(6) Haim,A (1850) - Bernard,R (1384) [A41]
Ippolito G/60, 11.01.2008

1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 d6 3.e3 Bg7 4.c4 Nf6 5.b3 0-0 6.Nbd2 c5
Of the four games I found with this position, all of them continued 7. Bb2, which seems much more logical that 7. Be2.

I'm not sure where my light-square bishop belongs, so I just continue developing.

7...Nc6 8.Rb1? Bf5 9.Ra1 Nb4!
Given that I'm now two tempi up, I may as well take the initiative that I've been given, and exploit the light-squared weakness in White's camp.

10.0-0 Bc2
10...Nc2?! is not as good. [ 10...Nc2 11.Rb1 Nxe3 ( 11...Nxd4 12.exd4 Bxb1 13.Nxb1= ) 12.fxe3 Bxb1 13.Nxb1= ]

11.Qe1 Nd3 12.Bxd3 Bxd3-/+ 13.Bb2 Nd7 14.Qc1 Bxf1 15.Nxf1 e5 16.d5 e4
Forcing the trade of bishops -- White's good bishop for black's (techincally) bad one.

17.Bxg7 Kxg7
[ 17...exf3?! 18.Bxf8 fxg2 19.Kxg2 Qg5+ 20.Ng3 Rxf8= ]

Why trade queens an exchange down?

18...Qf6 19.Qxf6+ Nxf6
Natural, but incorrect. Correct was recapturing with the king to bring that piece into the game, and to not block Black's f-pawn, which can be used to protect e4. [ 19...Kxf6! and if... 20.Nh4 ( 20.N3d2 Ke5 21.Ng3 f5 followed by something like... 22.h4 preventing an immediate ...g5 22...Nf6 23.a3 Ng4 followed by ...f4 and the opening of the f-file and attack on the f2 pawn.) 20...Kg5 21.g3 and Black heads his knight to f3 via e5.]

20.N3d2 Rfe8 21.Ng3 h5 22.h3
22. h4 preventing 22...h4 seems more logical.

22...h4 23.Ne2 Nh5?!
Knight on the rim and all that. The knight is out of place here, and given White's soon-to-exist counterplay on the queenside, this is magnified to a greater degree.

24.Nc3 f5 25.Nb5!
I missed this shot. Now White gets some action on the queenside. The threat is obviously 26. Nc7 and 26. Nxe6.

Which rook doesn't really matter. Indeed, I had a case of chess blindness here, thinking that after 25...Rad8, then 26. Nc7 Re7 27. Ne6+ Rxe6 28 dxe6, and then I would play 28...R(d8)xd2, not seeing that there was still a black pawn on d6! [ 25...Red8 26.Nc7 Rac8 27.Ne6+ Kf6 28.Nxd8 Rxd8 29.Re1 Re8 30.Nb1=/+ ; The key here is to protect a7 by simply advancing the a-pawn, taking the b5 outpost away from the knight, and ignoring the threat to e6 and keeping the exchange. It leads to a complex continuation. 25...a6? Nice try, but not sufficient after... 26.Nc7= ; Black's best try is the deceptive looking... 25...Re7! White must retreat... 26.Nc3 ( The more natural looking 26.Nxd6 loses; for instance: 26.Nxd6?! a6! The key idea behind Re7, as it attempts to trap the knight with ...Rd8. White's only hope is... 27.b4! cxb4 ( 27...Rd8?! 28.bxc5= ) 28.c5 Nf6 29.N2c4 Nxd5 30.Rd1 Nc3 31.Rd2 Rc7 32.Nb6 Rf8 Note that the more natural looking 32...Rd8 gets Black in trouble. ( 32...Rd8? 33.Nxf5+! gxf5 34.Rxd8= ) 33.Nd5 Nxd5 34.Rxd5-+ Black has some knots to untie, but should eventually win.) 26...a6-/+ and Black will attempt to break through on the queenside with ...Rb8 and ...b5]

Free pawn, but 26. Nc7 gets White back in the game. [ 26.Nc7! Re7 ( 26...Rh8 27.Ne6+ Kf6 28.Nxd8 Rxd8 29.Re1 Re8 30.Nb1=/+ ) 27.Ne6+ Rxe6 ( 27...Kf6?? 28.Nxd8 Rd7 29.Ne6+- ) 28.dxe6 Kf6 29.Rd1 Kxe6-/+ ]

26...Kf6 27.Nb5 Rd7 28.Nb1 g5 29.N1c3 f4
[ Perhaps I should have considered something like 29...g4!? 30.hxg4 fxg4 31.Na4 h3 ]

30.Re1 Kf5 31.Na4 Nf6 32.Nb6 Rdd8 33.Nc7 Re7 34.Nb5
[ 34.Ne6!? seems a lot more daring. Black is all tied up, and it seems like giving back the exchange is the only thing that is worthwhile. 34...Rxe6 35.dxe6 Kxe6 36.exf4 gxf4 37.Na4 Kf5 38.Nc3=/+ ]

Short on time, Black offered a draw. 1/2-1/2