10. My best Combination

It was dark and cold, and the distance from our skyscraper satellite town flat to the playing venue in the center was long. It was winter in Sweden. Today I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams to voluntarily enter such a combination of season an country. But back then, I was young and my heart was beating for chess. As it turned out, all hardship was supposed to be rewarded more than enough. In Malmö 1986 I achieved my first IM norm and in this specific game I could celebrate my best ever combination.

Image result for malmo

But before you think that this game is just about showing off, please note this. It also serves as an important model game about how to treat a certain structure of the Spanish Exchange Variation. So, it’s a classical win-win situation: I may brag a bit and you get to learn something in return.

[Event "Malmö"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1986.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wahls"]
[Black "Bjarnason"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C68"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[SourceDate "2002.05.06"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3
Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Qd6 {This is one of the many respectable
moves at this point.} 6. d3 {Diagram [#] I have the feeling, this closed setup
gives better chances for an advantage than} (6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8. Be3
O-O-O) 6... Bg4 $6 {More popular are 6..f6 and 6..Nge7.} 7. Be3 O-O-O $2 {
Diagram [#] At first sight, this move appears to be in line with the logic of
chess. Black brings his king into apparent safety and activates his queen's
rook, thus discouraging a possible d3-d4. But if you do a little bit of thinking, you
will easily dig out this position's dominant feature: We have got asymmetric
castles with a different degree of king's safety! While White's kingside
pawn structure is flawless, Black's structure is weakened by the pawn being on
a6 (with the pawn on a7, it would be a complete different story). The pawn on
a6 is what Dr. Tarrasch called an "Aufrollpunkt" in his famous work "Das
Schachspiel", which happened to be my first chess book, by the way. But since it
appeared extremely dry to me I laid it aside after a only a bit of browsing. You
cannot compare these old times with today, where the readers are spoiled rotten
by highly instructive and at the same time very entertaining textbooks or
DVDs. The modern student is served with a predigested highly essential
substance, which he only has to swallow by himself. There is no need anymore
to do the hard gold digging job by the cold Klondike. To be fair, there is also kind of a downside, in so far as there is more to know today. If you don't know what already is out there, chances are, that the guy at the other side of the board with the thick glasses might do. Well, after a bit of digression let's get the curve back to our "Aufrollpunkt", which is called "hook" in the English language. It is the point or weakness, where you can open up your opponents position like a tin of tasty sardines. If you follow the
game, you will know what I mean. With hindsight we can state that} (7... f6 8.
Nbd2 Ne7 {followed by Ng6, Be7 and 0-0 would have been more prudent.}) 8. Nbd2
f6 9. Rb1 $1 {Diagram [#] If you listen very closely, you can hear the fanfare
horn which is blown from the the top of this rook. The attack on Black's
fortress begins. Of course, 9.a3 would have been a mistake, since you need
the pawn on a4 to make further progress. That sounds logical, but believe me,
the graveyard of dead tempi is full of such moves. Now one last thought.
Imagine the position before the rook move with Black's pawns on c5 and a7,
instead. Then 9.a3! threatening 10.b4 would have been the right way to go
about.} Ne7 (9... c5 10. a3) 10. b4 Ng6 11. h3 {I wanted the bishop to retreat,
in order to be able execute the central thrust d3-d4 whenever required. Also,
11..Nh4 had to be seen as a threat.} Be6 12. a4 Qd7 $1 {Diagram [#] A very
good multi purpose move, which reinstalls control over the square b5 and
clears the way for the bishop. Additionally, the option of Bxh3 appears on the
horizon.} 13. d4 $2 {The cruel thing about today's chess engines is, that they
kill all kinds of illusions. Until today, when I analyzed this game again for
this post, I had a high opinion of this move, as being the strong initiator of
the final attack. But as it turns out, Black now gets a one shot opportunity
for salvation. The immediate advance of the b-pawn would have left me with a
clear advantage in all variations:} (13. b5 $1 a5 (13... cxb5 14. axb5 axb5 (
14... a5 15. b6) 15. d4 c6 (15... exd4 16. Nxd4 c6 (16... b6 17. Rxb5 Bd6 18.
Qe2 Nf4 (18... Kb7 $2 19. Nc4 $18) 19. Bxf4 Bxf4 20. N2b3 Bxb3 (20... Rhe8 21.
Ra1 $18) 21. Nxb3 Qc6 22. c4 $16) 17. c4 Bc5 (17... b4 18. Qa4 $18) 18. Nxe6
Bxe3 19. Nxd8 Rxd8 20. fxe3 Qxd2 21. Qxd2 Rxd2 22. cxb5 $18) 16. c4 Bxc4 17.
Nxc4 bxc4 18. Qa4 b5 19. Qa8+ Kc7 20. Qa5+ Kd6 (20... Kc8 21. d5 $18) 21. Rfd1
$16) 14. b6 (14. d4 exd4 15. Nxd4 Ne5 (15... c5 16. Nxe6 Qxe6 17. f4 f5 18. b6
c6 19. Qe2 $16) 16. bxc6 Nxc6 17. c3 Bf7 18. Rb5 $16) 14... Bb4 15. Nb3 Nf4 (
15... Bf7 16. Nc5 Qd6 17. Rxb4 $1 axb4 18. a5 $16) 16. Bxf4 exf4 17. bxc7 Qxc7
18. c3 Bxc3 (18... Be7 19. Nfd4 Bd7 20. Nd2 Kb8 21. Nc4 $16) 19. Nc5 $16) 13...
Bd6 $1 (13... exd4 14. Nxd4 Bf7 15. Qe2 $16) 14. b5 axb5 (14... exd4 $2 15.
Nxd4 cxb5 16. axb5 a5 17. b6 $16 {e.g.} c6 18. Ra1 Bb4 19. Rxa5 Bxa5 20. Qa1
Bxb6 21. Qa8+ Kc7 22. Nxe6+ Qxe6 23. Bxb6+ Kxb6 24. Rb1+ $18) 15. axb5 exd4 $2
{Beside this move, I also calculated 15..cxb5? 16.d5 Bf7 17.c4+-. However, my
opponent and me, we both overlooked the counter blow} (15... Bxh3 $1 {After} 16.
bxc6 bxc6 {Black's king's position looks worse than it is in reality, since
his queen is about to set sail for g4 or h3 any time soon, thus vacating a
nice flight square for his majesty.} 17. dxe5 (17. gxh3 $2 exd4 18. Bxd4 $2
Qxh3 $19 19. e5 (19. Nc4 Bf4 $19 {[%cal Rg6h4]}) 19... Nf4 20. Ne1 fxe5 21. Rb3
Qh4 22. Ba7 e4 {[%cal Rf4e2]}) 17... Qg4 (17... Nxe5 $2 18. Nxe5 Bxe5 19. Qh5
Bg4 20. Ba7 Qe6 21. Nb3 Kd7 (21... Bxh5 $2 22. Nc5 Bh2+ 23. Kh1 $18) 22. Nc5+
Ke7 23. Qh4 g5 24. Nxe6 gxh4 25. Nxd8 $18) 18. Ne1 Bxe5 (18... Nxe5 19. f4 Qg3
20. Bf2 Qxf4 21. gxh3 Nc4 $13) 19. Qxg4+ Bxg4 20. f3 Be6 21. Nd3 $11) 16. Ra1
Kb8 {At this moment, I was envisaging the game's final combination. But I
will give you one more move, to do it yourself.} (16... b6 17. bxc6 Qxc6 18.
Nxd4 Qe8 19. Qe2 $18) (16... Qf7 17. bxc6 bxc6 18. Nxd4 $18) 17. Nxd4 $1 cxb5 { Now, please take your time. White to move and mate in 7!
Diagram [#]} (17... c5
18. c3 $18 {[%cal Rd1a4]}) 18. Ra8+ $1 {Clearance!} Kxa8 19. Qa1+ Kb8 20. Qa7+
$1 {followed by a decoy} (20. Qa7+ Kxa7 21. Nc6+ {followed by the creation of a cage
(mating net) by double checking.} Ka8 22. Ra1+ {And finally, the last piece of
artillery is finishing off Black's king.} Ba2 23. Rxa2+ Ba3 24. Rxa3#) 1-0

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