New Zealand Chess Magazine, October 2018

Ben Hague analyses his win over GM Sebenik at the Batumi Olympiad

Hague, Ben - Sebenik, Matej 43rd Olympiad 2018

1.e4 I was quite pleased to finally get a chance to play White after a run of five Blacks. That wasn't a deliberate ploy, just a combination of unfortunate pairings and other players having to take days off due to illness.  1...e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qd2 a6 I always get confused by the move orders in the Classical French, Black can play a6, 0-0, Qa5, b5 and either Be7 or Bxc5 in almost any order. I decided not to try to work out the most precise move orders and just develop.  9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.O-O-O Qa5 11.Kb1 b5 12.Bd3 Bb7

Moves are clickable

13.f5 Now I'm developed I felt I needed to do something and this is the most thematic way to play.  13...Rd8? (13...Nxd3 is the safest move, but White will be a little bit better. Presumably he wanted to keep some more tension in the position and try to out-play me.  14.Qxd3 (14.cxd3 exf5 15.Nxd5 Nb4 16.Nxb4 Bxb4 = ) 14...Rc8 15.Bd4 += ) (13...exf5 14.Bxf5 and the d pawn can't be defended ) 14.f6? (14.Bxc5 I had looked at this idea, but got my move orders wrong. For some reason I'd only looked at taking on e6 first, which allows Nxe6 and the idea of reversing the move order to eliminate that possibility escaped me.  14...Bxc5 15.fxe6 (15.Qg5 +- g6 16.Qf6 is possibly even better ) 15...fxe6 16.Ng5 Kd7 17.Nf7 +/- ) 14...gxf6 += 15.exf6 This is still a pretty good position though. The pawn on f6 is a real irritant for Black.  15...Bf8 (15...Bd6 16.Rhe1 Nxd3 17.Qxd3 += ) 16.Rhe1 (16.Qf2 The computer thinks this is better, but I wanted to get my last piece out, and having the rook on the same file as the Black king can't be bad.  16...b4 17.Ne2 +/- ) 16...Ne4??


(16...b4 should have been played first, when I have a nice attack, but there's plenty of play left.  17.Ne2 Ne4 +/- 18.Qc1 Nxf6 19.Bg5 Be7 20.Ned4 ) 17.Bxe4 +- (17.Nxe4 I was trying to make this work for a while, and once I realised I couldn't I started looking for other ideas. I thought the piece sac' looked too good to be true and didn't really believe it, but I couldn't see a refutation so decided to go for it.  17...dxe4 18.Qxa5 Nxa5 19.Bb6 Rxd3 20.Bxa5 Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 Bd5 ) 17...dxe4 18.Qf2 exf3 ( he has to take the piece 18...b4 19.Nxe4 b3 20.axb3 Nb4 +- 21.Nc3 ) 19.Bb6 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Qb4 21.Qxf3


I'd got this far when analysing earlier, and I couldn't see a comfortable way to stop Qxc6 and Rd8# (21.Qg3 This would've been a very computery move to play, but the threat of Qb8+ and Rd8# basically just wins on the spot. ) 21...Bd6 22.Ne4 Be5 (22...Nd4 is the only other move, but it loses quite simply.  23.Nxd6+ (23.Rxd4?! Qe1+ 24.Qd1 Qxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Bxe4 26.Rxd6 O-O +/- ) 23...Qxd6 24.Qxb7 +- ) 23.c3 Qa4 24.Nd6+ Kf8 (24...Bxd6 runs into  25.Rxd6 Kf8 26.Qxc6 Bxc6 27.Rd8+ Be8 28.Bc5+ Kg8 29.Rxe8# ) 25.Nxb7 Bxf6 (25...Qf4 26.Bc5+ Kg8 27.Qxc6 Qxf6 28.Nd6 +- ) 26.Nc5 (26.b3 Qh4 27.Qxc6 also wins, but I wanted to keep my pieces active ) 26...Qh4


27.Nd7+ (27.Qxc6 is an extra piece, but my pieces are a bit awkwardly placed. I wanted active pieces as well as the material. ) 27...Kg7 28.Nxf6 and I end up with an extra piece in all variations. (28.Nxf6 Qxf6 (28...Ne5 29.Nh5+ Kg6 30.Qg3+ ) 29.Qxc6 +- ) 1-0