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Danny Roberts comments on City of Belfast play

Danny took the time to look over the games from the recent City of Belfast tournament. He gave us his commentary on one of the games
Danny Roberts comments on City of Belfast play

Final Position

Des Moreland v Chris Armstrong

City of Belfast Round 3, Board 4
A combative game from the tournament,
1. d4 Nf6
2. Bf4 e6
3. Nf3 d5
4. e3 Be7
5. h3 O-O
6. Bd3 c5
7. c3 Nc6
8. Nbd2 b6
9. O-O Bb7
10. Re1 Rc8
Both players demonstrate good understanding of the opening principals and we are still in a theoretical position
11 Qa4 Nh5 White plays a perfectly good idea but likely more thematic would have been 11 Ne5 with a slight white advantage, now we are equal, and 11…Na5 is an idea here playing against the white Queen position. 11…Nh5 though is also good, for although white chooses the right retreat, sometimes the Bh2 can entomb the Black King later, and in some lines the knight position can aid pressure on the kingside.
12 Bh2 Bd6
Black responds with another standard idea of opposing the black squared bishop in this line. Another possibility was 12…c4 with the idea again of gaining space on the queenside and playing against the white Queen position.
13 Ne5 a5
Interesting, white occupies the key e5 square, thematic in the line, but possibly slightly more precise was the exchange on d6, creating some ‘luft’ for the King, but also softening up black for a later Ne5. 13….a5 is also perfectly good, gaining space on the queenside, but the a7 pawn does not tend to be at risk of capture in these lines as the Queen is generally trapped by a subsequent …Ra8, even after an exchange of the c6 knight. Although perfectly good, …a5 does give white the b5 square unchallenged. We are still equal.
14. Bb5 Ne5?
15 de5  Bc7
A turning point, Black would be fully equal after 14……Qc7. Black’s reply though should be simply losing because after white’s reply there are two problems which cannot simultaneously be dealt with, the attack on the bishop, but also the fact that the capture covers the retreat square f6 for the knight, against the trapping idea g4 winning the piece.
16 g4 Qg5
White is consistent, although black can pin the pawn on the king, and the move itself is accurate, the position of the queen is not and she will not be able to save the knight.
17.f4?! Qg6
Interesting move as I think that 17 f4?! In a sense reflects the style of the white player. It is a little too gung ho! Whereas a large part of the white advantage remains, best is simply 17 Nf3 Qg6 followed by unpinning, as the knight still has no retreat, and this line allows the win of the piece with less compromise to king security, and risk.
18. Kf2? f5?
The quality goes awry here, and indeed after Kf2 and the correct 18…d4 Black is very much back in the game. However, with …f5? the situation far from dramatic improvement actually deteriorated further for the black player.
After, 18…d4! there are many lines, but white remains only slightly better due to the opening of lines against the white king. A key point being that gh5 can be met by the deadly…Qg2, and black also has ideas opening lines with ideas like…Bd8 and Bh4 +, and …f6 bringing the rook into the attack.
19 Be2??  fg4
Now it is White’s turn to panic and the appraisal actually now turns into a winning one for the black pieces!
20 hg4 Be5?? ( the final error)
Having missed the move on the last turn black now misses it once more, but under even more favourable circumstances, he should be winning.. so, 20…..d4!
21 gh5  ( now g2 is covered). Qf5
White now converted with good accuracy, and allowed no further real chances to the player of the black pieces.
It finished:
22. Bf3 Bc7
23.Rg1  e5
24. Rg5 Qf6
25. Rag1 Rf7
26. fe5 Qe6
27. Bf4 Bc6
28. Qc2 Bd8
29.Bg4! Qe8
30. Rf5 Rcc7
31. Nf3 Rf5
32. Qf5 Bd7
33. e6! Bc8
34.Bc7 Bc7
35. Qf7 +
An interesting battle, nice opening play but during six moves of the middle game the appraisal swung from white win to black win and back again. Exciting stuff!