Coffeehouse Chess at the Coffee House
DM-NN (one of the stronger players in the club, who will remain anonymous in the hopes that when he gets his revenge, as he inevitably will, he'll allow me to keep my anonymity as well!), 5-minute game.
1.d4 Nf6 2.g4
This opening, whatever it is, is the sort of junk I used to see IM Kamran Shirazi play in blitz and even tournament games. So what the heck - it's only chess!
2...Nxg4 3.e4 d5! 4.h3 Nf6 5.e5 Ng8?
5...Ne4 would have been fine, as 6.f3 allows Ng3.
6.Bd3 e6 7.Qg4
The queen really isn't threatening anything, but what it does do is start to annoy Black - both by preventing the Bf8's development and by just hanging around in a vaguely aggressive manner. My opponent decides to start chasing her:
7...h5 8.Qg3 h4
I saw this and the sequel coming, and decided I was too tired to play responsibly; instead, I would sac a piece.
9.Qg4 Nh6 10.Qh5 g6 11.Bxg6
This is complete nonsense, but it's important to realize why it's nonsense in this case while in other, not too dissimilar positions, it's a reasonable speculative sacrifice. The difference here is that my queen's help is too far away - my remaining pieces aren't in or even approaching contact with the Black position. Accordingly, Black should be able to consolidate with just a few accurate moves, but alas, my opponent's play was insufficiently energetic on this occasion.
11...fxg6 12.Qxg6+ Nf7
This move is natural, but I think it's a poor choice. The reason it's not so good is that it insulates my queen from being bothered - I've been given a free hand on the kingside. His queen can't approach the kingside, his rook can't (safely) hit my queen, the knight is pinned and of course, the bishop on f8 travels on the wrong colored squares. Had Black played instead 12...Kd7! with the idea of 13...Qe8, 14...Be7, etc., White would have been hard-pressed to produce anything even resembling genuine compensation for the sacrificed material.
This prepares either Ng5 or Bg5, as well as clearing the g-file for the rook. Now White starts to get practical chances.
Naturally, I'd have liked to play 14.Bg5, but I didn't want to allow 14...Qb4+ in reply.
14...Nc6 15.Bg5 Qd7 16.O-O-O b6 17.Rhg1 Be7
I played my 17th move in the hopes of creating some tactical possibilities with Qg8+, so Black's best reaction would have been 17...Ne7, when my attack will die, stillborn. But now White has some real hopes!
18.Bf6! Bxf6 19.exf6
It's easy to see White's threat when you're looking for it (and it doesn't hurt that I mentioned it in the previous note, either), but even good players overlook threats when it looks as if they've been forcing the play the last few moves. That was, incidentally, one reason why I chose 17.Rhg1 instead of 17.Bf6; I wanted to move my bishop in response to a(n apparent) threat, to dull my opponent's vigilance. It worked:
19...Bb7?? 20.Qg8+ 1-0
Black's 19th was bad, of course - much better was 19....Rf8. I think White might still be able to generate some threats, though: 20.Ng5 Bb7 21.Nxe6 (prevents castling and threatens 22.Rde1), and 21...Rh8 runs into 22.Qg8+ again. Or 20...Nd8 21.Nh7, threatening 22.Nxf8 Kxf8 23.Qg8#
A good game? No. But it was a fun game, and one we can learn from, too.