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Basque – Scotland match

A Scottish team travelled to Basque country at the weekend for an exhibition match. Here’s my second game from the match. The opening is of some interest, as I achieved the (almost) impossible feat of improving on an Avrukh recommendation from Grandmaster Repertoire 2. True, Boris’s move gives a clear advantage, and the whole variation should obviously be avoided by Black, but it still feels like an achievement.

Andrew Greet (2442) – Inogo Argandone Riveiro (2415)
Basque – Scotland match (2), 29.11.2014

1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 c6 7.Nc3 Qa5 8.e4 Qh5

Black has chosen a rather dubious variation.

9.Ng5!

As given by Boris. I could faintly recall his recommending this move instead of the more common 9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxe5, but did not remember any other details. Still, with a healthy space advantage and the queens off the board, the position is not difficult to handle.

9…Qxd1 10.Rxd1 Nbd7

Avrukh’s main line is 10…e5 11.d5 when White keeps a plus.

11.f4!

Seizing space in the centre. From a positional point of view this was an easy decision, but it was necessary to spend a bit of time calculating the consequences of Black’s next move.

11…c5?

This seems like a principled reaction, but it leads to far greater problems.

12.e5 cxd4 13.exf6 exf6

14.Nxf7!N

14.Nxh7 Kxh7 was played in Zifroni – Chytilek, Slofok 1996, and now Avrukh gives 15.Rxd4N f5 16.Rxd6± when White has an extra pawn. This is an excellent outcome of course, but why take the h-pawn when the much more influential f7-pawn is available?

14…dxc3

14…Rxf7 15.Rxd4 gives White an improved version of Avrukh’s line. There is an immediate threat of Bd5 winning the exchange, and a future Nb5xd6 may hit the rook.

15.Nxd6 Nb6 16.bxc3 Rd8 17.c5

White has an extra pawn and dominant pieces. The position is already winning, but I went on to mess things up quite badly. The remainder of the game will be shown in a later blog post.

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