For someone who mainly plays G/15 chess (known as Allegro in Australia), Shervin Rafizadeh works hard at it. Not only does he direct the Street Chess tournament on Saturdays in Canberra, but until the end of last year he usually finished in first place as well. That was until the arrival of Endre Ambrus (2378) and IM David Smerdon (2460), which made winning these events a whole lot harder.
Nonetheless Shervin knuckled down to some hard work in an effort to raise his game to the next level. After a couple of weeks where he felt he was getting "close" to Ambrus he finally uncorked a queen sac to beat him. Here is the game, with extensive annotations by the winner.
Rafizadeh,S - Ambrus,E [B00]
Street Chess 23/2, 2008
1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.d5 Ne5 (D)
5.Nxe5 Bxd1 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 Qa5+ 8.Nc3 0-0-0 [ 8...a6 9.b4!+- ( 9.cxb7+ axb5) ] 9.Nc4 Qb4 [ 9...Qc7 10.Nd5 Bxc2 ( 10...Qb8 11.c7 Qa8 12.cxd8Q+ Kxd8 13.Kxd1 e6 14.Nc3 a6 15.Bd7 Nf6 16.Nb6 Qb8 17.Ba4 Be7 18.Be3 ke2 and Rad1 is crushing) 11.Nxc7 Kxc7 12.Be3 ( 12.Na5 Bxe4 13.Nxb7 Rc8) 12...Bxe4 13.Bxa7 bxc6 14.Bb6+ Kd7 15.Ne5+ dxe5 16.0-0-0+ Ke6 17.Rxd8] 10.a3 Qc5 [ 10...Qxc3+ 11.bxc3 Bxc2 12.Na5! bxc6 13.Nxc6 Rd7 14.f3! bishop on c2 is trapped] 11.Be3 Qh5 12.cxb7+ Kxb7 13.Rxd1 as analysis will show the best black can hope from this position is a draw as only white can press for the win - there are multiple perpetual combination at whites disposal over the next few moves 13...Nf6 objectivley the most counterattacking move for black in this position - however it has two problems associated with it 1. Blocks the bishop on f8 which will really need to key an eye on b4 down the line to prevent a Rd4-b4 swing. 2. May allow white to make use of a e5 push tactive at some stage The analysis reveals a few things about whites attacking resources and blacks limited options in defense - it seems that whites most lethal ploy is Rd4-b4 and in this case its essential for black to cover the c6 square - once the knight is on f6 black cannot improve their defensive position in anyway as the knight and bishop cannot play a role. Its also too late for black to sac back the exchange becasue by then while will have more than enough material for the queen plus a huge initiative. In hindsight the e6-Ne7 manouvre probably offers black the best chance of holding the position but this is not an easy judgment to make over the board. [ 13...e6 this seems to be the best defense 14.Na5+ Ka8 ( 14...Kc7 15.Rd4 Ne7 ( 15...d5 16.exd5 exd5 17.Bf4+ Kb6 ( 17...Bd6 18.Nxd5+ Kc8 19.Rc4+ Kb8 20.Nc6+) 18.Be2 Qg6 19.Na4+ Kxa5 20.Bd2+; 16.Rc4+ Kb8 17.Rb4 Kc7 18.Bxa7 and only white can win with various perps at his disposal anytime if need be; 15.Rd4 ( 15.Bc6+ Kb8 16.Rd4 Qxa5 17.Rb4+ Kc7) 15...Ne7 16.Ra4 Rc8 17.Nc4 Rc7 18.Nxd6 Nc6 19.Bxc6+ Rxc6 20.Rxa7+ Kb8 21.Nxf7 Bc5 22.Ra5 Qxf7 23.Bxc5 very unclear position, white will castle and play b4 - whilst black is up material they have absolutley nothing to do while white slowly but surely pushes their pawns] 14.e5?! dangerous but black can hold a draw - better was Na5+ [ 14.Na5+ Ka8 ( 14...Kc7 15.Rd4! this is the best way to expose Nf6 15...d5 16.exd5 Rxd5 ( 16...e5 17.Rc4+ Kb8 18.Nc6+ Kc8 19.Nb4+ Kb7 20.Bc6+ Kc8 21.d6 threatning bf3+ 21...Qg6 22.Ba4+ Kb8 23.Na6+ Kb7 24.Rc7+ Kxa6 25.Rxa7#) 17.Bf4+ Kb6 ( 17...e5 18.Nxd5+ Nxd5 19.Rxd5; 17...Re5+ 18.Kd2 Kc8 19.Ba6+ Kb8 20.Bxe5+ Qxe5 21.Nc6+; 17...Kd8 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.g4 Qxg4 20.Rxd5+ Kc8 21.Ba6#) 18.Nc4+ Kb7 ( 18...Kc5 19.Be3 Rxd4 20.b4#) 19.Nxd5 Nxd5 20.g4 the g4 theme pops up alot in this variation due to the magnitude of forks on the board the queen can be removed from its useful defensive posts because they can all getforked 20...Qxg4 21.Bc6+ Kc8 22.Bxd5 e6 23.Ne5 Qf5 24.Be4 Qh5 25.Rg1 threat of Rg3 -c3 looks too strong; 15.Rd4!! this move was found by fritz - seems too subtle for a human to play as it seems to take 2 moves to create winning threats, however because black cant improve their defensive position (ie cant use bishop on f8 to defend) there seems to be no good way to deal with the threats 15...e6 ( 15...a6) 16.Rb4 Rc8 17.Bc6+ Rxc6 18.Nxc6 Nd7 up to here the calculations are pretty straightforward but i cant see white finding the following wins in a 15 minute game ( 18...d5 19.Rb8#) 19.Nb5 Kb7 a more human line to victory probably comes back to our g4 tricks 20.Na5+ ( 20.g4 Qh4 ( 20...Qxg4 21.Nd8+ Kc8 22.Nxf7 Rg8 23.Rc4+ Kb7 24.Nd8+ Kb8 25.Bxa7+ Ka8 26.Rc8+) 21.Nbxa7+ Kc7 22.Rc4 d5 23.Rc3 Nb6 24.Nb5+ Kb7 25.Na5+ Ka6 26.Nc7+ Kxa5 27.Rc6; 20...Ka6 this line is courtesy of fritz 21.Nc7+ Kxa5 22.b3!! Qc5 23.Bxc5 Nxc5 24.Rb5#] 14...Ng4 15.Na5+ Kc8 White has quite a few forced draws at his disposal however plays for the win with Nd5 which possibly gives black the most chances to go wrong [ 15...Ka8 16.Be2! I had picked this move up over the board, the threats of h3 and Bf3 are winning 16...Qf5 17.Bf3+ Kb8 18.Bxa7+ Kxa7 19.Nc6+ Ka6 20.Rd5! Nxe5 21.Ra5+ Kb7 ( 21...Kb6 22.Na4+ Kc7 23.Ra7+ Kc8 24.Nb6#) 22.Nxe5+ d5 23.Nxd5 Qxe5+ 24.Ne3+] 16.Nd5 [ 16.Ba6+ Kd7 ( 16...Kb8 17.Rd5 wins 17...Nxe3 18.Rb5+ Kc7 19.Rb7+ Kc8 20.Rxa7+ Kb8 21.Nc6#) 17.Bb5+ Kc8 ( 17...Ke6? 18.Nd5 Nxe3 ( 18...Kxe5 19.Nc6+ Kf5 20.Bd3+ Ke6 21.Nf4+ Kd7 22.Nxh5) 19.Nf4+ Kf5 20.Nxh5 Nxd1 21.Ng3+ Kg5 22.Nc6 Rc8 23.Kxd1; 18.Ba6+ Kd7 19.Bb5+ Kc8 20.Ba6+] (D)
16...Qxe5? the position is now lost [ 16...Nxe5 draws 17.Ba6+ Kd7 ( 17...Kb8 18.Rd4 should win again) 18.Bb5+ Kc8 19.Ba6+ perpetual;
16...e6 this leads to another quick draw 17.Ba6+ Kd7 18.Bb5+ Kc8 19.Ba6+ Kd7 20.Bb5+] 17.Nc6 Nxe3 [ 17...Qxb2 18.Bd4! Qa2 ( 18...Qxb5 19.Nxa7+) 19.Nxa7+ Kb8 20.0-0 and black is dead after Rb1 20...Qxd5 21.Bc6 Qxc6 22.Nxc6+ Kc7 23.Nxd8 Kxd8 24.Rb1;
17...Qh5 18.Nxa7+ Kb8 ( 18...Kb7 19.Bc6+ Kb8 20.Rd4) 19.Be2 Qh4 20.Rd4 h5 21.Rb4+ Ka8 22.Nc7#] 18.Nxe5 Nxd1?? [ 18...dxe5 19.Ba6+ Kb8 20.Nxe3 Rxd1+ 21.Kxd1 e6 22.Ke2 Bc5 23.Rd1] 19.Ba6+ resigned here due to 19...Kb8 20.Nc6+ Ka8 21.Nc7# 1-0