Welcome to my French Defense (ECO C02) game with Clifford Story page!

On this page is my win against the French Defense in a correspondence game playing against Clifford Story.

This is my oldest correspondence game that I can find in my notebooks. At one point I was down 3 pawns but kept on playing because I had faith in my attack. Those of you who like playing the Milner-Barry Gambit will like playing over this game.

When I started this game back in 1976 I was just learning the Milner-Barry Gambit from Nick Palaveda and the other chess players at H. B. Plant High School. I did not have access to chess books on the Milner-Barry Gambit, chess databases or chess engines at that time! I figured all of these moves out on my own! Now, I have Chess Base 11 with all of the databases and updates. I also have Deep Rybka 4, the former Computer Chess Champion. However, I am sure that it does not run at full strength on my system. Even so, I can now update the analysis that I post on these old games of mine. That is what I am doing now.

[Event “1976 Golden Knights Postal”]
[Site “Correspondence Game”]
[White “Mike Serovey”]
[Black “Clifford Story”]
[Result “1-0”]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Bd7 8.
O-O Nxd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. Nc3 Bb4 11. Nb5 Qxe5 12. Qf3 Bd6 13. g3 Bxb5 14. Bxb5+
Ke7 15. Bf4 Qxb2 16. Bxd6+ Kxd6 17. Rfb1 Qd4 18. Rd1 Qb6 19. Rab1 a6 20. Ba4 Qa5
21. Qa3+ Ke5 22. Re1+ Kf6 23. Qf3+ {Black Resigns} 1-0

1976 Golden Knights Postal Championship
Correspondence Game
White: Mike Serovey Black: Clifford Story

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Bd7

French Defense Advanced variation after 7... Bd7.

French Defense Advanced variation after 7… Bd7.


This position is typical of the Advanced Variation of the French Defense. Black has to play the Bishop to d7 prior to capturing the pawn on d4 or else he loses his Queen to Bb5+. Now, White can play 8. Bc2 to protect the d pawn or sacrifice it by castling. I usually castle here and play the Milner-Barry Gambit.

8. O-O Nxd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4

French Defense Advanced variation after 9... Qxd4.

French Defense Advanced variation after 9… Qxd4.

Things are going according to plan. White is down one pawn and is prepared to sacrifice another one in order to get a lead in development and an attack.

10. Nc3 Bb4

French Defense Advanced variation after 10... Bb4.

French Defense Advanced variation after 10… Bb4.

I was expecting 10… Qxe5 and was thus surprised by this move. White does not yet have any compensation for his sacrificed pawn but will gain time by chasing Black’s Queen.

11. Nb5 Qxe5 12. Qf3

French Defense Advanced variation after 12. Qf3.

French Defense Advanced variation after 12. Qf3.

White would normally play Re1 after Black captures the pawn on e5 but cannot here because of the Black Bishop on b4. The Queen on f3 supports Bf4 followed by Nc7+. Also good was 12. Qg4 also supporting Bf4 and attacking the Black Bishop on b4. Some possibilities here include 12. Qg4 Bd6 13.Nxd6 Qxd6 14. Qxg7 0-0-0 15. Qxh8 e5 16. Qxh7 e4 17. Be2 f5 and White eventually won.

Bd6 (Threatening checkmate.) 13. g3(Stopping mate and supporting Bf4.)

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 12... Bd6.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 12… Bd6.

Analysis by Deep Rybka 4 shows that White is better of playing 13. Nxd6+ Qxd6 14. Bf4 Qb4 15. Qg3 Ne7 16. Be5 Ng6 17. Bxg7 Rg8 18. Bc3 Qb6 19. Rad1 Bb5 20. Rfe1 Bxd3 21. Rxd3 Ne7 22. Qh3+ and White is clearly better.

Bxb5 14. Bxb5+ Ke7

French Defense Advanced variation after 14... Ke7.

French Defense Advanced variation after 14… Ke7.

Now White has some compensation for his two sacrificed pawns! The Black King cannot castle because it has just moved and is thus stuck in the Center where it can be easily attacked. White shortly gets his remaining pieces into the game while Black never gets his kingside Knight and Rook into the game. Better for Black is 14… Kd8 15. Qxf7 Ne7 16. Bg5 Bc5 17. Rad1 a6 18. Bxe7+ Bxe7 19. Rfe1 Qf6 20.Qxe6 Qxe6 21. Rxe6 Bf6 22. Rxd5+ Kc7 23. Rc5+ Kb8 24. Bd3 Ka7 25. Rc2 Rad8 26. Be4 Rc8 27. Bxh7 Rxc2 28. Bxc2 Rd8 29. Bg6 Rd2 and White is slightly better.

15. Bf4! Qxb2 (White is now down 3 pawns.) 16. Bxd6+ Kxd6 17. Rfb1 (Better was 17. Rab1.) Qd4

French Defense Advanced variation after 17... Qd4.

French Defense Advanced variation after 17… Qd4.

White decided to centralize a Rook by attacking the Black Queen with Rd1. Black could have played for the draw by moving his Queen back and forth between d4 and b2 but wanted to win. After all, he is up three pawns! White can also get a couple of his pawns back by playing 18. Qxf7 threatening to capture on b7 and the check on d7.

18. Rd1 Qb6 (Moving the Black Queen to safety.) 19. Rab1 (Indirectly attacking the Black Queen.) a6 (Better was 19… Nf6) 20. Ba4 Qa5

French Defense Advanced variation after 20... Qa5.

French Defense Advanced variation after 20… Qa5.

White is still down three pawns but notice that Black has two rooks and a knight that haven’t moved from their starting squares! White, on the other hand, has all of his pieces in the game and now goes after Black’s centralized King. Even so, better for White is 21. Qf4+ e5 22. Qxf7 Nf6 23. Rxb7 Qd8 24. Rc1 e4 25. f4 exf3 26. Rc6+ Ke5 27. Qe6+ Kd4 28. Rb4+ Kd3 29. Rb3+ Kd2 30. Qe3 Kd1 31. Rc1#

21. Qa3+ Ke5?

French Defense Advanced variation after 21... Ke5?

French Defense Advanced variation after 21… Ke5?

Moving the King into the open makes it easier to attack! I think that better was 21… Kc7 trying to hide the King in the corner. Play could have continued 21… Kc7 22. Rdc1+ Kb7 23. Qf8+ Ka7 24. Qxf7 (threatening Qxb7#) Rb8 25. Rc7! If instead of 22… Kb7 Black had played 22… Kd7?? White can still play 23. Qf8#! After 21… Ke5? White has a faster win with 22. Rxb7 Ra7 23. Rxa7 Nf6 24. Qe3+ Kd6 25. f4 Rc8 26. Qe5+ Kc5 27. Rc1+ Kb6 28. Rxc8 Qe1+ 29. Qxe1 Kxa7 30. Qb4 Nd7 31. Rc7+ Ka8 32. Bc6#

22. Re1+ Kf6 23. Qf3+ 1-0

French Defense Advanced variation after 23. Qf3+ (Final position).

French Defense Advanced variation after 23. Qf3+ (Final position).

If 23… Ke7 then 23. Rxb7+ causes problems for Black. For example, if 23… Kd8 then 24. Rxe6! threatens Re8#. If then 24… Qxa4 25. Qxd5+ Kc8 26. Rxf7! Rb8 27. Rc6+!! Now then, if instead of 23… Kd8 Black had played 23… Kd6?? play could have continued with 24. Qa3#. Going back to the diagramed position, if instead of 23… Ke7 Black had played 23… Kg6 then play could have continued with 24. Bc2+ Kh6 25. Qf4+ Kh5 (Not 25… g5 because of 26. Qxf7 followed by 27. Rxe5+) 26. Re5+ f5 27. h4 h6 28. Rxf5+!! Kg6 29. Re5#

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