DECLINE AND FALL - ( Annotations by Alex Easton )

On looking at a game afterwards, things often seem rather different than they did during play - variations missed during the game leap out at you and your opponent's 'attacks' seem less strong.

In the following game I have tried to put down my thoughts at various stages and, also, give some brief post mortem annotations at the end. The time limit was 35 moves in 75 min. The critical times are given at certain moves.

[Event "University A v Bristol & Clifton A"] [Site "?"] [Date "1981.01.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Easton, Alex"] [Black "Boyce, Jim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A42"] [Annotator "Alex Easton"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "1981.01.??"] [SourceDate "2015.06.14"]

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. e4 Nc6 5. Be3 e5 6. d5 Nce7 ({I hope he plays} 6... Nd4 7. Nge2 Nxe2 8. Bxe2 {is good}) 7. g4 {(01)} c6 $2 {(08) Can't be good since I want to play c5 and cd later on - which comes to the same thing as c6 & cd but with 2 extra tempi for me - so what now 8. h3 to keep the d1-h5 diagonal open for the queen? No, develop 8. Be2} (7... f5 {is usual then} 8. gxf5 gxf5 9. Qh5+) 8. Be2 {(a)} cxd5 9. cxd5 f5 {I can play Bb5 to exchange light squared bishops,. No, too time too time consuming - he can even play 10 ..., Kf7, I'll keep a pawn on g4 I think} 10. f3 {(b)} Nf6 11. h3 {(17)} O-O {(21)} 12. Qd2 f4 {Good, now I can play on the queenside. Must watch out for a piece sacrifice on g4 though !} 13. Bf2 Bd7 14. Bd3 {(25)} ({I can play Bb5 now} 14. Bb5 Bxb5 15. Nxb5 a6 16. Nc3 b5 { No, I think I'll prevent .... b5 and get in first on the queen side}) 14... a6 {(30)} 15. Nge2 {(c)} ({Oh, I can't play a4 as I planned} 15. a4 b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. Rxa8 Qxa8 18. Bxb5 Qa1+ 19. Ke2 Rb8 {is good for him. So Nge2 first and if he plays 15...,b5, I've got b4 folled by a4 later. Must be good ( Mounting elation from AE ! )}) 15... Rc8 16. a4 {(30)} Qa5 $2 {Does he want to attack on the queen side ? That will help me} 17. O-O {(47)} (17. b4 Qxb4 18. O-O {threatening Rfb1 & Bb6 winning the Queen. So ...} Qa5 19. Rfb1 Qc7 20. Bb6 Qb8 {Looks good. If I just go 17, 0-0 - b4 can only be prevented by Qb4 then there is Nc1, Na2, b4 b5etc. Good. Just 0-0 and there is no need to sacrifice a pawn.}) 17... g5 {(38) Yes he couldn't play h5 due to g5 so now he wants to play h5 and loosen up g4 for a sacrifice. Must watch that !} 18. b4 Qd8 {(d)(48) Now 19. a5, and 20. b5 or just 19. b5? Either will do - Lets play 19. b5} 19. b5 {(50)} a5 {practically forced. will the pawn be lost on b6 ? probably not.} 20. b6 {(55)} Ra8 {Odd move - oh yes quite a good one. I'll take more time to win the a-pawn and c8 is now free for the knight to attack the b-pawn, or even for the bishop to retreat to. So if I play N or B to b5 he can play Nc8. I'll delay that and bring in my Rooks.} 21. Rfc1 {(61)} Rf7 22. Rab1 {(65)} h5 {Now I must exchange his QB to stop the sacrifice on g4. I can take with the Rook now, can't I ? His a-pawn must fall. He's got nothing on the king side ( AE near ecstacy now )} 23. Nb5 Bxb5 24. Rxb5 $2 {(e) } hxg4 25. hxg4 {(68)} Nxg4 $1 {(f) He's got nothing though. That's just desperation. He looks depressed ( chortles with inner mirth ). I've got lots of bits back there to protect the king.} 26. fxg4 Qd7 {(65)} 27. Rc7 {(72)} ({ Oh - can't play} 27. Rxa5 Qxg4+ 28. Kf1 Rxa5 29. Qxa5 Qh3+ 30. Ke1 Qxd3 {and Bishop falls. Never mind 27. Rc7 is is good ( Blissfull ignorance )}) 27... Qxg4+ 28. Kf1 Ng6 {(g)} 29. Rxf7 Kxf7 30. Qc2 $2 {Oh dear, his Queen protects c8, I should have played 29. Qc2 rather than exchange his Rook} Rc8 {Queen moves anywhere} 31. Qb2 $4 Qh3+ {Ach that b...... fork. Forgot about that. Goodbye little bishy. Lost now, I suppose ( gloom )} 32. Ke1 Qxd3 33. Rxa5 $2 {(73) Damn! Rc2 wins for him. Should I resign before he plays it ? No, I'll wait for him to spot it. ( contemplates a piece of lead piping in a dark alley )} Rc2 {(70) Resigns } 0-1

Footnote. The pressure was no real excuse for under-estimating 25, Ng4. The strength of this move only was revealed to me during post mortem analysis with Jim


(a) Bd3 is better since the Bishop goes there anyway and f5 is prevented. 9.Bd3 f5; gf; 11. Qh5+ and wins the f pawn.

(b) A typical modern Kings Indian device, maintaining the spike on g4 with the idea of blocking the K-side.

(c) 15. a4 b5; 16.b4 is good though.

(d) 18...,Qb4; 19.Rfb1 Qa5 20.Bb6+

(e) a mistake. 24. Bb5 keeps a big advantage to White. After 24. Bb5, the Queen can't cross to the K-side since the Bishop controls d7. White will then double on the c-file and play Rc7 etc. The a-pawn will fall in its own good time, e.g 24. Bb5 Ng6; 25. Rc3 Nh4; 26. Rac1 etc with a large advantage to White.

(f) In fact, the defence is very difficult for White after this move. Black can combine piece play and a k-side pawn roller. The White pieces only get in the way of each other and provide a nice target for the Black pawns.

(g) Black now has threats of ... Nh4 and of Bh4... Q or gh4 etc also .. f6 and Nh5 are threatened and the Black kingside pawns roll on. Perhaps there is a defence but the assessment must be + to Black} 0-1