Wednesday, December 02, 2009


When I heard that I might had faced an international master (Mr Giam Choo Kwee), I was quite nervous but yet had no ample time to make any special preparation. However, when I arrived (30 minutes late - fortunately, no zero start rule enforced here) I discovered that my opponent is Mr R.Subramaniam, a very experienced player, used to represent his Department - Lembaga Hasil (now he is a retired civil servant) and was onced a MAKSAK KL player. I am not sure whether he used to play for Malaysia, as I still could recall his game being published in a chess column in one of our local newspapers.

Let's us go direct to the game

BLACK: R.Subramaniam (TAN&TAN)
Pirc/Modern defence

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3
3.f4 was also considered by me, but I decided not to commit yet

3...Bg7 4.Be3
I decided to adopt, at this point the formation known as the 150 attack which was popularised by the English GMs such John Nunn and Nigel Short. Interestingly, Kasparov also used to adopt such approach in his version of the immortal game against Topalov.

4...c6 5.Qd2 Nd7
Black was holding his knight on g8 as long as possible to deny any exchange of the dark square Bishop

Here I changed my mind, and went for the Austrian attack, which is more quiet positional in its nature. 6.f3 is the consistent continuation with my previous move order. After considering that, the logical follow up - castling Queenside - is too risky, I decided to play the text move and adjusted my frame of mind to be more circumspect.

6...Qb6!? was more agressive and after 7.0-0-0 black may commenced pawns storm attack on white's Queenside. Therefore I might consider the ugly 7.Rb1 instead

7.Nf3 e5!
Black correctly challenge the center directly as further delay may result that white plays e5 himself

8.Bc4 b5 9.Bd3
I was calculating the insane 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Ng5+ but after 10...Ke7, there is no dangerous follow up to mantain the attack.

This looks like a pass to me rather than forcing the issue.

10.fxe5 dxe5 11.0-0 Ne7 12.Bh6 0-0!?
I was surprise that black "could castle into it"

13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Kh1
A prophylactic move. I forseen the possible pin along the a7-g1 diagonal.

Black calmly completed his own development

15.Ne2 exd4 16.Nexd4 c5!
I had seen this coming but somehow I thought I could escape

This was what I had forseen after 16.Nexd4.

17...Kg8 18.Nde2 b4 19.Qd2 c4
Black wins a piece. I of course had forseen this and played the intended...

I actually had also considered 20.Bxc4 Qxc4 21.Qxd7 Qxe2 22.Qxe7. But playing for mate is much more in line with my style. As Nigel Short onced remarked: Forget positional chess, checkmate ends the game

20...cxd3 loses on the spot to 21.Ng5

Again.. and this time treatening a fork on g7 and c7

21...Rf7 22.Ng5!!
"Winning or Losing does not matter as long as (you) attack"-NM Kamal Arifin after the game. Looks like I had gone a bit mad. If 22...fxg5 23.Rxf7 Kxf7 24.Qxh7+ Ke8 white could play 25.Ne6 Qc6 26.Qh8+ Nf8 27.Qxa8; while if 24...Kf6 25.Rf1+ gives white a lethal attack

22... Nf8! 23.Nge6 Qc8?!
This is actually not an outright blunder, but it leads to the losing path. After 23.Nde6 black have another option 23...Qc6.

Nevertheless, best is to remove one of white's knights by 23...Nxe6! 24.Nxe6 Qc6! (This is now possible) 25.Rxf6!? cxd3 (only now) and white's best is to enter a losing ending after 25.Rxf7 Kxf7 26.Ng5+ Ke8! 27.cxd3 . On 25.Raf1 Qxe6!! 26.Rxf7 Qxf7 27.Rxf7 Kxf7 28.Qxh7+ and black with 3 pieces against a Queen, should win with the correct play.

24. Rxf6
I had no better choice but to play as agressive or seemed agressive as possible

at long last black took the bait. Black should played 24..Nxe6! as 25.Nxe6 cxd3 leads to the last variation mentioned on black's 23rd move. Alternatives 25.Rxf7 Kxf7 also loses
a) 26.Qxh7+Ke8! black wins
b) 26.Rf1+ Ke8 27.Nxe6 cxd3 28.Ng7+ and 29.cxd3 is white's best option to hang on into a losing endgame

Now, white has the winning innititaive

25. Rxf7! Kxf7 26.Rf1+ Nf5 27.Qg7+ Ke8 28.Qxf8+ Kd7
The material equilibrium had been restored.

29.Qf7+ Kd6
I expected 29..Ne7

Instead of forcing the issue, I decided to consolidate the position and satisfied with the 2 pawns extra.

30...Nxd4 31.Nxd4 Qd7 32.e5+!
The winning move. 32.Rf6+ Kc7! and black prolongs the game

32...Kc7 33.Rc1+ Kd8 34.Qf8
forcing the mate after 34...Qe8 35.Ne6+ Kd7 36.Qd6#. Black, seeing this resigned.


Some relevant references which I recommend

1. Beating The Indian Defence (BATSFORD) - John Nunn & Graham Burgess
2. The Pirc alert
3. Polgar Sisters (games of the Polgars against the Pirc)
4. My 60 memorable Games (games Fischer vs Pal Benko)
5. John Nunn's Best Games (games John Nunn against Borisl Gelfand)
6. Kasparov Fighting Chess 2000-2005 & Kasparov's Greatest Chess Games vol 2 (games Kasparov vs Topalov)
7. Foxy Chess DVD - The 150 attack

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