Friday, February 16, 2007

Pirc Defense 6...Nc6

In the ninth and final round of the New York Open 1997, I defeated Sunil Weeramantry in a game filled with mistakes brought on by fatigue. The outcome was not decided in the opening, a Pirc Defense, but in an endgame featuring bishop versus connected passed pawns. Surprisingly, the piece proved to be stronger than the pawns.

Jim West (USCF 2276) - Sunil Weeramantry (USCF 2271), New York Open 4/6/1997

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

Although this is most often played, Black has another good continuation at his disposal: 5...c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 Bg4 (8...a6 9.Be3 Qc7 10.O-O Nbd7 11.h3 b5 12.Rae1 e5 13.Qf2 Bb7 14.g4 O-O-O 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.g5 Nh5 17.Bxb5! Nf4 18.Bxf4 exf4 19.Bd3 Ne5 20.Qe2 h6 21.Kg2 Qa5 22.Nxe5 Bxe5 23.gxh6 Bxc3 24.bxc3 Qg5+ 25.Qg4+ Qxg4+ 26.hxg4 g5 27.Rh1 Rde8 28.Rh5 f6 29.Kf3 Rh7 30.Kf2 Re5 31.Kf3 Kc7 32.Rb1 Kc6 33.Bc4 Kc7 34.Bd3 Bc6 35.Rb4 a5 36.Rd4 Bd7 37.Bc4 Re8 38.Rd1 Re5 39.Bg8 Rh8 40.h7 Be6 41.Bxe6 Rxe6 42.c4 Re7 43.c5 Rexh7 44.Rdh1 Rxh5 45.gxh5 Rh6 46.Kg4 Kc6 47.Rd1 Kxc5 48.Rd5ch Kb4 49.e5 fxe5 50.Rxe5 Rc6 51.Re2 Ka3 52.Kxg5 f3 53.Rh2 Kxa2 54.h6 a4 55.h7 Rc8 56.h8=Q Rxh8 57.Rxh8 Kb2 58.c4 a3 59.Kg4 f2 60.Rh1, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2299) - Bernie Friend (USCF 2143), Dumont 12/11/1989) 9.Be3 Qa5 10.O-O Nc6 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 O-O 13.a3 Nd7 14.Bd2 f5 (14...Qb6+ 15.Kh1 Nc5 16.Rab1 Nxd3 17.cxd3 Rac8 18.Nd5 Qd8 19.f5 Ne5 20.Qg3 Re8 21.Rbc1 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Nc6 23.Bc3 Bxc3 24.Rxc3 e6 25.Ne3 d5 26.exd5 exd5 27.Rc1 Ne5 28.fxg6 hxg6 29.Ng4 Nxg4 30.Qxg4 Qb6 31.Rc8, draw, Jim West (USCF 2213) - Matthew Traldi (USCF 2100), Somerset Quads 1/4/1998) 15.exf5 gxf5 16.Rab1 Kh8 17.Kh1 Rae8 18.Qd5 Qd8 19.Bxf5 Nf6 20.Qd3 e6 21.Be4 d5 22.Bf3 Nd7 23.Bh5 Re7 24.b4 Nd4 25.Ne2 Nf5 26.Bg4 Nf6 27.Bxf5 exf5 28.Bc3 Ne4 29.Bxg7+ Rxg7 30.Rf3 Rf6 31.Qd4 Rfg6 32.Rg1 h5 33.c4 Rd6 34.c5 Rdg6 35.Nc3 Qg8 36.Nxd5 Ng3+ 37.Kh2 (better 37.Rxg3) Ne2 38.Qe5 Nxg1 39.Kxg1 Rxg2+ 40.Kf1 Rd2 41.Rg3 Rxd5 42.Rxg7 Qxg7 43.Qxd5 Qa1+ 44.Kf2 Qxa3 45.Qd8+ Kg7 46.Qd7+ Kf6, draw, Jim West (USCF 2207) - Nenad Vulicevic (USCF 2426), Marshall Chess Club 12/29/1996.

6.Bd3 Nc6

Other sixth move possibilities for Black include:

a) 6...c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.e5 Nd5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10.Qe2 Qd8 11.Be3 Qc7 12.O-O b6 13.Rad1 Bb7 14.e6 f5 15.c3 Bf6 16.Bc4 a6 17.a4 Bc6 18.Ra1 Ra7 19.Rfd1 Kg7 20.Ne5 Bxe5 21.fxe5 f4 22.Rf1! fxe3 23.Rxf8 Kxf8 24.Qf1+ Kg7 25.Qf7+ Kh6 26.Qf8+ Kg5 27.h4+ Kxh4 28.Qf4+, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2293) - Albert Winyard (USCF 2101), Marshall Chess Club 2/2/1991.

b) 6...Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nc6 9.Be3 Nb4 [9...e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.f5 Nd4 12.Qf2 Qd7 (12...c5 13.g4 c4 14.Bxc4 Rc8 15.Bd3 Qa5 16.O-O Rxc3 17.bxc3 Qxc3 18.g5 Nh5 19.f6 Bh8 20.Rab1 Qc8 21.Qg2 Ne6 22.Qg4 b6 23.Rb4 Nhf4 24.Rc4 Qd8 25.Bxf4 Nxf4 26.Rxf4 exf4 27.Qxf4 b5 28.Rb4 a6 29.e5 h5 30.e6 fxe6 31.Qe4 Qb6+ 32.Kg2 Bxf6 33.Qxg6+ Bg7 34.Qh7+ Kf7 35.Rf4+ Ke8 36.Qxh5+ Ke7 37.Rxf8 Kxf8 38.Qf3+ Ke7 39.h4 Qd4 40.Kh3 Be5 41.Qe4 Qd6 42.h5 Bh2 43.Qf3 Bf4 44.Kg4 e5 45.Qe4 Qe6+ 46.Qf5 Qb6 47.h6 Qg1+ 48.Kh5 Qb6 49.h7, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2319) - Rich Napoli (USCF 2074), Bergen County Open 11/26/1988) 13.O-O-O c6 14.g4 gxf5 15.gxf5 Kh8 16.Rhg1 Rg8 17.Rg2 b5 18.Rdg1 b4 19.Rxg7! Rxg7 20.Rxg7 Kxg7 21.Qg3+ Kh8 22.Qxe5 Kg7 23.Bxd4 Qd8 24.Na4 Rc8 25.Nc5 Rc7 26.Bc4 a5 27.c3 bxc3 28.bxc3 Qe7 29.Qxe7 Rxe7 30.e5, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2218) - George Krauss (USCF 2034), Hamilton Quads 9/23/1995] 10.O-O-O c6 11.Kb1 Nxd3 12.Rxd3 Qc7 13.g4 b5 14.g5 Nh5 15.Ne2 b4 16.Rhd1 a5 17.f5 a4 18.Nf4 Nxf4 19.Qxf4 Rfb8 20.f6 exf6 21.gxf6 Bf8 22.Qh4 Qd8 23.e5 Qe8 24.Bh6 Bxh6 25.Qxh6 Qf8 26.Qf4 Re8 27.h4 h5 28.Rg1 Kh7 29.Rg5 Qh6 30.Qd2 a3 31.b3 Rab8 32.c3 dxe5 33.dxe5 bxc3 34.Qxc3 Rb5 35.Rd7 Qf8 36.Qc2 Kh8 37.Rxg6! Rbxe5 38.Rg7 Re8ch 39.Rd1 R1e4 40.Qc1 Re3 41.Rdg1 R8e5 42.R7g5 Qe8 43.Qxe3!, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2299) - Nenad Vulicevic (USCF 2324), Marshall Chess Club 12/9/1989.

c) 6...Na6 7.e5 Nd7 8.Ne4 c5 9.Neg5 Nb6 10.e6 f5 11.Bxa6 bxa6 12.h4 cxd4 13.h5 Qe8 14.hxg6 Qxg6 15.Rxh7 Bxe6 16.Nh4 Qf6 17.Qh5 Rfc8 18.Ng6 Qxg5 19.fxg5, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2248) - Sidney Kaplan (USCF 2100), Toms River Futurity 1986.

d) 6...Nbd7 7.e5 Ne8 8.Ne4 c5 9.c3 b6 10.Neg5 e6 11.h4 h6 12.h5! hxg5 13.Nxg5 f6 14.Nxe6 Qe7 15.hxg6! fxe5 16.Nxg7! exd4+ 17.Kf1 Ndf6 18.Nxe8 Rxe8 19.Bd2 Bg4 20.Qe1 Qd7 21.Qh4 Nh5 22.cxd4 cxd4 23.Qg5! Ng3+ 24.Kf2 Ne4+? 25.Bxe4 Rxe4 26.Qd5+ Qe6 27.Qxa8+ Kg7 28.Qh8+, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2200) - Marco Pardo (USCF 2142), Somerset Quads 10/5/1997.

7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nh5

Two different knight moves have been seen at this point:

a) 8...Ng4 9.Bc4 [9.h3 Nh6 10.Bc4 (10.Be4 f6 11.exf6 exf6 12.O-O Ne7 13.Be3 c6 14.a4 a5 15.Qd2 Nef5 16.Bf2 Nd6 17.Bd3 Be6 18.b3 Nhf5 19.Rae1 Bh6 20.Qd1 Re8 21.g4 Ng7 22.Be3 Bxe3+ 23.Rxe3 f5 24.Ne5 Qg5 25.Qc1 Rf8 26.Nf3 Qh6 27.Nh2 fxg4 28.Nxg4 Bxg4 29.hxg4 Rxf1+ 30.Bxf1 Qf4?? 31.Re8+, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2270) - Marco Pardo (USCF 2177), Bayonne Quads 3/8/1992) Na5 11.Be2 f6 12.b4 Nc6 13.b5 Nb8 14.Be3 Nf7 15.Bc4 c6 16.Qe2 Kh8 17.Rd1 Qc7 18.O-O a6 19.a4 axb5 20.axb5 Ra3 21.Bb3 f5 22.Nd2 Nd8 23.Nc4 Ra8 24.d5 Nd7 25.d6 exd6 26.exd6 Qb8 27.Qd3 Ne6 28.b6 Ndc5 29.Qd2 Nxb3 30.cxb3 Bd7 31.Na4 Qc8 32.Nc5 Nxc5 33.Bxc5 Qd8 34.Rfe1 Bf6 35.Bd4 Bxd4+ 36.Qxd4+ Qf6 37.Qxf6+ Rxf6 38.Re7, Black forfeits, Jim West (USCF 2299) - Larry Epstein (USCF 2208), Hamilton Quads 1/26/1991] Kh8 10.h3 Nh6 11.Be3 f6 12.exf6 exf6 13.O-O Nf5 14.Bf2 Re8 15.Re1 Nd6 16.Bb3 Bf5 17.Ba4 Rxe1+ 18.Nxe1 Ne4 19.Nxe4 Bxe4 20.c3 Qd5 21.Bb3 Qf5 22.g4 Qf4 23.Ng2 Bxg2 24.Kxg2 f5 25.Bg3 Qe4+ 26.Qf3 Qxf3+ 27.Kxf3 fxg4+ 28.hxg4 Rf8+ 29.Kg2 Re8 30.Bxc7 Re7 31.Bf4 Re2+ 32.Kf3 Rxb2 33.Re1 h6 34.Re8+ Kh7 35.Bg8+ Kh8 36.Bf7+ Kh7 37.Bg8+ Kh8 38.Bf7+ Kh7 39.d5 Na5 40.d6 Bf6 41.d7 Nc6 42.Bd5 g5 43.Bc1 Rb6 44.Be3 Ra6 45.Bxc6 Rxc6 46.Bd4, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2301) - Larry Epstein (USCF 2175), Hamilton Quads 7/28/1990.

b) 8...Nd5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10.c3 Bg4 [10...Na5 11.Qe2 Bg4 (11...Bf5 12.Bxf5 gxf5 13.O-O Nc6 14.Ng5 h6 15.Nh3 e6 16.Qh5 Kh7 17.Rf4 Ne7 18.Rh4 Ng6 19.Bxh6! Nxh4 20.Ng5+ Kg8 21.Qxh4 f6 22.Bxg7 fxg5 23.Qh8+ Kf7 24.Bxf8 Rxf8 25.Qf6+ Ke8 26.Qxg5 f4 27.Qh5+ Ke7 28.Qf3 Qxf3 29.gxf3 Rh8 30.Kg2 Rg8+ 31.Kf2 Rh8 32.Rh1 Rh3 33.Kg2 Rh4 34.h3 Rh7 35.h4 Rg7+ 36.Kf2 Kd7 37.Rg1 Rh7 38.Rg4 Rf7 39.Ke2 c5 40.Kd3 cxd4 41.cxd4 Kc6 42.Ke4 a6 43.Rxf4 Rh7 44.Rg4 Rh5 45.f4 Rh6 46.f5 exf5+ 47.Kxf5 Kd5 48.Kg5, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2201) - Jeffry Simmons (USCF 2007), USATE 2/19/1994) 12.Be4 Qd7 13.O-O c5 14.d5 Rac8 15.h3 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 e6 17.Bf4 b5 18.Rad1 Qe8 19.d6 Qd7 20.b3 a6 21.Bg5 f6? 22.exf6 Bxf6 23.Bg4! Kg7 24.Bxe6 Qd8 25.Bxf6+ Rxf6 26.Rxf6 Kxf6 27.Bxc8 Qxc8 28.Qe7+, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2200) - Carvas John (USCF 2171), Hamilton Quads 8/23/1997] 11.Qe2 Rad8 (11...Kh8 12.Be4 Qd7 13.Bf4 f6 14.O-O fxe5 15.Bxc6 Qxc6 16.Bxe5 Bxf3 17.Rxf3 Rxf3 18.gxf3 Bf6 19.Re1 Rf8 20.Kg2 Kg7 21.Qe4 Qb5 22.Re2 c6 23.f4 Qc4 24.a3 a5 25.Rf2 Qf7 26.Re2 Qc4 27.Rf2 Qf7 28.Re2 Kg8 29.Bxf6, draw, Jim West (USCF 2270) - Marco Pardo (USCF 2177), Bayonne Quads 2/23/1992) 12.Be4 Qd7 13.h3 Bf5 14.Bxf5 Qxf5 15.O-O Qc8 (15...Qd7 16.Ng5 Qd5 17.Bf4 f6 18.exf6 exf6 19.Qe6+ Kh8 20.Qxd5 Rxd5 21.Ne6 Rc8 22.Nxc7 Rd7 23.Ne6 Kg8 24.Nxg7 Kxg7 25.Rae1 Ne7 26.Re6 Kf7 27.Rd6 Rxd6 28.Bxd6 Nd5 29.Re1 Rc6 30.Bc5 b6 31.Ba3 a5 32.Rc1 h5 33.c4 Nf4 34.Kf1 b5 35.b3 Nd3 36.cxb5 Rb6 37.Rc7+ Kg8 38.Rc3 Nf4 39.Rc6 Rxb5 40.Rxf6 g5 41.h4 Rd5 42.hxg5 Rxd4 43.Rd6 Re4 44.g6 Re8 45.Bb2 Nxg2 46.Rd7 Ne3+ 47.Kg1 Ng4 48.Bc3 Ne5 49.Rh7 h4 50.Bxe5 Rxe5 51.Ra7 h3 52.a4 Re3 53.Rb7 Rc3 54.Kh2 Rd3 55.Rb5 Kg7 56.Rxa5 Rxb3 57.Rg5 Ra3 58.a5 Kf8 59.g7+ Kg8 60.Kg1 Ra2 61.Kh1 h2 62.Rb5 Kxg7 63.Rb7+ Kf8 64.Ra7 Ke8 65.a6 Kd8 66.Ra8+ Kc7 67.Rh8, draw, Jim West (USCF 2200) - Alberto Milanes (USCF 2108), Hamilton Quads 7/29/1995) 16.Bf4 h6 17.Rae1 Qe6 18.b3 a6 19.h4 b5 20.Qe3 Kh7 21.Kf2 Rd7 22.Rh1 f6 23.exf6 Qxe3+ 24.Rxe3 Rxf6 25.Kg3 b4 26.Ne5 Nxe5 27.Bxe5 Rc6 28.c4 Bxe5 29.Rxe5 Kg7 30.d5 Rc5 31.Rhe1 Kf7 32.Re6 Ra5 33.R1e2 Ra3 34.h5 gxh5 35.Rxh6 a5 36.Rxh5 a4 37.Rf5+ Ke8 38.Rf3 Rd6 39.bxa4 Rxa4 40.Rfe3 Ra3 41.Rxa3 bxa3 42.Re3 Rg6+ 43.Kf3 Rf6+ 44.Ke2 Rf4 45.Kd3 Rf1 46.Re2 Rb1 47.Kc3 Kd7 48.g3 Kd6 49.Re6+ Kd7 50.Ra6 Rg1 51.Rxa3 Rxg3+ 52.Kb4 Rg1 53.Ra6 Rb1+ 54.Kc5 Ra1 55.a4 Ra2 56.Kb5 Rb2+ 57.Ka5 Rb8 58.Rh6 Ra8+ 59.Kb4 Rb8+ 60.Ka3 Rd8 61.a5 Rb8 62.Ka4 c5 63.Rb6, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2230) - David Levin (USCF 2278), Somerset Quads 3/3/1996.

9.Be3 Bg4

Or 9...f6 10.exf6 exf6 11.O-O f5 12.Qd2 f4 13.Bf2 g5 14.Rae1 g4 15.Ne5 g3 16.hxg3 fxg3 17.Bxg3 Rxf1+ 18.Bxf1 Qxd4+ 19.Qxd4 Nxd4 20.Bf2 Ne6 21.Nd5 Bf8 22.Bc4 Kg7 23.g4 Nhf4 24.Nxf4 Nxf4 25.Bd4 c5 26.Bc3 Be6 27.Nf3+, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2256) - Pete Radomskyj (USCF 2246), Somerset Quads 8/1/1993.


Alternatively, White can play 10.Be4 f6 11.exf6 Nxf6 (11...exf6 12.O-O Re8 13.Qd2 Qd7 14.Rae1 Rad8 15.Kh1 f5?! 16.Bd5+ Kh8 17.Ng5 Re7 18.Bf2 Ne5? 19.dxe5 c6 20.e6 Qc7 21.Nf7+, 1-0, Jim West (USCF 2302) - Jim Santorelli (USCF 2152), Somerset Quads 9/10/1989) 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.O-O Rb8 14.b3 Nd5 15.Nxd5 cxd5 16.h3 Bxf3 17.Rxf3 Qd7 18.Rxf8+ Rxf8 19.Qd3 Qf5 20.Qxf5 Rxf5 21.Rf1 Rxf1+ 22.Kxf1 Kf7 23.Ke2 Ke6 24.Kd3 a6 25.c4 h5 26.g4 hxg4 27.hxg4 Kd6 28.Bf4+ Kc6 29.a4 e6 30.c5 Bf6 31.g5 Be7 32.b4 Bd8 33.Be3 Be7 34.Ke2 Bf8 35.Bf4 Bg7 36.Ke3 Bh8 37.Kd3 Bg7 38.Bg3 Bh8 39.b5+ axb5 40.axb5+ Kxb5 41.Bxc7 Bg7 42.Bd6 Kc6 43.Be7 e5 44.Bf6 e4+ 45.Ke3 Bf8 46.Kf4 Kd7 47.Ke3 Kc6, draw, Jim West (USCF 2216) - Danny Edelman (USCF 2206), Bar Point 5/13/1984.

10...Kh8 11.Qd2

This looks better than 11.O-O f6 12.exf6 exf6 13.Ne2 Qe7 14.Qd2 Rad8 15.Bd3 Rfe8 16.Bf2 Bxf3 17.gxf3 f5 18.c3 f4 19.Kh1 Qf6 20.Ng1 Ne7 21.Rae1 Rf8 22.Qc2 Nd5 23.Be4 Bh6 24.Bxd5 Rxd5 25.Qb3 Rg5 26.d5 Bg7 27.Nh3 Ng3+ 28.hxg3 fxg3 29.Nxg5 Qxg5 30.Bxg3 Qxg3 31.Qc2 Rf5 32.Qxf5! Qh4+ 33.Kg2 gxf5 34.Re8+ Bf8 35.Rxf8+ Kg7 36.Rxf5 Kg6 37.Re5 Qc4 38.Rfe1 Qxa2, draw, Jim West (USCF 2223) - Sunil Weeramantry (USCF 2255), Somerset Quads 6/7/1992.

11...Bxf3 12.gxf3 f6 13.e6! f5 14.O-O-O Na5 15.Be2 Qd6 16.Nb5

A better try would have been 16.d5.

16...Qxe6 17.d5 Qe5 18.Bd4 Qf4 19.Kb1 c6 20.Bxg7+ Kxg7 21.Nd4 Qxd2 22.Rxd2?!

Here I should have interpolated 22.Ne6+, winning the exchange.

22...Nf4 23.b4 c5! 24.bxc5 Rac8 25.c6 bxc6 26.Ne6+ Nxe6 27.dxe6 Kf6 28.Re1 Rb8+ 29.Kc1 Rb7 30.Rd4 Rfb8 31.Ra4 Rb1+ 32.Kd2 Rd8+ 33.Bd3 Rxe1 34.Kxe1 Rd5 35.Kd2 Kxe6 36.c4 Rc5 37.Kc3 Ke5 38.Bf1 Kf4 39.Kb4 Re5 40.Rxa5 Rxa5 41.Kxa5 Kxf3 42.c5 e5

43.Bb5! Ke3 44.Bxc6 Kd4 45.Kb4 e4 46.Ba4 Kd5

No better is 46...Ke5 47.c6 Kd6 48.Kb5 f4 49.Bc2! e3 50.Bd1.

47.Kb5 f4 48.Bb3+ Ke5 49.c6 Kd6 50.Bd5! e3 51.Bf3 g5 52.h3 h6 53.a3 Kc7 54.Kc5 a6 55.a4, 1-0.

This victory enabled me to finish the tournament with an even record of two wins, two losses, and five draws.

{This article originally appeared in the March-April 1998 issue of Atlantic Chess News}