Active play is the way forward

Passive play never pays in a chess game even when a draw might be the requirement of the hour. Even in defence, it is better to play actively rather than get bogged down with a cramped position where pieces do not venture out of your territory.

In the game which follows, White is rather passive and prefers to move his pieces in his own territory for most part of the game. Though Black never wins any extra pawn or pieces, his position improves with every move and interestingly the ending is dramatic where Black captures the King in a checkmating net.

White: Jan Votava (2545) – Black: Normunds Miezis (2530)
Schoeneck , 1996
English Symmetrical
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.g3
White can play actively with 5.e4 or 5.d4
5. ...Nc6 6.Bg2 Nxc3 7.bxc3
If 7.dxc3 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 e5 9.e4 Be7
7...e5  8.0–0
Here 8.Qa4 appears a better move. If 8.Qc2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Bb2 Be6 11.d4 cxd4 12.cxd4 exd4
8...Be7 9.Rb1
Immediately positioning the rook on the open file. If 9.d3 0–0 10.Nd2 Be6
11.Nc4
9...0–0 10.d3 Qc7
Black can also play 10. ..Rb8
11.Be3
Here 11.Qa4 looks more appealing
11. ..Be6
If 11...Rb8 12.a4 b6 13.Nd2 Be6 14.Qc2 Rbd8 15.f4 exf4 16.Bxf4 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Qxd6 18.Ne4  was played in a previous game and resulted in a victory for White
12.Qa4 Rac8
12. ..Rfc8 is more accurate
13.Ng5 Bxg5 14.Bxg5 b6 15.Rfd1 Qd7
Black can play 15. ..h6
16.Rb2 f6 17.Bc1
Back to square one!
17. ..Rfd8
Diagram 1
18.Rbd2. White has been a bit passive and even now could have played 18.f4 Bd5  19.e4 Be6  20.Rf2 Bg4
18. ..Bd5 19.Bf1
Another dull move! White can play 19.f3 or 19.e4
19. ..Be6 . Strangely Black also retreats back when he should have played 19. ..Rc7 or 19. ..Rb8
20.Bg2 Bd5 21.Bf1
White gives an indication that he is not averse to a draw by repetition of moves
21. .. Rb8
Black now changes his move! Draw could have been sealed after 21...Be6 22.Bg2 Bd5 23.Bf1
22.Qh4
Swinging to the King side.  White could have maintained balance with 22.Rb2 or 22.c4
22. .. Qf7 23.c4 Be6 24.e3 Rd6 25.f4
An aggressive advance at last but alas not the right move! Worth a look is 25.Qe4
25...Rbd8 26.Bg2 Ne7 27.Be4
If 27.fxe5 Ng6 28.Qe4 Nxe5 is better for Black
27...h5
An interesting advance!
28.Rf1. If 28.fxe5 g5
28...exf4 29.Qxf4
If 29.exf4 f5 And if  29.Rxf4 g5
29...Ng6 30.Bxg6
If 30.Qf2 Ne5 31.Qe2 Bg4 with a big advantage for Black
30...Qxg6–+ 31.d4 cxd4 32.Ba3 R6d7 33.Rxd4 Rxd4 34.exd4 Qd3
Invading the enemy territory! Though there are opposite coloured bishops on board, Black has got a good stranglehold on the game
35.d5. A  mistake when things have already gone wrong. If 35.Bb2 Bxc4
35. ..Bh3 36.Rf3
A big blunder! But things had already become difficult for Black
36. .. Qd1+ 37.Kf2
Loss is inevitable now
37. ..Re8 38.Re3 Qf1 checkmate.  0–1
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Ra5+ bxa5 2.b5 checkmate.

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