Plunkett R. (2282)
Morrison W. (2380)
39th World Open (8)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 Spassky once played 11...Re8 against J. Polgar in a match (1993) followed by 12...Bb7. This transposition of moves should have been fatal had White noticed the crusher 12.Bxf7!
12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 g6 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bd2 Bg7 17. Qc1 Kh7 18. Bd3 exd4 This is an active variation for Black and perhaps a bit risky ceding White a full center.
19. cxd4 c5 20. Bf4 Qb6
20... cxd4 21. Bxd6 Rc8 22. Qf4 Nc5 23. Bxc5 pinning and targeting the e-pawn as well as protecting f7 on the horizontal. The position remains complicated after Rec1! In some variations it is possible for White to sacrifice a rook if he can penetrate to f7 with his Queen causing mayhem in the Black position. 23... Rxc5 24. e5 Qc7! pinning and targeting the e pawn as well as protecting f7 on the horizontal. The position remains complicated after Rec1! In some variations it is possible for White to sacrifice a rook if he can penetrate to f7 with his Queen causing mayhem in the Black position i.e., after 25. Rec1! Nd7 (If 25... Nd5 26. Rxc5 Qxc5 27. Qxf7 with a winning position.)
26. Qxf7!? Rxc1+ 27. Rxc1 Qxc1+ 28. Kh2 things are quite unclear. White is a Rook down but has multiple threats in the heart of Black's position.
21. e5 dxe5 22. dxe5 Bxf3! This is practically force and a good move at that. Black's alternatives were not appealing to me even though they were playable. For example, 22... Nd5!? 23. Nf5 (the move I was most afraid of) 23... Nxf4 24. Qxf4 Bxf3 25. Nxg7 Kxg7 26. Qxf3 Rad8 27. Qf4 Qe6 and Black is OK.
23. exf6 Rxe1+ 24. Qxe1 Qxf6 25. Qe3 Bb7? An inaccurate move, Black should protect the knight on d7 by playing Bc6, this ensures that White will not have the time to gain momentum with the move 26 Rd1 as played in the game.
26. Rd1 Nf8 27. b3 Ne6 At this point I thought I had consolidated my position and looked forward to utilizing my extra pawn in the endgame; I was in for a surprise.
28. Nh5 Qh4 29. Bxg6+
A shot from the blue! I had seen the move just before my opponent played it and thought it would be an interesting try.
29... Kxg6 29... fxg6 30. Qxe6 gxh5 31. g3 Rd8! 32. Rd7 (threatens mate) 32... Rxd7 33. Qxd7 with a balanced game.
30. Qd3+ f5 31. Qd7 A fascinating position has been reached. White has obvious compensation for the material.
31... Bc8 32. Qe8+?
I would consider this the critical position. White should forget about the attack at this point and turn his attention to the queenside which is most vulnerable. After 32. Qc6 creating optimal confusion in Black's camp, I would be forced to walk the plank after 32... Ra7 33. Qxc8 Nxf4 34. Rd6+! Kxh5 35. Qe8+ Kg5 and the position is unclear.
32... Kh7 33. g3 Qxh3 34. Qf7 White threatens mate in two forcing Black's reply.
34... Bb7!! Forced, other moves fall short. If
34... Kh8 35. Rd8+ winning.
35. Nf6+ Kh8 36. Qxb7 Rf8 37. Nd7 Nxf4 At this point I thought my opponent would resign in view of 38. gxf4 Rg8!
The only move on the board for him, I thought the game was over and now I had to gear up for the second stage of this fight. My question was "what do I do now?" Should I give him the exchange for two pieces or pin the Knight and go into an endgame? I chose the latter.
38... Rd8 39. Qxf4 Qg4 40. Qxg4 fxg4 41. Kf1 c4 42. bxc4 bxc4 43. Ke2 h5 44. Nc5 Rxd1 45. Kxd1 Bd4 46. Ne4 Kg7 47. Ke2 Kg6
Black must be winning this endgame.
48. Nd2 c3 49. Nb3 Bb6 50. Nc1 Kf5 51. Nd3 c2 The game is over at this point, I felt relieved.
52. f3 gxf3+ 53. Kxf3 Bd4 54. Ke2 Bb2 55. Kd2 c1=Q+ 56. Nxc1 Bxc1+ 57. Kxc1 Kg4 0-1
Game(s) in PGN