The Most Beautiful Draw Ever

Fri, 2015-09-04 10:29 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.09.03"]
[Round "?"]
[White "The Most Beautiful Draw Ever"]
[Black "Constructed by Max Illingworth"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D31"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

{Today I would like to share a game I constructed - usually I prefer to show
the games of top players in my writing, but this game sequence has everything
- passed pawns for both sides, multiple sacrifices and counter-sacrifices, and
a race between a wild attack on the king and queening passed pawns ensues!
However, were this an actual game, most people would overlook its beauty on
account of the result...but one can't judge a game solely on the result! I
will say that this is the most beautiful draw I have ever seen, and now you
can enjoy it too, of course with my comments!} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 (3. Nc3
c6 4. e4 {, the Marshall Gambit, is White's other major answer to Black's
'Triangle' system.}) 3... c6 4. Nc3 (4. Qc2 {avoids the pending insanity.})
4... dxc4 {The Noteboom system, unbalancing the position by taking on c4 and
trying to keep the extra pawn. While this does surrender the centre, the
limiting element of the c4-pawn (stopping White's f1-bishop from developing
actively) shouldn't be overlooked and therefore White plays to regain his pawn
with his subsequent moves.} 5. a4 (5. e3 b5 6. a4 Bb4 {is a more accurate move
order.}) 5... Bb4 (5... Nf6 6. e3 c5 7. Bxc4 Nc6 8. O-O {is a sedative, not a
firecracker!}) 6. e3 b5 7. Bd2 a5 ({Clearly bad is} 7... Bb7 $2 8. axb5 Bxc3 9.
Bxc3 cxb5 10. d5 $1) 8. axb5 {White has to take here or he will be playing a
genuine pawn sacrifice.} Bxc3 9. Bxc3 cxb5 10. b3 Bb7 {Played to prepare ...b4.
} (10... b4 $2 11. Bxb4 axb4 $2 12. Rxa8) (10... cxb3 $2 11. Bxb5+ Bd7 12. Qxb3
$16) 11. bxc4 b4 12. Bb2 {The battle lines are drawn - will Black's queenside
passers win in the endgame, or will White's central mass (in one pawn island)
be the largest trump? And will White's bishop pair be as powerful as the books
make out?} Nd7 13. Bd3 Ngf6 14. O-O Qc7 (14... O-O {first would be normal...
but this game won't be normal!}) 15. Nd2 {Preparing e4 and f4 in this manner
is quite logical, given the variation} (15. Re1 O-O 16. e4 e5 $1 {when play
becomes very sharp, and certainly} 17. Nxe5 $2 Nxe5 18. dxe5 Nd7 19. f4 $2 Nc5
$19 {splitting up the White centre will be quite a disaster.}) 15... O-O 16. f4
{White wants to play e4 and have his massive centre without allowing ...e5,
but there is a trick for Black!} (16. Bc2 {is probably better, to prepare f4
without allowing the ...a4 trick in the game.}) 16... a4 $1 {The pawns are
very mobile indeed - note that Rxa4 fails to the fork ...Qc6. If White's
centre is unable to destroy Black fast, it is quite likely that Black will
advance his passers further and queen then.} 17. Rc1 $6 {Not the best square
for the rook, as here it does nothing to stop Black's pawns.} (17. Rb1 {should
be preferred, when after} Rfd8 18. Qe2 Qd6 $1 19. e4 Nc5 $1 20. e5 Qc6 21. dxc5
Rxd3 22. exf6 Rad8 23. Bc1 Qxc5+ 24. Qf2 Rxd2 25. Bxd2 Rxd2 26. Qxc5 Rxg2+ 27.
Kh1 Rf2+ 28. Kg1 Rg2+ {we could have a draw by repetition.}) 17... Bc6 $1 {The
best move, to clear the way for ...a3/...Rfb8/...a4 so the b-pawn may also
advance without being comfortably blockaded.} 18. d5 {White's centre charges
forward, relying on the c-file to open up, but Black doesn't bite.} Bb7 {It
transpires that d5 has given Black's knight an outpost on c5, from where it
can marshal the advance of Black's connected passers. Meanwhile White's centre
is in serious danger of hitting a standstill.} (18... exd5 $4 19. cxd5 Nxd5 20.
Bxh7+ $1 Kxh7 21. Qh5+ Kg8 22. Bxg7 $1 Kxg7 23. Qg5+ Kh8 24. Qh6+ Kg8 25. Rf3 {
is entirely lost for Black, who has no defence to Rg3/Rh3.}) 19. Bd4 {Trying
to anticipate Black's plan starting with ...a3, but the specifics don't work
out as it is a bit slow.} (19. Ne4 {however also fails to} Nxe4 20. Bxe4 f5 $1
{(fixing the centre)} 21. d6 Qc8 22. Bxb7 Qxb7 23. c5 Nb8 $15 {Black blockades
White's connected passers on the light squares, and has a serious advantage as
it's not so easy for White to halt the a- and b-pawns without making his
pieces very passive.}) 19... b3 $1 {The pawns march on fearlessly!} 20. e4 $6 {
With every move the position sharpens! Objectively speaking this might be a
mistake, however White could not really hope to succeed with a passive defence,
e.g.} (20. Nb1 $2 exd5 21. cxd5 Qd6 22. e4 Rfc8 $1 {intends the deadly ...Qb4
and ...a3.}) (20. Kh1 {is possible to prepare e4 without allowing ...b2,
though it gives a slow impression and} exd5 21. cxd5 Qb8 22. e4 Ba6 23. Bxa6
Rxa6 $15 {should still favour Black as it's not easy for White to advance his
centre (e5 fails to Nxd5).}) 20... b2 $1 {Obviously taking the pawn runs into
the ...Qb6 fork. But now those pawns are oh so close to queening!} 21. Rc2 (21.
Rc3 a3 22. Qb1 exd5 23. exd5 Rfe8 {could only be suggested by a computer; once
Black blockades White's pawns with ...Nc5, White will probably be losing as
the a3 and b2 pawns severely limit the mobility of his pieces.}) 21... a3 $1 {
Black ignores White's centre and plays for promotion!} (21... Nc5 $2 22. e5
Nfd7 {looks safe but would actually be a mistake in light of} 23. Nf3 b1=Q 24.
Bxh7+ Kxh7 25. Ng5+ Kg8 26. Qxb1 ({The beautiful} 26. Qh5 Nf6 27. exf6 Qxf1+
28. Kxf1 Qxf4+ 29. Ke1 Nd3+ 30. Kd1 Nb2+ $3 31. Bxb2 Qf1+ 32. Kd2 Qf2+ 33. Kd3
Qf5+ 34. Kd2 Qf2+ $11 {draws, but the simple move is best for once!}) 26...
Rfb8 27. Qd1 g6 28. Qg4 Nf8 29. Rc3 $1 {and with ideas such as Rh3/Qh4 and f5,
White has a completely winning attack.}) 22. e5 Ne8 {White's centre looks very
impressive, and one might feel that Black is getting rolled over, but if
White's attack doesn't mate...those queenside pawns are all but certain to
queen.} 23. Qh5 {Playing in the most direct fashion, short of a sacrifice.} (
23. Bxh7+ $2 Kxh7 24. Qh5+ Kg8 25. Rc3 {would fail to} f5 $1 26. Rh3 Nef6 27.
exf6 Nxf6 28. Bxf6 Rxf6 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. Qh5+ Ke7 $19 {and by returning the
piece, Black has beaten back the attack, while Black's queenside pawns will
soon decide the battle.}) (23. Qf3 {is an interesting try, building up the
attack more slowly with Qh3 in mind, but Black can play} Nc5 24. Be2 g6 $1 $17
{to blunten White's attack.}) 23... f5 $2 {A 'human' move, grabbing space on
the kingside to try and not get mated, however it transpires that Black can
leave the kingside to its own devices:} (23... g6 $1 24. Qh6 Nc5 {and White
doesn't have any blow in this position:} 25. Be4 (25. f5 $2 {fails beautifully
to} Nxd3 26. fxg6 f5 $1 27. exf6 Rxf6 28. Rxf6 Nxf6 {and White cannot capture
the knight because of} 29. Bxf6 Qc5+ 30. Kh1 Nf2+ 31. Kg1 Nh3+ 32. Kh1 Qg1#)
25... Nxe4 26. Nxe4 f5 $1 27. Ng5 Qg7 28. Qh3 exd5 29. Ne6 Qe7 30. Nxf8 dxc4 $1
$17 {and despite being a rook down, Black's passers are so strong that Black
must be winning with best play.}) 24. Qh3 $1 {A great defensive move, covering
the queenside from afar!} (24. Nb3 g6 25. Qe2 Ng7 $17 {affords Black time to
cover the kingside, and meanwhile Black's passers are so strong that they will
probably cost White a piece.}) 24... Nc5 25. Be2 {Taking on d3 was a big
threat to eliminate White's grip on the light squares.} g5 $3 {There is
brilliance in defence as well as attack! Black fights for the initiative on
every sector of the board, striking to undermine White's centre and hold off
any kingside ideas.} (25... g6 {is too slow and allows White to take the
initiative with} 26. Qe3 Ne4 27. Nxe4 fxe4 28. d6 Qc6 29. Bxb2 $1 axb2 30. Rxb2
{, with more than enough compensation for the piece as the e8-knight is
entirely trapped - note the variation} Ng7 31. g4 $1 {and the knight can only
oscillate between e8 and g7!}) 26. fxg5 {White snaps the bait, as allowing
Black to close the kingside with} (26. Qg3 g4 27. h3 h5 {is in Black's favour,
e.g.} 28. Qe3 Ra5 29. Nb3 Nxb3 30. Qxb3 Qd7 $1 31. Bc3 Ra8 32. Bb4 Qa4 33. Qxa4
Rxa4 34. Bxa3 Rxa3 35. Rxb2 Ba8 {and with one piece less, White is fighting
for a draw, though he should achieve it by means of} 36. d6 $1 {, trapping
Black's extra piece.}) 26... Ng7 {The knight is required to defend the
kingside, although it's arguably not the world's greatest guard.} 27. Nf3 {
This is the beginning of an incredible counter-attack, leaving the queenside
alone and going right for Black's king with g6/Ng5 ideas!} (27. Rd1 {is too
slow after} Ne4 28. Qd3 Qa5 $1 $17) 27... Ne4 {Black could do with some more
defenders on the kingside!} (27... Rfb8 28. g6 hxg6 29. Ng5 Ne8 30. g4 $1 $13 {
is just a total mess. I don't know where to begin with the analysis of such a
position, but instinctively I would take White OTB.}) 28. Bd3 {White plays to
eliminate the knight on e4 so he can play g6 and Ng5 at some point.} Bxd5 $2 {
This is tempting as Black manages to promote a queenside pawn with this tactic,
however it was better to play} (28... Ba6 $1 {when} 29. Qh6 Rab8 30. g6 hxg6
$17 {leaves White a bit short on attacking power while Black just queens the
b-pawn at some point.}) 29. cxd5 Qb7 {This was Black's idea, to clear the way
for the advance of the b-pawn, but there is a counterblow...} 30. g6 $1 hxg6
31. Nh4 $3 {Now this is just fantastic. White allows Black to queen, and yet
this desperate-looking attack on the king proves sufficient for a draw!} (31.
Re2 $2 Qxd5 32. Qh6 a2 $1 33. Bxb2 Qxd3 {would refute this more normal
continuation by White.}) 31... b1=Q (31... Qxd5 32. Rc4 {gives White time to
play Nxg6 and create counter-threats.}) 32. Nxg6 {White has to ignore Black's
second queen as} (32. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 33. Bf1 Qxc2 {is hopeless, of course.}) 32...
Q1b4 $1 {In turn, this is the best winning try for Black.} (32... Ng5 {is the
crazy alternative, ending in equality after} 33. Qh8+ Kf7 34. Qh6 $1 Q1b3 35.
Nf4 {(despite being a queen for a piece down, White's pieces coordinate
especially well and the threats on Black's king slow him down)} Kg8 36. Qxg5
Ra4 37. Rc3 Qb2 38. Rc4 Qxd4+ 39. Rxd4 Rxd4 40. dxe6 Qa7 $1 41. Kh1 a2 42. e7
Re8 43. Nh5 Rxe7 44. Nxg7 Rxg7 45. Qxf5 Rxd3 46. Qxd3 a1=Q 47. Qd8+ Kh7 48.
Qh4+ $11 {and we have a draw by perpetual check.}) 33. Bc4 $1 {White plays
completely normally, a queen down, with no immediate mating threats in a
non-simplified position, and is drawing!} Ng5 (33... Kf7 34. Nxf8 Rxf8 35.
dxe6+ Kg6 $1 36. Be3 $1 Ng5 37. Bxg5 Kxg5 {also leads to a draw in various
ways, the easiest being} 38. Qg3+ Kh6 39. Qh3+ {and back, as} Nh5 $2 40. Be2 {
would lose the knight and game!}) 34. Qh8+ Kf7 35. Qh6 Rac8 {Black tries to
counterattack as} (35... exd5 36. Qxg5 Ke8 37. Nxf8 dxc4 38. e6 $1 Qxf8 39.
Qg6+ Kd8 40. Rxc4 {gives White a decisive attack. It's quite remarkable how
helpless the two queens are in stopping all White's threats! Maybe in the
future there will be articles about the 'superfluous' queen?}) 36. Qxg5 Rxc4
37. Rxc4 Qxc4 38. Qf6+ Kg8 39. Qxf8+ Kh7 40. Ne7 $1 {Now White's threat of Qg8
is so severe that Black is required to force a perpetual.} Qxf1+ $1 41. Kxf1
Qb1+ 42. Ke2 Qc2+ 43. Ke1 Qe4+ 44. Kf1 Qd3+ {And drawn. What a game!} 1/2-1/2 
[Event "6th Hainan Danzhou GM"]
[Site "Danzhou CHN"]
[Date "2015.07.03"]
[Round "2.4"]
[White "Wei Yi"]
[Black "Bruzon Batista, L."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2724"]
[BlackElo "2669"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2015.07.02"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "CHN"]
[EventCategory "17"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2015.07.06"]

{As for real games, I think the best game of 2015 so far would have to be the
following effort, where the young Chinese super-GM Wei Yi destroyed his
opponent with a series of beautiful blows. If this isn't a brilliancy, I don't
know what is.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 a6 4. Be2 Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Qc7
7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 Be7 9. f4 d6 10. Kh1 O-O 11. Qe1 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. Qg3 Bb7
14. a3 Rad8 15. Rae1 Rd7 16. Bd3 Qd8 17. Qh3 g6 18. f5 e5 19. Be3 Re8 20. fxg6
hxg6 21. Nd5 Nxd5 22. Rxf7 Kxf7 23. Qh7+ Ke6 24. exd5+ Kxd5 25. Be4+ Kxe4 26.
Qf7 Bf6 27. Bd2+ Kd4 28. Be3+ Ke4 29. Qb3 Kf5 30. Rf1+ Kg4 31. Qd3 Bxg2+ 32.
Kxg2 Qa8+ 33. Kg1 Bg5 34. Qe2+ Kh4 35. Bf2+ Kh3 36. Be1 1-0 
[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"]
[Site "Biel SUI"]
[Date "2015.07.23"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Navara, D."]
[Black "Wojtaszek, R."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2724"]
[BlackElo "2733"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "95"]
[EventDate "2015.07.20"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "SUI"]
[EventCategory "19"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2015.07.27"]

{To finish this post, I'll present a novelty - preparing a variation where you
do a 'touchdown' (get your king to the other side of the board) and actually
getting it on the board! Objectively the line should have ended in perpetual
check, but Wojtaszek went astray and Navara was rewarded for his bravado.} 1.
e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. h3 Be7
9. g4 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Bg2 Nxe3 12. Qxd8+ Bxd8 13. fxe3 Bh4+ 14. Kf1 Nc6
15. Nc5 Bc4+ 16. Kg1 O-O-O 17. b3 Bg5 18. Re1 Bh4 19. Rb1 Bg5 20. Kf2 Bh4+ 21.
Kf3 e4+ 22. Kf4 g5+ 23. Kf5 Rhe8 24. Rhd1 Re5+ 25. Kf6 Rg8 26. bxc4 Rg6+ 27.
Kxf7 Re7+ 28. Kf8 Rf6+ 29. Kg8 Rg6+ 30. Kh8 Rf6 31. Rf1 Bf2 32. Rxf2 Rxf2 33.
Rf1 Rxg2 34. Rf8+ Kc7 35. Nd5+ Kd6 36. Nxe7 Kxc5 37. Rf5+ Kxc4 38. Nxc6 bxc6
39. Rxg5 Rg3 40. h4 h6 41. Rg6 Rxe3 42. Kg7 Rg3 43. Kxh6 e3 44. Kg5 Kd5 45. Kf4
Rh3 46. h5 c5 47. Rg5+ Kd4 48. Re5 1-0