1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bb5 Not the most common reply to the Classical Sicilian but by no means a bad one. These days a great deal of attention is given to both [6.Bc4 the Fischer-Sozin Attack and also; 6.Bg5 the extremely complex Richter-Rauzer variation.]
6...Bd7 7.f4 White is playing very aggresively but this is a little loosening as White is now weak on the a7-g1 diagonal. [7.Bg5 is perhaps a sounder aggressive move since if Black now tries to fianchetto then White may play 7...g6 8.Bxf6 exf6 9.Nde2 a line that Negi has recently suggested in one of his excellent 1.e4 vs The Sicilian books.; In contrast, a correspondence game by highly rated players went 7.Be3 g6 8.f3 Bg7 9.Qd2 a6 and Black has avoided the worst of the Yugoslav Attack since the bishop is on b5 not c4 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.Rd1 Qa5 Saenko-Saglione, Antonio Barrios Memorial ICCF 2010.; 7.0-0 is the most flexible move here but the most popular reply is still 7...g6 ]
7...g6 8.0-0 [Exchanging on c6, as a justification for placing the bishop on b5, has been played often but does not give any advantage after 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 and Black who has the b- and c-files to work with is fine (Nezhmetdinov-Ilivitzki, RUS-ch Yaroslavl 1951).; Similarly 8.Nxc6 loses time after 8...bxc6 9.Bc4 Qc7 10.Qe2 Bg4 11.Qe3 Barhudarian-Zizlova, St.Petersburg Botvinnik Memorial open 2012.; White, though, might choose 8.Be3 Bg7 9.Be2 covering g4 and removing the bishop from danger, especially since the usual response to the White set up, is rather unclear after 9...Qb6 10.Nf5 Qxb2 11.Nxg7+ Kf8 Vukovic-Petkovic, YUG-ch U-20 Han Pijesk 1978.]
8...Bg7 Early in the game White is already in some trouble due to various tactics available for Black along the a7-g1 diagonal and focussing on d4.
9.Nf3?! This allows Black to grab a pawn which surprisingly has been missed by Black players in several other games played in later years. [Very poor for White are 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bd4 e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Bc5 cxb5-+ ; and 9.Nb3 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Qb6+ 11.Nec5 dxc5 12.Bc4 and White has nothing for the pawn.; 9.Nce2 also leads to material lose with 9...Nxe4 (also good is 9...Qb6 10.Qd3 e5-+ ) 10.f5 gxf5 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Nxf5 Bxf5 13.Rxf5 Qb6+ 14.Kf1-+ ; But 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Bd3 minimises Black's advantage although he has a very comfortable game.]
9...Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Qb6+ 11.Kh1 [11.Rf2 intending a temporary queen offer is, in fact, little better. For instance 11...Qxb5 12.Qxd6 Nd4 (12...exd6 works well for White following 13.Nxd6+ Ke7 14.Nxb5 winning a pawn.) 13.c3 (13.Nxd4 Qa4 wins by removing the queen from danger whilst simultaneously attacking the White queen and knight.) 13...Nxf3+ 14.Rxf3 f5 15.Re3 exd6 (or the straightforward 15...fxe4 16.Rxe4 0-0-0 as White cannot obtain another pawn for the piece due to 17.Rxe7 (or 17.Qxe7 Rhe8 ) 17...Bf8 ) 16.Nxd6+ Kf8-+ ]
11...Qxb5 12.c3 White consolidates the queens-side, to allow development of the bishop and reduce the action of the Bg7. He then proceeds, undaunted by the pawn loss, to try and build up a kings-side attack. [Wild efforts to exploit the slightly misplaced Black queen, and the fact the black king is still in the centre, fail drastically. For example 12.Nxd6+ exd6 13.Re1+ Be6 14.Qxd6 Rd8-+ since White has nothing at all in particular if he continues 15.Rxe6+ fxe6 16.Qxe6+ Kf8 17.Ng5 Qf1# ; 12.Qxd6 Qxf1+ (but certainly not 12...exd6 13.Nxd6+ Kf8 14.Nxb5 again winning a pawn.) ]
12...0-0 13.a4 Qa5 14.Be3 Rad8 Steady play aiming for an eventual d5 which is nearly always strong for Black in the Dragon set up.
15.Qe1 Bc8 16.Qh4 Qf5 17.Nf2 [White gets nowhere with 17.Neg5 as 17...h6 kills any attacking possibilities via 18.Nh3 (or 18.Rae1 hxg5 19.Nxg5 Rfe8 wins as the bishop on g7, and the fact the f-pawn is blockaded by the queen, just means White has lost material.) 18...Qg4 exchanging queens.]
17...d5 18.Rac1 Guarding c3 in readiness for a general queens-side pawn advance but this is answered in classic style by action in the centre.
18...f6 19.b4 e5 20.b5 Perhaps White was in time trouble as his game now rapidly collapses. Little better, though, was [20.Bc5 Rfe8 when Black is a pawn up and dominates the centre.]
20...d4 21.Bd2 dxc3 22.Rxc3 Nd4 23.Nxd4 [23.fxe5 fxe5 24.Bg5 holds out a bit more hope but Black should eventually win with the extra pawn and better co-ordinated game.]
23...Rxd4 24.Be3 Rxa4 25.Nd3 exf4 26.Rc5 A blunder but White's game also falls apart after [26.Rxf4 Ra1+ 27.Bg1 Qxb5 ]
26...Qxd3 A comfortable victory for Wheatcroft who seemed to be one of those old fashioned Brits that helped win the Second World War. He had a distinguished military career and was awarded the 1939-45 Star for operational services. Both before, and after, the war he was involved in a legal career and became a Professor of Law in later years. 0-1