Saturday, June 11, 2016

Gruenfeld Defence 4.Bg5 Ne4

In the first round of a weekend Swiss tournament my opponent was William Stirling. I was paired down so I was expected to win. Stirling met my Gruenfeld Defence with 4.Bg5. White threatened to capture the knight and win the pawn on d5. To eliminate the defender is a tactical theme that many good players employ.

There was a clash of purposes. When White attacks a minor piece, Black responded by attacking the attacker with 4…Ne4. After White chopped off my knight with 5.Nxe4 dxe4, I protected my advanced e4-pawn after 6.e3 Bg7 7.Ne2 0-0 8.Nc3 f5. The notes indicate that either of us would have done well to push a pawn to c5.

Our focus was on the thematic d4 square. In an effort to hold off my attack, White dropped the d4 pawn on his move 15.Nc3 Then White sacrificed the Exchange with the move 17.Rxd4 to regain the pawn. A tactical skirmish followed for the next 20 moves. The material disadvantage was too much for White to overcome.

I believe he was the same William Stirling that I faced in postal chess about a decade later. There I was White in my own Sawyer Variation of the French Defence after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 e6 4.Bg5. In that case, White won a short game.

Stirling - Sawyer, Levittown, PA (1), 15.05.1982 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Nxe4 [5.Bf4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7=] 5...dxe4 6.e3 Bg7 [6...c5!?=] 7.Ne2 [7.c5!?=] 7...0-0 8.Nc3 f5!? [8...h6=] 9.Be2 [9.c5+/=] 9...h6 10.Bf4 c5 [10...g5 11.Be5 Bxe5 12.dxe5 Nc6=] 11.Nb5 [11.d5=] 11...Na6 [11...cxd4=] 12.0-0 Bd7 [12...g5 13.Be5 Bxe5 14.dxe5 Be6=] 13.Qb3 Nb4 14.Rfd1 Nc6 15.Nc3?! [15.Bc7 Qc8 16.d5+/=] 15...cxd4 16.exd4 [16.c5+ Kh7 17.exd4 Nxd4 18.Qxb7 e5=/+] 16...Nxd4 17.Rxd4 Bxd4 18.Bxh6 Rf7 19.Qxb7 e5 20.Qb3 [20.c5 Rb8 21.Qd5 Rxb2 22.Bc4 Qe8-/+] 20...Rb8 21.Qc2 Qb6 [21...f4!-+] 22.Nd1 Be6 23.Rb1 Rh7 [23...f4-+] 24.Be3 Kf7 25.h3 Qb4 26.a3 Qb3 27.Qxb3 Rxb3 28.Bd2 f4 29.Nc3 [29.Bc3 Rh8 30.Bf1 Rc8-+] 29...e3 30.Be1 exf2+ 31.Bxf2 Bxc3 32.Bd1 Rxb2 33.Rxb2 Bxb2 34.Bb3 Bd4 35.Kf1 Bxf2 36.Kxf2 Kf6 37.Kf3 Bxh3 38.Ke4 Bxg2+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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