Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Game Analysis: Schmidt-Warfield

We had some interesting games at the club last month, and I wanted to share one from the Reubens-Landey tournament, our U2200 championship. In this game, multiple-time champ Simon Warfield faces Dan Schmidt in an open Sicilian. Schmidt plays a sharp idea in the opening, but Warfield finds a precise response and goes on to win after some adventures.

Schmidt - Warfield

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 The Kan variation. Black allows White a wider choice of plans than in most Sicilians, but avoids certain sharp theoretical lines. 5.Nc3

5...Qc7 [5...b5 6.Bd3 Qb6 7.Nf3 is a major alternative. White will try to exploit his lead in development -- depending on Black does, White might attack the queenside with a2-a4, grab space in the center with e4-e5, or line up a Nd5 shot after placing a major piece on the e-file.] 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.f4

7...d6 [7...b5 8.e5 b4 has also been played here. One line is 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Bb7 11.Qf3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Bxc6 dxc6 which looks okay for Black, if a little dry.] 8.Qf3 Be7 9.g4!? Nc6!

This looks like a good reaction, as White cannot defend the knight in a natural way. 10.Nxc6 [10.Be3 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 e5 and Black is slightly better: 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Qg3 Bd6 14.Be3 Ba3! is a common trick that is useful to remember.] 10...bxc6 11.g5 Nd7 12.b3 Bb7 13.Bb2 d5 14.h4 Nc5 15.0-0-0

15...Nxd3+ [15...d4!? 16.Ne2 Nxd3+ 17.Rxd3 c5 looks more ambitious. I would rather be Black here, as White cannot undermine Black's center without opening up his own king. ] 16.Rxd3 0-0-0 This quiet approach also looks roughly equal, though White does have a little pressure on the kingside. 17.Rhd1 f5 

18.exf5 [18.gxf6! definitely looks best. 18...Bxf6 19.Na4 is problematic, but after 18...gxf6 Black will always have to watch out for undermining f4-f5 ideas. ] 18...exf5 19.Ne2 Bd6 20.Kb1 Rhe8 21.Ng3 Qf7 22.Re3?! c5 Now Black's center is mobile and he is definitely better. 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Qc3 Re7 25.Qd3 g6 26.Bf6 Re6 27.Qd2 Qe8 28.Qa5 Kb8 29.Be5! 

White finds a tactical way to limit his disadvantage. Black is still better in the ensuing position due to his control of the e-file, but the pawn structure is changed in White's favor.29...Bxe5 30.fxe5 Rxe5 31.Qxc5 Qe7 32.Qd4 Re3 33.Rd3 Re1+ 34.Rd1

34...Qe5 The right idea, as White's queen defends the dark squares. 35.Qxe5+ Rxe5 36.c4? White was in trouble anyway, but freeing Black's bishop can't be right. 36...f4 37.Nh1 dxc4 38.bxc4 Kc7 39.Nf2

With Black's bishop participating, the win is in sight.  39...f3 40.Ng4 Re7 41.Rd4 Bc8 42.Kb2 Bxg4 43.Rxg4 Rf7 44.Rg1 f2 45.Rf1 Kc6 46.Kc3 Kc5 47.a4 a5-+ 48.h5 gxh5 0-1

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