File: kovacevic_keene_1973.pgn

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[Event "It"]
[Site "Amsterdam (Netherlands)"]
[Date "1973.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Keene Raymond D"]
[Black "Kovacevic Vladimir"]
[ECO "A06"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "50"]

1. Nf3 { Notes by Raymond Keene. } d5 2. b3 Bg4 3. Bb2 Nd7 4. g3 Bxf3 {A bold decision indicating that Black is playing for a win. This was the last round and if Kovacevic could beat me he would have tied with me.} 5. exf3 Ngf6 6. f4 e6 7. Bg2 {?! Dubious. 7 Bh3! intending the disruptive advance f4-f5 is less stereotyped.} 7...Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 a5 10. a4 c6 11. Nd2 b5 12. Qe2 bxa4 {? Now White obtains the upper hand. It was essential for Black to maintain the tension with moves such as ...Rb8 and ...Re8 when his position would even be slightly preferable.} 13. Rxa4 Nb6 14. Ra2 {!} a4 15. Rfa1 axb3 16. Rxa8 Nxa8 17. Nxb3 Nb6 {Not good: White now has the opportunity to launch a variety of favourable combinations, but it's clear that Black's position is already far from satisfactory (White is better developed and his well co-ordinated pieces control the vital a-file and a1-h8 diagonal).} 18. f5 {! Inaugurating the combination. Black must accept the sacrifice, otherwise (after 19 fxe6) he would shed his e-pawn to the combined onslaught of White's pieces.} 18...exf5 19. Nd4 Qd7 20. Bh3 {! Also good was 20 Nxc6 Qxc6 21 Qxe7 but the text is more accurate. Black cannot allow the white knight to reach f5 since the threats against g7 would be intolerable.} 20...g6 {Or 20...Ng4 21 Nxf5!} 21. Bxf5 {!! Once again 21 Nxc6 Qxc6 22 Qxe7 was very good, but White has something more ambitious in mind.} 21...gxf5 22. Ra7 {!! This move visibly came as a shock to my opponent. Black has no choice but to fall in with White's plans.} 22...Qxa7 23. Nxc6 Qd7 {There are two major alternative defences: a) 23...Qa2 24 Nxe7+ Kg7 25 Nxf5+ Kg8 (or 25...Kg6 26 Ne7+ Kg7 27 Qg4+) 26 Qg4+ Nxg4 27 Ne7 mate. b) 23...Ba3! (Best) 24 Nxa7 (24 Bxf6 Qa4! is highly unclear) 24...Bxb2 when White has queen for rook and two pieces, but Black's forces are rather awkwardly placed and this enables White to increase his advantage as follows: 25 c4! Bd4 26 Nb5 Re8! 27 Qf3 Bc5 28 d4 Bf8 29 c5 Nc4 30 Qxf5, and in view of the powerful c-pawn, Black's weakened kingside and the scattered dispositions of the black army, White should win. However, this was Black's only chance of resistance. But, as so often, a combinational blow disturbs the balance of the victim's objectivity and he fails to discover the most tenacious defensive possibilities.} 24. Nxe7+ Kg7 25. Qh5 {! Completely unanswerable. For example: 25...Qxe7 26 Qg5+ Kh8 27 Bxf6+ picking up the other knight in addition; or 25...h6 26 Nxf5+ or 25...Ra8 26 Qg5+ Kf8 27 Bxf6 with Qg8 mate to follow.}  1-0