My opponent was this night was Gary Maks. Like many young men our age, we hoped to improve. You can only really do that by playing. So we did. By his comments I judged Gary to be a man who valued faith and family. His rating was on the rise. Later Gary Maks and I became USCF experts rated over 2000.
I find the Alekhine Defence to be a wonderfully restless opening. I have to be busy. If I sit around to do nothing, I lose. I began playing the Alekhine Defence as Black in 1980. Throughout the next decade I studied the books by Vladimir Bagirov and Lev Alburt. They both played the Alekhine hundreds of games each.
I did not play much in 1985. That night Maks played the Alekhine Defence against me. How great is that? We chose 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6. I call this the Bagirov line. Also Lev Alburt played it many times when he took a break from his own 4.Nf3 g6 line.
My approach was to control the center, keep my pieces active, maintain the tension, and probe for a weakness. I found it in his undefended Nb6 after move 23. White won a piece for several pawns. I checkmated Black's king in the middle of the board.
Sawyer (1981) - Maks (1720), Hatboro, PA 21.03.1985 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 [I have 4.c4 more often than 4.Nf3 as White.] 4...Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0-0 Be7 7.c4 Nb6 8.Nc3 N8d7!? [8...0-0 9.Be3+/=] 9.exd6 cxd6 10.b3 0-0 11.h3 Bh5 12.Ba3 Nf6 13.Qc2 Rc8 14.Rac1 a6 15.g4?! [15.Rfe1+/=] 15...Bg6 16.Bd3 Qd7?! [16...Bxd3 17.Qxd3=] 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.Qe2 Nh7 19.Rce1?! [19.Rfe1+/=] 19...Ng5 20.Bc1 Nxf3+ 21.Qxf3 Rc7 22.Qe3 Bf6 23.Ne4 Qd8? [Black can maintain a solid defense with 23...Be7=] 24.Nxf6+!? [Even stronger was the immediate 24.d5!+-] 24...Qxf6 [24...gxf6 25.d5+/=] 25.d5 Nxd5 [25...Nc8 26.dxe6+/-] 26.cxd5 Rc3 27.Qf4 Qh4 28.Re3 Rxe3 29.Qxe3 exd5 30.Kg2 Rc8 31.Bb2 Rc2 32.Qd4 Qf6 33.Qxf6 gxf6 34.Bxf6 Rxa2 35.Rc1 Kh7 36.Rc8 [Here White missed a mate in five beginning with 36.h4!+-] 36...g5 37.Bxg5 Kg7 38.Rb8 b5 39.Be3 f6 40.Rb7+ Kg6 41.h4 f5 42.h5+ Kf6 43.g5+ Ke5 44.Re7# 1-0
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