My team was very motivated for this decisive encounter and we won with a crushing 7-3 score, putting my team in the lead with just one round to go. Should EEB win this year, this will be the first time it will have done so in 25 years!
Below is my game on second board against the strong international master Joao Fluvia.gm SPRAGGETT, K vs im FLUVIA, JOAO
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. e3
I have never been a big fan of this setup for the Black side, but it does ok in practice and is often played. Curiously, with colours reversed the setup is not thought much of by theoreticians.
An interesting line that has been known for a long time now. It is dangerous for White to try to hold on to the pawn.
6. cxd5 Nb4 7. d3! Nfxd5 8. Nxd5 Nxd5 9. Nf3!
In this way White develops comfortably and Black will have to play cautiously to maintain his centre.
9…Qe7 10. O-O O-O 11. a3 Nf6 12. b4 Bd6 13. Nd2! c6 14. Nc4 Bc7 15. Qc2 Ne8!?
Black is beginning to find it difficult to get active play. Fluvia decides to dig in and build a type of fortress. If this is the best that Black has, then it is necessary to re-think the opening moves…
16. Bb2 f6 17. d4!
Opening the centre and limiting Black’s options.
17…exd4 18. Bxd4 Nd6 19. Bc5 Qe6 20. Nxd6 Bxd6 21. Rac1(b5!) Qe7 22. Bxd6 Qxd6 23. Rfd1 Qe7
White has a small but durable edge. He has chances of a successful minority attack on the Queenside and his Bishop is always more active than Black’s. Still, Black has almost no weaknesses…
24. Be4 !
A star move! It is important to create some weaknesses on the Kingside. Alekhine taught about the importance of playing on both sides of the board when trying to out-manouevre the opponent in this type of position.
I am not certain if Black’s next move is the best solution to White’s idea, but it is hard to criticize him because his game will remain passive in any case…
24…f5!? 25. Bf3 Be6 26. Qc3! Rad8 27. Qe5!
White is beginning to dominate. Black seeks some relief by exchanges…
27… Rxd1 28. Rxd1 Kf7 29. Qd4 a6 30. h4 Rc8 31. h5! h6
Black tries to get some counterplay over on the Queenside. However, White now opens up a new front with the hope of catching the Black King in the centre…
32. e4! c5 33. bxc5 Rxc5 34. exf5 Rxf5 35. Bg4 Rf6 36. Re1!
Black is probably not lost, but his game will not afford even a slight inaccuracy. Black’s pieces are all tied up and pinned around his King.
To make things worse, time trouble now became an important factor. In just a few moves Black gave up his Queen and tried to hold a Queen vs Rook and Bishop ending…it did not work and White scored a well earned point.