Jason Madden

U100 Individual Final - Game 2

1. Nf3 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. O-O This is my usual Barcza opening. With the sequence of moves black has played here, it is soon possible to move into a Kings Indian Attack. Jason said afterwards that he should have played d4 immediately. I do find this more difficult to play against especially if followed by an early Bg4. 4... Bd6 5. d3 h6 6. Nbd2 e5 The drawback of the Barcza is that it is quite passive to the extent that black can often change his plan during the early moves, as Jason is doing here, without losing momentum. 7. e4 c6 I was expecting 7... d4 or exchanges on e4. These lines do enable the white knight to go to c4 but a downside of 7..c6 is that it robs the b8 night of its best square. 8. Re1 Bg4 9. h3 I was happy with this move as I believed that this would force Bxf3 giving me the two Bishops. However computer analysis shows that 9. exd5 cxd5 10. Nxe5 Bxd1 11. Nc6+ Be7 12. Nxd8 Bxc2 13. Nxb7 Bxd3 leaves white with the advantage but this is far too complex for me! 9... Be6 The reason I expected the Bishop to take on f3 is that after 9... Bh5 10. g4 Bg6 11. exd5 white wins a pawn. The move actually played in the game 9.. Be6 also allows the pawn to be won but without opening up white's kingside 10. exd5 cxd5 11. Nxe5 Bxe5 I was surprised that Jason exchanged Bishop for Knight here and the two Bishops did eventually prove key to winning the game for white. 12. Rxe5 Nc6 13. Re1 O-O 14. Nf3 Qc8 15. Kh2 Qd7 16. Ne5 I missed the opportunity to play 16. Bf4 which was a move I was very keen to play in order to develop the c1 Bishop . I was worried about 16... Nh5 but I can now see that this is perfectly safe because of 17. Ne5 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 16... Nxe5 17. Rxe5 Qc7 I was so keen to play 18. Bf4 that I missed the chance to play 18. d4 (another move I was hoping to get in at some stage) first. This was an important 'miss' because it would have avoided the problem I was just about to experience with a dual threat to b and f pawns. 18... Qb6 19. b3 Qd4 Jason correctly works out that 19... Qxf2 is not a good idea as after 20. Be3 the black Queen is trapped and the only way out is to give up the Knight with 20... Ng4+ 21. hxg4 Qf6 freeing the f6 square for the Queen 20. Re1 Qxf2 Jason doesn't refuse a second time having seen that the position is subtly different. 21. Be3 I thought there must be a better move but I could not find it 'over the board'. In fact 21. d4 puts the Queen in greater difficulty with the threat of Rf1 21... Qf5 22. Rf1 Qh5 23. Qxh5 I thought it best to take the Queens off here as my King position is now weakened and I believed I would have a favourable endgame with two active bishops and black's isolated d pawn. 23... Nxh5 24. c4 Nf6 25. Bd4 I was tempted by 25. Bxh6 gxh6 26. Rxf6 but I thought the dark squared Bishop might be able to do more damage on the long diagonal 25... Nd7 An unfortunate slip that turns a difficult endgame, with white having the advantage, into a clear winning position for white. 26. cxd5 Bxh3 27. Bxh3 Rfd8 28. Rac1 Nf8 None of the squares which the black knight could have moved to were good ones. 29. Bg2 Nh7 29... Rd7 would have stopped the white rook getting to the seventh rank. 30. Rc7 b6 31. Rfxf7 31. d6 was a possibility but this is more powerful 31... Nf8 32. Rxg7+ Black Resigns. * [ R.]

Game(s) in PGN