[Event "Frederica Chess IM"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2023.05.20"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Nilssen, Ellen Fredericia"] [Black "Nielsen, Viktor Haarmark"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2114"] [WhiteTeam "Denmark"] [BlackElo "2328"] [BlackTeam "Denmark"] [Annotator "Nilssen,Ellen"] [Variant "Standard"] [ECO "B40"] [Opening "Sicilian Defense: French Variation"] [Source "https://lichess.org/study/e8pUlx8p/yje4hHId"] [Orientation "white"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 { The second time an opponent goes for this variation. } 5. Qe2 e5 { There are several fine ways to play for Black, but I believe that this is supposed to be the most precise continuation. } 6. c3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Na3 Re8 9. d3 h6 10. Nc4 d6 11. Ne3 b5?! { This is a normal plan but here it seems a bit premature as it weakens the long diagonal. I wasn't in prep anymore but I knew some possible plans, with the main one being to move the Knight from f3 to either d2 or h4 to play f4. Here I chose h4 so that I could later jump into f5. } (11... Be6 { This is the most normal continuation. }) 12. Nh4?! { It wasn't obvious to me just yet, but the Knight actually ends up being a bit awkward. } (12. Nd2 { Was the better square for the Knight. }) 12... Bd7 { Generally, this is not where the Bishop wants to be. It'd rather be on e6 to cover the d5-square and not block the Queen from the protection of d6. } (12... Rb8 { Getting the Rook off the diagonal to play ...b4 next is a good alternative. }) 13. Nef5 (13. Nhf5 { This felt like the worse alternative to me, as it seems that Black quickly gets ...g6 as the Bishop on c1 is blocked by the Knight on e3. } 13... Bf8 14. f4 g6 15. Nh4 $17) (13. Nf3 { Believe it or not, but for a little while the engine just wanted to go back with the Knight to f3 to later place it on e1. }) (13. f4 { Is a sound pawn sacrifice. } 13... exf4 (13... c4 { Black should not take the pawn, but instead counterstrike in the center. The position is level but complicated. }) 14. gxf4 Nxe4 15. dxe4 Bxh4 16. Qh5 $14 { White has tremendous counterplay. }) 13... Bf8 14. f4? { The plan I knew but apparently, it is mistimed. } 14... exf4? 15. Bxf4 (15. gxf4 g6 { I was very reulactant to allow Black to play ...g6. } 16. Ng3 { However, the game is, of course, still going when White will play f5 to which Black has to respond with ...g5. }) 15... Ne5 { This is the most natural move, but it allows White to complicate matters. } (15... g5!? { A very interesting move that I found way too dangerous for Black during the game. The engine evaluation shouldn't matter much in such positions. However, according to the engine, there is a line in which Black is actually surviving. } 16. Bxd6 gxh4 (16... Bxd6? { I calculated this during the game when Black is toast. } 17. Nxh6+ Kg7 (17... Kf8 18. Nxf7 Bg4 19. Qxg4 Nxg4 20. Nxd8+ $18) 18. Nxf7 Kxf7 19. Qh5+! $18) 17. Bxf8 Kxf8 (17... Rxf8?) 18. Qe3 { With a dangerous double-threat. } 18... Ng4! (18... Bxf5? 19. Qxh6+ Ke7 20. Rxf5 $18) 19. Nxh6 { Very cute! } 19... Nce5! (19... Nxe3? 20. Rxf7#) 20. Qf4 { The game is still very complicated - so let's call it dynamically even. }) (15... a5 { Going for counterplay on the Queenside as White doesn't have any concrete threats for the time being. }) 16. d4 cxd4 (16... Ng6 { Can be played similarly as to the game, but I believe what my opponent played was more natural. }) 17. cxd4 Qb6 18. Kh1 Ng6! { During the game, I had a very difficult time finding a proper move. I thought that I might have already messed up as everything seemed to be going in the wrong direction. It turns out that White has a few moves, but some of them involves the sacrifice on the central e-pawn which I wasn't too happy about. Most lines get quite insane when you dig a bit deeper - and once again, the engine evaluation shouldn't be of any importance during a practical game. } 19. Qd3 { Playing this, I thought it was close to the only move and was thus quite relieved when I found it - and my opponent agreed with me when we analysed the game. Though, as we see from the alternative lines, the engine doesn't share our concerns, feelings, and fears during the game. } (19. Nxg6?! fxg6 (19... Bxf5 20. Nxf8 Bxe4 { Black is down a piece for the time being, but the Knight on f8 is trapped. } (20... Kxf8? 21. Bxh6! $18) 21. Bxh6! { The engine gives zeros, of course, but the position remains really complicated. }) 20. Ne3 g5 { Once again, the game heats up. The lines don't seem all that natural for White to go into as White will be down a piece for a while. } 21. Bxd6 Bxd6 22. e5 Qxd4 (22... Bxe5 23. dxe5 Bc6 { The engine says that White is fine, but I think, I'd prefer Black here after the trade of Bishops. }) 23. exf6 Rxe3 24. Qd1 (24. f7+ { This is a possible inclusion. }) 24... Rd3 (24... Qxd1 25. Raxd1 { Would allow White to win back the piece immediately. }) 25. Qh5!! { Remember that White is attacking the Rook on a8 with the Bishop on g2. } 25... Rf8 26. Qg6! Rxf6 27. Rxf6 { And now Black can't recapture on f6 as the Rook on d3 is hanging. } 27... Rd2! { White ends up an exchange for a pawn, but I prefer Black as the Bishop pair seems incredibly dangerous here. }) (19. Be3 Nxe4 20. Qf3! { White has a few nasty threats now. Black has a few options to defend, but the game can get extremely complicated. } 20... Nxh4 (20... Nh8 21. d5 { White has compensation for the lost pawn. }) 21. Nxh6+! gxh6 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Qxd7 { White is down a piece but the black King is very weak. White apparently has enough compensation but as the following engine line proves, it's extremely difficult for either side } 23... Nxg2 24. Rf7! Nf6! 25. Qf5! d5! 26. Bxh6! Bxh6 27. Qg6 Bf8 28. Rxf6 Qxd4 29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Qg6+ Kh8 31. Qh5+ { Don't ask me why, don't ask me how. }) (19. Bd2 Nxe4 20. Qg4! { Would provide for more fireworks. }) 19... Rad8?! { This move is understandable but a bit slow. } (19... Nxh4 { Would have been better } 20. Nxh4 { White is threatening to play Bxh6 but Black can create some counter threats. } (20. gxh4 Bxf5! 21. exf5 $17 { White has a Bishop pair, but a terrible pawn structure and no attack. Black is definitely the one pushing here. }) 20... b4 { Now White has to a good move. } 21. e5! { Black can force a repetition now but can also keep on playing. } 21... Bb5 (21... dxe5 { White should never(!) take on a8 as that would leave the King too exposed on the long diagonal. } 22. dxe5 { Black can still force a repetition, but can also spice up the game if wanted. } 22... Rad8!? 23. exf6 { Asking Black what the point is. } 23... g5! { The point. Black's King is completely safe with the Bishop on f8 - but needless to say, the engine's evaluation of 0.00 don't have any practical value. For example, let's look at this crazy line } 24. Bxg5 { A natural move } 24... hxg5 25. Ng6 { An insane move. Black can't capture the Knight due to f7+. } 25... Bc6 $13 { Maybe let's just evaluate the position as unclear and then move on with our lives. }) 22. Qf5 Bd7 (22... Bxf1 { Black gives away his only good piece. } 23. Rxf1 $18 { There's almost no counterplay left in the position for Black now. }) 23. Qd3 (23. Qc2 { Gives Black additional an additional tempo } 23... Rac8 $17 { White is in trouble. })) 20. Be3! { Creating several threats, Black has to be really careful now. } 20... b4? { This idea comes too late, now White has several natural options that lead to a clear advantage. } (20... d5! { Closing down the Bishop on e3 was the right way to go - though not very natural when you've first put your Rook on d8. } 21. e5 Ne4 { And the game continues with chances for both sides though probably a bit easier for White in practical play. }) 21. Nxg6 (21. Nxh6+ { Probably the most natural way, but my mind tricked me a bit } 21... gxh6 22. Rxf6 $18 { A pawn more for White and a weak King for Black. White should win this. } (22. Nxg6 { For some reason, I only looked at this move and not the immediate Rxf6. } 22... fxg6 23. Rxf6 $18 { For some reason, I evaluated this as an improvement for Black compared to the game which is a clear misunderstanding. White has so many ways to continue the attack that it's difficult to go wrong. })) 21... Bxf5 { Black's best try. } (21... fxg6 22. Nxh6+ { It's funny how I thought that in the line 21.Nxh6+ gxh6 22.Nxg6 fxg6 23.Rxf6 it was an improvement for Black, but here I didn't even consider gxh6 which would actually be a transposition to that line. Sometimes the mind really plays games with us. } 22... Kh7 (22... gxh6 23. Rxf6 $18 { As mentioned, it is a tranposition to: 21.Nxh6+ gxh6 22.Nxg6 fxg6 23.Rxf6 }) 23. Nf7 Bb5 { This doesn't worry White the slightest. } 24. Qb3 $18) 22. exf5 fxg6 23. fxg6 d5 { Practically speaking, I have made the game much more difficult for myself now. } 24. Rf4 { I thought I was being really clever and stopping ... Ne4, but turns out I wasn't. } 24... Ne4 { I was a bit shocked when it landed on the board, but then I spotted a nice trick. } (24... Kh8 { In the post-mortem we couldn't quite figure out what White should do against this prophylactical move - and it turns out it is not easy to find either. } 25. Bh3! { Giving up control over the e4-square. } 25... Ne4 26. Bf5! { I can't quite remember what we discussed in our analysis here, but while the engine says that White is winning, this is asks more questions to White and is definitely an improvement to the game. }) 25. Bxe4! Rxe4? { My opponent thought that he was tricking me, but he was actually the one getting tricked! A typical Uno-reverse card situation. } (25... dxe4 { Black should have tried this when my trick doesn't work anymoer. } 26. Qb3+ (26. Rxe4?? Qb7 $19 { Oh how the turns table. }) 26... Qe6 27. Kg2 { Now there's a long endgame ahead. White should be winning, but Black can defend with nail and tooth and does have practical chances if you ask me (someone stronger than me would might disagree). Especially when playing against such a strong opponent, you'd have preferred to have ended the game earlier. }) 26. Rxe4 Qxg6 { Here I remembered to slow down. I thought I had found a good trick with 27.Bxh6, but then I spotted that I might have a better alternative. } 27. Bg5! { Since White is up a Rook for the time being, White can afford to leave two pieces hanging. I thought this was really cool, and my opponent almost fell off his chair. White wins in all variations, and the rest was smooth sailing. } (27. Bxh6 { Being completely honest, this was actually the trick I had foreseen when playing 25.Bxe4. This is also better for White, but nothing compared to the game. } 27... dxe4 (27... Qxe4+ 28. Qxe4 dxe4 29. Be3 $16 { Again, it's a pawn but there's a long game ahead. }) 28. Qb3+ Kh7 29. Be3 $16 { White is up a pawn but Black has great practical changes. }) 27... Qxg5 (27... hxg5 28. Re3 $18 { The point. Now that the e3-square is available for the Rook, White emerges up an exchange. }) (27... Qxe4+ 28. Qxe4 dxe4 29. Bxd8 $18) (27... dxe4 28. Qb3+ { or Qc4+ } 28... Kh7 29. Bxd8 $18) 28. Re5 Qf6 29. Rf1 Qd6 30. Qf5 Qc7 31. Qe6+ Kh8 32. Ref5 Qb8 33. Rf7 b3 34. axb3 Qb4 35. Qf5 Kg8 36. Rd7 { 1-0 White wins. } 1-0