The Campbell Report
Hard Chess
with USCF Senior Master Mark Morss
(2) Morss - Ilosvay [A82]

The Black pieces in this game were under the command of Paul Ilosvay, of Naperville, Illinois.

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 d5 5.fxe4 dxe4 6.Bg5 Bg4

I don't see an obvious way to punish this move.

7.Be2 Bf5 8.Bc4

And so the game transposes into the theoretical main line, but one move later.

8...Nc6 9.Nge2 Qd7 10.0-0 e6 11.Qe1 0-0-0 12.Rd1 Na5 13.Bb3 Nxb3 14.axb3 Be7

Diagram c
Game position after 14...Be7

Black plays a very solid move, and I suspect it is sufficient for the advantage.


It can hardly be good to decentralize like this, without even a tempo to show for the displacement of the knight. I was dreaming of queenside attack, of course. Before I began playing postal chess, my game was marked by pseudo-agressive moves of this kind, and this game was played early in my postal career. I believe my game has become a good deal more hard-bitten as a result of my postal experiences. I would like to think that I wouldn't play this way if given a similar opportunity today.

I don't see very much for White in 15.Ng3 h6 16.Be3 Bg6 (16...Ng4 17.d5!) For example, 17.Bf2!? (17.Na4 Ng4 looks good for Black)

A) 17...e3?! 18.Qxe3 Bxc2 19.Ra1 a6 (19...Kb8 20.d5 b6 21.Qe2 Bg6 22.Qa6 and White wins) 20.Qe2 Bxb3 21.Rxa6 is great for White;

B) 17...Qc6! is simple and favors Black;

It seems to me that either the diagram position is better for Black, or 15.d5 must work.

A) 15...Bc5+ 16.Kh1

A1) 16...exd5? 17.Bxf6;

A2) 16...h6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Ng3 (18.Na4 Be7 19.Nd4 Bg4 20.dxe6 Qd6 favors Black) 18...Bg4 19.dxe6 Qxe6 20.Rxd8+ Rxd8 21.Qxe4 with approximate equality;

A3) 16...Bg4 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Nxe4 is all right for White;

A4) 16...Rhf8 17.Ng3 Bg6 18.Bxf6 Rxf6 19.Ngxe4 Rxf1+ 20.Qxf1 again with approximate equality;

B) However, I haven't been able to find a good answer to 15...Bg4!

B1) 16.Qf2 Bxe2 17.Qxe2 (17.Qxa7 Bc5+ 18.Qxc5 Bxf1 19.Qa7 Qd6 20.dxe6 Qa6) 17...exd5 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Nxd5 Qe6 and White has not much for his pawn;

B2) 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxe4 exd5! (17...Bxb2 18.Qa5 Bxe2 19.Qxa7 and White, in view of the threat of mate or Nc5 if the black queen moves, has a winning attack) 18.Nxf6 gxf6 19.Qf2 Bxe2 20.Qxe2 Rhf8 and it is doubtful that White has compensation for his pawn;

C) 15...h6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Qf2 e3 18.Qxe3 Kb8 19.Nd4 Bxd4 20.Rxd4 Rhe8 (20...Bxc2 21.Ra4 a6 22.dxe6 with a good game for White) 21.Ra4 a6 22.Qf2 with balanced chances.

15...h6 16.Bh4

16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qa5 a6 18.c4 Rhg8 19.b4 e3 20.b5 Bh3 and White's attack is much too slow.


Dangerous for Black but possibly playable is 16...e3 17.Qa5 Qc6 (17...Qd5? 18.Qxa7 Bxc2 19.Rc1) 18.Qxa7 Bxc2 19.Rc1 g5 (19...Rhf8 20.Rxc2 Qxc2 21.Rc1) 20.Bg3 Nd5 (20...Ne4 21.d5) 21.Rxc2 Qxc2 22.Rc1 Qxb3 23.Rxc7+ Nxc7 24.Nb6+ Qxb6 25.Qxb6 Rd7 26.Bxc7 Rxc7 27.Qxe6+ Kb8 28.Qxe3 with approximate equality.


I can't recall why I played this move, having once committed the knight to a4.

17.h3 Bh5 18.c4 would have been more consistent, though Black is better in any case.


But there is no shortage of good moves:

17...Qc6!; 17...g5!

18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Ra1

Diagram d
Game position after 19. Ra1


This move is technically sufficient to preserve the win, but it's a bad move in a practical sense because it permits dangerous counterchances.

More solid is 19...Kb8 20.Ng3 (20.Nxe4 Ne3 21.Qa5 a6 22.Nc5 Qd6 and Black is better) 20...e3 21.h3 (21.Nce4) 21...Nb4 22.hxg4 Nxc2 23.Qe2 Nxa1 24.Rxa1 Qb4 and Black's rook and pawns are much better than White's knights.

20.Rxa7 Nxf1 21.Nxe4!

I suspect this came as a surprise.


21...Ne3? 22.Nc5 and White wins;

21...c5 22.Qa5 Qc7 23.Ra8+ Kd7 24.Nxc5+ Kc6 25.Qa4+ Kd6 26.Rxd8+ Rxd8 27.Qb4 Kc6 28.Kxf1 and White has at least enough for the exchange.


Diagram e
Game position after 22. Qxf1

Does White have compensation for the exchange?

22...Qb4! 23.N2c3 Qxd4+ 24.Kh1 Kb8

24...Rhf8 25.Qa6+ Kd7 26.h3! with good play for White (but not 26.Rxc7+ Kxc7 27.Nb5+ Kc6 28.Nxd4+ Rxd4).


25.Qa1 Qd1+! 26.Nxd1 Rxd1+ 27.Qxd1 Bxd1 and Black is better.

Diagram j
Game position after 25.Ra1


This looks like a strong move, but it strands the queen, which now has trouble coming to the aid of Black's king.

25...Bf5 26.Ng3 (26.Qf3 Bxe4 27.Nxe4 Rhf8) 26...Qc5! 27.Qf3 (27.Qa6 Qc6) 27...c6 28.Nxf5 exf5 29.Qg3+ Qd6 30.Qxg7 Qd7 31.Qe5+ Kb7 and White is without compensation for his lost material.


26.Qa6? Rd1+


26...Bh5?? 27.Qa6

27.Qc4 Bxe4

27...c5 28.Ra8+ draws.

28.Nxe4 Rd5

Black can also opt for a rather elaborate perpetual by means of 28...Kb7 29.Qa6+ Kc6 30.Qc4+ Kd7 31.Rd1+ Kc8 32.Ra1 Kb7 and so forth forever.


29.Qc6? Ra5


29...Kb7 30.Nc5+ Rxc5 (30...bxc5?? 31.Qb5+ Kc8 32.Ra8#) 31.bxc5 Qxc5 32.Qxe6 with equality. Black can't play 32...Qxc2? 33.Qd5+.

30.Nc3 Rh5

30...Kb7 31.Nxd5 exd5 (31...Rxd5? 32.b5) 32.Ra7+ Kxa7 33.Qxc7+ is even.


Now Black, not White, forces a perpetual.

31...Rxh3+ 32.gxh3 Qxh3+ 33.Kg1

Disgusted by the outcome of the opening phase of this game, I abandoned the variation with 4. f3 and resolved to try 4. Bg5.


Copyright © 1999 by Mark F. Morss

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