroff. Hence he proceeded with usual poise. 3... Nc6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bb4 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Bd3 d5 8. exd5 cxd5 9. O-O O-O 10. Bg5 c6 11. Qf3 Statistics and probability had not failed me up to this stage. Ippolito had gone in the first line I predicted when I examined the probabilities of how he wouldn respond to e4. I avoided 11. Na4 Be6 12. c3 or any other variations that come after 11.Na4 because they have been analyzed extensively. 11... Be7 12. Rae1 Be6 13. Qg3 Rb8 14. b3!? Played partially to invite the next move. Statistically, a master's eyes would immediately eye the b4 square. The question was whether Ippolito would go for it...the seemingly next move after 14... Bb4 would be Bd2 and that would kill my activity. 15. Re3! After the game, Ippolito commented that this was a very good move 15. Qh4 h6 16. Bxh6 Ne4 is winning for black 15... Bxc3?

This is a very tempting move. I knew that the probability of my opponent missing the next move was quite significant. The capture on c3, immediately protects the Knight on f6....and even if I make sacrifices, it's hard to imagine that a checkmate is possible without taking the bishop on c3. By that time it's reasonable to imagine that black would have found a solid defence with a piece up, but wait....Bxh7!! 15... d4 loses to 16. Qh4 dxe3?? (16... Re8 17. Ne4 dxe3 18. Nxf6+ gxf6 19. Qxh7+ Kf8 20. Qh8+ Ke7 21. Qxf6+ Kd7 (21... Kf8?? 22. Bh6+ Kg8 23. Qg7#) 22. Qd4+ taking the Queen on d8) 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Qxh7# 16. Bxh7+!!

16... Kxh7 17. Qh4+ Kg8 17... Kg6 loses to 18. Rg3 Be5 (18... Bg4 19. f4 Kf5 20. Bxf6 Qxf6 21. Qxg4+ Ke4 22. f5+ Ke5 23. Qf4#) 19. Bxf6+ Bxg3 20. Qg5+ Kh7 21. Qxg7# 18. Rxc3! This simple move shows the true effects of the combination. The Knight on f6 is pinned and the Rook will take its time to get to g3. 18... Qe7 18... Bf5 19. Rf3 Qd7 20. Bxf6 gxf6 21. Rg3+ Bg6 22. Rh3

winning for white 19. Rg3 Qb4 20. Qxb4 Rxb4 21. Bxf6 Rg4 22. Rxg4 Bxg4 23. Bd4 Re8 24. Rc1 This position is psychologically difficult to play for black. Even though black has significant drawing chances, he hangs between defeat and a draw almost each move he plays. The relatively few moves in which Ippolito is lost after this position may be proof that he was disappointed with his position and had problems finding the type of decision trees he wanted. 24... a6 25. f3 Bf5 26. Kf2 Finally....we reach an ending where white only needs patience to wrap up... 26... f6 27. g4 Bg6 28. h4 Kf7 29. h5 Bh7 30. c4 dxc4 31. Rxc4 Bd3 32. Rxc6 Re2+ 33. Kg3 Rxa2 34. h6 34. Rc7+ Kf8 35. g5 fxg5 36. Rxg7 followed by h6,h7 was quicker 34... gxh6 35. Rxf6+ Kg8 36. Rxh6 a5 37. Rb6 Bc2 38. b4 axb4 39. Rxb4 Ra3 40. Rc4 Bd1 41. Rc3 Rxc3 42. Bxc3

42... Kf7 43. f4 Ba4 44. f5 Bc2 45. Kf4 Ba4 46. g5 Be8 47. g6+ Kg8 48. Kg5 Ba4 49. f6 Bb3 50. Bb4 Ba2 51. Kf4 Bb3 52. Ke5 Ba2 53. Kd6 Kf8 54. Kd7+ Kg8 55. Ke7

I like this game because I used psychology, statistics and probability of how my opponent would respond in great conscience. Perhaps it would serve us more as chess players if we did that more often. Normally, we simply play chess. 1-0 [Amon Simutowe]

Game(s) in PGN