Saturday 28 June 2008

Two Knights Triumphant

I've just finished playing in my first tournament, which luckily for me was a Two Knights Defence thematic event. It was a 6 player double round robin, meaning that I played 2 games against each opponent, with white and black. All games started with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 which is my usual choice as Black against Bc4 anyway.
For fans of the Two Knights it is good news as the results favoured Black who scored 16 wins against 10 losses, with 4 games ending in draws. In terms of specific variations some scored better than others (scores given as White wins, draws and Black wins)
  • Morphy (4.Ng5 d5 5.exd Na5) +1=0-7
  • Fritz - Ulvstead (4.Ng5 d5 5.exd b5) +1=1-4
  • Traxler (4.Ng5 Bc5) +0=0-2
  • Modern (4.d4 exd 5.e5) +4=1-1
  • Quiet (4.d3) +2=2-2
  • Bogolyubov (4.Ng5 d5 5.exd Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc bxc 8.Qf3) +1=0-0
  • (4.d4 exd 5.O-O d6) +1=0-0
So in this case Black has the upper hand against 4.Ng5 ("A duffers move" according to Tarrasch) while White did better in moving the d pawn on move 4.
Here is one of my games from the event, where I followed an idea from John Emms book "Play the Open Games as Black"

internetpawn - shaunpress Tournament number #10 , 25.06.2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 Ne4!? [ The game move was chosen as an alternative to the well worn 5...d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4] 6.Qe2 Nc5 The idea is to make White work at regaining the pawn. 7.0-0 Ne6 8.Rd1 d5 9.Bb5 Bc5 10.c3 Bd7 [ 10...dxc3? 11.Nxc3 won't do for Black as White takes control of the centre.] 11.Bxc6 Bxc6 12.cxd4 Bb6 13.Nc3 0-0 14.a4 This turns out to be a good idea. Emms only suggested 14.b4 in this position, although that arrives soon enough. 14...a6 Probably one square short. I wanted to keep control of b5 but a5 would have squelched the queenside counterplay. 15.a5 Ba7 16.b4 Be8 The idea behind this move is to begin play on the kingside with f5 and Bh5. 17.Ba3 [ 17.b5 put me under more pressure.] 17...f5 18.exf6 [ Again 18.b5 caused me more problems forcing me to tangle my pieces with 18...Rf7] 18...Rxf6 Now my pieces are ready to attack the White king. 19.b5 axb5 [ 19...Bh5 looks obvious put I was terrified of walking into 20.Be7 Qxe7 21.Nxd5 As it turns out I needn't have worried, but Bh5 can always wait.] 20.Nxb5 (D)
20. ... Bb8!
This was the move I really liked in the game. Not only does it prevent me losing time by allowing the capture on a7, it aims another piece at White's king. 21.Bb4 c6 22.Nc3 Bh5 Finally! 23.Qe3 Bxf3 24.gxf3 Bf4 White resigned. Certainly a "correspondence resignation" but White's King can't survive such a position for too long. 0-1

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