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Fascinating play
Written by Vincent Rothuis   

It is not so easy to write about a special occasion in my chess-career, a real high point. I played in an European Championship and in a World Championship, but it never ended completely well. The first things that come to mind are my first IM norm in Hoogeveen 2005 or winning Bussum 2006, but actually, playing in itself is really the most fun. I think, the nice thing of chess is that the game is fascinating, interesting and difficult. I played one of my coolest games in 2004, R. Nijland was my opponent. The game is nice because it counts many piece-sacrifices. He put up a good game, but went wrong under time pressure. But a draw would have given me a good feeling about the game as well.

Rothuis,V - Nijland,
RKNSB3C, March 27, 2004

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nc6 A gambit in the Petroff 4.Nxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bc5 6.Be2 h5 Een handy move to prepare Bg4-ideas after 0-0 7.h3 Qd4 8.Rf1 In this variation it is safer to try to castle long


8...Bb6 9.c3 Qd6 10.f4 Qe7 11.Rf3 Intending to exchange the strong bishop on b6 11...Bg4! Quiet moves will do nothing 12.hxg4 hxg4 13.Rf1 Nxe4! 14.dxe4 Rd8 15.Bd3 Qh4+ 16.Kd2 Qg3 17.Kc2 Rh2 18.Re1 I could have played Kb3 for instance, but I didn´t like that. Now my plan was to exchange his active rook on d8 for my defending rook 18...Rxd3 [ 18...Rxg2+! A splendid move 19.Kb3 This doesn´t look well for White. He likes to get play against the Black king. This is successful after Rxd3 ( 19.Re2 An example of how White cannot play: 19...Rg1 20.Qd2 Rxd3–+) ] 19.Qxd3 Qxe1 20.e5 Rxg2+ 21.Nd2 Be3 22.f5 Bf4 [ 22...Bxd2 23.Bxd2 Qxa1?? 24.e6+-] 23.e6 I planned to play e6 and f6 when he made his piece sacrifice. 23...fxe6 24.f6 gxf6 25.Qg6+ Ke7 26.Qg7+ Kd6 27.Qf8+ Kd5 28.c4+ Kd4 29.Qxf6+ e5 30.Qd8+ Kc5

Diagram after the not played move 30. .. Ke3!


(30...Ke3! Black´s king is safer here than on the Queen side. Why? There he has his pieces. The Black king is even safer than White´s king and Black has a great plus. 31. Qd8) 31.b4+ Kb6 32.Qd3 a6 33.Rb1 Ka7 34.b5 e4 35.Qd4+ b6 36.c5 Nice to be able to play such a move. Black was under severe time pressure already 36...e3 [ 36...axb5 37.cxb6+ cxb6 38.Rb3 forces a draw] 37.cxb6+ cxb6 38.Qd7+ Kb8 At this moment Black ad oly two seconds left for two moves; it would have been clever to have played the best move bxc6 here 39.Qd8+ Kb7 After Ka7 the strongest move is Qd7 again. I played Qd7 to play quickly but bxc6 was better 40.bxa6+ Kxa6 41.Qxb6 mate 1–0.