Gordon, Stephen - Sygnowski, Tomasz



I was paired with Tomasz Sygnowski in the last round. He had already played two Grandmaster's in the tournament. He missed some winning chances against Keith Arkell in round two, after which the game ended in a draw and then defended a tough rook ending a pawn down against against Mark Hebden in the fourth round to hold. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 O-O 6.Be2 Diagram [#] So we get a classical Kings Indian. In the next couple of moves Black has to decide which system to commit to. 6. ... Bg4 This is an interesting sideline. Black will part with the light squared Bishop, normally hoping to get some dark squared control in the centre or some counterplay on the queenside going

[ 6. ... e5 Is the main line ]
7.Be3 It's normal that White adds a bit of extra control to the d4 square
[ 7.h3 This kind of thing gives Black some nice play in the centre, for example 7. ... Bxf3 8.Bxf3 Nfd7 9.O-O Nc6 10.Be3 e5 11.d5 Nd4 Should be absolutely fine for Black ]
7. ... c6 This however is quite passive and not really in the spirit of the variation. White already has a clear edge out of the opening, with two bishops, extra space and no pressure against the White centre 8.O-O Nbd7 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 a6 Preparing to possible play ...b5 at some moment. It's not really possible just yet as the f3 Bishop will do some damage, but after some preparation it will become viable... 11.Rb1 Preparing an advance on the queenside but probably this was unnecessary
[ 11.b4 a5 12.a3 Would have been a more direct and probably better way to proceed ]
11. ... Qc7 12.Qc2 Played to prevent ...b5 12. ... Rfc8 Diagram [#] 13.c5 This seemed like the correct way to go against Black's cagey play. White takes more space and hopes to make the c8 rook misplaced 13. ... b6 looks passive but at least I'm not being asked some questions 14.cxd6
[ 14.cxb6 Would have been possible also. I was burning quite a lot of time at this stage as I struggled to assess which capture was better. 14. ... Nxb6 15.b3 a5 16.Rfc1 Is keeping an advantage for White ]
14. ... exd6 15.Rfc1 Re8 Diagram [#] 16.b4
[ 16.Nd5 looks tempting but I felt that Black would be getting a fair share of the play after something like 16. ... Nxd5 17.exd5 c5 18.b4 Qa7 19.dxc5 bxc5 . It's true that it's still uncomfortble for Black but I did feel as though more was deserved from the position at move 16. ]
16. ... Rac8 17.Qd3 Qa7 By this point I started to become a little frustrated. It's clear that White should be better, but I found it very difficult to see clear paths to prove it. 18.Bf4
[ 18.Be2 Was another move that I really wanted to make work but I couldn't judge how well I was doing after 18. ... b5 19.e5 Nd5 20.Nxd5 cxd5 The computer suggests this is still clearly better for White, it's top move being 21.Rxc8 21. ... Rxc8 22.exd6 Nb6 23.Bf4 When you look at this kind of thing with the machine it's easy to be convinced, but over the board it was too difficult for me. ]
[ In hindsight I think 18.a4 Would have been best. Now Black will find it difficult to make a pawn break 18. ... c5 19.bxc5
[ 19.Qd2 Is a nice move, getting the queen out of the way of a potential ...Ne5 or ...Nc5 ]
19. ... bxc5 20.dxc5 Ne5 Is an interesting attempt to make things difficult for White 21.Qxd6 21. ... Nc4 22.Qd3 Nxe3 23.Qxe3 Qxc5 I think Black has decent chances to hold in a scenario like this ]
18. ... Bf8 19.Bg4 I think this was a poor decision, mainly caused through my indecisiveness over the last few moves. I allow a piece exchange and gift Black some extra time
[ 19.a4 again continuing with a Queenside expansion, would have been better ]
19. ... Nxg4 20.hxg4 b5 Diagram [#] My opponent found the best continuation after my 18th move and gives himself some decent chances of counterplay. The knight on d7 can potentially look towards jumping into the c4 square 21.Be3 Qb7 22.a4 Nb6 Diagram [#] I was actually at a loss as to how well I was doing here. I thought it was now around equal but as it turns out White is still in the driving seat. Fortunately I found a strong idea 23.d5! The idea is to get an outpost on d5 for the white knight. There's quite a lot going on with 3 captures available to Black but actually it's pretty much impossible to prevent the White knight landing in the middle 23. ... Nxa4 My opponent grabs a pawn but White gets very nice compensation in return. 24.dxc6 Rxc6 25.Nd5 Diagram [#] It will take some time now for the Black knight to be able to get back into play. Meanwhile White's attacking chances have become quite serious 25. ... Rec8
[ 25. ... Bg7 26.Rxc6 Qxc6 27.Rc1 Qd7 28.Bd4 is huge for White 28. ... Qxg4? 29.Bxg7 Kxg7 30.Qd4+ Kh6 The only square. I had seen up to this point in my mind's eye and felt it had to be good somehow. The engine finds 31.Nf6 after which 31. ... Qf4 32.Rc7 Black will not survive much longer ]
26.Rxc6 Rxc6
[ 26. ... Qxc6 I had expected this recapture. In all honesty I could not see how best to proceed. Obviously White has great compensation in a few different ways but an attractive way to force things through would be 27.Bh6! Qc4 28.Rc1! Diagram [#]
[ 28.Qh3 is also very strong ]
28. ... Qxd3 29.Rxc8 and mate is inevitable ]
27.Bd4 This is natural and probably strong. However the engine finds something I think is rather unnatural but turns out to be crushing
[ 27.Bg5! It's probably not necessary for White to find this to be winning but I do find it very suprising how much of a killer this move is. The point is that White is able to bring the queen to h3 and the bishop's supporting role on g5 prevents Black from keeping the the White queen from penetrating. Some very nice finishes arise after 27. ... h6 28.Nf6+ Kg7 29.Bxh6+! Diagram [#] Black has to take a piece but both are poisonous 29. ... Kxf6
[ 29. ... Kxh6 30.Qh3+ Kg7
[ 30. ... Kg5 31.Nh7+ Kf4 32.Qg3+ Kxe4 33.Rd1! Black cannot stop a mate next move ]
31.g5 and mate cannot be prevented ]
30.Bxf8 After which Black has to give too much material in order to avoid mate 30. ... Ke6 31.Qd5+ Kd7 32.Qxf7+ Kc8 33.Qe8+ Kc7 34.Rd1 with an ongoing attack ]
27. ... Be7
[ 27. ... Rc4 I felt that this was putting up more resistance but in any case the Black position is very unplesant to handle ]
28.Qe3 Rc4 29.Ba1 f5 looks crazy but it's difficult to offer a better defensive try at this stage 30.Qh6
[ 30.gxf5 Would have been cleaner, leaving Black without hope ]
30. ... Bd8 31.gxf5?! Again not the most precise
[ 31.exf5 Qf7 32.Re1 The threat of Re8 and Qg7 ends things ]
31. ... Qf7 32.Rb3 Qf8
[ We were both getting very short on time here. I expected 32. ... Rxe4 but after 33.Rg3 Rh4 34.Qe3 The situation is untenable. All of the Black pieces are paralysed. It's actually impossible to suggest a constructive move 34. ... Rh5 35.Qd4+- ]
33.Qd2 Nb6 34.fxg6 hxg6 35.Rh3 Diagram [#] and Black can no longer prevent losing a large amount of material

Created with Scid