Ryan Duff v Stellio Jerome (Durham Congress)

This is Ryan Duff’s game from Round 5 at the Durham Congress.
(Annotation and analysis by Ryan Duff)

[White “Ryan Duff”]
[Black “Stellio Jerome”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “1552”]
[BlackElo “1615”]
[ECO “B00”]
[Opening “Borg Defense”]

1 .e4 g5 The Borg defence. A favourite of the late IM Michael Basman. I had never played against this before, so I was on my own from the start.

2. d4 h6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Nf3!? Not strictly accurate, but not bad either. I spent a small while on this move deciding on what to do. I decided on sticking with principled chess. Development and Knights before Bishops.

4… c5 (4… g4!?  I wasn’t concerned about this move because after 5. Nh4  the pawn on g4 find’s itself in a pickle and is over extended.)

5.Be3 Qb6? This move is not great. Yes, it attacks the pawn on b2, but it simply fails to take into account any response from White.

6. Nd5 Qa5+ (6… Qxb2 runs into 7. Nc7+ and black can safely resign.)

7. Bd2 The engine prefers (7. Qd2 Qxd2+ 8. Bxd2 Kd8 9. dxc5 However, as I’m not an engine. I was concerned about bringing Black’s Bishop on b7 to life. It didn’t seem necessary.)

7… Qd8 8. c3  Compare this position to the position that arose after White played 5.Be3. Black’s position remains unchanged, whereas White has gained a significant amount of tempi.

8… e6 9. Ne3 Nf6 10. e5 Ne4 11. Bd3 Nxd2 12. Nxd2?!  So far, I haven’t played perfectly. The engine wanted to play (12. Qxd2  Which is understandable, considering the pawn on d4 is about to come under fire, and it would like to keep my Knight defending that point. However, I recaptured with the Knight because I wanted to make quick use of the e4, d6, and f6 squares. Which worked wonders in the game.)

12… cxd4 13. cxd4 Nc6 14. Ne4 O-O??  My opponent was obviously concerned about losing castling rights. However, this is a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. The critical continuation had to be (14… Nxd4 15. Nd6+ Ke7  After which the engine assesses the position as equal. But my preference would still be to play White.)

15. Ng4 Qa5+ 16. Kf1! Blocking with the Queen and allowing a trade would ease a lot of pressure off of Black’s position. Dropping back with the Knight also gives Black a large reprieve.

16… Nxd4 17. Nef6+!  Another important subtlety. We use this Knight so we can open up the Bishop’s eyes and the Knight on g4 can continue to pressure the pawn on h6.

17… Kh8 (17… Bxf6 18. exf6! Nf5 19. Nxh6+! Nxh6 20. Qh5  This would be a similar to what happened in the game.)

18. h4 Getting the Rook on h1 involved.

18… Bxf6 19. exf6! Nf5 20. hxg5 Kg8 21. Nxh6+ Nxh6 22. Qh5 Here Black resigned as mate is inevitable. 1-0