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Jonathan Rogers annotates
M Ruston v J Rogers, rd.9 Div 1
1 e4 c5
For the first time in 22 years and the second time in my life. I was inspired by the assurance that these days, no one under 2500 dares to play 2 Nf3 and 3 d4.
I hadn't actually looked up my opponent on any database, so apparently this observation is right.
2...e6 3 g3 a6 4 a4 d5 5 exd5 exd5 6 Bg2 Nf6 7 d4 cxd4 8 Qxd4 Nc6 9 Qd1 Bb4
White's opening has been dubious, especially the insertion of 4 a4. Black should perhaps have taken better advantage of this by playing 9...Nb4, threatening 10...Bf5, with good development after 10 Nge2 Bc5. But it turns out that Black will not regret putting his bishop on b4; it never moves again...
10 Nge2 0-0 11 0-0 Re8 12 Bg5 Bg4 13 f3?!
Instead 13 h3 Bxc3 14 hxg4 would have been quite reasonable for White. The text is weakening, but White clearly wanted to put his knight on f4.
13 ...Bf5 14 Nf4 d4!
I had decided now to sacrifice the queen!
15 Ncd5 Nxd5! 16 Bxd8 Ne3 17 Qc1 Raxd8
I did not consider releasing the pressure with 17...Nxf1 - Black does not want to give White time to consolidate with Bxf1 - Bd3.
My next move is very difficult. I had not seen it in advance, and none of the IM or GMs to whom I showed this position afterwards found it either, even though they knew that something was there to be found. It seems that one needs to be at the board, discarding the more obvious alternatives first ... I had wanted to play 18...Nxc2 19 Rxc2 Re1 + 20 Qxe1 Bxe1 but then realised that here White can play 21 Rxc6. But this line did give me a clue - that this knight on c6 should be moved; and I had also seen that I should want to discourage White from freeing himself with c2-c3. So now I gave serious consideration to what is a most unusual attacking maneuvre!
Here it is. Now the threat is 19...Nxc2 followed by Nb3, and Black will pick up both White rooks! It is astonishing to see how helpless White is against the oncoming ...Nb3. Later we thought that White needed to respond to this with 19 Ra3 and were not sure whether Black should simply capture it, or increase the pressure further with 19...Rc8 (but then how to respond to 20.Rd3)? However a computer provided a further surprise by preferring Black in this position, and gave the continuation 19 Ra3 Rc8 20 Rd3 Bxd3 21 Nxd3 Nb3! 22 Qb1 Nd2 23 Qa2 Rxc2. Here, having crashed through on c2, Black is doing very well because the White queen cannot move (save from a2 to a1!) and the bishop on b4 is immune on account of ...Rc1+. He can consolidate his grip with ...a5 and double the rooks on the c-file at his leisure.
The idea of the knight hopping from a5 to d2 in order to interfere with
White's protection on c2 is most artistic.
My opponent had little time left and understandably collapsed: his next
move was designed to prevent the knight on e3 from moving on account of
19 Nh5 d3!
Instantly decisive. This would also have been the response to 19 Bh3 Bxh3 20 Nxh3.
20 cxd3 Nb3 21 Qb1 Nxa1 22 Qa1 Rxd3
And now there is no good defence to ...Rd1+.
Pride and Prejudice
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