The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
"On the Square" Article

Dual Commentary of Chess Games
By by J. Franklin Campbell

It is interesting to compare the notes by different analysts to the same game. At the highest levels this is often possible, as the games from the Super GM tournaments are published by numerous publications, often with notes from different analysts. Of course, this takes some effort by readers to search out the games and do the comparison between publications. Another fascinating example is on National Master Randy Bauer's web pages. After preparing his own notes to one of his better games, NM Bauer submitted his game vs. IM Mike Brooks to GM Alex Yermolinsky for his comments. Bauer went on to add his new notes based on what Yermo said about the game. This is truly fascinating chess reading.

There's no need to let the Big Guys have all the fun, however. When both participants in a game contribute notes there are often some additional insights concerning not only the game but the players as well. I encourage cc competitors to repeat the experiment described below. One of my early chess heroes GM Mikhail Botvinnik recommended that a competitor should submit his notes to games for publication and public scrutiny if he wants to improve. I usually annotate only my wins and occasionally my draws vs. stronger players. It's a better idea to annotate losses as well in order to understand your errors and to improve your play. One way to force yourself to spend the time needed to annotate your losses is to commit yourself to doing so before the game is finished. You might even be inspired to keep unusually good notes during the game anticipating your later work. Not only will you be able to improve your own play by examining your mistakes more carefully, but the readers should find the game unusually entertaining and educational, with the benefit of the insights of both players. There may be some unintended humor as well!

Following is a game played during the American Postal Chess Tournaments semi-annual team championship the 1991 APCT Regional Team Championship. My board 6 opponent Stephen F. Collins and I agreed during the early stages of our game to both independently prepare annotations to our game and combine them after the game was over. I combined these notes and published the complete game with notes in my team newsletter (it was later reprinted in Jon Voth's games column in APCT News Bulletin). Reference is made to Tom Purser's BDG World magazine. If you find the BDG interesting, check out his very interesting web site: Tom Purser's Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Pages

Campbell 2153 (Dixie team) - Collins, Stephen 2035 (Atlantic team) [A03]
Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (Ryder Gambit)
APCT 91RT-6 Regional Team Championship, 1992

Collins' notes are indicated by -SC.
Campbell's notes are in italics and are indicated by -JFC.
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 [Perhaps more natural is 5. Nxf3. But the Queen and eventually the Queen Bishop will bear down on Black's queenside pawns. - SC / The BDG Ryder Gambit. 5. Nxf3 is probably sounder but leads into better known lines of play. Tom Purser's BDG World magazine is highly recommended to those interested in delving into this complex gambit. - JFC] 5...g6 6.Bf4 Bg7 7.h3 0-0 8.0-0-0 Re8 9.Bc4 a6 [To prevent 10. Nb5 when the attack on Black's queenside would be overwhelming. - SC] 10.g4 [White's position looks promising with good piece development and a K-side attack brewing. But is it worth a pawn? - JFC] 10...Nc6 11.g5 [The attack begins. If 1. ... Nh5 either 12. Bxc7 or 12. Bxf7+ look good. - JFC] 11...Nxd4 [This is the counterplay I had in mind when I played 10. ... Nc6 anticipating White's g5. - SC / Well played. Black has accepted the loss of a piece and goes after compensation. - JFC] 12.Qf2 e5 13.gxf6 Qxf6

[This forces the exchange of Queens and neutralizes White's attack. - SC / Black has achieved a tremendous position plus three pawns in return for the piece ... well played. I had expected to win a piece for only two pawns, when White would have been better. - JFC] 14.Be3 Qxf2 15.Bxf2 Bf5 [Bearing down on c2. - SC] 16.Bb3 Rad8 [I wanted to exchange my Rook at a8 for White's well positioned Rook at d1. - SC] 17.Be3 [Black has the powerful Bishop pair and good squares for all of his pieces. White attempts to block the potential pawn-roller and prevents ... Bh6+. White must play very precisely to survive this critical stage of the game. - JFC] 17...Nxb3+ 18.axb3 Rxd1+ 19.Kxd1 [After most major pieces are exchanged, the King can come out to the center. The Knight is better left at c3 where it is more effective. - SC] 19...Rd8+ [I still have my eye on c2. - SC] 20.Kc1 e4

[Not so much to produce a passed pawn but so my Bishop at g7 can bear down on White's queenside. - SC / This appears to be premature to me, though it does open up the diagonal for the Bishop on g7. This pawn soon becomes a target. - JFC] 21.Nge2 Be5 [Intending an eventual ... Bf4, followed by ... e3 - SC] 22.Bf4 [White is anxious to eliminate the powerful Black Bishop pair. - JFC] 22...Bxf4+ 23.Nxf4 c6 [To prevent Nd5. - SC] 24.h4 [To maintain the well-placed Knight on f4 and eliminate the target on h3. - JFC] 24...e3 25.Rd1 [Black was threatening ... Rd7. The Black pawn on e3 becomes an easy target if Black swaps Rooks. - JFC] 25...Re8 26.Re1 Kf8

[Anticipating 27. Ng2 Bh3. Black's move prevents 28. Rxe3. - SC] 27.Ng2 Bh3 28.Nxe3 [This looks risky since the Knight is now pinned. Black's King moved to set up 28. Rxe3? Bxg2. - JFC] 28...f5 29.Re2! [The key move in White's plan to win the e3-pawn. Now White has a clear endgame edge. But if Black can trade off White's h-pawn the win will be very difficult. - JFC] 29...f4 30.Ned1 h6 31.Rxe8+ Kxe8 [A very unbalanced position. White has two Knights vs. Black's one Bishop, but Black has two more pawns than White plus a better pawn structure and a passed pawn. Also, Black's King is somewhat better positioned. At this point the outcome to me was unclear. - SC] 32.Nf2 Bf5 33.Nce4 Ke7 34.Kd2 b6? [I wanted to play 34. ... Ke6 but was worried about 35. Nc5. Perhaps I should've played 34. ... Bxe4 35. Nxe4 Ke6. It would be a mistake for White to go after Black's queenside pawns with Nc5. - SC / Probably a loss of time since diverting the Knight to win the b7-pawn would put an important piece out of play. The action is on the K-side now. - JFC] 35.Ke2 Bxe4

[I've always held a certain fondness for simplification. - SC / This may be the losing move, since it basically ends Black's counterplay. - JFC] 36.Nxe4 Ke6 37.Kf3 Kf5 38.Nf2! There is no better place for the Knight. With the White pawn going to h6 Black's h-pawn will be under an attack that is impossible to counter effectively. - SC / Black's K-side pawns are now immobilized. White's win is just a matter of technique. The White h-pawn is the key to victory. - JFC] 38...g5 39.h5! [White preserves the h-pawn. The Knight holds Black's k-side pawns in check till he can win them with the King. If 39. ... g4+ 40. Nxg4 Kg5 41. Nxh6! Kxh6 42. Kxf4 Kxh5 43. Ke5 winning. I have a special fondness for K&P endgames. - JFC] 39...Kf6 40.Ng4+ [Play might continue 40. ... Kg7 41. Ke4 Kh7 42. Ke5 Kg7 43. Ke6 Kh7 44. Kf7 f3 45. Kf6 Kh8 46. Kg6 and Black's kingside pawns fall. - SC / A tense struggle and an exciting game. The advantage went back and forth and the final stages of the game were very tense. This game had everything ... a difficult opening, an exciting and tense middlegame and a difficult ending. - JFC] 1-0

Copyright © 1998 by J. Franklin Campbell, all rights reserved

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