White knights' tango

By Morten Lille°ren



Lilleoren,Morten (2386) - Valderas Viejo,Jose J (2281) [A11]
Norway - Spain, 01.10.2003

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg2!?

Looking back, I could of course claim that it was all a part of the masterplan to play a
gambit here, but the fact was that I once more just sent away a move in the opening
without even looking if there were consequences I hadn't thought about. I can be a
little sloppy with my handling of the move-order issue



There it was. While I was trying to "regroup", I received the norwegian chess magazine in the mail.
The main game was Berge Oestenstad's win as black against Kjetil A Lie in the norwegian championship 2003, ensuring him (BO) the title. It was this opening.. .. I dived into the databases, simultaneously letting the silicon-monster go berserk without interfering. When I surfaced
again some weeks later, I had with me some surprising concusions in my sack. The first thing
was that the artificial intelligense was convinced that black was clearly better. The second point
was that my game-material concluded with the opposite. By luck I had stumbled on to an "ideal variation" for modern corr.chess players, a variation where the longterm consequences of a pawn sacrifice is of such a character that they won't show up if one uses a silicon-product as advicer.
Now then, what's the point of this gambit? First, by taking the pawn, black weakens his own
barricade in the long diagonal. This gives power to the bishop at g2. Further on the defence of
the plus pawn will force black to weaken his queenside, while his pieces will be passive, also defending the pawn (and the weakened queenside)And at last there is a third, hidden element
 in the position: Because black's behind in development, his king will remain in the centre for
a long time. This can be fatal if the position opens up.


In his new book about the Reti, Nigel Davies recommends 5.Qc2 The simplest reason why I didn't play this, was that the book was still in print when I had to make my move... :o)


Black continues to surprise. In a base containing 4 mill. games
I only had 7 predecessors with this position


of course

6...Bf5 7.Na3 b5 8.Nc2

The knight's task on the brim is ended after the c4-pawn is guarded. Fortunately the
lost tempi can be regained against the bishop at f5


Enlightened by the course of this game, I took the same path some months later.
This time black wisely chose to strengthen his queenside by
8...Qb6 but even now he stumbled in his difficulties:

9.Ne3 Bg6 10.a4 Nbd7 11.b3 cxb3 12.Qxb3 h6 13.Nf3 e6 14.d3 a5 15.Nh4 Bh7
16.axb5 Nd5 17.Ba3 Qxb5 18.Qxb5 cxb5 19.Bxf8 Kxf8 20.Nxd5 exd5 21.Bxd5 Ra6
22.Rfb1+- ML-Silkin,A/EM/M/272 2004 (30)]

9.Ne3 Bg6 10.a4

The pawn-phalanx on the queenside has to be undermined

10...h6 11.Nf3 e4

Black has problems keeping his position together. This closes the long diagonal

12.Nh4 Bh5 13.axb5 cxb5 14.g4!!

When I first started looking at 12.Nh4, it was with the intent 14.h3 followed by g4.
That would probably have worked, too, but when I worked my way into the matter,
I became utterly aware of how weak black's in the long diagonal. It's only the knight
which keeps it closed. Therefore black can't move it


black goes astray in a position where it's very difficult to find the right route
14...Nxg4 15.Qc2 Qxh4 16.Qxe4+ Be7 17.Nxg4 Qxg4 18.Qxa8 0-0 19.Rxa7 Qxe2 20.Qd5+/-
And black has a pawn and a lousy white formation as compensation. It's not enough,
though, because black has a knight that's completely misplaced on top of the fact that the
pawns on the queenside are very vulnerable. But I still believe this is black's best;
14...Bxg4? 15.Nxg4 Nxg4 16.Qc2 Nf6 (16...Qxh4 17.Qxe4+ Be7 18.h3 0-0 19.Qxa8 Nf6 20.Qxa7+-)
17.Bxe4 Nd5 18.Bg2 Nc6 19.Qe4+ Nde7 20.Nf5 Rc8 21.Ra6+- white's attack is irresistable

15.Nhf5 Bg6 16.d3

now there's no doubt about it - the position will be canned up -
and black's king's still in the centre

16...Nbd7 17.dxe4 Ne5

trying to seal off whatever's possible

18.Ra6 Nfd7 19.Bd2

White has many promising continuations here - I thought it was ok to bring out another piece.

19...Qc8 20.Nd5

At last both the knights, which on their way both have been at the brim,
are centralized, both at a weak spot in the enemy camp

20...Bc5 21.Nd6+

The last white knightmove of the game - from move 3 it was made 10 horsejumps altogether, and still white's clearly ahead in development....

21...Bxd6 22.Rxd6 Qb8 23.Rxd7!

makes the black king remain in the centre of the events until after the game's finished.

23...Kxd7 24.Ba5 Rd8


This is actually black's best move in the position - he has to oppose the white
pressure in the d-line. If not, the white pieces will pour in. This is the only way to do that,
a move that simultaneously brings the poor king's rook into "play". [24...Qd6 25.Bc7+-]


the rook doesn't disappear!


An attempt to escape that doesn't come any farther than this


here there are many roads to Rome. I choose to shut off the escape


There should be a rule that forbids exchanges of such beauties

27.exd5 Qb7

27...a6 28.d6 Ra7 29.Qc5 Nd7 30.Qd4 f6 31.Qe3+ Kf8 (31...Ne5 32.f4 gxf4 33.Rxf4)
32.Bc7 Rxc7 33.Qe7+ Kg8 34.dxc7 Qxc7 35.Rd1+-

28.f4 gxf4

28...Nxg4 29.f5 Bh5 30.d6 Qb8 (30...Qd7 31.Bxa8) 31.d7+ Kxd7 32.Rd1+ Ke8 33.Bc6#

29.Qd6 Nxg4

29...Qe7 30.Qxe7+ Kxe7 31.d6+; 29...Nd7 30.Qxf4 Rb8 (30...a6 31.d6 Qa7+ 32.Kh1+-)
31.Qe3+ Kf8 32.Qxh6+ Ke8 33.Qh8+ Ke7 34.d6+ Ke6 35.Qd4+-




Black is actually ahead in material when he resigns, but after
30.... Qd7 31.h3 this will change



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