Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Keene-Miles, Hastings 1975/6

I came across Keene-Miles while reading the excellent Pawn Structure Chess by Soltis, and checked my otherwise unread Winning Pawn Structures by Baburin to find out that this game was included in that book as well.  Already a game worth noting, then.  
The most distinctive game by far I can think of on the subject of pawn structures is Nimzovich-Salwe:

But Keene-Miles from the Hastings tournament in 1975/6 might be stuck in my mind for awhile as the most distinctive isolated queen's pawn game.  Let's look:

1. Nf3 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. Nc3 Nc6
4. e3 e6
5. d4 d5  (arriving at the Queen's gambit semi-Tarrasch defense)
6. cxd5 Nxd5
7. Bd3 cxd4
8. exd4 Be7
9. O-O O-O
10. Re1 Nf6
11. Ng5 Nb4
12. Bb1 b6
13. Ne5 Bb7        Looks normal - both sides are working on development and Black will bring the b-file knight to the blockading square of d5 at the appropriate time, meanwhile it is stopping the white queen from lining up a battery on the b2-h7 diagonal.
14. Re3!

But here White is pursuing a different plan....the classic h7 bishop sacrifice is now a real threat because White's Queen and Rook can combine on the h-file for mate unless Black takes immediate action.

14. ..... g6 (blocking the sacrifice)
15. Rg3  (planning a different sacrifice)  Rc8??   -  Baburin points this out as the losing move.  It turns out Black has no time for simple development, but rather has to challenge White in the center immediately with 15...Nc6, sacrificing the exchange after 16. Bh6 if necessary to get rid of the e5 knight.  
16. Bh6 Re8
17. a3 Nc6  (how to continue?  if you don't know don't worry - the computer finds this a hard problem)
18. Nxg6!! hxg6
19. Bxg6 fxg6
20. Qb1!  (the hard move to find that ties it all together - on d3 or c2 the queen is impaired by pins on the d or c files that gives Black tactical ways of defeating the attack.  The computer backs it up - without 20. Qb1 the rest of the of the sequence is worthless)
20. ....  Ne5 (desperation only, there's no defense now)
21. dxe5 Ne4
22. Nxe4 Kh7
23. Nf6+ Bxf6
24. Qxg6+ Kh8
25. Bg7+ Bxg7   (and Miles was sporting enough to allow...)
26. Qxg7 #

Another reminder to appreciate both sides of the isolated queen's pawn...and you thought it was easier for grandmasters.



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