Welcome to my English Opening game with Nolan J. Denson 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 game is one of the few times that I have beaten a 1900 rated player. My opponent played an opening strategy against my English Opening that I have never seen before or since. This isn’t the first time that I have played against Nolan, but it is the first time that I have beaten him!

Saint Pete Chess Club July Tornado
Round 1, Board 1
Game Played 30 July 2005
White: Mike Serovey (1500)  Black: Nolan J. Denson (1947)

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 b6

English Opening after 2... b6.

English Opening after 2… b6.

I wasn’t expecting that move here. Sometimes I get opponents that fianchetto opposite of my own fianchettoed Bishop, but never this early in the game! This move makes the immediate g3 difficult but doesn’t really mess up my plans yet.

3. d3 Bb7 4. Nf3 c5 5. g3 Ne7 6. Bg2 Ng6

English Opening after 6... Ng6.

English Opening after 6… Ng6.

Here came the second surprise from Black in this game! I got away from the Botvinick System that I usually play as White and wonder how I would have fared if I had played that instead of this Réti type setup. Nolan explained to me after the game that he likes to play that Knight move against fianchettoes for some reason that I don’t understand.

7. O-O Nc6 8. Be3

English Opening after 8. Be3.

English Opening after 8. Be3.

At this point White decided to play d4 and is preparing for that move with Be3. Also possible is 8. Bd2 followed by 9. a3 preparing for a queenside attack instead. Black now chooses this time to start his own kingside attack with h5 followed by maneuvering his Queens Knight over to the Kingside.

h5 9. h4 Qc7 10. a3 a6 11. d4 cxd4

English Opening after 11... cxd4.

English Opening after 11… cxd4.

White now has the half open d file that he wanted and now that the Black c pawn is gone White can easily play b4. White recaptures with the Knight hoping for 12… Nxd4 and 13. Bxd4 putting the White Bishop on the diagonal to put pressure on the Black pawn at g7. Black surprised White yet again by playing 12… Nce5.

12. Nxd4 Nce5 13. b3 Ng4

English Opening after 13... Ng4.

English Opening after 11… cxd4.

Black is threatening to capture the Bishop on e3 and after fxe3 play Qxg3 causing all kinds of problems for White. White here played 14. Qd2 in order to recapture on e3 with the Queen and thus preserve his kingside pawn structure and also to have the Queen available to defend the Kingside if necessary.

14. Qd2 Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Nxh4+!!

English Opening after 15... Nxh4!!

English Opening after 15… Nxh4!!

I honestly didn’t see this move at all! If White declines the Knight sacrifice by playing the King back to either g1 or h1 Black can pull his Knight back to g6 and then play h4 and continue to pry open White’s Kingside. Even if White were to survive the attack he would still be down a pawn.

16. gxh4 Qh2+ 17. Kf3

English Opening after 17. Kf3.

English Opening after 17. Kf3.

Black got greedy here and grabbed the pawn on h4, which allowed White time to get his Rook back over to the Kingside to defend against the mate treats. Black has a forced win after 17…. Ne5+ 18. Ke4 (forced) Qxh4+ 19. Kxe5 d6#. If instead of 19. Kxe5 White had played 19. Bf4 then Black can play g5! King back to e3 allows 19.. Qxf4# and 19. Kxe5 is followed by Qxf4#.

Qxh4? 18. Rh1 Ne5+

English Opening after 18... Ne5+

English Opening after 18… Ne5+

The critical difference now is that instead of forcing the White King into the Center where it can be mated Black has forced the White King back into his kingside pawns and the Rook on h1 keeps the Black Queen off the h file. White now has the lead in material and development and can win the endgame once he gets his King to safety.

19. Kg2 Qg4+ 20. Kf1 Be7 21. f3 Qg6

English Opening after 21... Qg6.

English Opening after 21… Qg6.

Black has a passed pawn on the h file but he eventually ends up losing it. Notice that we are 21 moves into the game and Black still hasn’t castled! When you sacrifice for an attack and that attack fails you will usually go into the endgame down material and end up struggling for a draw.

22. Qc2 f5 23. Bf4 Qf6 24. Bxe5 Qxe5

English Opening after 24... Qxe5.

English Opening after 24… Qxe5.

White is still up a Knight for two pawns and thus wants to trade down into a won endgame. White now needs to defend his Knight on d4 and then he can open up the Center because the Black King is still there.

25. Qd3 Bf6 26. Rd1 g6 27. e4 O-O

English Opening after 27... 0-0.

English Opening after 27… 0-0.

Black finally got his King out of the Center before White was able to open it up! White now gets one of his knights off that diagonal that the Black Queen and Bishop are on and gets one Knight to protect the other so that the White Queen is now free to move away from those two knights.

28. Nde2 fxe4 29. Qxe4 Qxe4 30. Nxe4 Bb2

English Opening after 30... Bb2.

English Opening after 30… Bb2.

White has succeeded in trading off queens and still has his slight material edge. Black has used more time that White and is starting to get into time trouble. White now has two pawns hanging and decided to protect his only remaining kingside pawn. If Black takes the a pawn White can take the Black d pawn.

31. Kg2 d5 32. cxd5 exd5 33. Rxd5 Bxa3

English Opening after 33... Bxa3.

English Opening after 33… Bxa3.

White still has his slight material edge. Notice that Black has a dark-squared Bishop and that White has placed all of his remaining men on light squares. This makes Black’s Bishop practically useless.

34. N2g3 Rad8 35. Rhd1 Rxd5 36. Rxd5 h4

English Opening after 36... h4.

English Opening after 36… h4.

Black has willingly traded rooks on the d file and thus has given White control of the d file. Black decided that now is a good time to push his passed h pawn but that is a mistake because he can’t hang onto it. White played the Knight to h1 to blockade that pawn from queening and then pulls his Rook back to the third rank in order to protect the 2 pawn that are on the third rank. After that, White can safely capture the passed h pawn. At this point in the game Black has about 5 minutes left in the sudden death time control.

37. Nh1 h3+ 38. Kg3 Bb4 39. Rd3 Kg7 40. Kxh3 Rf5 41. Kg4 Be7 42. Nhg3 Rb5 43. Ne2

English Opening after 43. Ne2.

English Opening after 43. Ne2.

At this point in the game White has over ten minutes left to Black’s two. Both sides stopped taking notation and Black eventually ran out of time and lost on time forfeit. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the rest of the game from here, but I do remember Black losing a piece due to a time pressure blunder.

And White eventually won on time forfeit. 1-0

Mike Serovey, MA, MISM

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