A recent game of mine

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[Round "?"] [Result "*"] [TimeControl "60/120"] [TimeControl "60/120"] 1. c4 {I an playing White. This was in the London League. I gather from the ECF database my opponent is fourteen though he looked a bit older.} 1... e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. b3 {?} 4... Be7 ({After I moved I saw the rather embarrassing} 4... dxc4 5. bxc4 Qd4 {Fortunately my opponent&#8217;s brain hadn&#8217;t got warmed up either.}) 5. Bb2 O-O 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O Nc6 {McDonald suggests the knight should go to d7 in this sort of position.} 8. d3 ({I was worried about} 8. e3 dxc4 9. bxc4) 8... b6 9. e3 Bb7 10. Qe2 Qc7 11. Nbd2 Rfd8 12. Rac1 Rac8 13. Ne1 dxc4 {My opponent admitted he was out of ideas here.} ({I was more worried about} 13... e5) 14. bxc4 Rd7 15. f4 {White&#8217;s play is quite slow and the computer is not enthusiastic, but he seems to have some dynamic prospects on the kingside whereas it is not clear how Black will get play. I had in mind a plan that Neil McDonald recommends in his book on the English (though I find he recommends a4 to counter Black&#8217;s potential b5.} 15... Rcd8 16. a3 Na5 17. Bc3 Bxg2 18. Qxg2 Nc6 19. Ndf3 {Probably too slow.} (19. g4 {may be better}) 19... Ng4 20. Qe2 Bf6 ({I expected} 20... f5 {but it makes sense to get rid of White&#8217;s bishop,}) 21. h3 Bxc3 22. Rxc3 {It&#8217;s a pity to have lost the dark-squared bishop, but I hoped the kingside play still offered prospects.} 22... Nf6 23. g4 e5 {I thought I had deterred this.} 24. Nd2 ({I had planned} 24. g5 {but now saw} 24... Nh5) 24... exf4 25. Rxf4 Re7 26. Qf2 Qe5 {I had missed this and was very glad to find a reply} 27. Rxf6 Qxf6 {after a long think by my opponent, who had not seen the exchange sac} (27... gxf6) 28. Qxf6 gxf6 29. Ne4 {A whole exchange down, I think White has reasonable practical chances of saving the game, because it is hard for Black either to create a passed pawn or to open lines for the rooks.} 29... Re6 ({My opponent wondered about returning the exchange with} 29... Rxe4) ({I had also thought of} 29... Rxd3 {but} 30. Nxf6+ Kg7 31. Nh5+ {refutes.}) (29... Kg7 {can be met by} 30. Ng3) 30. Kf2 Ne5 31. Ng3 Kg7 32. Ke2 Ng6 33. Ng2 Kh6 {?! This is rather risky.} 34. Nf5+ {here I thought I might be winning. It looks as if Black has walked into a mating net and he can indeed only extricate himself by giving a piece up; but exactly this allows him into White&#8217;s position. My opponent said he didn&#8217;t known what he was doing with the king march so I think we were both a bit out of our depth.} 34... Kg5 35. Kf3 {?} ({The computer comes up with the very sensible} 35. Rc1 {activating the rook. But it was hard to see that winning the knight immediately was not the right thing to do (and I&#8217;m not sure I had yet spotted his next move, though I did before he played it}) 35... h5 {after a long think, the saving move} 36. h4+ Nxh4+ 37. Ngxh4 hxg4+ 38. Kg3 Re5 39. e4 Ree8 40. Ng2{ <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> Here I realised that despite winning a piece back my position was difficult and offered a draw. The knights look very pretty but White also needs the rook and cannot activate it without a sacrifice. With the rook on c3 it is hard to stop penetration on the h file.} (40. Rb3 Rh8 41. Rc3 Rh7 42. Rb3 Rdh8 {illustrates the problem}) 40... Rh8 41. Nf4 Rh1 42. Nd5 Rdh8 43. Kg2 {Walks into a mate, but there is probably no salvation.} 43... R8h2+ 44. Kg3 Rd2 45. Nf4 Rg1+ {and I resigned.} * 0-1
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