A chronicle of inexplicable blunders

Chess Checks

It is not uncommon in a chess game to come across a series of mistakes which bring the game crashing down. The mistakes can be the result of nervousness, loss of concentration, mishandling the position or sometimes not just understanding the hidden nuances in the position.

In the game which follows, White builds up an initiative in the initial stages but is strangely error-prone in the middle-game where he commits a series of mistakes. In the ending, Black’s double knights win a couple of pawns to steer the game in his favour.
White: Patrick Levacic (2365) – Black: Branko Rogulj (2430)
Pula, 1998
Alekhine’s Defence
1.e4 Nf6
The Alekhine Defence, rarely used these days
2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.h3 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.Be3 Nc6 10.Rc1
White could have played10.Qd2
10. ..e5
Nothing unfamiliar in the opening so far. If 10...d5 11.c5 Nc4 12.Bxc4 dxc4 13.0–0 Bf5 14.Qa4 Bd3 15.Rfd1 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxd4 17.Rxd3
11.dxe5 dxe5
If 11...Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.Be2 Be6 14.b3 d5 15.cxd5 Bxc3+ 16.Rxc3 Nxd5 17.Rd3 Nxe3
12.c5
If 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Be2 Nd4
12...Nd7
Black too is not interested in exchanging queens. If 12...Qxd1+ 13.Rxd1 Nd7 14.Bc4
13.Bc4 Qa5
If 13...h6 14.0–0 Kh7 15.Nd2 f5 16.f3 Nd4 17.Nb3 Nb8 18.Nb5 Nxb5 (18...Nbc6 19.N3xd4 Nxd4 20.Nd6 b6 21.b4 a5 22.a3) 19.Bxb5 Nc6 20.Qd6 Qe8 21.Na5 Rf6 22.Qd2 And if 13...Nd4 14.Ne4 b6 15.Bg5 Qc7 16.Be7 Bb7 
14.a3
White could have castled here.
14. .. e4 15.Nd2. Here better appears 15.Ng5 Nde5  16.Be5 Nd2+ And if 15.Nd4 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Bxd4 17.Qxd4 Qxc5
15...Nde5. With this move the advantage shifts hands and White stands better. Black should have continued  15...Nxc5 16.b4 Qxa3 17.Bxc5 Bxc3 18.Bxf8 Kxf8 19.b5 
16.0–0 Rd8 17.Qb3. A mistake! White should have played 17.Qe2 Nxc4  18.Nxc4 Qa6  And if 17.Ncxe4 Nxc4 18.Rxc4 Bxb2 19.Bg5 Rf8
17...Nd4 18.Qb4 Qxb4 19.axb4 Nd3
A good move and Black now holds advantage
20.Rb1 Black is better. If 20.Bxd3 exd3 21.Bxd4 Rxd4 22.b5 Rb4and
20...Nxb4 21.Ndxe4 Be6 22.Bxe6 Nxe6 23.Nb5. Another mistake! White should have played 23. Rfd1 Nc2 And if 23.Nd6 b6
23...Nd5
Diagram 1
24.Bg5. Another big mistake by White and his position has become really difficult to defend. It is rather strange to see White committing so many mistakes. He should have continued 24.b4 a5 25.bxa5 Nxe3 26.fxe3 f5 27.Ned6 Nxc5 28.Rfc1 (28.Rbc1 Bh6! (28...Nb3 29.Nxb7 Rdb8 30.Rc7 Nxa5 31.N7d6) 29.Rf3 Nb3 30.Rc7 Nxa5 31.Nxb7 Nxb7 32.Rxb7 Ra2) 28...Bh6 29.Nc4 Rd3
24...f6 25.Bc1. If 25.Bh4 g5 26.Bg3 f5 27.Ned6 f4 28.Bh2 Nxc5
25...f5 26.Ng5 Nxc5
An extra pawn and well placed pieces easily put Black in the driver’s seat
27.b4 Ne4 28.Ne6 Rd7 29.Rd1
Better is 29.Nxg7 Kxg7 30.f3 even though Black still holds advantage
29...a6 30.Nxg7 axb5 31.Bb2 Kf7 32.g4 fxg4 33.hxg4 Rad8. Doubling the rooks
34.Rd4 Ndc3 35.Rxd7+ Rxd7
White has nothing left to fight for in the game
36.Re1 Rd1 37.Rxd1 Nxd1 38.Bd4 Ndxf2 and White resigned.
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Rh7+ Kxh7. This move is forced as 1. ..Kg8  2.Qxf7 checkmate.
2.Qxf7+ Kh8  3.Rh1+ Rh6  4.Rxh6 checkmate.

Manisha Mohite

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