Ken Ho - Anthony Gross, 24 Jun 1989

King's Indian Defense
g3 variation
Downeast Open
Portland, ME
Open section
40/90, 25/1
Round 1 of 5

Very likely the toughest game I've ever played. I struggled constantly with choice of moves almost throughout the entire game.

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nf3

Avoiding 2...e5.

2 ... g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 g3 O-O 5 Bg2 d6 6 O-O c6 7 d4 Nbd7

This move doesn't seem to make sense. In post-game analysis, National Master Hal Terrie commented that Black's opening play through his eighth move was tame.

8 e4 Qc7?!

8...Qa5 would be more aggressive and appropriate.

9 h3 a6?!

9...e5, intending ...f5 and a kingside assault, makes more sense.

10 a4

Correctly containing Black's queenside bid for freedom, giving White a freer hand in the center.

10 ... Rb8 11 Be3 e5 12 Rc1

12 d5, facilitating the locking up of the center would be inappropriate, since White hopes to open up the game advantageously at the right time.

12...exd4 13 Nxd4 Re8 14 Qc2 Ne5 15 b3 c5

I'm not convinced this is worth the resulting weakness of a backward d-pawn.

16 N4e2 Nc6 17 Nf4?!

Relinquishing control over d4. 17 Rcd1 seems best, preventing a knight incursion at d4, with the possibility of an eventual f4.

17 ... Nb4?!

17...Nd4 was correct (Hal Terrie).

18 Qb1

18 Qe2 was to be considered, keeping the queen more centralized (though the queen would be somewhat vulnerable to Black's e8 rook), but at least the text maintains the queen's watch on e4 (without pause -- if 18 Qe2, moving the bishop from e3 might cause some piece confusion). 18 Nfd5?! appears to lead to unfavorable endings after 18...Nxc2 (18...Nfxd5 19 Nxd5 Nxd5 20 exd5 looks okay for White).

18 ... Bd7 19 Rfd1

19 Rcd1 would leave the knight on c3 unprotected.

19 ... Bc6 20 Nfd5 Nbxd5 21 Nxd5 Nxd5 22 cxd5

Hoping for an eventual central breakthrough with f4 and e5.

22... Bd7 (1:02) 23 f4 (1:19) Qd8?

23...b5!?, counterattacking.

24 Qd3

With ten minutes left for seventeen moves, I just wanted to get my queen back to the center and kingside. 24 Qa2 is worse because of the weakness of g3.

24 ... f5?

The text gives White a strong passed pawn. 24...b5 looks good.

25 e5 dxe5 26 fxe5 Bxe5 27 Bxc5 Qg5 28 Bf2 Rbc8?!

Black should keep more pieces on the board to help deal with White's passed d- pawn, but I think he was looking at the weakness of my c1 square.

29 Rxc8 Rxc8 30 d6 Rc3??

A blunder in time pressure -- Black cracked first. 30...f4 keeps the pressure on, but White should retain the advantage with correct play (Hal Terrie). Some sample lines: 31 Qd5+ (31 gxf4? opens up the g-file for Black, when White's g2 bishop can be pinned to his king; 31 g4? h5 with the same general problem) Kf8 (31...Kh8?!/!?): (a) 32 Qxb7 fxg3 33 Qxd7 gxf2+ 34 Kf1 (34 Kh1?? Qg3 and Black wins; 34 Kxf2?? Rc2+ and Black wins) Rd8 (34...Rc1?? Qe7+ and White wins) 35 Qxh7 unclear, regardless of whether Black takes on d6 with the bishop or the rook. (b) 32 Re1 fxg3 33 Qxe5 gxf2+ 34 Kxf2 Rc2+ 35 Kf3 (35 Kf1/Kg1 Qxg2 mate) Qxg2 and Black wins. (c) 32 Bd4! Bxd4+ (32...Re8 33 Bxe5 Rxe5 [33...Bc6?? 34 Bg7+ followed by 35 Qxg5 and White wins] 34 Qxb7 Qxb3 35 Qxa6 [33 Qxd7? Rf1+ 36 Rxf1 Qxf1+ is a forced draw] Bxh3 36 Qa8+ Kg7 37 Qa7+ Kh6 38 Qf2 unclear, but probably better for White) 33 Qxd4 Qxg3 34 Qh8+ Kf7 35 Qxh7+ and White wins (35...Ke8 36 Qe7 mate; 35...Ke6 36 Qe7+ Kf5 37 Rd5 mate).

31 Qd5+ 1-0

[After 31 Qd5+]

White, one of the stronger players in the Open section, probably shaken up psychologically by this approximately 300 point upset loss, withdrew from the tournament after this first round game.

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