Narrative and the computer

Most players have a story about the game they have just played. Nowadays, though, narrative in chess depends on an elctronic imprimatur. In this game I told myself had pressurised a lower-graded player who had done well to hold out; but it turns out he had the best chances.

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1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. cxd4 e6 6. Nc3 {This poses an interesting problem.} (6. Nf3 {is usually regarded as the main line.}) 6... d6 (6... Nxc3 7. bxc3 Qc7 8. Bd2 d6 {is a natural response. White can exploit the omission of Nf3 with} 9. f4 {when one possibility is} 9... g5) 7. Nxd5 (7. Nf3 {is also possible.}) ({With the queen still on d8} 7. f4 {looks risky though it&#8217;s not entirely clear e.g. the computer likes White after} 7... Nxc3 (7... dxe5 {may be better}) 8. bxc3 dxe5 9. fxe5 (9. dxe5 Qxd1+ 10. Kxd1 {is pleasant for Black}) 9... Qh4+ 10. Ke2) 7... exd5 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. h3 (9. exd6 Bxd6 {looks equal.}) 9... dxe5 10. dxe5 {The pawn structure is hard to assess. Both d5 and e5 pawns might be a strength or a weakness.} 10... Bc5 (10... Bb4+ {might be more accurate.}) 11. Bd3 h6 ({Avoiding} 11... O-O 12. Bxh7+ Kxh7 13. Qc2+) 12. O-O O-O ({The computer prefers} 12... Be6) 13. Bf4 (13. Bb1 {poses some problems.}) 13... Qb6 14. Qe2 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> } Nd8 {Rather too subtle.} (14... Nd4 {seems to maintain the balance.}) 15. a3 ({The computer points out} 15. Bc2 {when White seems to be better}) (15. Qd2) 15... Ne6 {For most of the middle game, I felt I was making the running, though the computer generally doesn&#8217;t agree.} 16. Bg3 Bd7 17. b4 Nd4 {Suggesting that Nd8-e6 was a waste of time.} 18. Nxd4 Bxd4 19. Rac1 Rac8 20. Kh1 a6 21. f4 Bb5 22. f5 Be3 23. Rce1 d4 24. Bf4 Rc3 25. Bxb5 axb5 26. Bxe3 Rxe3 27. Qf2 Re8 ({The computer suggests} 27... Rxa3 {with a draw after} 28. f6 g6 29. Re4 Qe6 30. Qxd4 Rxh3+) 28. Rxe3 (28. Qf4 {is also possible when} 28... R8xe5 {can be met by} 29. Qxe5) 28... dxe3 29. Qg3 ({I expected} 29. Qf4 {and couldn&#8217;t see anything better than} 29... Qc7 30. Qxe3 Rxe5 {when I hoped to have some pressure though it seems White&#8217;s f pawn can still be dangerous e.g} 31. Qg3 {and here} 31... Qe7 {loses to} 32. f6) 29... Qd4 {I thought Black&#8217;s centralisation was strong here but underrated White&#8217;s pawns.} (29... Qc7 {heads for equality with} 30. Qxe3 Rxe5 31. Qg3 f6) 30. e6 {A very resourceful move that I had discounted or missed. White&#8217;s kingside majority makes itself felt. My opponent now had two minutes plus increments.} ({While my opponent was thinking I was worrying about} 30. f6 g6 31. e6 Rxe6 32. Qb8+ Kh7 33. Qf8 {but then saw I would win with} 33... Rxf6) 30... Qd3 {Underrating the danger; Black&#8217;s queen is needed for defence.} ({Now I realised that} 30... fxe6 {loses to} 31. f6) ({the computer recommends} 30... Qf6) (30... e2) 31. Re1 ({ <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> White should win with an extra pawn after} 31. Rf3 {since} 31... Qd1+ 32. Kh2 e2 ({or} 32... fxe6 33. f6) {loses to} 33. f6 {e.g.} 33... g5 34. exf7+ Kxf7 35. Qc7+) 31... Qxf5 32. exf7+ {Now it&#8217;s a draw.} 32... Kxf7 33. Rxe3 Rxe3 34. Qxe3 {In the queen ending Black&#8217;s king is more centralised but also more exposed than White&#8217;s.} 34... g5 35. Qd4 Qf1+ 36. Kh2 Qf4+ {I stopped recording the moves here but think the finish was} 37. Qxf4+ gxf4 38. g4 {It&#8217;s sensible to play this as soon as possible as it is going to be necessary to exchange the f pawn in many variations.} ({After} 38. Kg1 Kf6 39. Kf2 Kf5 40. Kf3 h5 {White still holds with} 41. g3 ({or} 41. Kf2 Ke4 42. g3 ({but not} 42. Ke2 h4 43. Kf2 f3 44. gxf3+ Kf4) ({nor} 42. h4 Kf5)) ({and not} 41. h4 b6)) 38... fxg3+ (38... Kf6 {looked like asking for trouble and does indeed lose.}) 39. Kxg3 Kf6 40. Kf4 h5 41. h4 b6 {This spare tempo had given me some faint hopes when entering the king and pawn ending but in the event it merely saves the draw.} 42. Ke4 Ke6 43. Kf4 Kf6 {Draw agreed.} ({I didn&#8217;t bother to calculate} 43... Kd5 {which duly loses to} 44. Kg5 Kc4 45. Kxh5 Kb3 46. Kg6 Kxa3 47. h5 Kxb4 48. h6 Ka3 49. h7) *
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