Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense

The following game comes to us courtesy of candidate master Peter Radomskyj.*

GM Walter Browne - Peter Radomskyj (USCF 1850), Atlantic Open Simultaneous Exhibition 1970

In the different closed defenses to the Ruy Lopez (considered sounder than the more open counterattacking variations), the play from the start spells a great deal of tension for both players. White is the first to break in the center and hopes that, by putting enough pressure on the center, he will gain time to expand on the queenside and/or kingside, thereby stifling Black's game. This often happens to the point where a winning attack can not be far behind!

Black, to the contrary, hopes to maintain his strongpoint on e5 with a pawn or a piece, reposition his pieces so that any premature attack on White's part will backfire, expand where possible, exchange pieces if necessary, and be prepared to counter in the center.

All this leads to nervewracking play where sudden attacks sometimes appear out of a clear blue sky. But, in reality, the position has been pregnant with these possibilities all along, waiting only for the right tactical moment to materialize. Often the outcome is decided by whose initial maneuvers were more to the point.

In this game, Black gives up the center to trade pieces, but this only apparently frees his game. White's better centralized position culminates in a lovely two-bishop sacrifice for a mating attack. [Radomskyj]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.a3

White deviates from the book a little against his well-prepared opponent. [Radomskyj]

Instead Fischer-Eliskases, Mar del Plata 1960 continued 13.dxc5 dxc5 14.Nf1 Rd8 15.Qe2 Nh5 16.a4! Rb8 17.axb5 axb5 18.g3! g6 19.h4! Be6 20.Ne3 c4 21.Ng5 Bxg5 22.hxg5 Na5 23.Ng4 Bxg4 24.Qxg4 Nb3 25.Bxb3 cxb3 26.Be3 +/-. [West]

13...cxd4 14.cxd4 exd4 15.Nb3 Nd7 16.Nbxd4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Re8 18.Nf5 Bf8 19.Bf4 Ne5 20.Ne3 Be6 21.Rc1 Rac8 22.Nd5 Qb7 23.Bb1 Nc4 24.Qd4 Bxd5?

This is a grave error, greatly increasing the range of White's king bishop. Black was overly concerned about the weakness of his b6 square. White has a grip on the position, but Black might have ventured 24...f5!?. [Radomskyj]

25.exd5 Be7 26.b3! Nxa3?

I might have prevented a brilliancy with 26...Ne5. [Radomskyj]

27.Bf5 Rxc1 28.Bxc1 b4 29.Bb2 f6

What else? Note the contrast between the activity of White's pieces and Black's. [Radomskyj]

30.Qh4 g6

Again, what else for Black? [Radomskyj]

31.Bxg6 hxg6 32.Bxf6 Kf7

If 32...Bxf6, then 33.Rxe8+ Kf7 34.Qh7+ Bg7 35.Re6. White wins the g-pawn, ties Black's queen down because of the subsequent threat of Re8# following Qxg6+, and then advances his h-pawn to h6 coupled with the threat of moving his rook back and checking on f3 or f4. If Black plays ...Qd7, White takes off both the d-pawn and a-pawn, giving Black a lost endgame. Black prefers to die in a blaze of glory, but White has only to make one more accurate attacking move! [Radomskyj]

33.Qh7+ Kxf6, and Black resigns.

After 34.Re6+, Black's king will be mated. [Radomskyj]

*{Today Pete is a national master. This article originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News in 1987}