Setting the tone with the opening play

Setting the tone with the opening play

At the top level of the game the emphasis is on openings on which a large amount of time is spent, studying, analysing and trying to spring surprises with new moves. Since White always plays first, it is up to Black to set the tone of the game, whether to play sharp, sedately or at times take a dull approach.

In the game which follows, Black opts for a dull opening which generally leads to a cramped position and hampering the development of pieces to a certain extent. Here Black’s bishop enters the warfare rather late and it is this move which allows White to walk away with the game.

White: John Nunn (2610) – Black: Alexander Fauland (2475)

Vienna, 1991

Modern Defence

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Bc4 d6

The Modern Defence which sort of cramps Black play and there is plenty of slow manoeuvring by Black within his own territory. If 4...b5 5.Bb3 b4 6.Nce2 d5 7.exd5 cxd5 8.Bd2 a5 9.a3 bxa3 10.Rxa3 e6 11.Ba4+ Bd7 12.Bxd7+ Qxd7 13.Rxa5 Rxa5 14.Bxa5 Nc6 15.Bc3 Nf6 16.f3
Getting the queen out early in the game
5. ..e6 6.Nge2
If 6.Bf4 Nd7 7.Bb3 Bxd4 8.Bxd6 Ne5 9.Bxe5 Bxe5 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.a4 Nf6 12.Nge2 0–0 13.h3 b6
6...Nd7 7.0–0
If 7.Bf4 e7 8.Bb3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Be3 Ngf6 11.g4 h6 12.g5 hxg5 13.Bxg5 Nc5
7...Ngf6 8.Bb3 0–0 9.Bg5 Qe7
Here 9. ..Qc7 looks more appealing
10.Rad1 h6 11.Bh4 e5 12.Qe3 Re8 13.f4
Advancing the pawn which may be a bit premature
13. ..exd4
If 13...exf4 14.Nxf4 g5 15.Ng6 Qd8 16.Bg3 d5 17.Ne5
If 14.Nxd4 Nc5 15.e5 Nxb3 16.axb3 dxe5 17.fxe5 Ng4
14...Nxe4 15.Bxe7 Bxd4+
The Queens are traded early in the game
16.Rxd4 Nxc3 17.Nxc3 Rxe7 18.Rxd6 Nf8
If 18...Kg7 19.f5 gxf5 20.Rxf5 Nf8 21.Rf3 Be6 22.Rg3+ Kh8 23.Ne4 Bxb3 24.Rxh6+ Nh7 25.Rxb3 Rxe4 26.Rbh3
Immediately getting into the eighth rank and pinning the knight
19. ..b6 20.a4
White can also play 20.f5 gxf5  21.Bc4 Re5 22.Bd3 Bb7
Diagram 1
20. ..Bb7 Black has not been able to develop this bishop and seizes the opportunity. However he could have thought about 20. ..Kg7  21.Rd6 Bd7
21.Rd6. White is not interested in exchanging rooks
If 21...Rd7 22.Ne4 Re7 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.f5 and White is better
If 22.Ra1 Rae8 23.Rxc6 Rd8
22...Rc8 23.a5 bxa5
If 23...b5 24.Nd5 cxd5 25.Rxa6+ And if 23...Bb7 24.axb6 axb6 25.Na4
24.Ra1 Rcc7 25.Rxa5 Re1+ 26.Kf2 Rf1+ 27.Kg3 Re7
Tempting as it is to get the rook into the open file and target the King, better move here is 27...Bc8 28.Rc5
If 28.Rxa6 Re3+ 29.Kg4 h5+ 30.Kg5 Kg7 31.Ra4 Rf2
Black can think about 28. ..Re3+  29.Kh2 Bb5  30.Nxb5 cxb5  31.Rxb5 Rxf4  32.
29.Rxc6 Be6
If 29...Bb7 30.Nd5 Re2 31.Rc7 Rff2 32.Rxb7 Rxg2+ 33.Kh4
30.Nd5 Bxd5
If 30...Rb7  31.Rca6 Rb1
31.Bxd5+– Re3+ 32.Kh2 Rxf4 33.Rxa7 Re2 34.Rcc7 Ne6 35.Re7 Rff2 36.Re8+  and Black resigned for if 36.Re8+ Nf8 (36...Kg7 37.Rxe6) 37.Rxe2 Rxe2 38.Rxf7  
Diagram 2
Black to play and checkmate
1... Rxa3+ 2.Kxa3 Qb3 checkmate.