Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Catalan Opening

This is by far the best game I have ever played. The final mating sequence is especially pretty. [Kowalsky]

Ron Marcy (USCF 1465) - Ken Kowalsky (USCF 1461), Morris County Industrial League 11/11/1987

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5

The usual line is 4.d4 Be7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.O-O dxc4 7.Qa4 followed b7 8.Qxc4. [West]

4...exd5 5.d4 Be7 6.e3 O-O 7.Ne2 c6 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Nbc3 Re8 10.a3 Nf8 11.b4 a6 12.Qc2

Better is 12.Rb1 intending 13.a4 and 14.b5. [Kowalsky]

12...Bd7 13.Rb1 Qc8 14.Nf4

A better move is 14.Re1 to answer 14...Bh3 with 15.Bh1. [West]


This double-edged move is the beginning of a tricky plan to attack White's king position before his minority attack on the queenside builds up steam. [Kowalsky]

15.Nd3 Bh3 16.Nc5

White should get the minority attack rolling with 16.a4. [Kowalsky]

16...Bxc5 17.bxc5 Bxg2

Black wins material after 17...Bf5! 18.e4 Nxe4 19.Nxe4 dxe4! 20.Bxg5? e3!. [West]

18.Kxg2 Re7 19.Bd2 g4 20.a4

White's only trump card is the semi-open b-file. Consequently, he should try to triple up on it with 20.Rb3 and 21.Rfb1 and 22.Qb2. Another possibility for White is 20.Na4 N8d7 21.Nb6 Nxb6 22.cxb6 to open the a3-f8 diagonal for his bishop. [West]

20...Ne6 21.Ne2 Ng5 22.Rbc1 Nfe4

White's slow, pointless maneuvering has enabled Black to infiltrate the enemy king's position. [Kowalsky]

23.Ba5 Qf5 24.Nf4 Nf3 25.Qe2?

This allows Black's queen to penetrate via the b1-h7 diagonal. [Kowalsky]

25...Neg5 26.Qd1??

The only move to prevent checkmate is 26.Qc2. [Kowalsky]

26...Qe4! 27.Qc2 Ne1+ 28.Kg1 Nh3+!, White resigns.

On 29.Nxh3, there is 29...Qg2#. [Kowalsky]

{This article originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News in 1988}