Welcome to my English Opening (ECO B20) game with McNiff page!

On this page I have posted one my chess games in which I played the White side of the English Opening.

The game includes analysis and diagrams. This was a correspondence game played at ICC. In this game I used the Botvinnik System. In this game I failed to get a good kingside attack going and ended up trying to hold onto my queenside pawns. At this time McNiff has a standard rating at ICC in the low 1400’s and a correspondence rating of 1886 after winning 4-0 in  correspondence games completed so far. My rating is 1517 after completing 20 correspondence games.

[Event "ICC correspondence 2007Quad.04.09"] 
[Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2007.03.07"] 
[Round "-"] 
[White "OnGoldenPawn"] 
[Black "McNiff"] 
[Result "0-1"] 
[ICCResult "White resigns"] 
[Opening "English: symmetrical, Botvinnik system"] 
[ECO "B20"] 
[NIC "EO.30"] 
[Time "20:54:28"] 

1. e4 c5 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. d3 O-O 7. Nge2 d6 8. O-O Bg4 9. h3 Bxe2 
10. Nxe2 Qb6 11. Nc3 e6 12. Rb1 Nd7 13. Be3 Bd4 14. Bxd4 cxd4 15. Ne2 a5 16. f4 Nc5 17. a3 Qb3 
18. Nc1 Qxd1 19. Rxd1 a4 20. g4 e5 21. f5 Rfb8 22. g5 b5 23. cxb5 Rxb5 24. f6 h6 25. h4 hxg5 
26. hxg5 Rab8 27. Rd2 Na5 28. Na2 Nab3 29. Rdd1 Na6 30. Bf1 Rc5 31. Nc1 Rc2 32. Nxb3 axb3 
33. Rdc1 Nc5 34. Re1 Na4 35. Re2 Rbc8 {White resigns} 0-1

Online Chess Game
Game Played 7 march 2007 to 2 June 2007
White: Mike Serovey (1517) Black
:  McNiff (1886)
1. e4 c5 2. c4 g6

English Opening after 2... g6.

English Opening after 2… g6.

This is one of three correspondence chess games played at ICC that started off as Sicilian defenses and transposed into the Botvinnik system. I won the first game that I completed and lost this one. The third game is still in progress and I am up material. All things considered, I’m not sure that I would play this move order again.

3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. d3 O-O 7. Nge2 d6 8. O-O Bg4

English Opening after 8... Bg4.

English Opening after 8… Bg4.

This Bishop move has caused some problems for me in this opening. I normally play h3 to keep the Knight off g4 in this opening. Here 9. h3 is played to kick the Bishop at g4. I don’t like allowing the capture of the Knight on e2 and now think that playing f3 here, followed by h3 and then f4, is better. So far, all of White’s moves have been according to his plan.

9. h3 Bxe2 10. Nxe2 Qb6

English Opening after 10... Qb6.

English Opening after 10… Qb6.

White wants his Knight on d5 and thus moves it back to c3 now. Black’s last move starts a queenside attack that caused many problems for White. Playing 11. b3?? now allows 11… Nxe4!! 12. dxe4 Bxa1 winning a Rook and pawn for a Bishop.

11. Nc3 e6 (This move prevents 12. Nd5.) 12. Rb1 (To protect the b pawn and allow the dark-squared Bishop to move to e3.) Nd7 13. Be3 Bd4

English Opening after 13... Bd4.

English Opening after 13… Bd4.

Black’s last move prevents an immediate f4. Playing 14. Ne2 allows the Bishop to capture the pawn on b2, but the Bishop then becomes pinned to the Black Queen. I expected Black to recapture with the Knight and then I would challenge the Knight with Ne2. Playing 14. Nb5! attacking the pawn on d6 is interesting as it wins the pawn and thus is better than  capturing the Black Bishop here. The main reason that I captured the Black Bishop here was to get it off the long diagonal from a1 to h8.

14. Bxd4 cxd4 15. Ne2 a5 16. f4 Nc5 17. a3 Qb3

English Opening after 17... Qb3.

English Opening after 17… Qb3.

I think that this game is another example of when I play too quickly in a correspondence chess game and miss moves for both sides! Capturing the Black Queen now allows the Black Knight to go to b3 threatening a fork of my two rooks on d2. So, I played the Knight to c1 in order to kick the Queen and protect my pawn on d3. Now, Black’s two knights are more active than my Knight and Bishop.

18. Nc1 Qxd1 19. Rxd1 a4!

English Opening after 19... a4!

English Opening after 19… a4!

White can’t play b4 now because of axb3. White’s rooks are now cut off from each other and are tied down to defending pawns. Instead of trying to break free on the Queenside, or shoring up the Queenside, White decided to continue his kingside attack. The problem is that White has no piece play on the Kingside and thus the attack failed. Black picked this time to try to undouble his d pawns, but White doesn’t bite and leaves Black’s pawns doubled.

20. g4 e5 21. f5 Rfb8!

English Opening after 21... Rfb8!

English Opening after 21… Rfb8!

Black is preparing to open the b file and attack White’s backward pawn on b2. When White’s kingside attack fails he is left defending the pawns on b2 and d3.

22. g5 b5

English Opening after 22... b5.

English Opening after 22… b5.

White has to capture on b5 or else 23… bxc4 24. dxc4 gives Black a passed pawn in the Center. Also, the pawn on c4 would become a target after 24… Na5.

23. cxb5 Rxb5

English Opening after 23... Rxb5.

English Opening after 23… Rxb5.

At this point I considered 24. fxg6 opening the f file and then swinging my Rook over to the f file in order to get some play on the f file. However, I realized that the Rook on the f file would be tied down to defending the pawn on b2 and would never be able to penetrate on the f file unless I was willing to sacrifice the b pawn for some play on the f file. As a result of this analysis, I decided to keep the Kingside closed and to defend my Queenside. I now consider this strategy to be a mistake.

24. f6 h6 25. h4 hxg5 26. hxg5 Rab8 27. Rd2 Na5

English Opening after 27... Na5.

English Opening after 27… Na5.

When I saw Black’s last move I realized that he was going to put the Na on b3. Thus he would keep pressure on the pawns at both b2 and d3. That is when I decided to play my Knight to a2 and then to b4 in order to block the rooks from attacking b2 and to add some support to the pawn at d3. Black saw this and prevented the Knight from going to b4 by playing 29… Na6. Instead of playing 27… Na5, Black had a simpler win with 27… Nb3 because if 28. Nxb3 Rxb3 29. Bf1 Rxa3! 30. bxa3 Rxb1 Black is now up a pawn and White will have trouble defending both a3 and d3. If instead of 28. Nxb3 White had played 28. Rd1 Black could try 28… Nd8 followed by 29… Ne6 and White has trouble defending his Kingside pawns.

28. Na2 Nab3 29. Rdd1 Na6 30. Bf1 Rc5 31. Nc1

English Opening after 31. Nc1.

English Opening after 31. Nc1.

I think that this is White’s best try here. What I was hoping for was 31… Nxc1 32. Rdxc1 Rxc1 33. Rxc1 Rxb2 34. Rc8+ kh7 35. Rc6 and White gets his pawn back with some play in the Center as well as a chance to win the Black pawn at f7. Black wisely avoided all of this and instead grabbed White’s second rank with a Rook. White has no play here and all of the winning chances belong to Black.

Rc2 32. Nxb3 axb3 (I expected Black to recapture with the Rook and thus win the pawn on b2.) 33. Rdc1 Nc5!!

English Opening after 33 Nc5!!

English Opening after 33 Nc5!!

Black could also win with 33… Rbc8. If Black had played 34… Ne6!! I would have resigned because I cannot save the kingside pawns from the Knight and I cannot hold the endgame down two connected passed pawns! Instead Black chose to play his Knight to a4 winning the pawn on b2.

34. Re1 Na4 35. Re2!?

English Opening after 35. Re2!?

English Opening after 35. Re2!?

White sets a little trap for Black which he simply avoided. I was hoping for 35… Nxb2?? 36. Rxb2 Rxb2 37. Rxb2 and White is up a Bishop for a pawn. After 35… Rbc8 Black is threatening to capture the White Rook on e2 and then play his remaining Rook to c2 and win the b pawn. Now, there is no way for White to prevent the pawn capture on b2!

Rbc8 0-1

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