SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Louis Morin is no stranger to my readers from Montreal. A permanent fixture in Quebec chess, Louis is a rated expert, chess writer and has translated some chess books into French. When I was still living in Montreal in the late 1980s I would sometimes go over to Louis’ home and look at chess with him. Louis had one of the largest chess libraries in the city at the time.
Recently I published a game of Louis’ played a game at the Montreal Chess Club that he was especially proud of and wanted to share with me. Since then Louis has played another fine attacking game and he again wrote to me:
”As a matter of fact, it was not at all my initial intention to send another game so fast, but my last opponent just happened again to attack one of my piece with his f-pawn, and again I was able to leave the piece there and sacrifice another one.”
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 11th MOVE:
The opening chosen by Louis is a well-known gambit line of the Queen’s Gambit where Black sacrifices a pawn in return for development. I myself have played against this several times when I was playing in weekend tournaments in Ontario back in the 80’s. Black gets reasonable compensation, but no more.
Usual is for Black to castle long and then charge up the g-pawn, but results have been discouraging at the highest level. Therefore Louis decided to castle Kingside and play a slower, but safer plan:
’11…0-0-0 would have followed established theory, but I prefer to treat this opening as a Smith-Morra Gambit in reverse.”
At the 19th move the following interesting position arose. White had just played the provocative 19.f3!?, attacking the Bishop on g4. Louis went into deep thought, pondering the consequences of a Knight move to either c4 or d3. In the fight for the initiative, there is little room for retreat! Finally, Louis played his Knight to c4, leading to a game filled with rich tactical themes, pins and surprises:
”The more obvious way and perhaps the strongest is 19…Nd3, but I felt that White had too many possible ways to refuse the sacrifice, including 20.Ne4 and 20.Nd1. So I played a much more provocative move 19…Nc4!?”
Without giving away the whole story to the readers, after navigating the sharp complications more or less successfully, both players found themselves in the key position below after White’s 31st move.
White has 2 minor pieces for a Rook, but Black is very active and controls the centre files. Black has full compensation for his slight material deficit. Here Louis saw a concrete way to reach a drawn Rook and pawn ending and did not hesitate: 31…Rxg3! 32.hxg3 Rd2! threatening both mate on g2 and the Bishop on b2. I invite my readers to see how the game finished in the pgn viewer below.
KEEP UP THE HIGH LEVEL OF GAMES, LOUIS!