Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pirc Defense 6...Na6

This game features a couple of piece sacrifices by White in a mating attack. Black successfully defends his king but winds up a pawn down in a lost endgame.

Jim West (USCF 2206) - Dragan Milovanovic (USCF 2277)
Hamilton, N.J. 5/31/2003

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3

For 5...c5, see my article in the Winter 2003 issue of Empire Chess.

6.Bd3 Na6

In the 1980's, I asked international master Mike Valvo why Bobby Fischer had attributed this move to him. As I recall, Valvo explained that he had used 6...Na6 in several blitz games against Fischer.

7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5

So far, this is Bisguier-Benko, match 1964, evaluated as "about equal" by Fischer in My 60 Memorable Games. Now ECO recommends 10.c3!?. The game continued 10.c4 Qd8 11.O-O Bg4 12.Be4 c6 with an unclear position, according to ECO.

10.Qe2 c6 11.c3 Nc7 12.O-O Bg4 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Rxf3 Rad8 15.Bg5 Qd7 16.Raf1 b5 17.Qd2 Ne6 18.Bh6 c5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Qf2 cxd4 21.Rxf7+ Kg8

22.Qh4! Rxf7 23.Rxf7 Ng5

Better is 23...Kxf7 24.Qxh7+ Ng7 25.Bxg6+ Ke6 26.Qxg7 dxc3 27.Bf7+ Kf5 28.bxc3 with an equal position, although Black must play carefully because his king is exposed and White's passed kingside pawns could prove to be dangerous.


Originally I had planned 24.Rxh7 Nxh7 25.Bxg6 Nf8 26.Qg5 Nxg6 27.Qxg6+ but suddenly realized that White has nothing more than perpetual check after 27...Kh8 (27...Kf8?? 28.e6 Qe8 29.Qh7 wins) 28.Qh6+ Kg8 29.Qg6+.


On 24...Qxb5 25.Qxg5, White has a winning endgame after 25...Re8 (25...Kxf7?? 26.e6+ wins) 26.Rxe7 Rxe7 27.Qxe7 dxc3 28.Qd8+ Kf7 29.Qc7+ Ke6 30.Qxc3.

25.Rf4 Qxe5 26.Bc4+ Kg7 27.cxd4 Qe3+ 28.Kh2 Rf8

29.Rxf8 Kxf8 30.Qh6+ Ke8 31.Bb5+ Kd8 32.Qf8+ Kc7 33.a4 h5 34.h4 Nh7 35.Qf3 Qe6 36.Qc3+ Kb7 37.Qf3+ Kb6 38.Qf4 Kb7 39.Qe5 Qf7 40.Qe4+ Kb8 41.Ba6 e6 42.Qe5+ Qc7 43.Kh3 Qxe5 44.dxe5 Nf8 45.Bb5 a5

Not only is Black down a pawn, but the white bishop is far superior to his knight.

46.Kg3 Kc7 47.Kf4 Kd8 48.Kg5 Ke7 49.Kh6 Kf7 50.g3 Kg8 51.Be8 Kh8

White now wins more material.

52.Bxg6 Nd7 53.Bxh5 Nxe5 54.Be2 Kg8 55.Kg5, Black resigns.

{This article originally appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of Empire Chess}