(1) Compton,G - Donnelly,M.J [B23]
KO Cup Coventry League, 2001

1.e4 c5 2.f4
Usually this move leads to a Grand-Prix Attack (GPA) or a Closed Sicilian although in the current game White seems, at least not initially, to take up either of these options.

Just one of Black's common replies at the time the game was played, which also included [2...d6 ; 2...Nc6 or; 2...e6 all of which I've played; but nowadays Black's other possibility of 2...d5 seems to be more generally preferred by many players.]

3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Bc4
As a sign of White's intentions this move was banged down just as the sacrifice Bxf5 was in the other annotated game of this month's article. The move has received little theoretical cover in opening books but is quite popular, second only to [4.Nc3 when White may aim for either the traditional GPA, with Bc4, or the more modern line with Bb5.]

4...Nc6 5.0-0 e6
Blunting the action of the Bc4. Instead [5...d6 now, or by transposition due to being played early in the game, is also often played. A player who popularised the GPA and scored very heavily in week-end events with it produced the following dramatic encounter: 6.Qe1 a6 7.d3 Nf6 8.Nc3 Nd4 9.Bb3 e6 10.f5 Qe7 11.fxe6 Bxe6 12.Nxd4 cxd4 13.Ne2 Nd7 14.Qf2 Ne5 15.Nxd4 Ng4 16.Nxe6 Nxf2 17.Nxg7+ Kd7 18.Rxf2 Raf8 19.Bd2 Kc8 20.Rc1 1:0 Rumens-Ginsberg, Lloyds Bank op. London 1981.]

An aggressive line matching White's fourth move which aims to control the key d6, and also the f6, squares.

6...Nge7 7.Nc3
With this move the game does, in fact, transpose via a very round-about way to one of the older fairly well explored lines of the GPA. This positon still retains possibilities for uncommon play, though, if White continues to avoid the knight move. Just a hand-full of games have seen here [7.d4 ; 7.c3 or; 7.d3 each of which sets Black different problems from that encountered in the well-explored line played.]

7...d5 8.Nb5?!
This seems a novelty, where White goes for broke by sacrificing a piece to displace the Black king, and also breach Black's defences by winning the f7 pawn and possibly also the Rh8...and yes this move was also banged down. As in the other annotated game this month time was now taken to analyse the position and attempt to calmly work through the complexities and emerge in safety. [In the vast majority of games White nearly always tries to exploit the dark squares near Black's king in a different manner by playing 8.exd6 when Black can recover the pawn immediately with 8...Qxd6 Then White can attack c5, the queen, and f6 with Ne4 now or later, or prefer to recover the pawn later with (8...Nf5 ) ; 8.Bb5 is another move played here, which although it leaves d6 controlled by White seems not to be exploitable immediately, and the bishop move loses a tempo.]

8...dxc4 9.Nd6+ Kf8 10.Ng5 Nf5
Black immediately challenges the dominant Nd6 and this defensive idea involves returning some material so as to activate Black's pieces.

This gives the appearance of being a very strong move. White gains a pawn and forks the queen and rook so can gain more material. [11.Ndxf7 is much less effective as Black can play 11...Qd4+ 12.Rf2 Rg8 when White has little or no attacking chances for the sacrificed material. Now 13.Nxh7+ simply fails to 13...Kxf7 ]

maintaining pressure on the d6 knight although the more active queen move Qh4 was another option.

Played quickly. White grabs the rook so is temporarily material up. However, the position of the knight in the corner is a common one is several tactical lines of some openings. The fundamental problem is the knight can rarely emerge easily from positions like h8 or a8. In the longer term then, some openings can allow Nxf7 and Nxh8 since eventually, especially if the opponent can counter strongly in the centre, the rook capture may end up only winning the exchange and the opponent gets good compensation. [Curiously the quiet 12.d3 was a better option as after 12...Nxd6 13.Nxd6 (but not the blunder 13.exd6 Qxf7 ) 13...cxd3 14.Qxd3 White has some compensation for the 2 pawn deficiency in retaining a dominant knight on d6, better development, and Black having an exposed c5 pawn.]

[Capturing the knight on h8 now is a mistake as after 12...Bxh8 13.Nxc4 White has a R+2P for two pieces and is still in the game.]

Again a common idea wherby White at least gets a pawn for the standed knight. [If 13.exd6 Qxd6 and now to avoid Bxh8 14.Nxg6+ transposes to the game continuation.]

13...hxg6 14.exd6 Qxd6
The tactics have ended and White has not quite enough in only obtaining a R+P for two pieces. GM Schandorff would comment here "And its over" as he does several times in his excellent opening books when one side emerges from tactical complexities with a very large or winning advantage. Nevertheless, the current game is still a practical one with clocks ticking hence Black has to demonstrate the two bishops, a development lead, and now secure king, are decisive advantages.

Otherwise Black can, at a convenient time, plant a dominant piece on d4, or check on d4 and after Kh1 attack along the h-file.

15...Bd7 16.Qg4 Ne7 17.b3
Although opening the a-file for the rook this leaves the resultant b3 pawn weak.

17...cxb3 18.axb3 Qd5 19.Kh1
Again White goes for broke and attempts to break open the centre with a pawn offer to expose the Black king. [Instead if 19.Ba3 Kf7 (but certainly not 19...Qxb3 20.Bxc5 and White has good chances.) 20.Rab1 Bc6 and Black is slowly activating his pieces whilst White's have ended up slightly passive on the queens-side.]

19...Qxb3 20.Ba3 b6 21.d4 Qc4
A solid retrat that simply prevents any entry of White's pieces into the Black position.

22.Bb2 a5
Indirectly activating, the as yet undeveloped Black rook, which threats to now support the advance of the pawn to a3 in conjunction with say Qb3, which would be very disruptive for White.

23.dxc5 bxc5 24.Rad1 Bc6 25.Rf2 Bd5
Not only sealing-off any entry along the d-file but consolidating the e6 pawn.

26.Re1 a4 27.Qe2 a3 28.Ba1 Rb8 29.Qxc4 Bxc4 30.h3
White plays on to the bitter end but with a bishop on a1 to add to a material deficiency it really is "over".

The remainder of the game requires few further comments.

31.Kh2 Bxc3 32.Bxc3 Rxc3 33.h4 a2 34.Rb2 Ra3 35.Ra1 Bb3
Now Black may advance the c-pawn with tempo.

36.g4 c4 37.h5 gxh5 38.f5 exf5 39.gxf5 Kf7 40.Kg1 Ra5
Another pawn goes west.

41.Kf2 Rxf5+ 42.Kg3 Ng6 43.Rf2 h4+ 44.Kg2 Rxf2+ 45.Kxf2 Kf6 46.Kf3 Kf5 47.Kg2 Ne5 48.Kh3 Nd3
Threat Nb4-c2 and the a-pawn queens, or White loses a rook, as well as the same idea via c3-c2 with knight remaining on d3 as occurred in the game.

49.Kxh4 c3 50.Kh3 c2 51.Kh2 c1Q 52.Kg2 Qxa1 53.Kh3 Qg1 54.Kh4 Qg4# 0-1