Welcome to my English Opening game (ECO A17) with Radek Laburda page!

This game is one in which I played the White side of the English Opening and lost.

The game includes analysis and diagrams. This game is second time that I have faced Radek Laburda on Board 2 of a tornado played at the Tampa Chess Club. This is my first time with White against him and my second loss to him. I see that his rating dropped a few points since our previous encounter so that tells me that someone managed to beat him once. This game was my longest one from this tornado and my second best play.

Tampa Chess Club Tornados
Round 1, Board 2
Game Played 20 April 2008
White: Mike Serovey (1537)  Black: Radek Laburda (1956)

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. g3 d5

English Opening after 3... d5.

English Opening after 3… d5.

This is the second time that I have been in this position. The first time I played 4. Bg2 and lost. When I started this game I opened a bottle of flavored water and it sprayed all over the place! Someone sitting at another board stated that I had an explosive opening! 🙂 Playing d4 and e3 are also options here.

4. cxd5 exd5 5. d4 c6 6. Bg2 Bd6 7. e3 O-O 8. Nge2 Re8 9. O-O Bg4

English Opening after 9... Bg4.

English Opening after 9… Bg4.

I’m not sure why I played 10. a3 here because Bb4 isn’t much of a threat. Normally, I would play h3 in order to break the pin on the Knight at e2. When I saw 10… Qd7 I knew that Bh3 was coming next so I played my Rook to e1 in order to be able to keep my light-squared Bishop.

10. a3 Qd7 11. Re1 Bh3 12. Bh1 Qf5

English Opening after 12... Qf5.

English Opening after 12… Qf5.

I knew that if I put my Knight on f4 that Black was going to capture it with his Bishop and double my pawns. The recapture created an isolated pawn on d4 and I had problems with that later on in the game. According to the Crafty chess engine the best move here is 13. f3 followed by 14. e4 and then trade off those pawns in the Center.

13. Nf4? Bxf4 14. exf4 Nbd7 15. Be3 Ng4 16. Qd2 Ndf6

English Opening after 16... Ndf6.

English Opening after 16… Ndf6.

Analysis shows that 17. Nd1 was the best move here and leads to equality. The exchanges on e3 caused problems for me on the e file.

17. f3? Nxe3 18. Rxe3 Rxe3 19. Qxe3 Re8 20. Qd2 h5 21. Bg2 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 Qe6 23. Rd1 a5

English Opening after 23... a5.

English Opening after 23… a5.

I played 24 h4 here because I couldn’t find a better move at the time and because I was concerned that Black playing h4 could weaken my King’s position. Better was 24. Qf2 followed by 25. Rd2. Black is doubled up on the e file while White has doubled pawns on the f file and and isolated d pawn.

24. h4 b5 25. b4 axb4 26. axb4 Qe7

English Opening after 26... Qe7.

English Opening after 26… Qe7.

Black is better here because he controls the open e file and because White has weaknesses in his pawn structure. White still has doubled pawns on the f file and now has isolated pawns on both the b and d files. It isn’t long before the b pawn falls.

27. Rb1 Nd7 28. Rb2 Nb6 29. Qe2 Nc4!

English Opening after 29... Nc4!

English Opening after 29… Nc4!

Black is attacking the White Rook at b2 and the pawn at b4. White cannot move the Rook off b2 without losing either the pawn at b4 or his Knight when Black captures on e2. This forced White to exchange queens but trading rooks too was yet another mistake by White. That left White unable to protect the b pawn from the Black Knight and it fell on move number 34.

30. Qxe7 Rxe7 31. Re2? Rxe2+ 32. Nxe2 Ne3+ 33. Kf2 Nc2 34. f5 Nxb4 35. Ke3 g6 36. fxg6 fxg6 37. Nf4 Kf7 38. g4 hxg4 39. fxg4 Na6

English Opening after 39... Na6.

English Opening after 39… Na6.

Black is now up a passed pawn on the b file. We have a queenside pawn majority versus a kingside pawn majority which makes Black better here. I found an improvement on move number 43 that leads to a draw.

40. Nd3 Kf6 41. Ne5 Nb8 42. Kd3 c5

English Opening after 42... c5.

English Opening after 42… c5.

I just looked at 43. dxc5 sacrificing the Knight in order to queen a pawn on the Kingside but it does not  work. Black can catch the passed pawn on the Kingside and then queen one of his pawns on the Queenside. Analysis shows that White can draw after 43. Kc3 b4+ 44. Kb3 cxd4 45. Nd3 Nc6 46. Nxb4! Nxb4 47. Kxb4 Ke5 48. h5 gxh5 49. gxh5 Kf5 50. Kb3 Kg5 51. Kc2 Kxh5 52. Kd3 and Black can’t save the doubled pawns on the d file leaving two lone kings and thus a draw.

43. Nf3 c4+ 44. Kc3 Nc6 45. Kc2 Nb4+ 46. Kb2 Nd3+ 47. Kc3 b4+ 48. Kc2 Nf2 49. Ne5 b3+ 50. Kc3 Nd1+

English Opening after 50... Nd1+

English Opening after 50… Nd1+

At this point White is lost no matter what he plays. Black has connected passed pawns on the Queenside and will shortly clear off all of the pawns on the Kingside leaving him up 2 pawns. It is no shame to lose to someone rated 400 points above me but I do hope to eventually draw Laburda so that I can get back some of the rating points that I lost to him. I am pleased that I lasted 71 moves against him but I still lost! This is mylongest game from this tournament.

51. Kd2 Nf2 52. Kc3 Ne4+ 53. Kb2 Ng3 54. Nd7+ Ke6 55. Nf8+ Kf7 56. Nh7 Ne2 57. Ng5+ Ke7 58. Nf3 Nf4 59. Kc3 Nd3 60. Nd2 Nf2 61. h5 Nxg4 62. hxg6 Kf6 63. g7 Kxg7 64. Nb1 Kf6 65. Kb4 Kf5 66. Kc5 Nf6 67. Nc3 Ne4+ 68. Kxd5 Nxc3+ 69. Kxc4 b2 70. Kxc3 b1=Q 71. Kc4 Ke6 0-1

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